Liverpool's Premier League title hopes suffered another major blow after a remarkable Crystal Palace comeback earned a 3-3 draw on Monday.
Brendan Rodgers' men knew only a victory would suffice at Selhurst Park after City, who now sit one point behind Liverpool with a game in hand, edged to a seemingly crucial 3-2 triumph at Everton on Saturday. That result left City, who wrap up their season with home games versus Aston Villa and West Ham this week, at the summit thanks to goal difference.
And for large parts of the game against Palace, it appeared merely a question of how much Liverpool could eat into City's nine-goal lead after Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez added to Joe Allen's first league goal for the club.
But having been cruising at 3-0 after 55 minutes, Liverpool had to endure a chastening finish as Damien Delaney's 79th-minute deflected strike was immediately added to when Dwight Gayle capped a smart counter-attack with a cool finish two minutes later.
Liverpool tried desperately to defend, but were hit with a sucker-punch with two minutes remaining when Gayle finished powerfully.
An incredible finish at Palace has left Liverpool, who end the season at home against Newcastle United on Sunday, hoping that Villa and West Ham can do them favour to revive their hopes of landing a first top-flight title since 1990.
Liverpool began in typically quick fashion and had a strong penalty appeal turned down after Glen Johnson went down under a clumsy challenge from Yannick Bolasie.
Undeterred, the visitors continued to press forward and almost took the lead in the 16th minute. Allen delivered a glorious ball over the centre-halves but Johnson, having made a fine diagonal run behind Joel Ward, nodded just over the crossbar.
Palace were to rue their failure to heed the lesson from Steven Gerrard's first corner as they conceded via a set-piece for the first time under Tony Pulis two minutes later.
Allen was the beneficiary of some lacklustre defending, marking his 50th league appearance for Liverpool by nodding across Julian Speroni and into the net having found space at the back post with a clever run.
Jason Puncheon forced a good save from Simon Mignolet with a powerful effort from distance. The Belgian goalkeeper had to be on a high alert again moments later, producing an even better save when turning Mile Jedinak's thunderbolt over.
Any momentum Pulis' men had built before the break was quickly extinguished afterwards as Liverpool attacked with verve.
Sturridge was the main threat, seeing an effort tipped on to the post by Speroni before strike partner Suarez, rumoured to be playing despite illness and having added the Football Writers' Player of the Year award to the PFA gong earlier in the day, uncharacteristically fired over with the goal gaping.
However, Sturridge doubled the advantage moments later, his deflected effort trickling beyond Speroni. Suarez soon got in on the act, sliding coolly under the goalkeeper following a fine one-two with Raheem Sterling.
Liverpool piled forward with similar intent thereafter, yet quickly found themselves defending for their lives as Palace flipped the narrative.
Delaney was the first to strike, his pot-shot taking a wicked deflection and beating Mignolet. Suddenly Palace had hope, which was only added to as Bolasie surged forward on the break and slid in Gayle - who made no mistake.
And the former Peterborough United man was not finished there, breaking Liverpool hearts with a thunderous left-footed strike.
Both sides tried for an unlikely winner without avail, meaning Liverpool now require a City slip-up and victory on Sunday to have any hope of lifting the Premier League title.
|27||D. Delaney||53' 79'|
|Coach: T. Pulis|
for J. Puncheon 65'
for M. Chamakh 71'
for K. Dikgacoi 85'
|Swansea well beaten by Bournemouth|
|Pellegrini concerned by ´high risk´ pitch|
|Poyet issues Wickham warning|
|Ramos makes Dortmund bow in Chievo win|
|Medel agent in Cardiff to discuss Inter deal|
|Remy to join up QPR squad|
|Falcao to feature against Valencia|
|Wenger brushes off Balotelli rumours, Gerrard claims|
|Blanc stresses Trophee des Champions importance|
|Pardew hopeful of Ferreyra loan|
|Leeds to meet with police to discuss outstanding fees|
|Bernabeu redevelopment plans halted by Spanish court|
|Malaga complete Ochoa deal|
|Man arrested over match-fixing claim in Bulgaria|
