Carlos Tevez pounced on a Martin Skrtel mistake to continue his Manchester City rehabilitation by snatching a 2-2 draw for the champions at Liverpool.
Liverpool were much improved after crashing 3-0 at West Brom in their opener and twice led a pulsating clash with goals from Skrtel and Luis Suarez either side of a Yaya Toure effort.
But new manager Brendan Rodgers was denied his first league win as City again produced the sort of fightback they are beginning to specialise in.
Mario Balotelli partnered Tevez up front for City on his first start since being sent off at Arsenal last April - and on a ground where he was dismissed last year - but despite looking focused, had a quiet game.
Liverpool should have gone ahead early on when the lively Sterling whipped in a fine cross for Fabio Borini but the Italian volleyed wide. Tevez almost made him pay instantly as he latched on to a well-weighted pass from Samir Nasri and rounded Reina but the angle was too tight and he did well enough to hit the far post.
Kolo Toure blocked an effort by Borini, Suarez curled wide and City captain Vincent Kompany almost sliced a vicious low curling cross from Gerrard into his own net. But the Reds were not to be denied any longer as Skrtel came forward for the resulting corner and powered a header past Joe Hart from Gerrard's cross.
City were stung by the goal and struggled to make an impression as Liverpool dominated the remainder of the first half.
Roberto Mancini began to make changes around the hour as he sought a way back into the game. Former Everton man Jack Rodwell predictably entered to boos from the home fans when he replaced Nasri and Edin Dzeko came on for Balotelli.
Within moments City were back level, but it owed much to defensive mistakes as Tevez beat Sterling on the right and fired in a cross which the outstretched Reina was unable to claim. Kelly was wrong-footed by the Spaniard's attempts to gather and could not prevent the ball bouncing off him into the path of Yaya Toure, who swept home from close range.
Liverpool did not dwell on the disappointment and produced the perfect response. Rodwell was penalised for handball 25 yards from goal and Suarez stepped up to bend a low effort past an ineffective wall. Yet just as it seemed Liverpool had the measure of the champions, Skrtel gifted them a way back into the game as Tevez seized on his poor pass back and calmly beat Reina.