Merseyside derby: Liverpool and Everton play out goalless draw
London: Liverpool and Everton contested a tense Merseyside derby that ended up a 0-0 stalemate at Anfield.
Clear-cut chances on goal came at a premium, with Sylvain Distin’s disallowed goal in the second half proving the major talking point in a tight encounter.
The result sees Everton maintain their five-point lead over their rivals, with David Moyes` side looking primed to beat their rivals into a sixth place Premier League finish.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers made no changes from the line-up that demolished Newcastle 6-0 last weekend, while counterpart David Moyes made a solitary change, with Darron Gibson replacing the off-form Nikica Jelavic.
Until Marouane Fellaini guided Leighton Baines’ whipped delivery just wide of the post in the 17th minute, the usually frantic fixture was uncharacteristically shy of incident.
Thereafter, Everton had Phil Jagielka to thank for a couple timely blocks, with the Toffee’s captain first denying Steven Gerrard, before lunging to prevent Phillipe Coutinho latching onto Daniel Sturridge’s tidy lay-off.
Sturridge squandered decent opportunities on his favoured left foot, twice dragging disappointingly wide when free on the edge of the area, while Gerrard sent a free-kick whistling just wide of the post as referee Michael Oliver called time on a terse first half.
After the interval a delightful pass from Coutinho, with the outside of his boot, afforded Sturridge the chance of a one-on-one with Tim Howard, though the goalkeeper did well to snuff the striker out.
Distin seemed to have given the visitors the lead after nodding home Baines’ corner, only to see the effort controversially disallowed for the centre-back’s jostle with Jamie Carragher.
Coutinho’s snapshot was comfortably gathered by the goalkeeper as Liverpool chased a winner, before Gerrard powered onto Sturridge’s through-ball and beyond Howard, yet couldn’t muster enough power to fire past the recovering Distin.
As the game entered its latter stages Liverpool continued to exert pressure, though Daniel Agger could only guide Gerrard’s free-kick wide of the upright, injuring his wrist in the process as the game finished in a rather uninspiring stalement.