Barry faced the side that chased his signature all summer
Liverpool and Aston Villa played out a cagey goalless draw at Villa Park.
John Carew was denied by the feet of Pepe Reina, while David Ngog shot just over the bar after being set up by Robbie Keane in a dour first half.
Keane was put clean through by Javier Mascherano after the break but scuffed his shot wide when in front of goal.
Substitute James Milner had a late chance to wrap up all three points on his return to the club, but Reds keeper Pepe Reina saved comfortably.
With Chelsea held by Tottenham, Liverpool had the chance to go top of the league on a ground where they have enjoyed plenty of success over the years.
Benitez happy with point from tough game
But it was a Liverpool performance desperately short of creativity and in the end they were left hanging on for the point.
Gareth Barry's bitter on-off transfer saga over the summer meant there would be extra spice to the clash.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez and his opposite number Martin O'Neill shared a polite handshake before the game, but it seemed both were more concerned with avoiding defeat than going for the three points.
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