Riyad Mahrez blazed over an 85th-minute penalty as Manchester City and Liverpool played out a disappointing draw at Anfield.
It was a pale reflection of last season’s encounter when the Reds ended City’s unbeaten start to the season in a 4-3 classic.
This time, chances were at a premium, with neither keeper seriously tested at all.
The game’s big talking point came with five minutes to go after Virgil van Dijk brought down Leroy Sane. Algerian Mahrez stepped up after Sergio Aguero had been substituted, but spectacularly fired over.
Liverpool made just one change following the trip to Naples on Wednesday, Croatian defender Dejan Lovren returning at the expense of Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Joe Gomez moving to right back.
City meanwhile made four changes, John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva returning in place of Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane.
The game began at an electric pace. A raucous crowd spurred the reds on as they engaged in a high press from the off, starving City of the ball in a frenetic opening 10 minutes.
That start brought few serious openings, however, with only a half chance for Mohamed Salah driven into the side netting.
As the game settled into a more pedestrian pace, both sides seemed cagey and unwilling to take risks. After half an hour, Salah’s off-target effort remained the only shot from either side.
City were denied a strong penalty claim shortly after when Sergio Aguero was shunted from behind by the returning Dejan Lovren. Martin Atkinson waved away the Mancunian appeals, despite Pep Guardiola’s protestations.
Liverpool lost James Milner to injury on the 29-minute mark, replacing the tireless Englishman with Naby Keita, who was not risked from the start following a back spasm suffered in the Champions League loss to Napoli in midweek.
The first half stuttered to a close with no side firmly on top, though
City began to dominate on the hour mark, exploiting ever more frequent errors in the Liverpool midfield. The introduction of Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane for Aguero and Sterling injected extra energy through the side, though Alisson was never called into serious action.
Riyad Mahrez spurned City’s best chance midway through the second half, driving wide when running through down the left.
Liverpool’s front three continued to see less of the ball as the game went on, Mane and Salah expertly marshalled by Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy, while Roberto Firmino was hauled off with twenty minutes to go and replaced by Daniel Sturridge.
The game remained cagey until five minutes to go when Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have brought down Leroy Sane after the German was sent clear in the box on the left.
Replays suggest it was the correct decision, but Riyad Mahrez inexplicably smashed the spot-kick over, having demanded he take the penalty ahead of substitute Gabriel Jesus.
Both sides remain unbeaten at the top of the table, level on points with Chelsea following the Blues’ 3-0 win over Southampton.