Liverpool v Everton
Everton were forced to settle for a point at Anfield with European football now looking a big ask.
After wins for Tottenham and Arsenal the previous day, the Blues new a first away win over their local rivals in 14 years would keep their top five dream alive.
But Marouane Fellaini's first half effort was as close as The Toffees came, with the real controversy coming when a second half 'goal' from Sylvain Distin was disallowed.
Before the game the Kop displayed a mosaic thanking Everton for their solidarity regarding the Hillsborough tragedy.
After that, it was down to business.
A fast-paced opening period bore plenty of the hallmarks of a traditional derby clash, with tackles flying in and both sets of fans in full voice.
Liverpool had the better of the early exchanges with Daniel Sturridge's left foot shot from the edge of the box trundling meekly wide and Distin clearing from in front of Stewart Downing inside 10 minutes.
Shortly after Steven Pienaar was a couple of yards wide with Everton's first effort of the game.
Then Fellaini went closest to breaking the deadlock 17 minutes in when he extended his right leg and poked Leighton Baines' centre an agonising couple of inches wide.
Sturridge and Pienaar traded long range shots off target before Liverpool forced a series of of chances.
Just after the half hour mark Phil Jagielka superbly blocked Steven Gerrard's low drive on his own six-yard line. When Fellaini fouled the Reds skipper in the aftermath he stepped up to curl a free kick just wide.
Distin was the next Everton defender to provide a vital last ditch intervention when he snuffed out Jordan Henderson's run with more brilliant defending ensuing when Seamus Coleman then Jagielka provided sprawling last-ditch blocks to deny Sturridge then Philippe Coutinho five minutes before the break.
Darron Gibson's 30 yard free-kick was the Blues' only reply but it was never troubling Pepe Reina.
At the start of the second half the lively Sturridge wriggled free but Howard rushed from his goal, timing his intervention perfectly and keeping his composure to quell the danger.
The home side were in charge at that stage but it was Everton who had the ball in the net in the 56th minute when Distin headed in Baines' corner - only for referee Michael Oliver to rule it out. There was no obvious offence and Anichebe earned a yellow card for his protestations.
Both sides were pushing for a winning goal with Coutinho, Leon Osman and Fellaini all having half-sights at goal.
And with just over a quarter of an hour to go, Gerrard rushed onto Sturridge's pass and skipped past Howard only for Distin to intervene and put his goal-bound effort out for a corner.
Daniel Agger glanced a free-kick wide as the home side launched a second half salvo.
But Everton ended the stronger with Anichebe's deflected effort looping high and causing late concern before a succession of free-kicks tested Reina.