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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Man Utd's Wayne Rooney and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard in action at Anfield
Liverpool avoided a fourth consecutive home defeat by Manchester United but failed to find a killer blow despite a determined display at Anfield.

Steven Gerrard saw a long free-kick bounce just wide in the first half, while United's Ruud van Nistelrooy went close with a chip over the bar.

Liverpool continued to push after the break, with Gerrard heading over and Edwin van der Sar saving his drive.

But United held firm as both sides kept their unbeaten records alive.

Liverpool fans held up a banner declaring "European Cup owners" before kick-off, but they were all too aware of their poor recent domestic record against their rivals at Anfield.

Rafael Benitez' side set about putting the record straight in a frantic opening period which saw United's Paul Scholes booked for a late tackle on Xabi Alonso.

Gerrard went crashing into Van der Sar early on after just failing to get on the end of a through ball from Luis Garcia.

And the Reds captain, pitched back into battle with fit-again United captain Roy Keane, then saw his looping free-kick from the left elude everyone in the area and bounce just wide.

United soaked up the pressure and earned a rare chance when Wayne Rooney was fouled by Steve Finnan just outside the box, but Van Nistelrooy sent the free-kick straight into the arms of Jose Reina.

Van Nistelrooy almost broke the deadlock just before half-time when Rio Ferdinand found him in space on the right of the area, but the Dutchman's chip drifted just over the bar.

United came out strongly after the break, with Rooney pulled up for a push on Jamie Carragher which would have left him with just Reina to beat.

But Liverpool seized back the initiative almost immediately as Peter Crouch - making his first Premiership start for the club - saw one effort blocked on the edge of the area and then shot weakly at Van der Sar.

We can improve but we are now controlling games and going forward
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez
Gerrard went close with a header over the bar after a one-two with John Arne Riise, and then forced Van der Sar into a fine diving save with a fierce drive after 66 minutes.

The Reds captain was at the heart of the action again soon after when he played Garcia in on the left, but the midfielder dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Substitute Mohamed Sissoko failed to make good contact when unmarked at a corner, and Garcia headed a Gerrard cross wide.

United kept their rivals at bay and earned the final chance of the match when substitute Ryan Giggs fired a free-kick over the Liverpool bar, but the draw saw both sides lose ground on leaders Chelsea.

  • Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez:
    "It's a good point. Manchester United are strong and good in defence, so it was difficult.

    "I think the teams are similar, although you will always get opportunities to win these types of games.

    "You can't win if you don't score but it's better to have clean sheets. We can improve but we are now controlling games and going forward."

  • Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
    "You could see it had 0-0 written all over it from early on.

    "Maybe this game it just too important now. There's maybe pressure on players that makes it difficult for them to relax. That could be a reason.

    "I thought we had enough of the ball to win it. We showed good professionalism, good composure and we just lacked a cutting edge.

    "Players are superbly fit at the moment and its difficult to get time on the ball. That will relax itself once we get to November and the pitches get a bit softer."

    Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Warnock (Traore 84), Luis Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Riise, Crouch (Cisse 79), Sinama Pongolle (Sissoko 71).
    Subs Not Used: Josemi, Carson.

    Booked: Carragher, Traore.

    Man Utd: Van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Richardson, Smith, Scholes, Keane (Giggs 88), Ronaldo (Park 90), Rooney (Fletcher 88), van Nistelrooy.
    Subs Not Used: Howard, Bardsley.

    Booked: Scholes, Keane.

    Att: 44,917

    Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).

    Interview: Man Utd's John O'Shea

    Interview: Liverpool striker Peter Crouch

    Interview: Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez


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