Liverpool held to 0-0 draw by Stoke
Updated: January 14, 2012, 12:20
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LIVERPOOL, England(AP) Liverpool again struggled to score at home on Saturday, being held 0-0 by Stoke for its seventh draw at Anfield in the Premier League this season.
Dirk Kuyt missed two headed chances in the final 15 minutes as Liverpool pressed hard for a winner, but the stubborn Stoke defense was able to hold on for a point.
Andy Carroll and Craig Bellamy came on in the second half as manager Kenny Dalglish tried to boost the hosts' attack, but and Carroll had two penalty appeals turned down in the area.
Liverpool remains undefeated at home this season, but has scored just 14 goals in 11 games at Anfield.
The hosts lined up in the same 3-4-2-1 formation with which they beat Stoke at home last season, but with the personnel different - including summer signing Sebastian Coates being given his first Premier League start - they struggled to adjust.
Kuyt, without a league goal since the final day of last season, lacked support up front and while Glen Johnson, on the right of midfield, roamed everywhere on the opposite flank Jose Enrique got forward less than he did playing at left back.
The hosts created little in a dull first half, when the visitors actually had the best chance from a quick counterattack but Matt Etherington's shot from outside the penalty area was easily saved by Jose Reina.
Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson all had shots from distance but only the latter's troubled goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.
For all their struggles at home this season, it was easily the worst 45 minutes seen at Anfield since Dalglish returned as manager a year ago.
There was a slight improvement after the break but not to the standard expected of a side with top-four ambitions.
Johnson twice cut in from the right to shoot with his left foot, having his first blocked and dragging the second wide, and when Enrique finally got forward his cross from the left byline was too close to Sorensen.
Carroll made his entrance in the 59th minute to replace Downing and immediately caused a problem with Robert Huth putting him in a headlock from Gerrard's corner, but it went unpunished by referee Howard Webb.
The England international's next intervention was less helpful, however, blocking Henderson's goalbound volley from Enrique's cross.
Kuyt then squandered Liverpool's best chances when he headed wide Enrique's deflected cross before nodding into the side-netting at the far post.