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Liverpool and Everton cancelled each other as the Merseyside derby ended all square at Anfield.
The draw may have strengthened the Toffees' chances of finishing above their near-neighbours for the second successive season – something which has not happened since 1937 – but they rarely came close to ending a 14-year winless run at Anfield.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini had the visitors' best chance, volleying wide from close range in the first half, while Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard saw Sylvain Distin clear off the line after the break.
Sixth-placed Everton, five points ahead of their near-neighbours, lacked the firepower to end their drought on enemy territory and Jamie Carragher, on his 30th and final Merseyside derby before retirement, had one of his quieter afternoons.
Similarly, without Luis Suarez the Reds struggled to break down a defence which was brilliantly marshalled by Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin.
Liverpool looked to utilise Daniel Sturridge's pace early on with Jordan Henderson's superb 60-yard crossfield ball into his path surpassed only by Gerrard's from the opposite diagonal which resulted in Distin clearing the striker's cross.
Gerrard was making his 36th consecutive league start, equalling his previous longest run set between April 2006 and April 2007, in spite of a long-term shoulder injury. His further participation became a concern when he crashed to the floor in tangling with Leon Osman and although he moved gingerly for the next few minutes there was little chance of the Huyton-born midfielder dropping out of this one early.
But in truth the visitors took their superiority in the table on to the pitch as they had the better of the opening 25 minutes in which they might have taken the lead. Fellaini had the best chance of the half when he got on the end of Leighton Baines's 17th-minute free-kick but shot across goal and just wide of the far post from about four yards.
By the half-hour Liverpool had regained their composure and only the excellence of Jagielka, who was superb throughout, prevented a goal. First he blocked Gerrard's shot from Henderson's cut-back, with the Liverpool captain then curling a free-kick just wide, before an even better effort denied Philippe Coutinho just as he was about to pull the trigger. The slightest error by the Everton captain would have resulted in a penalty or a goal but his timing was immaculate.
Coutinho, the mastermind of last week's 6-0 drubbing of Newcastle, had initially struggled in the frenetic derby atmosphere. But early in the second half he played a fine through ball but Sturridge could not get round Tim Howard in a one-on-one situation and eventually fired into the side-netting.
Distin had the ball in the next just before the hour from a Baines' corner only for the goal to be disallowed after pushing and holding in the penalty area.
Coutinho opted for delicacy as opposed to power and lifted a shot well over before Gerrard – after a swift passing exchange with Sturridge – was denied only by Distin's goal-line clearance after the midfielder had gone around Howard.
In the closing stages Victor Anichebe's deflected shot ballooned up off Lucas Leiva and Jose Reina had to make a late decision to push it away as it threatened to creep inside the post before the match petered out in a goalless draw.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "I thought it was a typical, frantic game. First half we had no fluency really with only a couple of half-possibilities. It was a much better second half. We created a few opportunities which we maybe could have scored. I thought we were unfortunate not to score
“We need to find one or two players who can help us make the difference in games like that. We've had a lot of draws this season and that's something that we need to find the solution for next year.
"But I am happy with the way the group has been progressing. We weren't at our best today, but what you need to make sure in games like this is that you are competitive. We kept our 15th clean sheet of the season and the balance of our game was getting better.
Everton manager David Moyes: "I've been here a lot and I've drawn quite a lot here. I've not won but maybe draws aren't bad results and sometimes we don't get credit for that. I thought we had a good chance to win. Liverpool had opportunities as well but you would expect that.
"I thought we did what we had to do. We didn't make as many chances as we would have liked. We found it hard to get a lot going for us, things weren't going our way. That's what happens when you come to Anfield. We are still in there. We picked up a point, we've had a really difficult run-in and we will keep pushing."
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|16 Mar 2014||v Man Utd (A)|
|22 Mar 2014||v Cardiff (A)|
|26 Mar 2014||v Liverpool (H)|
|30 Mar 2014||v Liverpool (H)|