Coventry's well-drilled defence ground out a point against high-flying Liverpool at Anfield to bring a run of three successive defeats to an end. It was a frustrating afternoon for Liverpool's talented youngsters, who found it increasingly difficult to break down Coventry's massed defence, but they could even have suffered the ignominy of defeat, with Coventry looking menacing when they attacked.
Fierce shots from Jamie Redknapp and Stan Collymore in the first half brought fumbles from keeper John Filan, but on both occasions Coventry's luck held. Collymore blasted over after one of a series of brilliant forays down the right by Steve McManaman, while Rob Jones and a miscued defensive header by Paul Williams produced good saves from Filan.
Peter Ndlovu produced Coventry's first threat with a low shot after 31 minutes that flew just wide. Ndlovu then fired another shot just over before finding his range at last in first-half injury time with a shot that brought a diving save out of Liverpool keeper David James.
In the second half Liverpool found themselves increasingly restricted to long-range efforts, Filan growing in confidence as he comfortably handled shots from Redknapp and Robbie Fowler, and saw a string of half-chances soaring high and wide.
Mark Wright was booked for arguing after a foul on Nii Lamptey in the 65th minute as Liverpool's frustration grew and four minutes later Liverpool were reminded of Coventry's threat when John Salako ended a rare spell of pressure by curling a low shot just wide.
A glancing John Barnes header for Liverpool was cleared off the line with Filan for once beaten, but Neil Ruddock was unable to force the loose ball home at the far post.
With 10 minutes remaining, Lamptey should have completed Atkinson's smash-and-grab raid, but wasted a golden chance by spooning Ndlovu's pass over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Liverpool skipper Ian Rush, a 76th minute substitute for the out-of-touch Collymore, slid the ball home after 82 minutes from McManaman's left-wing cross, but an offside flag ended the brief celebrations and summed up the Merseysiders' afternoon.
Coventry boss Ron Atkinson welcomed today's goalless draw against Liverpool at Anfield as "a bonus" -- but felt his side could have snatched all three points.
Smiling ruefully as he reflected on striker Nii Lamptey's late chance which was scooped over the bar, Atkinson said: "I think that's the easiest chance any of my players have ever had at Anfield."
But he paid tribute to the efforts of Lamptey and co-striker Peter Ndlovu and said: "We had a few situations on the counter attack and we looked as though we had a goal in us. But we had to spend a lot of time defending and full marks to them, they stuck at it and defended well. Liverpool are the best team we have played so far and if we had been as sloppy as we have been at other places this year we might have caught a right good hiding. Any result you get at Anfield -- anything less than a defeat -- is a bonus."
Liverpool boss Roy Evans said: "We created enough to win it but you've got to stick it in the back of the net and we didn't end up doing that. We had plenty of balls in the box to get on the end of and didn't do that. On one of those daft days we could even have lost it, which would have been unfair, but you are always going to get a chance in a game and thank God they didn't put it in."
Evans said he was not in a position to judge whether Ian Rush's disallowed goal had been off-side. Rush came on as a substitute for the out-of-form Stan Collymore and Evans said: "It's not always easy to come to a club like this and fit in right away. Stan has some great touches but also some times when he doesn't look so comfortable. As long as he keeps working at it eventually he will be OK."
The Anfield manager said he had had no contact from other clubs about Rush, who is reportedly prepared to listen to transfer offers after finding himself on the subs' bench in recent matches.
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