Toothless Liverpool miss Suarez

Liverpool 0-0 Stoke City

Anfield

"I think I'm in danger of repeating myself here," said Kenny Dalglish when asked one question too many about his team's failure to break down a stubborn Stoke City side.

Over 44,000 Liverpudlians might have thought something similar after seeing their team's seventh draw in 11 league matches at Anfield this season.

Liverpool may rank alongside Manchester City as one of only two teams unbeaten at home in the 2011-12 Premier League but where City have accrued 30 points, for the Merseysiders the figure is 19 – fewer than all six teams above them.

Jose Enrique, one of their brighter performers on Saturday, acknowledged that this home discomfort was damaging Liverpool's Champions League qualification prospects. "If we start to take our chances then we can be in the top four, but if we don't then we will make it more difficult for ourselves," he said. This latest disappointment was down to a worrying lack of creativity. Besides a late free header missed by Dirk Kuyt, there was little serious threat to Stoke's goal.

On the weekend when Liverpool's managing director, Ian Ayre, both in a BBC interview and the match programme, conceded that their handling of the Luis Suarez affair had damaged people's "perception" of the club, the on-field consequences of that case were only too evident: Liverpool desperately lacked the spark of the suspended Suarez, who may miss opportunities but also creates them. Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, who saw him score twice at the Britannia in the Carling Cup in October, admitted: "I could not have picked a better player for us not to play against than Suarez."

In his absence, Kuyt led the line, supported by Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, but they toiled against a Stoke side who flooded the midfield and defended resolutely. Andy Carroll's introduction for the last half-hour made things more interesting, if only for the fact Stoke risked conceding a penalty when first Robert Huth, then Ryan Shawcross grappled with him at corners, but the referee, Howard Webb, ignored the Kop's loud appeals.

"It is difficult to understand when they [the match officials] talk to the players and explain something to them and they commit the same [offence] immediately after it," said Dalglish, though he acknowledged his team's failings first and foremost. "We have got to be more creative and the deliveries into the box have got to be a lot better than they were."

Stoke's physical approach may infuriate opponents but they had every right to celebrate a point at a ground where they have never won in 49 top-flight visits. Pulis's team sit eighth in the table, having lost just one of their last nine League outings, but the Welshman is not getting carried away. "This is only our fourth year in the Premier League and we shouldn't lose sight of that. The aim is to get to 40 points as quickly as we can and then push on from there."

Man of the match: Shawcross

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire)

Attendance: 44,961

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living