LONDON, Dec 31: Manchester City and Liverpool cancelled each other out in a 0-0 draw at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday, a result that left the top positions in the Premier League unchanged.

Earlier, Blackburn Rovers won 2-1 at bottom club Derby County who look doomed to relegation after being promoted at the start of the season.

Liverpool had far more scoring chances against City but the closest they came to a goal was in the 86th minute when a header by Dirk Kuyt was cleared off the City goalline.

Arsenal, who won 4-1 at Everton, lead the standings with 47 points, followed by Manchester United (45) following United’s 2-1 shock loss at West Ham United.

Playing in front of a record crowd of 47,321 at the City of Manchester Stadium, Liverpool were the more adventurous side and Fernando Torres was a constant threat to the home defence, going close twice immediately after halftime.

City, who had won their opening nine home league matches before drawing 2-2 with Blackburn on Wednesday, seemed content to soak up the pressure with skipper Richard Dunne outstanding at the back.

Blackburn condemned Derby to a sixth successive home league defeat and stretched their run without a win to 14 matches.

Derby weathered some early Blackburn pressure including a disallowed goal by Roque Santa Cruz before taking an unexpected lead through Matt Oakley after 27 minutes.

The game turned around 10 minutes later, though, with Steven Howard spurning the opportunity to give Derby a 2-0 lead when Brad Friedel saved his 38th-minute penalty.

A minute later Santa Cruz, scorer of Blackburn’s previous seven goals, equalised with a simple tap in after goalkeeper Lewis Price could only parry a Benni McCarthy shot.

Blackburn went ahead in the 42nd minute when the impressive David Bentley scored what proved to be the winner with a low 25-metre drive.

Derby remain bottom with just seven points from 20 matches, eight points behind Fulham and nine behind Wigan Athletic.—Reuters

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