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City dents Liverpool's title bid with Anfield tie

LIVERPOOL suffered another blow to its Premier League title hopes as a scrappy 1-1 home draw with Manchester City on Sunday left leader Manchester United seven points clear.

Former Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy's heavily deflected shot after 51 minutes looked as if it would condemn Rafael Benitez's side to a first home league defeat of the season before Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt's late equalizer.

Liverpool, which faces Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday, has now drawn six home matches in the league this season and its chances of a first league title since 1990 appear to be fading fast.

With 12 games remaining it is in second place with 55 points to United's 62 after the champion clocked up a 10th consecutive league victory at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Third-placed Chelsea has 52 points.

"When you are playing catch-up you need to win so we are disappointed," Benitez, who refused to concede that his side was now too far behind United, told Sky Sports.

"We lost two points but we still have to play at United so we will see."

West Bromwich Albion remains bottom of the table after going down 0-2 at Fulham while Newcastle United hung on for a 0-0 draw at home to Everton despite having Kevin Nolan being sent off for a dangerous tackle in the first half.

With talisman Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso both missing in midfield because of injury and suspension respectively, Liverpool created next to nothing against a City side with only one away league win all season.

Albert Riera wasted Liverpool's only real chance in the first half when he dragged a shot wide and seven minutes after the break Anfield was silenced by Bellamy, whom Benitez offloaded in 2007.

Robinho was involved in the move that finally saw the ball reach Bellamy whose shot flew into the net off Alvaro Arbeloa. Kuyt equalized after 78 minutes when he stabbed in Fernando Torres' scuffed attempt. Yossi Benayoun bluffed a late chance to snatch an unlikely victory.


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