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City draw leaves Liverpool battered
Agger and Babel join injury list as Benayoun salvages Anfield point against Man City.
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2009 20:11 GMT

Liverpool keeper Reina reflects as his team drop more points [GALLO/GETTY]

Daniel Agger and Ryan Babel added to Liverpool's injury woes as they drew 2-2 with Manchester City in a result that did little for either side's stuttering season, while Chelsea went five points clear at the top.

The gap had been eight points before Manchester United's late kickoff against Everton, which they won 3-0 with goals from Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia.

Arsenal fell eight points behind as they lost 1-0 at Sunderland.

At Anfield, City chalked up a sixth straight draw – one short of an English Premier League record – after being hit with an equalising sucker punch immediately after Stephen Ireland had given the visitors a 2-1 lead on Saturday.

A win, in what under-pressure Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez had described as a potentially make-or-break match for his side's domestic ambitions, would have sent either club temporarily fourth in the standings.

Liverpool remain seventh, one place behind the big-spending Mancunians, who went behind in the 50th minute when Slovak defender Martin Skrtel stole in front of Emmanuel Adebayor to toe-poke home a Steven Gerrard free kick.

Adebayor rose unchallenged from a corner to head past Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina 18 minutes later, before two goals in 74 seconds typified both teams' disappointing campaigns.

Disarray

Liverpool's defence was in disarray as Ireland poked home a low centre, before Yossi Benayoun scrambled in the equaliser.

Results & fixtures

Saturday November 21

 Birmingham 1-0 Fulham
 Burnley 1-1 Aston Villa
 Chelsea 4-0 Wolves
 Hull 3-3 West Ham
 Liverpool 2-2 Man City
 Sunderland 1-0 Arsenal
 Man Utd 3-0 Everton

Sunday November 22

 Bolton v Blackburn
 Stoke v Portsmouth
 Tottenham v Wigan

Benitez had been forced into making two unscripted substitutions within the first 18 minutes of a scrappy first half.

Agger collapsed with a gashed forehead in the fifth minute after clashing with Kolo Toure in the goalmouth as City keeper Shay Given made the save of the match to prevent Liverpool taking the early lead.

Sky Sports News reported that the Danish defender, who was carried off on a stretcher, had concussion and needed stitches to the wound.

Babel followed him off with an apparent ankle injury and was replaced by Benayoun, making an early return from a hamstring injury after travelling to Serbia for treatment involving the use of horse placenta.

The Israeli's equaliser gave some respite to Benitez, whose position has been called into question after seeing his team's title chances all but disappear.

Wolves sent packing

Chelsea trounced struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 to surge eight points clear after closest rivals Arsenal slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.

Aston Villa came from behind to draw 1-1 at Burnley and leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur, playing at home to Wigan Athletic on Sunday, in fourth place on goal difference.

Chelsea were 3-0 up after 22 minutes at Stamford Bridge, with Florent Malouda opening the scoring with a left-footed shot.

Michael Essien made it 2-0 with a 12th minute header and grabbed another 10 minutes later.

Joe Cole made it 4-0 in the 56th, unleashing a low right-footed shot off a pass from Salomon Kalou for his first league goal in more than a year of injuries.

Sunderland had Darren Bent to thank for the 71st minute goal that stunned Arsene Wenger's high-scoring Arsenal.

There was also plenty of action at the other end of the table, with Hull City scoring three first half goals to come back from 2-0 down against relegation-threatened West Ham at the KC Stadium.

Hull were then reduced to 10 men in the 54th minute and the match ended 3-3.

Birmingham City moved further away from the drop zone by beating Fulham 1-0.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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