Carlos Tevez pounced on a Martin Skrtel mistake to continue his Manchester City rehabilitation by snatching a 2-2 draw for the Barclays Premier League champions at Liverpool.
The Argentinian, now firmly back in favour, seized on a backpass to strike his side's second equaliser and prevent Man City slipping to their first Premier League defeat of the season.
Liverpool were much-improved after crashing 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion in their opening match and twice led a pulsating clash with goals from Skrtel and Luis Suarez either side of a Yaya Toure effort.
But new manager Brendan Rodgers was denied his first league win as City again produced the sort of fightback they are beginning to specialise in.
After coming from behind to win their last three League games 3-2, a City side which showed five changes had to settle for a draw this time.
Liverpool dominated for large spells with 17-year-old striker Raheem Sterling impressing on his first league start and Joe Allen looking composed on his home debut.
Mario Balotelli partnered Tevez up front for City on his first start since being sent off at Arsenal last April - and on a ground where he was dismissed last year - but despite looking focused, had a quiet game.
Liverpool showed early intent as captain Steven Gerrard twice stabbed low long-range shots wide in the opening three minutes.
Yet the game had hardly started when Liverpool were forced to make a change as Lucas, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, hobbled off after four minutes.
Liverpool should have gone ahead when the lively Sterling whipped in a fine cross for Fabio Borini but the Italian volleyed wide.
Tevez almost made him pay instantly as he latched on to a well-weighted pass from Samir Nasri and rounded Reina but the angle was too tight and he did well enough to hit the far post.
Kolo Toure tried his luck with a long-range shot but Skrtel blocked and a free-kick on the edge of the area came to nothing after Balotelli robbed Sebastian Coates and was tripped by Martin Kelly.
Liverpool then began to establish control with Sterling particularly looking a handful. Kolo Toure blocked an effort by Fabio Borini, Suarez curled wide and City captain Vincent Kompany almost sliced a vicious low curling cross from Gerrard into his own net.
The Reds were not to be denied any longer as Skrtel came forward for the resulting corner and powered a header past Joe Hart from Gerrard's cross.
With Liverpool dominating the second half, City boss Roberto Mancini began to ring the changes and
City were back level on 63 minutes, although that owed much to defensive mistakes.
Tevez beat Sterling on the right and fired in a cross which the outstretched Reina was unable to claim. Kelly was wrong-footed by the Spaniard's attempts to gather and could not prevent the ball bouncing off him into the path of Yaya Toure, who swept home from close range.
But Liverpool did not dwell on the disappointment and produced the perfect response. Jack Rodwell was penalised for handball 25 yards from goal and Suarez stepped up to bend in a low effort.
Yet just as it seemed Liverpool had the measure of the champions, Skrtel gifted them a way back into the game as Tevez seized on his poor pass back and calmly beat Reina.
Liverpool still wanted all three points and Jonjo Shelvey shot over from distance before Andy Carroll came on to a huge roar in the closing minutes.
City also pushed forward and Dzeko twice missed the target late on. In a frenetic finale, Carroll then almost grabbed a last-gasp winner as he got his head to a Suarez cross only for Kompany to head off the line.
|02 Sep 2012||v Arsenal (H)|
|15 Sep 2012||v Sunderland (A)|
|23 Sep 2012||v Man Utd (H)|
|29 Sep 2012||v Norwich (A)|
|07 Oct 2012||v Stoke (H)|
|20 Oct 2012||v Reading (H)|