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.
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."
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.
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