Liverpool 2 Manchester City 1 (Half-time 1-1)

Chelsea may have been otherwise 'engaged' in the Capital One Cup final yesterday, where they bolstered manager Jose Mourinho's burgeoning trophy cabinet against Spurs, but they nonetheless strengthened their grip on the league title, as reigning champions Manchester City lost at Anfield to Liverpool. The Reds did just about enough to deserve their victory over City, after a second-half stunner from Philippe Coutinho earned them all three points.

Liverpool shook off their lengthy journey to and from Istanbul, only arriving home in the early hours of Friday morning, to produce an energetic performance against second-placed City.

Perhaps the knowledge that their only route back into the lucrative Champions League competition depends on qualifying by their league position hardened their resolve, but they displayed an intent to preserve their unbeaten record in the league in 2015 and to stay in the hunt for the top four places. The loss also severely damaged City's chances of retaining their title, after overtaking Liverpool last season on the run-in. One feels that Chelsea will not be so accommodating during this campaign.

Several players seemed to be 'off key' on the day for the Manchester club, with Yaya Toure particularly out of sorts on his return to the side. Vincent Kompany at the heart of the defence also made more mistakes than usual and was fortunate that the home strikers were not in more ruthless form.

As it was, Jordan Henderson scored a beauty with a right-foot curling shot to set the Reds on their way in the first-half on 11 minutes, after a mistake between Toure and Kompany.

Edin Dzeko completed a swift City team move to equalize fourteen minutes later, minutes after Sergio Aguero had struck the post for the visitors.

The goal repaid the faith that manager Manuel Pellegrini had in keeping the partnership between Dzeko and Aguero going, with Wilfried Bony eager to claim a start only making the bench.

Liverpool could have felt slightly aggrieved to only be level at the break, but they rode their luck just after the interval, when Aguero headed just over the bar from close range.

That reprieve became even more valuable fifteen minutes from time, when the Merseysiders got their second goal, as Coutinho struck a delightful right-foot shot into the bottom corner and beyond Joe Hart at full stretch.

Both sides had opportunities for further goals in the closing stages, with Aguero continuing to be dangerous, firing just wide of the post. Then after Daniel Sturridge had seized on a mistake from Toure to fire wide, following Henderson's pressure on the Ivorian player, there was still time for David Silva to fire just wide before the whistle.

It ended 2-1 to Liverpool, moving the Reds up to fifth and breathing down the neck of arch rivals Manchester United, who sit just two points ahead.