Manchester City closed to within one point of Premier League leaders Arsenal with a comeback victory over Liverpool in an enthralling encounter at The Etihad.

Liverpool topped the table on Christmas Day and, after Arsenal's win at West Ham earlier on Boxing Day, would have returned to the top had they been the first team to beat City at home this season.

Philippe Coutinho gave them a first-half lead - only for Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany to swiftly head an equaliser.

Home is where the heart is

Manchester City have scored in 59 home Premier League games in a row, while Alvaro Negredo has netted in each of his last nine appearances at the Etihad Stadium

City's victory was secured in first-half injury time when Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made a hash of his attempt to keep out Alvaro Negredo's chip, ensuring Manuel Pellegrini's side kept their flawless home league record.

Liverpool, however, will take great encouragement from a performance that merited a draw, with Raheem Sterling wasting the best of several opportunities they created after the break, firing over with the goal at his mercy after good work from the dangerous Luis Suarez.

Pellegrini will regard this as further evidence City's title challenge is gathering momentum, while Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be convinced this proves they can live comfortably in such elevated company.

Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool: Defeat hard to take, says Brendan Rodgers

The Northern Irishman will also question an offside decision against England winger Sterling in the first half and a late penalty claim when Suarez's shirt was pulled by Joleon Lescott.

Another big plus for City was an excellent performance from recently recalled keeper Joe Hart, who saved crucially from Coutinho and Jordan Henderson either side of the interval.

As a superb first half started to unfold, City were quickly into their stride and Mignolet was relieved to see a far post header from Jesus Navas glance off the woodwork to safety.

But Liverpool grew into the game and were soon demonstrating the passing and attacking movement that has become a characteristic of their game this season.

Match stats

City Liverpool

2

Goals

1

20 (6)

Shots (on target)

12 (5)

7

Corners

6

10

Fouls

9

1

Offside

3

1

Yellow cards

3

0

Red cards

0

52%

Possession

48%

Sterling put the ball in the net after being incorrectly flagged offside - a desperately poor decision - but there was no escape for City when he was involved again as Liverpool went ahead.

Skipper Suarez's flick played in Sterling, who rounded Hart then stood aside as Coutinho arrived to turn the ball into an unguarded net from the angle.

Rodgers would have been desperate to see his side to at least consolidate their control but City were level inside seven minutes. Kompany escaped the close attentions of Martin Skrtel, who was tugging at his shirt, to head David Silva's corner down and past Mignolet.

The commitment of both sides to attack made a thrilling spectacle and only outstanding work by Hart at the end of another wonderful spell of Liverpool passing ensured City stayed on level terms.

Suarez and Jordan Henderson were the creators as Coutinho pounced, but Hart was down low to his left to save.

The value of Hart's save was emphasised in first-half stoppage time as an error from opposite number Mignolet saw City go ahead.

Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool: Manuel Pellegrini praises Joe Hart performance

Samir Nasri's perfect early pass sent Navas clear. He found Negredo, whose attempted lofted finish carried neither power, pace or height, only for Mignolet's feeble attempt with a raised hand to make sure it dropped into the net behind him.

Rodgers made his first change midway through the second half, in which both sides had once again refused to take a backward step, sending on Victor Moses for Coutinho.

City, as ever, were a constant threat on the attack but as the half progressed it was Liverpool who made the better chances.

Glen Johnson's poor control allowed Hart to block at his near post before the keeper dropped down to grab a flick from Henderson.

The best chance fell to Sterling with 18 minutes left when Suarez escaped down the left flank and set the youngster up with what looked a like a simple finish from eight yards, only for him to sky an effort hopelessly over the top.

Free-scoring City

Manchester City have equalled the Premier League record of scoring 53 goals in the opening 18 games. It was previously set by City in 2011-12.

Suarez had appeals for a penalty turned down in the closing minutes. He had his shirt tugged by Lescott but his over-dramatic reaction may have persuaded referee Lee Mason against pointing to the spot.

City are one point behind Arsenal, with Liverpool dropping to fourth behind Chelsea, meaning just three points separate the top four.

