Liverpool missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park.
Only a victory would have seen Jurgen Klopp’s side reclaim top spot from Manchester City after their win at Bournemouth, but the Reds came up short against a stubborn Everton side who took great pride in halting their neighbours’ title challenge.
Mohamed Salah had two clear opportunities to send Liverpool back to the summit but his touch in front of goal was characteristic of a game lacking real attacking quality.
Liverpool stay second, a point behind champions City with nine games remaining. Everton, who are now without a win against their rivals in 19 games in all competitions, remain in 10th position.
This Merseyside derby was no different to the 232 that had come before, full of passion and conducted at a relentless pace, but it lacked one thing – end product. Salah fired a shot straight at Jordan Pickford on the quarter hour and it was another 15 minutes before the next chance arose.
Sadio Mane released Salah through on goal, but Pickford prevailed for the second time, staying big to thwart the Egyptian’s strike before Jordan Henderson’s attempted rebound was blocked.
Theo Walcott fired wide at the near post as Everton registered their first attempt on goal seven minutes before half-time. Seven minutes after the break, Dominic Calvert-Lewin found the target for the first time, but his header was straight at Alisson.
Liverpool responded as Trent Alexander-Arnold fired a free-kick straight at Pickford and Divock Origi pulled a shot wide at the near post, before Joel Matip released Salah through at the end of a marauding run, only for Michael Keane to nick the ball off his toes.
Roberto Firmino was introduced after the hour-mark and he almost had an immediate impact as he combined with Mane and Salah on the counter and lofted a cross to the back post, but Mane failed to find the target with a header.
Fabinho spurned a gilt-edged chance to put Liverpool into the lead on 67 minutes when he opted against shooting first time after Virgil van Dijk’s knockdown in the Everton area, allowing Seamus Coleman to intervene with a last-gasp challenge.
Both sides pushed for a late winner, Van Dijk unable to stretched far enough to get his head on a cross into the Everton area, but there was no late drama like the reverse fixture in December, a frustrating draw handing City the initiative in the Premier League title race.