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'
|Conte eyes two Italy wins|
|Ligue 1 Deadline Day: Marseille sign three amid Martial saga|
|La Liga Deadline Day: Uncertainty over De Gea future, Joaquin back at Betis|
|Serie A Deadline Day: Juve and Inter busy as window closes|
|Layun swaps Watford for Porto|
|Joaquin makes Betis return alongside Van Wolfswinkel|
|Coventry City 2 Southend United 2: Ricketts salvages point for hosts|
|Real face anxious wait over De Gea as window shuts|
|Milan loan Mastour to Malaga|
|Juve sign Hernanes|
|Inter lure Ljajic, Melo and Telles|
|Lemina joins Juve as Marseille sign Isla and De Ciglie|
|Norwich land striker Mbokani|
|Hernanes in Turin for Juve medical|
|Blaszczykowski joins Fiorentina on season-long loan|
|Man City loan Denayer to Galatasaray|
|Matri loaned to Lazio|
|Aulas thrilled at sell-on profits from Martial deal|
|Ideye departs West Brom for Olympiacos|
|Bundesliga Deadline Day: Draxler in record Wolfsburg switch, Leverkusen and Dortmund land United men|
|Sunderland loan Giaccherini to Bologna|
|Lindegaard makes West Brom move|
|Ligue 1 Deadline Day: Martial arrives for medical at Man United|
|La Liga Deadline Day: De Gea speculation mounts, Raul Garcia joins Athletic|
|Liverpool sign Nigerian prospect Awoniyi|
|Serie A Deadline Day: Juve miss out on Draxler, Inter line up Ljajic|
|Hernandez joins Leverkusen|
|Deschamps hints Lloris could leave France camp amid United talk|
|Southampton recruit young goalkeeper Lewis|
|Giovinco ruled out of Italy qualifiers|
|World Cup winner Nesta named Miami FC coach|
|Januzaj joins Dortmund on loan|
|Dante completes Wolfsburg move|
|Draxler swaps Schalke for Wolfsburg|
|United-bound Martial hailed as ´innate talent´|
|Borini completes Sunderland switch|
|Draxler pictured in Wolfsburg kit|
|Congo v Ghana: Under-fire Grant targets friendly success|
|Antonelli doubtful for Milan derby|
|Raul Garcia completes Bilbao switch|
|Jovetic surprised by Inter start|
|Casemiro signs long-term Real deal|
|Bundesliga Deadline Day: Draxler set for Wolfsburg move, reports say|
|Sherwood would consider N´Zogbia exit|
|Ligue 1 Deadline Day: Martial´s United move edges closer|
|Fletcher lauds Evans capture|
|Serie A Deadline Day: Lemina on verge of Juve switch, Felipe returns to Udinese|
|La Liga Deadline Day: Abdennour presented at Valencia, all quiet on De Gea front|
|Martial leaves France squad to agree United deal|
|Bahebeck ´a little scared but all is well´|
|Dinamo Moscow announce Vainqueur switch to Roma|
|Ceballos uninterested in Real Madrid rumours|
|Motta thankful for Di Maria arrival|
|Marseille´s Lemina poised for Juve move|
|Benzema would have been good for Arsenal - Giroud|
|Low looking ahead to World Cup defence|
|Australia lose Mat Ryan|
|No contact from United over Cillessen, claims Overmars|
|OFC World Cup Qualifying Review: Cook Islands, Samoa start strongly|
|Neil looking to add fresh faces|
|No Jedinak, no problem - McKay|
|De Bruyne is phenomenal - Kompany|
|Van Gaal: Romero not to blame|
|Mack terrorises Palmer, Cardinals´ back-ups shine|
|Howard returns to USA squad|
|Sorensen signs for Melbourne City|
|Peralta, Montes withdraw from Mexico squad|
|Mancini: Inter need more players|
|Napoli target Soriano ´only wants Milan´ - De Laurentiis|
|Lovren determined to make amends after nightmare showing|
|Llorente laments Sevilla luck|
|Monk: Shelvey worthy of England selection|
|Sabatini apologises to Genoa over Iturbe U-turn|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls keep DC down, Sounders trump Timbers|
|Martinez: Stones didn´t mean to submit transfer request|
|Simeone hails Atletico performance|
|Di Maria: I was impatient to play|
|La Liga Review: Eibar down Supercopa holders|
|Raul Garcia set to join Bilbao|
|Garcia confident Roma are heading in the right direction|
|Serie A Review: Roma punish 10-man Juve, Eder thwarts Napoli|
|Mancini demands killer instinct from Inter after Carpi scare|
|Allegri praises Juve spirit in poor display at Roma|
|Monaco 0 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Cavani up and running as PSG march on|
|Carpi 1 Inter 2: Jovetic double settles lacklustre encounter|
|Sevilla 0 Atletico Madrid 3: Hosts thwarted once again by Simeone|
|Inter land Wolfsburg´s Perisic|
|Shelvey and Vardy named in England squad|
|Montero injury nothing serious - Monk|
|Van Gaal in the dark over De Gea future|
|Werder Bremen 2 Borussia Monchengladbach 1: Vestergaard seals first win|
|Roma 2 Juventus 1: Pjanic and Dzeko down stuttering champions|
|United could not cope with Swansea - Van Gaal|
|Monk: Swansea are a Premier League force|
|Lyon swoop for Malaga midfielder Darder|
|Tuchel hails table toppers Dortmund|
|No complaints for Neil after Southampton loss|
|Swansea City 2 Manchester United 1: Gomis spoils Van Gaal´s day|
|De Bruyne relieved to complete City switch|
|Koeman stands firm over Mane and Wanyama futures|
|Bahebeck rushed to hospital with chest pains|
|Borussia Dortmund 3 Hertha Berlin 1: Tuchel maintains perfect start|
|Manchester City complete De Bruyne swoop|
|Weihrauch strikes twice as Bayern overpower fans|
|Saint-Etienne 2 Bastia 1: Two sent off in first defeat of the season for visitors|
|Southampton 3 Norwich City 0: Tadic at the double for Koeman´s men|
|Paderborn swoop for Kirch|
|Bayern loan Coman from Juventus|
|Schalke will not rush decision over Wolfsburg target Draxler|
|Fenerbahce secure Markovic loan|
|O´Neill trims Ireland squad to 28|
|Sherwood: I´ve done my hamstring|
|Dante set for Wolfsburg switch|
|Neymar knows nothing of Man United interest|
|Ibisevic leaves Stuttgart for Hertha|
|International break unwelcome for Mourinho|
|Muto a ´perfect fit´ for Mainz|
|Lampard pledges NYC commitment|
|Van Gaal: I listen to Rooney|
|MLS Review: Whitecaps falter, Eastern Conference heats up|
|´I think a yellow would have been harsh´ - Noble baffled by his red card|
|Rodriguez´s quality ´unquestionable´ - Benitez|
|Abdennour chooses Valencia|
|Giovinco to fly to Italy despite injury|
|La Liga Review: Real Madrid, Celta notch big wins|
|Mihajlovic: I feel like I lost|
|Real Madrid 5 Real Betis 0: Rodriguez scores twice in Benitez´s first Bernabeu win|
|Balotelli has a lot of work to do, declares Bacca|