Summary: Liverpool’s ambitions of qualifying for Europe next season took a hit after they were held to a goalless draw by Reading at the Madjeski Stadium.
The point was Nigel Adkins’ first as Royals boss but wasn’t enough to lift them off the bottom of the Premier League table even after they survived a 26-shot onslaught from the visitors. They owe a huge debt of gratitude to goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, who repelled everything the Reds threw at him.
After an impeccably served minutes silence mark the 24th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster was followed by a lacklustre opening that was punctuated by Chris Gunter’s headed goal line clearance to deny Luis Suarez.
Liverpool inability to covert chances into goals visibly irked manager Brendan Rodgers on his return to Berkshire but there was nothing he could do with McCarthy in such inspired form. A point blank stop to deny Daniel Sturridge mid-way through the first half was the pick of a string of top drawer saves that capped off a frustrating afternoon for the visitors.
Nigel Adkins post-match…“We created enough chances to win a couple of games. We are very disappointed we didn’t win. Their goalkeeper was outstanding and on another day the goals go in. I can’t ask anything more of the players except that we should have been a wee bit more clinical.”
Brendan Rodgers post-match…“It is three games I have been in charge at Reading now and once again our attitude and application was top drawer. First 15 minutes they had good possession but our players have kept us in the game and we have had a great opportunity with Noel Hunt late on and Pepe Reina has made a great save.”
Good day for?…Alex McCarthy: While the defence in front of him wilted as the game went on McCarthy was a one man blockade between the sticks for Reading with his save count running high into double figures. Arguably the goalkeeping performance of the season to date.
Bad day for?…Luis Suarez: This was a rare goalless afternoon in Liverpool colours for Suarez who did everything but put the ball in the net and was thwarted by Reading keeper McCarthy on numerous occasions. A reminder that he is actually human!