Liverpool took a huge step towards winning the Premier League title by beating Manchester City as Anfield marked the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The Reds looked like sweeping City aside in a dazzling opening half as goals from Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel put Brendan Rodgers's team in complete command.

City, who lost Yaya Toure to injury early on, mounted a superb recovery and David Silva pulled one back early in the second half before his cross was deflected in off Glen Johnson and Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet to draw them level five minutes later.

Rodgers salutes 'incredible' Reds

A gripping spectacle was decided 12 minutes from time when City captain Vincent Kompany - an injury doubt before the game and clearly lacking some of his familiar authority - sliced a clearance straight to Philippe Coutinho, who shot low and unerringly past Joe Hart to put Liverpool in control of the title race.

It set up a nail-biting finish in which Liverpool's Jordan Henderson was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Samir Nasri, one which means he will miss three of the last four games, and referee Mark Clattenburg missed Skrtel's clear handball in the closing seconds.

The final whistle sounded seconds later and a wall of noise surrounded Anfield as Reds players gathered in a huddle in front of the Kop, four wins away from their first title since 1990.

If Liverpool win those games they will be champions, but Chelsea also have to visit Liverpool and there is every chance they will still be harbouring Premier League title ambitions of their own.

City's impressive second-half showing demonstrated they must not be ruled out and they left Anfield nursing a sense of injustice, also believing Luis Suarez should have been sent off when Clattenburg declined to give him a second yellow card for diving.

Huge welcome for Liverpool team bus

None of this will matter to the Reds, who were simply breathtaking in the opening 45 minutes as they made it 10 league wins in succession.

City had an injury doubt surrounding captain Kompany before kick-off after he limped out of training on Saturday. He underwent a lengthy warm-up on his own after being named on the team sheet and was fit to play.

Liverpool's lightning starts have become their trademark and they were at it again as Sterling gave them the lead after six minutes.

Suarez, who had already been booked for a late challenge on Martin Demichelis, played a perfect pass into Sterling, who showed commendable coolness to wait and wrong-foot Kompany and Hart before scoring in front of an ecstatic Kop.

And to make matters worse, Toure pulled up sharply with a muscle injury after attempting a long-range shot, struggling for a few minutes before accepting the inevitable and being replaced by Javi Garcia.

The hosts were overwhelming City with their pace, pressing and movement and should have extended their lead when Sterling set up Daniel Sturridge, only for the striker to glide a finish wide from eight yards.

Analysis

"What a result for Liverpool. Drama like nowhere else. You would almost think that this was the day the title was decided but there will be more stories to tell before the end of the season. They had it won, gave it away and had to win it all over again."

The only complaint Rodgers could have had was that his team were not further ahead - but that situation was remedied as they scored a second after 26 minutes.

City's suspect marking at set-pieces allowed Gerrard a free header, which forced a magnificent one-handed save from Hart. It kept Liverpool at bay for a matter of seconds as Gerrard swung over the resulting corner and Skrtel rose at the near post to head in.

Finally, City showed signs of life as half-time approached and Mamadou Sakho was very fortunate to escape with a reckless lunge on Edin Dzeko in the area.

As Liverpool's pace relented briefly, the tiny figure of Sterling rose to head Kompany's header off the line before Mignolet did very well to plunge and turn away a snapshot from Fernandinho.

There was a very contentious moment early in the second half when Suarez went down theatrically with, at best, minimal contact from Demichelis. Referee Clattenburg gave no foul and City immediately questioned why Suarez had not been given a second yellow card for diving.

Pellegrini refuses to blame Kompany

City were a team transformed after the break, with the introduction of James Milner for Jesus Navas a contributing factor. He helped Silva pull one back when his run and cross gave the Spaniard a close-range finish.

And as the Merseysiders suddenly rocked, matters were level five minutes later when Silva's cross went in via a touch off Johnson and the legs of Mignolet.

Sensing the shift in momentum, City manager Manuel Pellegrini introduced Sergio Aguero for Dzeko and he almost set up a third for Silva, who just had to stretch too far to reach the pass and shot just wide.

Liverpool made City pay with 12 minutes left when Kompany's sliced clearance fell to Coutinho, who sent a low finish past the stretching Hart.

In a frantic finish, Henderson was sent off and Skrtel escaped with a handball - but nothing could dampen the celebrations that swept around Anfield.

Liverpool Chelsea Man City

Wed 16 Apr: Sunderland (h)

Sun 20 Apr: Norwich (a)

Sat 19 Apr: Sunderland (h)

Mon 21 Apr: West Brom (h)

Sun 27 Apr: Chelsea (h)

Sun 27 Apr: Liverpool (a)

Sun 27 Apr: Crystal Palace (a)

Mon 5 May: Crystal Palace (a)

Sun 4 May: Norwich (h)

Sat 3 May: Everton (a)

Wed 7 May: Aston Villa (h)

Sun 11 May: Newcastle (h)

Sun 11 May: Cardiff (a)

Sun 11 May: West Ham (h)

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Johnson
  • 38 Flanagan
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 17 Sakho
  • 10 Coutinho (Moses - 89' )
  • 31 Sterling (Lucas - 95' )
  • 15 Sturridge (Allen - 66' )
  • 07 Suarez Booked
  • 14 Henderson Dismissed

