Liverpool may have to wait a little longer for their English Premier League (EPL) title celebrations after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Everton on Sunday.
But it could have been worse for the leaders in the behind closed-doors Merseyside derby, after Tom Davies hit the post in the 80th minute for Everton.
The hosts will feel a little disappointed they did not take full advantage of a below-par performance from the European champions.
Liverpool went into the game knowing a victory would allow them to secure their first league title in 30 years on Wednesday with a win at home to Crystal Palace.
It was the first competitive match in 103 days for Juergen Klopp’s side.
Eight games are remaining of the season which has resumed after the novel coronavirus stoppage.
But Liverpool need five more points to be sure of their first title of the Premier League era, unless Manchester City lose at home to Burnley on Monday.
There were few chances in a tight and ultimately disappointing game at Goodison Park.
But it was Everton, without a win over their local rivals since 2010, who came closest to taking the points.
With 10 minutes remaining Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s clever flick from a low Gylfi Sigurdsson cross was pushed out by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and Tom Davies’ follow-up shot hit the post.
Liverpool, who left Mohamed Salah on the bench, lacked their usual potency in attack with their best opening coming in the 35th minute.
That was when Roberto Firmino screwed a shot wide from a promising position while Fabinho went close late on with a curling free-kick.
Both Klopp and his Everton counterpart Carlo Ancelotti handed players first league starts.
Japan’s Takumi Minamino was in the Liverpool attack while 19-year-old Anthony Gordon was upfront for the home side, even though neither were able to make much impact.
Everton striker Calvert-Lewin felt his side should have shown a little bit more self-belief.
“We take the point but I thought there was a big chance there for us today,” he said.
“We had a few chances but it wasn’t our day. We should have backed ourselves more in the battle,” he said.(Reuters/NAN)