LONDON - Liverpool did traditional rivals Manchester United a huge Premier League favour yesterday, holding Manchester City to a 2-2 draw to leave the stuttering champions nine points behind their neighbours in the title race.
Sergio Aguero's 79th-minute equaliser earned City a scarcely deserved point that will be of little comfort to manager Roberto Mancini, whose team has now dropped four points in six days and is struggling to keep pace with United's relentless form.
"Seven or nine points doesn't change (anything), I think we can recover it," Mancini said.
Tottenham beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in the other game thanks to another superb goal from star winger Gareth Bale, and is now just a point behind third-place Chelsea.
The game turned on the sending-off of West Brom defender Goran Popov in the 48th minute for spitting in the direction of Spurs right back Kyle Walker, with Bale scoring 19 minutes later.
"I'm absolutely disgusted with Goran's behaviour," West Brom manager Steve Clarke said. "There's no excuse for that. There's no place for it in life, never mind on a football pitch."
Liverpool stayed seventh — nine points behind Spurs and six adrift of local fifth-place Everton, which occupies the league's sole Europa League spot — and is still awaiting a victory over a team in the top half of the table this season.
But after a draw at Arsenal on Thursday and another point at City, Liverpool is gathering momentum ahead of some easier games in the run-in.