Liverpool, Everton settle for draw
Everton is likely to finish the top team on Merseyside for a second straight season after drawing 0-0 with Liverpool in a typically frenetic derby match on Sunday, keeping a five-point gap between the local rivals.
The result is a better one for Everton as they remain five points clear of their neighbors in sixth spot and with two games remaining will surely finish higher for a second successive season.
Although the home side created the clearer openings, the visitors could point to a Sylvain Distin header that was disallowed for an infringement from a corner for reasons that remain unclear.
Liverpool started the brighter of the two teams with Daniel Sturridge firing a couple of early efforts wide of the target after good work from Jordan Henderson and Steven Gerrard.
But Everton went closest in the first half when Marouane Fellaini beat Jamie Carragher - playing in his final Merseyside derby - to a Leighton Baines free-kick but saw his shot drift wide of the post.
In general play, the Toffees struggled to get the ball up to Victor Anichebe in attack and had skipper Phil Jagielka to thank for going in level at the interval.
Firstly, the England defender blocked a Gerrard effort and he then repeated the trick with a last-ditch challenge on Philippe Coutinho after Henderson and Sturridge had set things up nicely.
Liverpool came out strongly after the break and Coutinho did brilliantly to thread a pass through to Sturridge only for the Reds striker to unsuccessfully attempt to round an aware Tim Howard.
The home side pushed hard but to find the breakthrough but Everton were cursing their luck at the other end when Distin saw a headed goal disallowed for a mystery infringement.
Nevertheless this seemed to buoy Everton and it became an end-to-end affair with both sides searching for the winner. Gerrard went close with a quarter of an hour remaining after Liverpool seized on a Darron Gibson error. This time Howard was beaten but Distin did well to backtrack and intercept the shot.
With 10 minutes remaining, Daniel Agger headed wide from a Gerrard free-kick, but with both sides tiring there were few clearcut chances in the final moments and the point apiece means David Moyes' men look like the ones who will claim a top-six finish.
The Associated Press was used in this report.