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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Sunday, 21 February 2010

Man City   0 - 0   Liverpool

Shaun Wright-Phillips holds off the challenge of Javier Mascherano
Goalmouth action was in short supply at Eastlands

By Phil McNulty
BBC Sport at Eastlands

Manchester City and Liverpool played out a miserable stalemate at Eastlands as they battled for fourth place in the Premier League.

Roberto Mancini and Rafael Benitez have their sights set on a place in next season's Champions League - but this was a wretched advert for their lofty ambitions in an encounter that plumbed the depths for long periods.

Emmanuel Adebayor had City's best opportunities with a shot that was well saved by Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina and a header just off target.

Martin Skrtel headed wide from Liverpool's clearest opening late in the first half, but both teams were so poor that it would have been a travesty had either claimed all three points.

Liverpool could at least point to the return of Fernando Torres, who made a 15-minute appearance as a substitute after knee surgery, but there was little else to provide any cheer amid an Eastlands downpour.

FOOTBALL BLOG
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

Yossi Benayoun, also back after injury, may have had a penalty had he gone down late on and Liverpool are likely to be the happier with a point.

But a DVD of this desperate encounter should be required viewing for the clubs chasing City and Liverpool for a top-four spot - because it would provide ample encouragement that they can be overhauled.

Liverpool were lifted by Torres' comeback on the bench, while City boss Mancini kept Craig Bellamy as a substitute after a difference of opinion between the pair during the week.

There was not much on offer to excite the pair as the opening 45 minutes produced a wretched spectacle, the lack of quality reflected in the increasingly frustrated mood of the Eastlands gallery.

Liverpool were marginally the better side in the opening exchanges, although keeper Reina offered City rare hope when he hesitated over a clearance, but they were unable to take advantage.

Skrtel wasted the game's best chance on the stroke of half-time when he headed Steven Gerrard's corner wide from six yards. City would have been infuriated to fall behind in such fashion as referee Peter Walton missed a deflection off Skrtel to award the corner to Liverpool.

Draw the right result - Mancini

As a heavy downpour rained down on Eastlands, City opened the second half with greater purpose and Liverpool's Ryan Babel was forced to take a lengthy count after he was struck on the head by a vicious cross from Adam Johnson.

Emmanuel Adebayor almost lifted the gloom on and off the pitch with a long-range effort that Reina did well to save low down by his post.

Benitez made a change after 62 minutes, introducing fit-again Benayoun for the disappointing Maxi Rodriguez as Liverpool pushed for the crucial breakthrough.

Mancini swiftly followed suit, introducing Bellamy for Shaun Wright-Phillips to a huge ovation from City's fans delighted to see the Welshman enter the action.

Benitez settles for a point

The mediocrity continued unabated and Liverpool supporters were able to finally greet the return of Torres with 15 minutes left when he came on for Babel, while City took the opportunity to send on Abdisalam Ibrahim for Stephen Ireland.

Adebayor was in position to break the deadlock with 11 minutes left, but he was halted by Skrtel's vital interception - and then headed narrowly over from the resulting corner as a dreadful game drifted to its predictable conclusion.


Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez:

"It was difficult. We were working very hard, we had control. I thought we could win, we could lose. Very close. At the end maybe a draw is fair.

"As a manager you have to see your team as strong in defence, in attack we have to be a little bit better. Both teams were working hard trying to stop the other."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:

"Every time we don't win I am disappointed, but it was a difficult game and in the end the result was right.

"Both teams defended well and it was important that we didn't concede any chances to Liverpool."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man City 0-0 Liverpool FT
(HT 0-0)

