© Mike Egerton / PA Photos
Liverpool settled into the game and a created a good chance on 14 minutes when Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez all combined, but the Uruguayan's chip was cleared off the line by Chris Gunter.
Brendan Rodgers's side continued to dominate proceedings at the Madejski Stadium with Suarez drawing out a good save McCarthy again after the half-hour mark and Coutinho failing to hit the target from eight yards on 40 minutes, but it eventually ended goalless after the first 45 minutes.
Liverpool had the ball inside the Reading net just three minutes after the restart when Coutinho flicked Gerrard's cross home, but the Brazilian's effort was ruled out for offside.
However, thereafter Reading proved tougher to break down and could have taken the lead midway through the half had Reina not kept out a sliding effort from Hunt.
The Reds' goal came under pressure again just moments later when there was a scramble inside their area, and once again Reina came to the rescue with a last-ditch block on Danny Guthrie's effort.
The former European champions soon wrestled advantage from the Royals and created a number of chances as the half progressed, but failed to find the back of the net.
Liverpool came closest in the 78th minute and were unlucky not to make the breakthrough when Suarez's free kick from 30 yards crashed against the post.