Steven Gerrard and Sergio Aguero exchanged wondergoals as Liverpool held Manchester City to a 2-2 Premier League draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Gerrard crashed home a dipping 25-yarder on 73 minutes to put Liverpool 2-1 up, only to see his thunder stolen by an extraordinary Aguero strike.
The Argentine raced on to a ball wide on the right and, capitalising on Pepe Reina's rash decision to come out, and found the net from a near-impossible angle.
Although the match provided neutrals with thrilling entertainment, neither side will leave the Etihad Stadium happy.
For the second time in a week, Liverpool have squandered a winning position away to major opponents - they let a two-goal lead slip at Arsenal on Wednesday.
City, meanwhile, trail neighbours Manchester United by an imposing nine points at the top of the table after two draws in a week.
Mancini's side made a promising start, with David Silva hitting a superb dipping volley in the first minute that Reina tipped over.
But Liverpool soon hit back, and started to dominate in midfield thanks to Gerrard and Jordan Henderson, who is finally hitting form for the club.
The January signing then turned provider, surging down the left past Nastasic and pulling back for Suarez who shanked his shot woefully.
And a minute later Suarez was again off target, shooting narrowly wide from the edge of the box.
Then, completely against the run of play, City went ahead. James Milner beat the offside trap down the left and crossed low for Dzeko, who could hardly fail to accept a gift of a chance six yards from goal.
Undeterred, Liverpool roared back, but the equaliser came under controversial circumstances.
Dzeko was tackled by Daniel Agger and stayed down, 'injured'. Referee Anthony Taylor waved play on, and as whistles rang out around the Etihad Stadium Liverpool played on.
Gerrard laid the ball off 25 yards out to Sturridge, who lashed a brilliant shot past Hart into the right corner.
City were incensed, though the rectitude of referee Taylor's decision not to halt play was shown by Dzeko, who leapt to his feet to berate the linesman - earning himself a yellow card in the process.
Gerrard's assist was the ninth in the Premier League this season, equalling his highest tally ever - furthermore, he is the only midfielder or striker in the Premier League who has played every minute this season.
There was more City chaos before the break - the otherwise solid Zabaleta unwittingly wrongfooted Joe Hart with a backpass that rolled inches wide to the Argentine's obvious relief.
City improved after the break, but it was still Liverpool making the clearer chances. Sturridge, having 'respectfully' declined to celebrate his goal, was booked for diving in the box, while Suarez shot wide again,
Then came a throwback to Steven Gerrard's glory days. The Liverpool captain chested down a clearance, let the ball bounce once, and fizzed it into the net from 25 yards. A stunning strike, but one topped by Aguero five minutes later.
Gareth Barry played a long diagonal ball to the right corner of the box for Aguero to chase. Reina foolishly raced out and missed the ball, but still there seemed no imminent danger with the striker 40 yards from goal tight to the byline.
But Aguero produced a finish of masterful precision, hitting the tiny sliver of goal visible to him.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City): Narrowly edged Gerrard thanks to the quality of his equaliser, and the way he sparked a misfiring City side to life.
MAN CITY: Hart 5; Zabaleta 7, Nastasic 6, Lescott 6, Clichy 6; Garcia 6, Barry 7; Milner 7 Silva 6; Dzeko 6, Aguero 8. Subs: Kolarov 6, Maicon 6, Nasri N/A
LIVERPOOL: Reina 5; Johnson 7, Agger 5, Carragher 7, Enrique 6; Lucas 7, Gerrard 8; Downing 7, Henderson 7, Suarez 7; Sturridge 7. Subs: Skrtel 6, Allen N/A
MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND RATINGS