Liverpool and Manchester City fought it out to a bizarre 2-2 draw at Anfield -- a better wordsmith might refer to this one as 'riveting' -- with the hosts twice taking the lead before gifting the defending champions a pair of equalisers.
The match opened in fairly quiet fashion. Lucas Leiva departed early with what's understood to be a mild injury, but Jonjo Shelvey ensured that the champions didn't take advantage of the midfielder's absence, combining well with Joe Allen to keep City largely at bay.
It took twenty minutes or so for the first chance to appear, and it came from the hosts. Specifically, it came via Radeem Stirling, who sent in an absolutely beautiful cross to the near post for Fabio Borini. However, the Italian striker wasn't able to convert it, sending his effort just wide under heavy pressure from Aleksandar Kolarov. Joe Hart was relieved.
Carlos Tevez nearly made Liverpool pay for Borini's wastefulness, turning something into nothing with an absurd strike from Pepe Reina's goalline which beat both goalkeeper and Martin Kelly before his shot rolled along the line and bounced off the far post to safety. Had that gone in... well, those shots don't go in. This was just a blurrier definition of 'don't' than usual.
Tevez terror aside, the hosts looked like the better side, and they grabbed a deserved lead before the break. Martin Skrtel was the scorer, smashing home a delight of a header from a corner, with Hart completely helpless. It took City until December to be beaten last season, but they were looking at a 1-0 deficit at halftime.
And then, for the champions, a gift! Yaya Toure had been pushed higher up the field in search of an equaliser, and the big Ivorian managed to grab it just after the hour mark, mostly thanks to Reina. The 29-year-old came out for a cross, totally missed it, and presented Toure with an easy finish, which he did.
That scoreline lasted all of two minutes. Jack Rodwell was penalised rather harshly for handball 25 yards from goal. Hart set up his wall while Luis Suarez -- who'd badly mishit the ball list time he'd had a sniff on goal -- surveyed the scene. A weakness was spotted, the ball was struck, sent curling around the line of blue shirts and straight into the bottom corner.
It was an absolute peach of a free kick, and it was well worthy of winning the game. Unfortunately for Suarez, it wouldn't. Skrtel had scored the opener, but he undid his great work with an absolutely stunning error, passing back for Reina without even checking to see whether there was anyone in the way. It turned out that there was, and Tevez was almost trembling with glee as he latched onto the backpass, juked past Reina, and slotted into the open goal.
Both teams smelled victory, and that set the stage for a frenetic finish. But ultimately, neither could get the fifth goal of the match, and the spoils were shared. Liverpool get their first points of the young season, while the champions drop them. Not the worst result for either, all things considered.