Liverpool: Luis Suarez’s return from a racism ban failed to inspire Liverpool in a 0-0 draw against Tottenham on Monday, a result that hurt one team’s Premier League title bid and damaged the hopes of a top-four finish for the other.
After leader Manchester City moved eight points clear of third-place Tottenham by beating Fulham on Saturday, Spurs needed to win at Anfield to stay in touch.
But without manager Harry Redknapp, who was stranded in London due to aircraft difficulties, Tottenham failed to find its usual fluency and lacked a decent share of possession or territory.
Suarez came on in the 66th minute after having served an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, and the Uruguay forward missed an opportunity with a close-range header.
Suarez’s 24-minute cameo was not without incident. He was booked for kicking Scott Parker in the stomach when attempting a close-range volley and felt he should have had a penalty for handball when actually he had used his own arm to control the ball.
“It’s fantastic for us to get him back,” Dalglish said. “He should never have been out in the first place. It would have been totally unfair to start him given he’s not started since Boxing Day.
“Like any team we’d like to convert more chances, but there’s not many other teams that have constructed as many chances as us. We’re three-quarters of the way there. The most important thing for us was we were really pleased with the way the team played.”
Spurs winger Gareth Bale had an even better chance to score late on, but goalkeeper Pepe Reina saved the one-on-one situation.
It was the eighth draw in 12 league matches at home for Liverpool this season, hurting its chances of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.
Tottenham stayed third in the standings, five points back from Manchester United, which hosts Liverpool on Saturday. Liverpool is seventh, four points behind fourth-place Chelsea.
Redknapp had been due to fly to Liverpool after another day in court at his trial into charges of cheating the public revenue, which he denies, but technical problems with his aircraft meant he was left stranded in the south of England.
“Harry gives that extra bit of energy. We’ve missed him the past couple of weeks,” Spurs midfielder Scott Parker said. “We’ll be absolutely delighted when he comes back.
“It was a tough night. When you come to Anfield it’s difficult and tonight was no different. I thought we were a little but one-paced tonight. We’ve come and got a point, kept a clean sheet and that’s most important thing.”