Three stunning goals decorated a see-saw tussle but City lost ground in the title race.
The Champions are nine points behind after sharing the spoils with Liverpool.
A fascinating contest ended 2-2 and contained three superb long range efforts that masked some ordinary play from both teams.
Despite the errors this was an enthralling encounter with both sides enjoying periods of domination but having to settle for a point. It was a second successive draw for Roberto Mancini’s men after the stalemate at QPR.
The England man’s low ball from the left was perfect in weight and direction and Dzeko scored with ease. It was no more than City deserved with a David Silva volley having brought a superb save from Pepe Reina with less than a minute on the clock.
Far from take advantage of that boost, however, the Blues went back into their collective shell. Luis Suarez fired narrowly wide before Blues old boy Daniel Sturridge leveled with a wonderful strike from close to 25-yards.
There was controversy attached to the goal with City fans baying for the referee to stop play as Dzeko lay injured way up the field. The official declined and Liverpool were not for kicking the ball out leaving Sturridge to pounce. He didn’t celebrate.
Liverpool almost took the lead when a miscommunication between Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart led to the defender rolling an intended back pass into the side netting and they went into the break level but with Liverpool the more satisfied.
The Anfield men hadn’t enjoyed recent trips along the M62 they had conceded three goals and scored none in their most recent Premier League visits to the Etihad and already this term they had lost at Old Trafford and, most embarrassingly for them, at Oldham in the FA Cup just a week ago.
This was a step in the right direction for them.
Although they have a long way to go before they are mentioned in the same breath as Toshack and Keegan, or Rush and Fowler, or Kenny Dalglish and anyone he played alongside, the signs are that in former Blue Danny Sturridge and Luis Suarez they might have a strike partnership that could fire them back towards the top of the table.
City came into this contest wrapped in the comfort blanket that is the incredible statistic of dropping just 11 home points in 36 league matches over a two-year period and further secure in the knowledge that Liverpool had failed to score in their previous three EPL visits to the East Manchester fortress – how different this game proved to be.
Following the departure of Mario Balotelli to Milan in the transfer window, Mancini’s striker options were limited but he went for Sergio Aguero and Dzeko. Carlos Tevez, who had failed to score in his previous eight league games, was on the bench.
Perhaps Mancini’s selection had something to do with the way Oldham used a target man to unhinge Liverpool’s FA Cup ambitions or perhaps it was a reaction to that aforementioned blank evening in midweek at Loftus Road that saw the Blues lose valuable ground in the title defence.
Matija Nastasic, the youngster whose mature performances have belied his tender years since the moment he joined the club, was fit enough to take his place in the heart of the miserly defence that was still missing skipper Vincent Kompany through injury.
On the day that the England national teams celebrated its Player of the Year award it was perhaps fitting and at the same time comforting for Roy Hodgson that Three Lions stalwarts Joe Hart, James Milner, Joleon Lescott and Gareth Barry lined up for the home side whilst Steven Gerrard, Glenn Johnson and Sturridge were in the opposition line up.
It was Gerrard’s stunner that fired Liverpool back in front only for Sergio Aguero to equalise after beating Reina in a race to the ball out near the right corner flag. How he bent the ball home from that distance and angle will remain a mystery but thankfully for City he did and a point was saved.