Match Analysis: Reading 0-0 Liverpool

Match Analysis: Reading 0-0 Liverpool
© Mike Egerton / PA Photos
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at this afternoon's action-packed 0-0 draw between Reading and Liverpool.

Liverpool could not find a way past relegation-threatened Reading this afternoon as the Royals held out for a 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium in the Premier League.

Luis Suarez came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when he chipped the ball over the keeper, only for Chris Gunter to clear the shot off the line.

Alex McCarthy was the star of the show as he made a string of sensational saves to deny the Reds on a number of occasions, while Suarez also hit the post with a free kick in the second half.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at a highly entertaining goalless draw.

Match statistics:

Shots 7
On target 5
Possession 36%
Corners 4
Fouls 9

Shots 26
On target 15
Possession 64%
Corners 9
Fouls 8

Was the result fair?

Not at all. Liverpool dominated for the vast majority of the game and will be wondering how they weren't able to win this one. The first half completely belonged to the Reds and they should have been comfortably ahead by the break. The second half was a bit more even for the first 25 minutes or so, but Liverpool began to dictate play again towards the end of the match, and really should have won this match.

Reading's performance

All things considered, Adkins will be happy with his side. They didn't play particularly well, but to get a draw against a team of Liverpool's quality should be applauded. They didn't create too much going forward but, for a spell midway through the second half, looked capable of nicking a goal and were only denied from doing so by an outstanding Pepe Reina save. Whether a draw is enough to give them a fighting chance of survival remains to be seen, but all in all Adkins will be happy enough.

Liverpool's performance

Liverpool's performance had everything but the killer touch. They dominated possession and dictated the tempo of the game for large periods but just couldn't find a way past McCarthy, who was in exquisite form. Even allowing for McCarthy's performance, though, Liverpool created enough chances to have won the game comfortably and although the all-round performance was good, manager Brendan Rodgers won't be happy with a 0-0 draw.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Alex McCarthy: There is only one man who can get this award. McCarthy is by far the biggest reason that this match ended goalless as he made save after save of the highest quality. He denied all of Liverpool's big-hitters and if he has a better game than that in the rest of his career then he will be a very lucky man. His save from Daniel Sturridge in the first half was good enough, but he made a string of spectacular stops in quick succession in the second half to really steal the headlines.

Biggest gaffe

This unenviable award goes straight to referee Mark Clattenburg. Lenient referees are often jokingly accused of leaving their cards in the dressing room but, on this occasion, Clattenburg did exactly that. As he reached into his pocket to book Danny Guthrie, he realised his error and sprinted over to the fourth official to pick up another set of cards. Cue derisory whistles and taunts from the fans.

Referee performance

Other than the above gaffe, Clattenburg had a good game. He kept the match under control and every card that was handed out was deserved. It wasn't the toughest match to officiate, and perhaps his biggest decision came when Stewart Downing looked to bring Joby McAnuff down in the area. I have seen them given, but there was little contact, if any, so Clattenburg again made the right decision.

What next?

Reading: Reading's unlikely bid for a great escape and Premier League survival continues next Saturday when they take on Norwich City.

Liverpool: Liverpool's next test will be significantly tougher as they host Chelsea at Anfield, which will see Rafael Benitez return to the club.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard is tackled by Reading's Daniel Carrico during the goalless draw on April 13, 2013
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Result: Reading hold Liverpool
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