The mega-rich men from Eastlands arrived on Merseyside intent on proving they were top four material but they found a Liverpool side in defiant mood despite more injury problems.
Martin Skrtel put Liverpool in front but Emmanuel Adebayor and Stephen Ireland sent City ahead before Benayoun equalised.
Despite the furore over Liverpool's use of a Belgrade clinic to get players fit for a key week of vital matches in Europe and the Premier League, all four of the men sent to Serbia for treatment failed to make the starting line-up.
Parity restored: Benayoun makes it 2-2
Glen Johnson was not even on the bench, where Benayoun, Albert Riera and Fabio Aurelio were initially named.
Liverpool had Steven Gerrard, Ryan Babel and Jamie Carragher, thelatter after a ban, returning from the side that drew with Birminghamlast time out.
Manchester City made one change from the side that were held at homeby Burnley last time out, Nigel De Jong coming into the side in placeof Carlos Tevez, who was a substitute.
Liverpool started well, Gerrard attacking the right flank of City's defence when the opportunity arose.
The first chance came after five minutes from a free-kick following a Gareth Barry foul on Dirk Kuyt.
Gerrard swung the set-piece in from the right, Daniel Agger flickedon and centre-back partner Skrtel saw a free header from the leftbrilliantly saved by Shay Given.
Level-pegging: Adebayor wheels away after negating Skrtel's opener
Agger, though, was injured in the incident after clashing heads withKolo Toure. The young Dane's legs buckled under him as he was receivingtreatment and he was carried off suffering from concussion.
Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos was soon on as substitute, areshuffle Liverpool did not need against the pace of Emmanuel Adebayor,with Craig Bellamy itching to run at Carragher on the left.
Soon Liverpool suffered more injury trouble. Babel was hurt in a collision with De Jong, and needed treatment on the line.
Babel lasted only a couple of minutes more after his limping return and was replaced by Benayoun.
Anfield ecstasy: Martin Skrtel is mobbed by teammates after opening his Liverpool account - and the scoring
City were intent on containment and eventual control. De Jongeffectively regained midfield possession to set in motion City's calm,thoughtful approach play.
Toure, suffering following an earlier tackle with Gerrard, was replaced at the break by Nedum Onuoha.
And Liverpool produced the lift the game needed with a goal after 49 minutes.
Pablo Zabaleta had given away a needless free-kick for holding Ngogon the left, and when Gerrard swung the set-play into the box, Skrtelwas there first in front of Adebayor to stab home from six yards.
City needed to up their game now, and with the fire-power of Tevezand Roque Santa Cruz on the bench, they certainly had the ammunition.
Defensive crisis: Daniel Agger was forced to leave the field after just 11 minutes after a clash of heads with Kolo Toure
And they waited until the hour mark to withdraw Barry and send onTevez, who instantly drew a booking for Lucas following a tangle on thehalf-way line.
City cranked up the pressure as Liverpool fell deeper, and they werelevel after 69 minutes. Bellamy's corner swirled into the box and itwas Adebayor's turn to lose Skrtel this time, heading the ball downinto the turf from where it bounced high into the top corner.
City struck again after 76 minutes when Tevez and Wright-Phillipsworked well to create a chance for Stephen Ireland to flick the ballpast Reina.
Liverpool's response came within 60 seconds. Ngog crossed from theright, the ball deflecting to Benayoun who forced it home from a coupleof yards out.
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