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Liverpool drops points with 1-1 draw vs. Man City

LIVERPOOL dropped more crucial points in the race for the Premier League title when it drew 1-1 with visiting Manchester City yesterday.

Liverpool was trailing after a deflected shot by Craig Bellamy until Dirk Kuyt equalized with 12 minutes left as the home side drew for the fourth time in six Premier League matches.

The result left Liverpool seven points behind defending champion Manchester United, which beat Blackburn 2-1 Saturday for its 10th straight league win.

If Liverpool fails to win its first league title since 1990, it will likely rue the number of games it has drawn - which already stands at a league high 10 from 26 matches.

"I have confidence that we can still win it, but we must win our next two league games against Middlesbrough and Sunderland and then win against Manchester United at Old Trafford," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "Then we may have a different situation.

"But I just accept that this has been a bad result and it clearly makes it more difficult for us to win the title."

With captain Steven Gerrard missing because of injury, Liverpool was mostly disjointed yesterday and City striker Robinho troubled Liverpool throughout with his pace and trickery.

But it was Bellamy, a former Liverpool striker, who forced the breakthrough. The Wales forward struck a 51st-minute shot from the edge of the area that was deflected past goalkeeper Jose Reina by defender Alvaro Arbeloa.

Liverpool appeared to be heading to its first home loss, and only its second overall, until Fernando Torres mis-kicked a cross from Yossi Benayoun and, instead of shooting, redirected the ball into Kuyt's path.

The Netherlands international hit the ball in at the near post with his first touch.

Manchester City dropped to 10th place with 32 points, pushed down a spot by Fulham's 2-0 win over last-place West Bromwich Albion.

Fulham hit the frame of the goal three times and Bobby Zamora shot over the bar from close range before he finally put the home team ahead in the 61st. Andrew Johnson ducked to flick on John Pantsil's right-wing cross and Zamora squeezed between West Brom's two central defenders to tap in from inside the box.

Johnson made it 2-0 from a rebound after goalkeeper Scott Carson had saved a shot by Zamora, while Fulham 'keeper Mark Schwarzer saved a late penalty to preserve his team's two-goal lead.

Sixth-place Everton drew 0-0 at Newcastle in yesterday's other game, dropping points despite the home side having to play the second half with 10 men after Kevin Nolan was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Victor Anichebe.

Everton was hit with the fifth-minute exit on a stretcher of midfielder Mikel Arteta, who damaged knee ligaments in a challenge.

Tottenham is at Hull on Monday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers kept the lead of the second-tier League Championship despite drawing 2-2 against Cardiff to stretch its winless streak to four matches.


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