|Osvaldo could join Inter in Taider swap|
|Murcia denied Segunda participation over financial woe|
|Guardiola delighted with Guadalajara triumph|
|Wenger rules out Quintero capture|
|Ansaldi joins Atleti on loan|
|Seferovic signs on at Frankfurt|
|Van der Vaart not ruling out QPR move|
|Hiddink eyes more Netherlands progress|
|Palace snap up free agent Hangeland|
|Davies competition can help me improve, insists Rose|
|Basanta completes Fiorentina move|
|Sporting slam Dier´s father and representative|
|Grenier denies missing training|
|Lazio bring Braafheid in from the cold|
|Leboeuf: Ibrahimovic should be PSG captain instead of Silva|
|Villa must heed Keane advice, says Lambert|
|Falque joins Genoa|
|Henderson: Gerrard is irreplaceable|
|Milner: I´ll stay if I´m playing|
|Samp swoop for Bergessio|
|Evans impressed by Van Gaal´s attention to detail|
|Cordoba sign Rossi on loan from Juve|
|Brondby ´will do everything´ to sign Agger|
|Seedorf ´still has Milan contract´|
|Blaszczykowski: Dortmund will always be number one|
|Mourinho hints at Cech exit|
|Osman sets sights on silverware|
|Sahin to miss Dortmund´s Bundesliga opener|
|Griezmann ´didn´t think twice´ about joining Atletico|
|Fletcher tips bright future for Herrera|
|Swedish defender Mellberg retires|
|Copa do Brasil Review: Vasco da Gama, Novo Hamburgo advance|
|Courteous Chelsea players welcome Courtois|
|UEFA to investigate fan violence in Kiev|
|Ribery shines as Bayern edge out Guadalajara|
|Lampard´s short-term future set to be decided|
|Villa wants to leave legacy|
|Cabaye fresh for PSG´s trophy assault|
|Pique: I am far from the world´s best defender|
|Schneiderlin staying put, says Koeman|
|Digne: PSG have acclimatised in China|
|Atletico say no to Torres, Hernandez|
|Mata buoyed by early form|
|Bruce rues calamitous Huddlestone miss|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Torino mark return with big win, Lyon victorious|
|Southampton win again|
|Jenkinson agrees West Ham loan|
|Tottenham agree Dier move|
|Rincon seals Genoa move|
|Dunne announces international retirement|
|Romulo close to Juve switch|
|Trencin 0 Hull City 0: Huddlestone pays penalty in Hull stalemate|
|Rennes prise Prcic away from Sochaux|
|CSL Preview: Liaoning look for swift response, buoyant R&F visit Henan|
|Pique desperate to regain high standards|
|Marseille agree three-year Stade Velodrome lease|
|Torres will not be leaving, says Mourinho|
|Bastia bring in Brandao|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Guingamp: League and cup winners battle for Trophee des Champions|
|Argentine Primera Division suspended after Grondona death|
|Immobile: Lewandowski is the past, I am the future|
|Rose pens new Tottenham deal|
|CSL Review: Evergrande end Harbin run, Henan edge clear of danger|
|Ivory Coast appoint Renard|
|Three-man shortlist for South Korea post|
|MLS Preview: Sounders aiming to bounce back against Earthquakes|
|Personal reasons behind Evra´s Juve switch|
|Liga MX Preview: Monterrey out to continue winning run|
|J.League Preview: Oenoki begins S-Pulse reign at Tokyo|
|K.League Preview: Jeonbuk face tricky Jeonnam test, Pohang visit Suwon|
|Kakuta loaned to Vallecano|
|Morrison remanded in custody|
|Hernandez coy on United exit|
|Neymar on road to recovery|
|Feyenoord capture Wilkshire and Basacikoglu|
|Yoel makes Valencia switch|
|Heaton extends Burnley deal|
|Lees leaves Leeds for Wednesday|
|Caballero eyes first-team action|
|Newcastle ´monitoring´ Remy, claims Pardew|
|Rodriguez ready to fight for Real place|
|Cavani ´certain´ he will stay with PSG|
|Morrison charged with assaults|
|Copenhagen slam security after fan violence in Kiev|
|Gerrard: Suarez ´too good´ for Arsenal|
|Mourinho explains Lukaku exit|
|Simeone content with Atleti workout|
|Milligan: Australia targeting Asian Cup|
|Ronaldinho rules out retirement|
|Rodgers challenges Henderson|
|Jovetic can be City catalyst - Pellegrini|
|Janko joins Sydney as marquee|
|Deila ´unbelievably disappointed´ with Celtic|
|MLS Review: DC close on Sporting, Red Bulls hold RSL|
|Ecuadorian Primera A Review: Emelec crowned champions|
|Bolivar 1 San Lorenzo 0 (agg 1-5): Visitors advance to maiden Libertadores final|
|Gerrard open to move abroad|
|Lukaku tells Chelsea ´no hard feelings´|
|Zaha eager to impress Van Gaal|
|Liverpool down Man City after shoot-out|
|Atletico fall to Gonzalez´s penalty heroics|
|Glazers offer up 8m United shares|