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Liverpool held to 0-0 draw by stubborn Stoke

(AP Photo/Jon Super)

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) Liverpool failed to break down a stubborn Stoke defense in a lackluster 0-0 draw on Sunday, maintaining the team's poor start to the Premier League season and its dreadful record at Anfield in 2012.

The Reds were attempting to build on their first win of the campaign, at Norwich last weekend, and struck the post through young winger Raheem Sterling and defender Martin Skrtel in a dominant second-half display.

But they were largely left frustrated by Stoke's heavy-handed tactics, especially in a dire first half, and lie in 14th place with just six points from seven matches.

Just as woeful is its home record this calendar year, which has seen the team win just two matches at Anfield.

"They are a bunch of big men who make it difficult for you and there is no right or wrong way to play football," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said of Stoke. "What I was proud of is our young guys stood up to that.

"I am obviously disappointed we didn't win the game but I thought the attitude and application of the players was terrific. As the game went on, we got into good areas but it was just that final touch, that final decision at the end of it (that) didn't allow us to score."

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was Liverpool's dangerman but wasted his best chance when he shot wide in the 59th after a mazy run.

Suarez, who scored a hat trick in the 5-2 win at Norwich, is never far from controversy and he was at the center of more allegations of diving here following an incident in the second half when he fell threatrically.

"Retrospective decisions are made on a Monday and Luis Suarez should be punished," said Stoke manager Tony Pulis, whose team is 12th. "The one in the penalty box was an embarrassment and how he wasn't booked I don't know."

Liverpool is already 13 points behind league leader Chelsea at this early stage.

"It has been nearly a year since the club has won consecutive Premier League games so to still get the backing of the supporters with that type of record, there's not many clubs would give that," Rodgers said. "The players gave the club everything today . there were a lot of real positives and it was our first clean sheet of the season which is important."

Updated October 7, 2012

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