Liverpool and Manchester United could only play out a goalless draw at Anfield as a game billed as a title race marker failed to provide a finish and left questions lingering about both sides.
Five days after knocking the champions off their Premier League perch with victory at Burnley, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were hoping to further assert heavyweight title credentials at the home of their fiercest foes.
In this truest test, the hosts’ long unbeaten league run on Merseyside never looked under real threat until late on, when Alisson denied Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba from close range.
But Liverpool, in Jurgen Klopp’s 200th Premier League game, found the breakthrough elusive themselves during a contest in which they dominated the ball for long spells but struggled for attacking fluidity, and have now failed to score for a third Premier League game in a row.
Manchester United stay three points clear of Liverpool, whom they meet again in the FA Cup on next Sunday, at the top of the table, with Leicester – a point above the Reds – between them.
But this was a result that will instead offer encouragement to Manchester City – who will close the gap if they beat Crystal Palace later on Sunday – as well as to Tottenham and Brendan Rodgers’ side.
More to follow.
Liverpool host Burnley in an 8pm kick-off on Thursday evening, live on Sky Sports Premier League, before going to Manchester United in the FA Cup at 5pm on Sunday.
Before that FA Cup reunion with the Reds, Manchester United travel to Fulham in the Premier League at 8.15pm on Wednesday.