Premier League: Reading 0 Liverpool 0
By Football News
Nigel Adkins picked up his first point as Reading manager with his side's 0-0 draw against Liverpool at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
A series of remarkable saves from Alex McCarthy denied Liverpool what looked like an inevitable first-half goal and neither side managed to find the breakthrough in a more balanced second period, with the Reading goalkeeper once again in heroic form.
McCarthy made his first start for the Royals since November while Adam Le Fondre once again started on the bench. Jamie Carragher and Jordan Henderson started for Brendan Rodgers' side with Martin Skrtel and Stewart Downing dropping down to the bench.
The match was preceded by a well-observed minute's silence in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who tragically lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster 24 years ago on Monday.
The first half was dominated by Liverpool, with Reading not doing much to help their cause.
Chris Gunter's goal-line clearance kept the scores level in the 14th minute after Suarez's clever dink over the outrushing McCarthy looked to have opened the scoring.
The Uruguayan then turned provider, threading through Daniel Sturridge during a rapid Liverpool counterattack, but McCarthy managed to parry the Englishman's shot before also getting a hand on Philippe Coutinho's effort from the rebound.
The Reading shot-stopper continued to excel, keeping the Reds out with a series of fine saves, while Adrian Mariappa also made a crucial block from a Steven Gerrard effort.
Adkins' men continued to be sloppy in possession but Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Gerrard all failed to capitalise on their mistakes, a combination of poor finishing and more heroics from the impressive McCarthy keeping the scores level at the break.
Liverpool did have the ball in the net immediately after the restart but referee Mark Clattenburg disallowed Coutinho's cheeky back-heeled effort for offside.
Rodgers' side didn't dominate the second period in the manner in which they bossed the first, allowing Reading to slowly edge their way back into the contest.
But it was the Reds who looked the more likely to open the scoring with Coutinho fizzing a side-footed effort inches past the post just after the hour mark.
Moments later Reading had their best chance of the match.
Pavel Pogrebnyak left Jose Enrique in his wake before squaring for Noel Hunt, but the midfielder was denied from close range by a sprawling save from Pepe Reina.
The Royals then bombarded the visitors' area for a period but they could not force the ball over the line during a number of goal-mouth scrambles.
Jobi McAnuff had a deflected effort tipped over the bar by Reina as Reading began to turn the screw late on but they were given a reminder of Liverpool's threat as Suarez clipped the outside of the post from a free kick.
Then right at the death McCarthy out did himself yet again with a pair of outstanding back-to-back saves to earn Reading a point, although they are still seven points away from safety.