      Man City

      Substitutes

      Liverpool

      Substitutes

      Ref: WaltonAtt: 47,203
      MAN CITY
      LIVERPOOL

      Possession

      • Man City 48%
      • Liverpool 52%

      Attempts on target

      • Man City 1
      • Liverpool 2

      Attempts off target

      • Man City 3
      • Liverpool 4

      Corners

      • Man City 8
      • Liverpool 6

      Fouls

      • Man City 8
      • Liverpool 15
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+5:29 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
      • 90:00+5:12 Foul by Abdisalam Ibrahim on Javier Mascherano, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
      • 90:00+4:15 Wayne Bridge fouled by Fernando Torres, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Bridge.
      • 90:00+3:45 Centre by Leiva Lucas.
      • 90:00+3:26 Daniel Agger delivers the ball, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
      • 90:00+2:56 Long distance effort from Abdisalam Ibrahim misses to the left of the goal.
      • 90:00+2:21 Booking Booking for Fernando Torres.
      • 90:00+2:12 Fernando Torres concedes a free kick for a foul on Joleon Lescott. Free kick taken by Joleon Lescott.
      • 90:00+1:59 The ball is sent over by Craig Bellamy, Jose Reina makes a comfortable save.
      • 90:00+1:48 The ball is crossed by Gareth Barry.
      • 90:00+1:32 Centre by Wayne Bridge.
      • 90:00+0:57 The ball is delivered by Yossi Benayoun.
      • 90:00+0:09 Emmanuel Adebayor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniel Agger. Direct free kick taken by Emiliano Insua.
      • 89:45 Alberto Aquilani takes a shot. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.
      • 89:38 Emiliano Insua crosses the ball.
      • 89:24 Handball by Gareth Barry. Direct free kick taken by Alberto Aquilani.
      • 88:13 Abdisalam Ibrahim challenges Javier Mascherano unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Javier Mascherano.
      • 85:45 Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Alberto Aquilani coming on for Dirk Kuyt.
      • 82:47 Leiva Lucas concedes a free kick for a foul on Craig Bellamy. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Craig Bellamy.
      • 79:14 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Bellamy from the left by-line to the near post. Vincent Kompany produces a cross, Header on goal by Emmanuel Adebayor from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 78:13 The ball is swung over by Jamie Carragher.
      • 78:05 Javier Mascherano produces a cross, clearance made by Joleon Lescott.
      • 75:50 Booking Dirk Kuyt goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
      • 75:43 Dirk Kuyt challenges Nigel De Jong unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shay Given takes the free kick.
      • 74:46 Substitution Abdisalam Ibrahim is brought on as a substitute for Stephen Ireland.
      • 74:24 Substitution (Liverpool) makes a substitution, with Fernando Torres coming on for Ryan Babel.
      • 73:35 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Comfortable save by Shay Given.
      • 71:34 Adam Johnson delivers the ball, clearance by Dirk Kuyt.
      • 70:41 Emmanuel Adebayor fouled by Daniel Agger, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Adam Johnson, Javier Mascherano manages to make a clearance.
      • 68:55 The assistant referee flags for offside against Emmanuel Adebayor. Daniel Agger restarts play with the free kick.
      • 66:45 Substitution Craig Bellamy replaces Shaun Wright-Phillips.
      • 66:45 Free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.
      • 66:45 Booking Yossi Benayoun is booked.
      • 66:31 Unfair challenge on Pablo Zabaleta by Yossi Benayoun results in a free kick.
      • 62:07 Vincent Kompany restarts play with the free kick.
      • 62:07 Substitution Rodriguez Maxi leaves the field to be replaced by Yossi Benayoun.
      • 62:07 Booking Ryan Babel receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
      • 61:57 Ryan Babel concedes a free kick for a foul on Pablo Zabaleta.
      • 61:08 The ball is swung over by Emiliano Insua.
      • 60:15 Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Corner from the left by-line taken by Adam Johnson, Leiva Lucas manages to make a clearance.
      • 55:10 A cross is delivered by Adam Johnson.
      • 54:41 Adam Johnson takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Jamie Carragher.
      • 53:38 Booking Gareth Barry booked for unsporting behaviour.
      • 51:45 Adam Johnson takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Jamie Carragher.
      • 51:34 The ball is sent over by Adam Johnson, Ryan Babel gets a block in.
      • 51:13 Corner taken by Adam Johnson from the right by-line played to the near post.
      • 51:05 Adam Johnson crosses the ball, clearance by Daniel Agger.
      • Correction - 49:12 Stephen Ireland is ruled offside. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
      • 49:12 Stephen Ireland is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.
      • 48:13 Adam Johnson takes the inswinging corner, save by Jose Reina.
      • 45:26 Inswinging corner taken by Adam Johnson, save made by Jose Reina.
