Liverpool missed the striking prowess of Mohamed Salah as they passed up a chance to go second in the Premier League with a 0-0 draw against rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby.
Salah, who has scored 38 goals in all competitions this season, was absent for Saturday’s clash at Goodison Park due to the groin injury he sustained in the 3-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday, and Liverpool’s second string failed to deliver.
Dominic Solanke, starting down the middle with Roberto Firmino on the bench, was the main culprit as he wasted the two clearest chances of a drab encounter in front of England manager Gareth Southgate, while Loris Karius only had one Everton effort to deal with across the entire 90 minutes.
The Toffees approach played a large part in reducing the spectacle and their performance will do little to stop criticism of Sam Allardyce from Everton fans.
The home supporters would have left happy had Cenk Tosun, Seamus Coleman or Dominic Calvert-Lewin made the most of openings inside the final three minutes, but they had to settle for holding Liverpool to a draw that damages their quest to finish above Manchester United.
Should Jose Mourinho’s side win their derby and stop Manchester City claiming the title later on Saturday, they will open up a four-point gap to Jurgen Klopp’s side and retain a game in hand.