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Liverpool and Charlton didn't harm each other (0-0)

The match against Charlton ended 0-0. Liverpool hold to the second place, at least until Manchester United play Wigan tomorrow. Despite it, the same old deficiencies continued to undermine their cause.

Still, another shuffle of Rafael Benitez's forwards failed to yield the haul of goals that Liverpool's superiority perhaps merited. They last managed more than one goal in a Premiership encounter more than two months ago and will be aware that they require at least two goals to beat Benfica in Wednesday's Champions League tie.

Thomas Myhre, the Charlton goalkeeper, played his part in Liverpool's exasperation with a series of saves. The rest of Charlton's defence, reinforced from midfield, was resolute throughout.

In fact, the core problem for Liverpool remains their lack of a natural predator, or at any rate one in his prime. Robbie Fowler was woefully ineffectual until the last minute, when he found the net just to be flagged offside. Peter Crouch was scarcely more impressive, squandering the best chance of the game.

It's good to say that Steven Gerrard toiled manfully, but sometimes even his prodigious talent and application are not enough.

A snowstorm before the start left Fernando Morientes expressing bewilderment to his compatriots, but then he was able to snuggle up on the bench. Fowler was restored, alongside Crouch, with Djibril Cisse on the right, liberating Gerrard to play his natural role in central midfield.

Actually Harry Kewell, exerting influence from the left, produced the first threat on either goal. His left foot arrowed the ball just outside the far post. Charlton allowed Fowler within shooting range. Again, the attempt flew just wide.

Myhre was at last forced to make a save by one of his own colleagues. Hermann Hreidarsson intercepted Gerrard's cross and the goalkeeper had to move smartly to his left to keep the deflection out of his goal.

Kewell made Myhre work again with a header from Gerrard's umpteenth set-piece delivery. The England player was involved in most of Liverpool's more menacing play. You suspect he made the half-time tea as well.

We must keep in mind that Charlton barely ventured out of their own territory in the first half but they reached the interval unscathed after Myhre pulled off two athletic saves from Cisse and Crouch was too slow to capitalise on a half-chance.

John Arne Riise replaced Sami Hyypia for the second half and soon lined up one of his familiar long-range blasts, though without the accuracy. Cisse presented Crouch with the clearest opportunity, after 55 minutes, but the England striker cushioned his header back to the goalkeeper.

In the end, Fowler wheeled away in celebration believing he had scored his first goal but he turned to see the linesman's flag.
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