Manchester City vs. Liverpool: 6 Things We Learned
For the second Premier League match in succession, Liverpool went to home of one of this season’s Champions League participants and more than held their own.
However, just as at Arsenal, where they also drew 2-2, once again the Reds were left frustrated at their inability to turn superiority into more goals at Manchester City. However, they showed enough to suggest that the longed-for progress under Brendan Rodgers is certainly taking shape.
Liverpool looked to have settled into the game well only for Edin Dzeko to turn home a low cross to give City the lead, but that lead was short-lived thanks to a blistering shot from the edge of the box from Daniel Sturridge to quickly level the scores. It was his fourth goal in six Reds appearances.
A trademark strike from Steven Gerrard then put Liverpool ahead 17 minutes from time, but just when Rodgers must have thought that he was going to lead his team to victory, Sergio Aguero rounded Pepe Reina when the Spaniard had wandered out of his goal, with the Argentinean’s world-class finish earning his side a point.
The Reds probably merited all three, but there was plenty that they could take, and learn, from their afternoon at the Etihad.
Daniel Sturridge Could Be the Real Deal
Maybe it was because he was back at an old stomping ground and wanted to prove his worth, but Sturridge was superb right from the start at the Etihad Stadium.
Displaying his usual brand of confidence but always ensuring that it was allied with excellent teamwork and possession skills, Sturridge led the line fantastically and earned a just reward with his stunning goal.
Liverpool can only hope that the injury he picked up wasn't a severe one, as on this form, Sturridge has the potential to star right up to the end of the campaign.
Pepe Reina Still Isn't His Old Self
You could count up the number of errors made by Reina in the past couple of years, and they would surely outnumber the mistakes he's made in his entire career before that.
A goalkeeper's lot is that mistakes are only remembered when they lead to goals, and so whilst he was unfortunate that Sergio Aguero produced the world-class finish that earned City a point, Reina's walkabout wasn't timely.
The goalkeeper looks increasingly in need of a fresh start.
Steven Gerrard Has Definitely Still Got It
It has become a barometer of a football fan's knowledge to enquire about just what they think of Gerrard's form. If they say that he isn't the player he used to be, then they aren't watching closely enough.
The skipper was imperious against City, spraying passes, encouraging his team and, of course, scoring the type of goal that has become his trademark over many years.
If anything, Gerrard is getting better.
City Suddenly Look Short
Without Vincent Kompany and the Toure brothers, and with Mario Balotelli now in Milan, there was less sparkle about Manchester City on Sunday.
For the second time this season, a Reds error allowed City a point from a 2-2 draw they didn't really merit, and Liverpool will be disappointed after no doubt sensing the blood of the champions.
Manchester United have that scent in their nostrils now, and look like taking advantage.
Jamie Carragher Refuses to Go Away
Back in the "first team" at Arsenal in midweek, Carragher has fought his way back to the front of Rodgers' centre-back queue and rightly so.
Yet again the veteran didn't let anyone down, and his leadership was important on an afternoon when Rodgers named his oldest Liverpool starting XI and the club's oldest in 17 months.
Experience looks vital.
The City game brought an end to Liverpool's traditionally tough away trips, and with 13 league matches remaining in their season, they can go forward with confidence.
Of those 13, only matches against Tottenham, Everton and Chelsea should really be feared, and with all of those coming at Anfield, the Reds should be able to see points in front of them.
Things aren't that easy of course, but optimism should rule.