Reds draw in a Hull of a battle

Liverpool handed the initiative in the Premier League title race to Chelsea with a 2-2 draw against top-flight newcomers Hull as they came back from 2-0 down thanks to a Steven Gerrard double. This result saw leaders Liverpool blow the chance to move four points ahead of Chelsea, who will go top themselves if they beat West Ham on Sunday. The Reds endured a third successive Anfield draw after goalless encounters with Fulham and West Ham.

It could have been worse after Paul McShane's header and Jamie Carragher's own goal gave the visitors an early advantage. Hull, who already had won away to Arsenal, Newcastle and Tottenham in their first top flight season, created a string of chances after a cagey start. Sam Ricketts shook off Alvaro Arbeloa and Yossi Benayoun to play in former Liverpool forward Nick Barmby, whose low cross appeared to deflect wide off Javier Mascherano's arm. From Geovanni's resulting corner, Michael Turner glanced wide after he rose highest in the area.

Once again, Liverpool were struggling to click and Benayoun and Albert Riera had shots blocked while a Xabi Alonso free-kick just had too much on it for Dirk Kuyt to make contact. But with 12 minutes gone, Hull were in front through defender McShane. Geovanni's free-kick from the right beat everyone but was controlled by Marlon King on the far side of the box. He crossed for McShane to shrug off a weak challenge from Andrea Dossena to head in.

Dossena's cross from the left was missed by Kuyt at the near post but Bernard Mendy was giving the Italian full-back a torrid time at the other end. He beat Dossena to send over a ball from the right that was cleared by Arbeloa. A minute later, he laid on a goal by coasting past the left-back. Mendy gathered King's cross-field ball and his centre was turned into his own net by Carragher.

As the Anfield crowd began to get frustrated, Kuyt's ball in from the right was missed by Riera and Turner at the near post as Gerrard, the Liverpool captain, stabbed in to pull one back in the 24th minute. Just after the half hour, Carragher's cross from the right was nodded down by Kuyt, hooked goalwards by Benayoun and put in the top corner by Gerrard for the equaliser.

As Liverpool continued to press, impressive strikes from Riera and Alonso landed just to the wrong side of the post. The Reds continued to threaten after the break but Benayoun got in the way of Gerrard's drive and Kuyt dragged a shot wide from just outside the area. Gerrard saw a dipping free-kick drop just the wrong side of the post and George Boateng sliced well wide as the Tigers enjoyed a rare foray forward.

Just before the hour, Gerrard's corner was met by a glancing header from Sami Hyypia that came back off the inside of the post. Arebloa's cross from the right flew all the way to Riera, whose fizzing half-volley was well blocked by Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill. And a driving run from Geovanni ended with the Brazilian clipping a shot just wide of Reina's goal.

Liverpool were barely creating anything but another dipping strike from Alonso landed on top of Myhill's net. Myhill was finally called into action again with a fine low save from Nabil El Zhar and Kuyt also missed a late chance.