Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola were both left satisfied after a goalless draw left their sides level on points at the top of the Premier League, BBC reports.
Riyad Mahrez wasted a glorious opportunity to send them clear when he missed a late penalty.
It handed the Reds a reprieve as both sides extended their unbeaten league starts to eight games, with City now top on goal difference from Chelsea and Liverpool. All three are level on 20 points.
City felt they were denied two earlier penalties when Dejan Lovren bundled over Sergio Aguero and Van Dijk handled in an aerial challenge – referee Martin Atkinson waving away the first appeal and awarding a foul for a push by Fernandinho in the second incident.
Mahrez also squandered City’s other big chance in a game that failed to live up to expectations, dragging an effort wide, while keeper Ederson was virtually unemployed against Liverpool’s normally potent attack.
Liverpool’s attacking trident of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were unable to cause the damage they inflicted on City in last season’s Champions League quarter-final, while Guardiola’s intention was clearly to draw the early fire from Klopp’s side.
City had no intention of being drawn into the sort of Anfield battles that saw them over-run last season and led to suggestions that Klopp’s intense, pressing style was one that Guardiola could not master.
Liverpool ran out of steam and ideas after the first 10 minutes, while City were content to slow matters down to throw cold water over the Anfield atmosphere – and in that respect it was highly effective as the home side, so irresistible in attack last season, barely troubled Ederson.
Klopp’s side have now gone four games without a win after a flawless start to the season and the influence James Milner has on Liverpool was illustrated by their lack of direction after he went off injured in the
first half.
The Spaniard, albeit a manager who always seeks victory, might have just settled for a point before kick-off, but he will be bitterly frustrated at how Mahrez wildly squandered that opportunity to end City’s wretched run at Anfield.
Mahrez was hardly the natural choice to take the penalty, having missed three of his past five, and Gabriel Jesus seemed more than willing to step forward. It was an ill-judged decision as he sent his effort well over Alisson’s bar and into the Anfield Road Stand.
City have lost on three occasions at Anfield under Guardiola so this is, to some extent, a satisfactory result, but the disappointment will come from the knowledge that it could have been even better.
Guardiola’s side have previously been ripped apart on two occasions on this ground, but here they were composed, competitive and kept Liverpool’s attack well under control, with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte producing two fine individual performances.
After the international break, Manchester City return to Premier League action with a home game against Burnley on Saturday, 20 October.
On the same day, Liverpool face a trip to Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium in the evening kick-off.