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Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (5)

Manchester City

  • 01 Hart
  • 05 Zabaleta Booked
  • 13 Kolarov
  • 25 Fernandinho
  • 04 Kompany
  • 06 Lescott
  • 15 Jesús Navas
  • 42 Y Touré
  • 09 Negredo (Dzeko - 77' )
  • 21 Silva (Javi García - 87' )
  • 08 Nasri (Milner - 72' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Milner
  • 10 Dzeko
  • 14 Javi García
  • 22 Clichy
  • 30 Pantilimon
  • 33 Nastasic
  • 38 Boyata

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Johnson Booked
  • 20 Cissokho
  • 21 Lucas (Iago Aspas - 82' )
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 17 Sakho
  • 24 Allen
  • 14 Henderson
  • 07 Suárez Booked
  • 31 Sterling
  • 10 Coutinho (Moses - 68' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 04 K Touré
  • 05 Agger
  • 06 Luis Alberto
  • 09 Iago Aspas
  • 12 Moses
  • 44 Smith
Ref: Lee Mason
Att: 47,351

Match Stats

Shots

20 12

On target

6 5

Corners

7 6

Fouls

10 9

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1.

90:00 +4:15 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1.

90:00 +2:34

Offside, Liverpool. Jordan Henderson tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

90:00 +2:02

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

90:00 +2:02

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:53

Attempt blocked. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

90:00 +0:18 Booking

Booking Luis Suárez (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +0:11

Joe Hart (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:11

Foul by Luis Suárez (Liverpool).

89:05

Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by James Milner.

87:38

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Pablo Zabaleta.

87:05

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

86:45 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Javi García replaces David Silva.

85:50 Booking

Booking Victor Moses (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

85:38

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

85:38

Foul by Victor Moses (Liverpool).

84:09

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

83:28

Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

83:28

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

81:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Iago Aspas replaces Lucas Leiva.

80:05 Booking

Booking Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

79:54

Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

79:54

Victor Moses (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

78:39

Fernandinho (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

78:39

Foul by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

76:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Edin Dzeko replaces Álvaro Negredo.

72:14

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

71:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. James Milner replaces Samir Nasri.

70:08

Attempt saved. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Martin Skrtel with a cross.

69:59

Attempt blocked. Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luis Suárez with a cross.

69:32

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Joe Hart.

69:05

Attempt saved. Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Silva with a cross.

68:30

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

67:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Victor Moses replaces Philippe Coutinho.

67:12 Booking

Booking Glen Johnson (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

67:06

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:06

Foul by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).

64:41

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:41

Foul by Glen Johnson (Liverpool).

63:52

Hand ball by Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City).

63:48

Attempt blocked. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jesús Navas.

59:17

Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

59:17

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

58:12

Attempt saved. Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Silva.

55:32

Attempt missed. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Samir Nasri with a cross following a corner.

55:08

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Lucas Leiva.

52:19

Attempt blocked. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Álvaro Negredo.

50:52

Foul by Joleon Lescott (Manchester City).

50:52

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

50:06

Offside, Liverpool. Luis Suárez tries a through ball, but Jordan Henderson is caught offside.

50:05

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

48:57

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Joe Hart.

48:54

Attempt saved. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Aly Cissokho.

48:12

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Vincent Kompany.

47:33

Offside, Manchester City. Álvaro Negredo tries a through ball, but Samir Nasri is caught offside.

47:03

Attempt missed. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

45:00

Second Half begins Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1.

45:00 +1:23 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1.

45:00 +0:09 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 2, Liverpool 1. Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a through ball following a fast break.

43:58

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

43:58

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:03

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

42:00

Attempt blocked. Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Fernandinho with a through ball.

39:31

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

36:53

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

36:53

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

36:35

Attempt saved. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by David Silva with a headed pass.

35:11

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

34:11

Hand ball by Joe Allen (Liverpool).

32:51

Attempt missed. Jesús Navas (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by David Silva following a fast break.

32:09

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Joleon Lescott.

30:11 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 1, Liverpool 1. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by David Silva with a cross following a corner.

29:49

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Glen Johnson.

29:29

Attempt blocked. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Samir Nasri with a cross.

28:39

Hand ball by Lucas Leiva (Liverpool).

27:50

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

27:50

Foul by Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool).

26:50

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

26:45

Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov.

23:49 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester City 0, Liverpool 1. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

18:30

Offside, Liverpool. Luis Suárez tries a through ball, but Raheem Sterling is caught offside.

17:17

Attempt missed. Álvaro Negredo (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross.

16:26

Attempt saved. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

15:33

Foul by Joleon Lescott (Manchester City).

15:33

Luis Suárez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

13:09

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lucas Leiva with a cross following a corner.

12:41

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

11:21

Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Samir Nasri.

9:45

Attempt missed. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Samir Nasri with a cross following a corner.

9:27

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Aly Cissokho.

7:59

Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

7:59

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

6:09

Samir Nasri (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:09

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

4:30

Jesús Navas (Manchester City) hits the left post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross.

4:15

Attempt blocked. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by David Silva.

2:03

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Joe Allen.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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