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 04 K Touré
  • 05 Agger
  • 09 Iago Aspas
  • 12 Moses
  • 21 Lucas
  • 24 Allen

Manchester City

  • 01 Hart
  • 05 Zabaleta Booked
  • 22 Clichy
  • 42 Y Touré (Javi García - 19' Booked )
  • 04 Kompany
  • 26 Demichelis
  • 15 Jesús Navas (Milner - 50' )
  • 25 Fernandinho Booked
  • 10 Dzeko (Agüero - 68' )
  • 21 Silva
  • 08 Nasri

Substitutes

  • 06 Lescott
  • 07 Milner
  • 09 Negredo
  • 13 Kolarov
  • 14 Javi García
  • 16 Agüero
  • 30 Pantilimon
Ref: Mark Clattenburg
Att: 44,601

Match Stats

Shots

10 13

On target

4 5

Corners

7 7

Fouls

7 9

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Liverpool 3, Manchester City 2.

90:00 +5:31 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Liverpool 3, Manchester City 2.

90:00 +4:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Lucas Leiva replaces Raheem Sterling.

90:00 +3:15

Hand ball by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

90:00 +2:34 Dismissal

Dismissal Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) is shown the red card.

90:00 +2:25

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

90:00 +2:25

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

90:00 +1:25

Foul by Samir Nasri (Manchester City).

90:00 +1:25

Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +0:06

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Martin Skrtel.

88:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Victor Moses replaces Philippe Coutinho.

88:00

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

85:41

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

85:41

Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

83:43

Offside, Manchester City. Vincent Kompany tries a through ball, but Samir Nasri is caught offside.

82:34

Offside, Liverpool. Joe Allen tries a through ball, but Luis Suarez is caught offside.

81:38

Attempt saved. Martín Demichelis (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by James Milner with a cross.

81:18

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Steven Gerrard.

80:51

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jon Flanagan.

77:30 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 3, Manchester City 2. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

77:00 Booking

Booking Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.

75:58

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

74:51

Attempt missed. David Silva (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Sergio Agüero with a through ball.

71:58

Offside, Liverpool. Jon Flanagan tries a through ball, but Jordan Henderson is caught offside.

70:36

Offside, Liverpool. Glen Johnson tries a through ball, but Luis Suarez is caught offside.

67:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Sergio Agüero replaces Edin Dzeko.

66:37

Attempt missed. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by David Silva.

65:59

Attempt saved. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

65:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Liverpool. Joe Allen replaces Daniel Sturridge because of an injury.

63:14

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

62:30

Delay in match Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) because of an injury.

61:53 Goal scored

Goal! Own Goal by Glen Johnson, Liverpool. Liverpool 2, Manchester City 2.

60:31

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Joe Hart.

59:54

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jon Flanagan.

59:23

Attempt blocked. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Martín Demichelis.

56:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 2, Manchester City 1. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by James Milner.

54:09

Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

54:09

Foul by Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City).

53:03

Foul by Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool).

53:03

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

50:03

Foul by Raheem Sterling (Liverpool).

50:03

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

49:50 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. James Milner replaces Jesús Navas.

47:57

Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jon Flanagan.

45:00

Second Half begins Liverpool 2, Manchester City 0.

45:00 +2:16 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Liverpool 2, Manchester City 0.

45:00 +1:50

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Vincent Kompany.

45:00 +0:30 Booking

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

45:00 +0:28

Luis Suarez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +0:28

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

45:00 +0:01

Attempt saved. Fernandinho (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a cross.

43:44

Attempt blocked. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Samir Nasri with a cross.

43:21

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Mamadou Sakho.

43:16

Attempt missed. David Silva (Manchester City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jesús Navas with a cross.

41:19

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

40:30

Attempt missed. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Glen Johnson.

37:42

Attempt blocked. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

36:33

Foul by Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool).

36:33

Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

35:09

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Fernandinho.

34:02

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

34:02

Foul by Samir Nasri (Manchester City).

30:59

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Steven Gerrard.

30:57

Attempt blocked. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by David Silva with a through ball.

29:22

Attempt missed. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a cross following a corner.

28:53

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Pablo Zabaleta.

28:36

Attempt blocked. Edin Dzeko (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jesús Navas.

25:59 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 2, Manchester City 0. Martin Skrtel (Liverpool) header from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Steven Gerrard with a cross following a corner.

25:27

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Joe Hart.

25:24

Attempt saved. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Philippe Coutinho with a cross.

24:53

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Martín Demichelis.

22:01

Luis Suarez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:01

Foul by David Silva (Manchester City).

21:29

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jordan Henderson.

20:30 Booking

Booking Javi García (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

20:23

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

20:23

Foul by Javi García (Manchester City).

19:15

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:15

Foul by Edin Dzeko (Manchester City).

18:43

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

18:40 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Javi García replaces Yaya Touré because of an injury.

17:30

Delay in match Yaya Touré (Manchester City) because of an injury.

14:36

Attempt missed. Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Raheem Sterling with a cross.

13:35

Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Samir Nasri.

13:04

Foul by Luis Suarez (Liverpool).

13:04

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

12:08

Glen Johnson (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:08

Foul by Yaya Touré (Manchester City).

7:11

Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Martín Demichelis.

5:47 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Liverpool 1, Manchester City 0. Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luis Suarez with a through ball.

4:58 Booking

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

4:45

Foul by Luis Suarez (Liverpool).

4:45

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

3:36

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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