Reigning champions Manchester City twice came from behind to grab a 2-2 draw away to Liverpool that denied Brendan Rodgers his first Premier League win as Reds manager.
Martin Skrtel went from hero to villain in the course of an exciting match at Anfield on Sunday, heading Liverpool in front, before his loose back-pass set up a goal for Carlos Tevez that saw City make it 2-2 10 minutes from time.
A much-improved Liverpool, shock 3-0 losers to West Bromwich Albion the previous weekend, took the lead when Skrtel powered in a header from Steven Gerrard’s 34th-minute corner, but City, who came through a see-saw clash to beat newcomers Southampton 3-2 in their league opener, were level in the 63rd minute when Yaya Toure capitalized on the failure of Liverpool’s Martin Kelly to clear a Tevez cross.
However, parity lasted for just three minutes until, following a Jack Rodwell handball, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez curled the ensuing free-kick around the wall and beyond the despairing dive of City and England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Argentina striker Tevez, with his 100th goal in English soccer, drew City level again in the 80th minute when he seized on a stray back-pass from defender Skrtel and then calmly rounded Pepe Reina before slotting home.
“My glass is very nearly full,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“I thought it was a brilliant performance. We were asked a lot of questions and I thought the players were incredible. Some times the best team doesn’t win. Let’s remember we were playing a good side,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers, renowned when in charge of Swansea City for his emphasis on passing soccer, absolved Skrtel of the blame for City’s second goal.
“He was brave enough to play it and that’s the development of the team. As a group we will only get better,” Rodgers said.
This was the fourth game in a row where City had conceded two goals and manager Roberto Mancini said: “This is the time to finish conceding two goals every game, but we have taken one point when we went down two times.”
Earlier, Arsenal failed to score for the second league match in a row following the departure of star striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United, as they were held to a goalless draw away to Stoke City.
“It is not good enough,” Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta said after the Gunners’ second straight 0-0 stalemate. “We had some really good chances, but at the moment we are not taking them. The same thing happened last week.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was pleased by his side’s defensive performance, but said he was looking to bring in more players to the London club before Friday’s transfer deadline.
“I’m pleased with what I have, but yes, I anticipate that we will do something still,” Wenger said.
“We are still in the market. Defensive midfielder, it depends on the quality of the players available,” he said.