Liverpool took a major step forward. Manchester City was lucky to salvage a point. In the end, the two sides finished tied at two apiece in an entertaining, open-ended tilt that probably should have resulted in three points for the Anfield side.
Liverpool was the better side in the first half, taking a 1-0 lead into the half off a booming header from Martin Skrtel from a set piece. He would later play the role of goat, however, as his horrible turnover led to a Carlos Tevez breakaway and goal.
That was the theme of this game. Liverpool played better throughout, but they aided in both of Manchester City's goals. Yaya Toure's goal for Man City off a Tevez cross in the second half should have been cleared out of the box, but instead it found its way to the midfielder's foot.
And a failure to contain Tevez on a run toward the goal line would have resulted in a goal if Mario Balotelli had been in position to blast home a chip that bounced off the bar. Not surprisingly, Balotelli did little to change his reputation as an inconsistent player in this one. He was non-existent throughout.
But Liverpool should take away a lot of positives from this game. Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini were active in the attack, with Suarez swerving home a beautiful free kick that curled around the wall, while Borini once again was this close to scoring on a volley.
They looked completely different from the side that was spanked by West Bromwich Albion, 3-0, last weekend. And Manchester City looked like a squad playing far from its best football but still stealing points.
Let's check out some highlights and give a few grades from this fun match.
Mario Balotelli, Manchester City: D
He was a non-factor throughout. He regularly seemed to stymie Manchester City's flow in the attack, playing more like a statue than a forward. His failure to be in the proper position for the Tevez chip down the line cost City a goal.
It was the sort of performance that surely must infuriate Roberto Mancini. Balotelli can be brilliant and, as he demonstrated today, utterly mediocre.
Luis Suarez, Liverpool: A
His brilliant free kick alone was worth a high mark. But Suarez also played with great energy throughout and gave the Man City defense problems from beginning to end. He's a special player, and he has looked very good in Brendan Rodgers' system thus far.
Samir Nasri, Manchester City: B
The best player on the pitch for Man City last weekend, Nasri was quieter against Liverpool. Though he was one of the only threatening players in the first half for City, he didn't showcase the sparkling brilliance we saw against Southampton. It was a bit surprising to see him subbed off in the second half.
Martin Skrtel, Liverpool: C
It was the best of times and it was the worst of times for Skrtel. His first-half header off a corner was incredibly powerful, giving Liverpool the lead.
But his careless turnover to Carlos Tevez led to an easy finish for the Manchester City striker, costing Liverpool its 2-1 lead. Two plays don't often define a player's performance, but in this case, Skrtel's grade has to boil down to what he gave and what he took away on Sunday.
Carlos Tevez, Manchester City: A
Like Suarez, Tevez was a threat throughout. His chip from an insane angle on the end line hit the bar (and would have been an assist if Balotelli was in position), and he showed fantastic poise in scoring off of the Skrtel turnover, taking his time and creating an easy chance rather than forcing a quick shot on goal.
Also like Suarez, Tevez is going to be a force this season. He's looked fantastic early on.
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