      • 45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+1:17 The match has reached half-time.
      • 45:00+0:38 Booking Steven Gerrard booked.
      • 45:00+0:27 Unfair challenge on Joleon Lescott by Steven Gerrard results in a free kick. Shay Given takes the direct free kick.
      • 45:00+0:01 Gareth Barry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Gerrard. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
      • 44:44 Javier Mascherano fouled by Stephen Ireland, the ref awards a free kick. Daniel Agger takes the direct free kick.
      • 44:32 A cross is delivered by Emmanuel Adebayor.
      • 42:53 Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard from the right by-line, Headed effort from inside the area by Martin Skrtel misses to the left of the target.
      • 42:08 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard, save made by Shay Given.
      • 42:00 The ball is sent over by Ryan Babel, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
      • 41:23 Ryan Babel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Johnson. Direct free kick taken by Adam Johnson.
      • 38:18 Centre by Adam Johnson.
      • 37:10 Pablo Zabaleta takes a shot and missed to the right of the goal.
      • 37:03 The ball is crossed by Wayne Bridge.
      • 36:23 Centre by Jamie Carragher, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
      • 36:18 The ball is swung over by Rodriguez Maxi.
      • 34:56 Foul by Jamie Carragher on Shaun Wright-Phillips, free kick awarded. Wayne Bridge takes the free kick.
      • 34:14 Foul by Gareth Barry on Steven Gerrard, free kick awarded. Javier Mascherano restarts play with the free kick.
      • 32:46 Leiva Lucas takes a shot. Nigel De Jong gets a block in.
      • 30:01 Vincent Kompany takes the free kick.
      • 30:01 Booking Javier Mascherano is cautioned.
      • 29:54 Unfair challenge on Pablo Zabaleta by Javier Mascherano results in a free kick.
      • 28:29 Adam Johnson fouled by Javier Mascherano, the ref awards a free kick. Adam Johnson delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, Jose Reina makes a save.
      • 27:24 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Adam Johnson played to the near post, Jamie Carragher makes a clearance.
      • 27:09 Emmanuel Adebayor delivers the ball.
      • 26:48 Foul by Vincent Kompany on Dirk Kuyt, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
      • 25:48 A cross is delivered by Wayne Bridge.
      • 25:23 Emiliano Insua challenges Shaun Wright-Phillips unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Nigel De Jong.
      • 24:31 Shot by Steven Gerrard from just outside the area goes over the net.
      • 19:54 The ball is swung over by Adam Johnson, Martin Skrtel manages to make a clearance.
      • 18:31 Adam Johnson produces a cross.
      • 17:15 Corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard to the near post, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
      • 16:33 The ball is crossed by Gareth Barry, clearance by Leiva Lucas.
      • 14:06 Dirk Kuyt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Johnson. Shay Given takes the free kick.
      • 13:28 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Steven Gerrard played to the near post, clearance made by Wayne Bridge.
      • 13:08 Steven Gerrard takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
      • 13:01 A cross is delivered by Emiliano Insua, blocked by Emmanuel Adebayor.
      • 12:21 Rodriguez Maxi takes a shot. Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance. Short corner taken by Steven Gerrard.
      • 9:14 The assistant referee flags for offside against Dirk Kuyt. Indirect free kick taken by Shay Given.
      • 7:57 Unfair challenge on Nigel De Jong by Javier Mascherano results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Vincent Kompany.
      • 7:42 Steven Gerrard crosses the ball, Vincent Kompany manages to make a clearance.
      • 6:50 The referee blows for offside. Shay Given takes the indirect free kick.
      • 5:32 Vincent Kompany challenges Steven Gerrard unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free kick, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance.
      • 4:19 Emmanuel Adebayor is ruled offside. Martin Skrtel takes the free kick.
      • 0:00 The match has kicked off.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League table snapshot

      As it stood on 21 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      1 Chelsea 27 41 61
      2 Man Utd 27 39 57
      3 Arsenal 27 33 55
      4 Tottenham 27 22 46
      5 Man City 26 15 46
      6 Liverpool 27 16 45
      7 Aston Villa 26 16 45
      8 Everton 26 1 38
      9 Fulham 27 3 37
      10 Birmingham 26 -3 37
      11 Stoke 26 -3 34
      12 Blackburn 27 -14 34
      13 West Ham 26 -5 27
      14 Sunderland 26 -12 26
      15 Wigan 26 -26 25
      16 Wolves 26 -23 24
      17 Hull 27 -29 24
      18 Bolton 26 -20 23
      19 Burnley 26 -28 23
      20 Portsmouth 26 -23 16

      see also
      Bosses maintain battle for fourth
      22 Feb 10 |  Premier League
      Sunday football as it happened
      21 Feb 10 |  Football
      Sunday's football photos
      21 Feb 10 |  Football


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