Liverpool missed the chance to close within eight points of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday as they could only draw 0-0 at Manchester City.
Rafa Benitez’s side still have a game in hand, and City remain unbeaten at home this season, but with Manchester United losing on Saturday and Arsenal only drawing on Boxing Day, this still felt like an opportunity missed.
They almost stole an 86th-minute winner as City keeper Joe Hart pulled off an exceptional save to keep out Dirk Kuyt’s header, Richard Dunne hacking the loose ball off the line, but that was out of keeping with a dismal game.
The only other significant chances fell to Liverpool’s Spanish striker, Fernando Torres, in the space of a minute early in the second half.
First he shot weakly at Hart from Harry Kewell’s pull-back, and then, presented with a chance by a careless square pass form Stephen Ireland, he chipped narrowly wide.
Earlier in the afternoon, Derby County went down 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers to compound their relegation worries.
Matt Oakley had given them the lead, but then Steve Howard missed a penalty and, within five minutes, goals from Roque Santa Cruz and David Bentley turned the game against them.
Derby remain eight points adrift of safety. — Sapa-dpa