City started brightly and were knocking the ball around confidently in the opening minutes, but Liverpool struck with their first attack as Adam Lallana’s cross found the head of Georginio Wijnaldum who out-jumped Aleks Kolarov to power the ball past Claudio Bravo.
It was harsh on the Blues but given there had been no City clean sheet at Anfield since 1986, not entirely a surprise.
Understandably, the goal knocked City out of their stride and with Liverpool happy to allow the visitors to keep possession and stay deep it already looked like a long haul back for Guardiola’s men.
Just before the half-hour mark Roberto Firmino came within a whisker of controlling James Milner’s clever through-ball, but the Brazilian’s first touch was poor and the chance of a one-on-one was gone.
It wasn’t until just before the break that the Blues threatened with menace as Kevin de Bruyne intercepted a poor pass and drove at the middle of the home defence but his shot was deflected wide as he was quickly crowded out.
That was pretty much it for a half where City created little of note and Jurgen Klopp’s tactics appeared to be spot-on.
It was 52 minutes before the Blues registered a first shot on target as Sergio Aguero fired a tame drive from 20 yards straight at Simon Mignolet, but it was quickly followed by a low drive by David Silva that went a few feet wide and a volley from Raheem Sterling from Yaya Toure’s excellent pass.
Guardiola’s half-time tweaks were starting to pay off and suddenly the Blues looked as though they might turn things around.
Liverpool looked nervous and wary as the Blues started to build a head of steam but it was crucial the spell resulted in an equaliser.
City began to dominate, but with Liverpool defending in numbers, chances were at a premium and the slice of luck the Blues desperately needed just wouldn’t come as the hosts saw out the half to claim all three points.