Liverpool and Tottenham played out a goalless draw in Baltimore on Saturday evening as the Anfield club concluded a winless U.S. tour.
Both sides lined up with a blend of experience and youth, notably employing an academy graduate each up front in Adam Morgan, scorer of Liverpool's solitary goal in the 1-1 draw with Toronto, and Harry Kane, leading the attack for Spurs in Jermain Defoe's absense due to a family bereavement.
The two teams traded half-chances in the opening five minutes as Gareth Bale first picked off a loose pass from kickoff but saw his shot blocked for a corner, before Stewart Downing's dangerous cross from the right just drifted wide of Brad Friedel's far post.
The tempo of the game in the early stages owed somewhat to the sweltering conditions in the M&T Bank Stadium and looked a far cry from the speed of the Premier League.
After 15 minutes of gentle jousting, Tottenham fashioned the first genuine chance as Gylfi Sigurdsson took charge of some promising play on the right to thread a through ball to Kane. His touch, turn and shot showed good intuition but the 18-year-old's low drive zipped just beyond Brad Jones' far post.
There followed a worrying moment for Andre Villas-Boas as Charlie Adam tripped Bale on the halfway line leading to lengthy treatment for the Welshman. It would have served as a reminder of the tackle that ended the winger's season in 2011 but fortunately in this case, he was able to run it off.
Liverpool had so far created a decent chance through Jonjo Shelvey but on the 27th minute had its first clear-cut opportunity as Jay Spearing clipped a 20 yard pass over the Spurs defense for Morgan to latch onto. The youngster timed his run to stay onside, bore down on goal and fired a left-footed shot toward the near post only for Friedel to turn it behind for a corner.
Tottenham retaliated and came closest to scoring as Bale's cross from the left saw Kane get the merest of touches on the ball diverting it into Aaron Lennon's path. But the winger struggled to fully commit himself to the finish, tapping the ball onto the post with an empty net in front of him.
And Bale ended the half with another good cross, this time met by Sigurdsson but well held by Jones.
The break saw both coaches make a raft of substitutions, with Bale succumbing to injury and making way for Andros Townsend while Brendan Rodgers rotated his team, introducing Raheem Sterling and Nathan Eccleston in attacking positions.
It had an immediate effect and the pace of the new forward line gave William Gallas and Younes Kaboul something else to worry about. But it was Martin Skrtel who recognized an opportunity, striding out of defence before shooting from 20 yards, drawing the save from Friedel.
By the hour mark, the substitute benches were utilized again, as Rodgers handed Fabio Borini his debut as well as welcoming Lucas Leiva into midfield.
For Spurs, Tom Huddlestone entered the field and made an immediate impact, caressing a 30-yard pass over the top of the Liverpool defense for the galloping Gallas, but he was foiled by Peter Gulacsi.
By the 80th minute there hadn't been a further chance of note and even when Kane was presented with a chance from a 25-yard free kick, his effort was hit well over the bar.
Liverpool did find some joy down its right flank with Sterling up against the out-of-position Sebastian Bassong and although he found a way in behind the Cameroon international, the 17-year-old's final ball just lacked precision for the waiting Borini.
It was as close as Rodgers' team came to breaking the deadlock and would prove to be the last good chance of the game.
The match marks the final game of Liverpool's U.S. tour as the club begins its Europa League campaign against FC Gomel of Belarus on Thursday. Tottenham concludes it tour with a match against New York Red Bulls early on Wednesday.
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- Gareth Bale
- Harry Kane
- Brad Friedel