Liverpool may have to wait a little longer for their Premier League title celebrations after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Everton in the behind closed-doors Merseyside derby on Monday (NZ time).
Juergen Klopp's Liverpool side went into the game, their first competitive match in 103 days, knowing a victory would allow them to secure their first league title in 30 years on Thursday with a win at home to Crystal Palace.
With eight games remaining of the season which has resumed after the novel coronavirus stoppage, Liverpool need five more points to be sure of their first title of the Premier League era, unless Manchester City lose at home to Burnley on Tuesday.
There were few chances in a tight and ultimately disappointing game at Goodison Park but it was Everton, without a win over their local rivals since 2010, who came closest to taking the points.
With 10 minutes remaining Dominic Calvert-Lewin's clever flick from a low Gylfi Sigurdsson cross was pushed out by Liverpool keeper Alisson and Tom Davies' follow-up shot hit the post.
Liverpool, who left Mohamed Salah on the bench, lacked their usual potency in attack with their best opening coming in the 35th minute when Roberto Firmino screwed a shot wide from a promising position while Fabinho went close late on with a curling free-kick
Meanwhile, Chelsea boosted their hopes of securing Champions League football next season as second-half goals from Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud secured a 2-1 comeback win at relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
The result left Chelsea fourth on 51 points from 30 games, five ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, while Villa's hopes of avoiding the drop were dented as they stayed second-bottom on 26 points, one point adrift of the safety zone.
Earlier, record signing Joelinton scored his first Premier League goal since August as Newcastle United secured a convincing 3-0 win over 10-man Sheffield United.