By Steve Sutcliffe | In Match Reports - Home Games
Ten man Manchester City succumbed to an injury time winner scored by Dirk Kuyt as Liverpool came back from the dead to take all three points at Eastlands.
City had lead 2 – 0 at the interval after Stephen Ireland fired home and Javier Garrido curled a 22-yard free-kick into the top corner to extend the home side’s lead.
But Fernando Torres reduced the arrears shortly after the break and, after City’s Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for a tackle on Xabi Alonso, headed in to level for the visitors.
Kuyt dramatically decided the game late on when he slotted in at the far post.
The manner of Liverpool’s battling comeback will only enhance their title credentials as they displayed a steely determination that has lacked in recent seasons. City on the otherhand will wonder where it all went wrong as they served up a Jekyll and Hyde display after they had dominated for long periods early on.
Ex City loanee Riera started brightly for the Liverpudlians but it was the Blues that opened the scoring when Wright-Phillips crossed for Jo and, after Alonso intervened before he could shoot, the City winger pulled back another cross for Robinho.
The Brazilian was challenged by Alvaro Arbeloa and the loose ball fell to Ireland to break the deadlock.
With Wright- Phillips proving a constant danger City were rewarded with a second when Riera fouled the impish winger and Garrido curled a left-footed free-kick past the outstretched dive of Reina.
What Rafael Benitez said at half time one can only speculate but the Reds emerged after the break a team transformed as they upped the tempo. On 55 minutes Torres started their remarkable comeback when he side footed in Arbeloa’s cross, but City could have restored their two-goal advantage though Robinho after he was presented with a glorious opportunity.
Moments later Zabaleta was red-carded for a challenge on Alonso and the Spaniard recovered to set up Torres to equalise.
The initiative was now with Liverpool, however the Reds suffered a setback with an injury to centre-back Martin Skrtel who was stretchered off.
City had looked to have weathered the storm from Liverpool – who were now also down to 10-men as they had made their three substitutions – but they were stunned when Kuyt stole in to slot in the winner after a Torres shot had found its way to him. It was Kuyt’s first goal in the top-flight since last November and maintained Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season as they stayed joint top of the Premier League with Chelsea.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Kompany, Elano (Petrov 85), Robinho (Evans 80), Jo (Fernandes 70).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Hamann, Ben-Haim, Sturridge.
Sent Off: Zabaleta (67).
Goals: Ireland 19, Garrido 41.
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio (Dossena 70), Mascherano (Keane 71), Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Benayoun 81), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Agger, Babel, Leiva Lucas.
Goals: Torres 55, 73, Kuyt 90.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).