Title-chasing Liverpool frustrated in goalless derby draw
Liverpool were left a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Everton in Sunday's Merseyside derby -- the fourth draw in six games for Juergen Klopp's side.
City, who won 1-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday, have 71 points while Liverpool are on 70 with both teams having nine games to play.
It promises to be a tense and thrilling finale to the season but Liverpool will need to regain their momentum quickly if they are to push for their first league title since 1990.
"We become the chasers now and all the pressure is on Manchester City," said Liverpool's Scottish full-back Andy Robertson.
"We will fight for every last ball until the whistle is blown at the end of the season," he added.
The result of a typically frantic derby on its own is no cause for alarm for Klopp but the eight-point swing to City since Jan. 30 is a trend they simply have to end.
There were few chances for either team, with Liverpool's forward line failing to sparkle and Everton's impressive industry not matched by craft in the final third.
Everton were desperate to stop their rivals picking up maximum points with manager Marco Silva adjusting his team accordingly as Morgan Schneiderlin was preferred to the more creative Andre Gomes.
It proved to be a smart move with Liverpool's Gini Wijnaldum having limited impact on the game in a crowded midfield.
Mohamed Salah had the two best openings for Liverpool before the break but his soft 15th minute shot barely troubled Jordan Pickford and then the Everton keeper was swift off his line to foil the Egyptian as he raced goalwards.
Everton's approach was to harry and disrupt Liverpool and they did that task well but struggled to create opportunities with Theo Walcott unable to capitalise on a rare opening, screwing his shot wide.
Salah threatened again in the 57th minute as he bore down on Pickford but Everton defender Michael Keane stopped a near certain goal with a perfectly timed last-ditch sliding tackle.
Klopp threw on Roberto Firmino in the 63rd but the striker was unable to open up an Everton defence that raised their game to deal a blow to their local rivals' title hopes.
"I don't think anyone wants their rivals to win the title," said Keane.
"We respect them and the team so it is up to them what they do. We played our part by trying to stop that happening.
"I think it was a fair result, not too many chances were created by either team," he added.