Football

Liverpool edge title rivals Manchester City in thriller

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Liverpool kept their nerve to edge title rivals Manchester City 3-2 in a thriller at Anfield and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points.  

Philippe Coutinho's 78th minute strike was enough to separate the sides, after City had battled back from 2-0 down. 

The home side dominated the early proceedings going close on several occasions through Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, and got their reward after just five minutes when Raheem Sterling's neat footwork in the box enabled him to trick the City back-line and find space to guide the ball past England number one Joe Hart. 

City were a dealt a further blow in the 18th minute when star midfielder Yaya Toure was forced off through injury and replaced by Javi Garcia, who immediately got stuck into the action and picked up a needless booking. 

Things went from bad to worse for City just seven minutes later when Martin Skrtel rose highest to guide captain Steven Gerrard's corner into the back of the net and double the home side's lead as Liverpool went into half time in a dominant position. 

Manuel Pellegrini must have told his City side that if they were to get anything from this match they would need an early goal in the second half - and that's exactly what they did. 

10 minutes after the restart the Liverpool defence switched off and enabled second-half sub James Milner to instantly make an impact and find Spanish international David Silva free to knock the ball past Simon Mignolet. 

City continued to pressure in search of the equaliser and on the hour-mark the game had completely turned on it's head when Frenchman Samir Nasri's patience in the box enabled Silva to pull the ball back only to see it hit Reds' defender Glen Johnson on the heel and evade Mignolet at the near post to draw the score level. 

29-goal-man Luis Suarez was lucky to remain on the field after seemingly diving over the leg of City's Martin Demichelis. The Uruguayan had previously been booked but referee Mark Clattenburg declined to award a second yellow - despite pressure from the Liverpool players. 

Both sides pressed for the winner and neither looked like they would settle for the draw. 

And inevitably the fifth goal came 12 minutes before time when City captain Vincent Kompany failed to clear a Liverpool corner with any conviction, and gifted the Brazilian Coutinho the opportunity to bury the ball into the bottom corner with a snap-shot on the turn from just outside the area. 

Anfield erupted and after a tense 15 minutes which included England's Jordan Henderson seeing red for a tackle on Nasri, Liverpool held on for a victory that could guide the Reds to the Premier League title. 

Brendan Rodger's side are now five points clear of second-place Chelsea, who face Swansea at 1607 today, and are seven points clear of a City side in third who have two games in hand on the leaders. 

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Topics:
Liverpool
Football
Daniel Sturridge
Philippe Coutinho
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Manchester City

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