Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool's manager, accused Edin Dzeko of gamesmanship by writhing around on the field as his players advanced to score their equaliser at the Etihad Stadium.
Rodgers' Manchester City counterpart, Roberto Mancini, insisted that his captain, Vincent Kompany, who has been dismissed twice for high tackles in the last two seasons, would have been issued with a red card for the tackle by Daniel Agger, which left Dzeko motionless on the turf, on the half hour.
City's fans were incensed that Liverpool did not put the ball out of play. But Rodgers claimed there had been no injury to the striker, who leapt to his feet after Daniel Sturridge had scored.
"There was no injury to Dzeko," Rodgers said. "Both players' bodies get tangled up. Agger has done what good defenders do and get in front. The referee told a few players – Sturridge and Gerrard – to play on. And that should not take away from a brilliant finish by Daniel."
Sturridge was later booked for simulation after going down in the penalty area when Joleon Lescott did not seem to connect with him and Rodgers admitted there had been no infringement. He said: "There is contact and he just falls over, not going to get anything.
"It's unfortunate, not something we like or advocate. It wasn't diving to get a penalty. The ball had gone and he wasn't going to retrieve it."
Rodgers' players were denied two points by an error – on 78 minutes – which gifted City a fortuitous equaliser. "That's been the season for us," Rodgers said. "For large parts of the game we had real domination. There is great work going on.
"I was really disappointed for the players in the end because they put so much into the game. We are building as a group. We scored two terrific goals and, unfortunately, that still was not enough."Reuse content