Despite creating a catalogue of chances, Liverpool FC were held to a goalless draw by Galatasaray SK in their UEFA Champions League Group B encounter at Anfield. Goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón was the hero for the visitors as he made five fine saves to deny Dietmar Hamann and John Arne Riise.
Hamann impressed at the heart of the Liverpool midfield and was his side's main creative force. The German international went close to opening the scoring as early as the eighth minute but his 30-metre free-kick flashed centimetres wide of the Galatasaray goal. At the other end, Chris Kirkland, making his European debut in goal for the hosts, dived full-length to tip Berkant Göktan's brilliant 30-metre volley around the post.
Ümit Karan had the ball in the net for Galatasaray but his clever lob was ruled out for offside, before Mondragón spent the remainder of the first half fighting single-handedly to deny Liverpool an opening goal. Riise's thunderous free-kick was palmed to safety by the Colombian international, before he somehow tipped Hamann's curling effort on to the post. The 30-year-old punched another Hamann strike behind for a corner in the 41st minute and then smothered the midfield player's 25-metre shot around the post. Victoria denied Emile Heskey with a goalline clearance from the resulting corner.
Much was expected of Michael Owen but the defensive duo of Bülent Korkmaz and Emre Asik marshalled the England striker expertly. Ümit, Galatasaray's lone forward, held the ball up well but was limited to a handful of half-chances including a volley that almost caught Kirkland out.
The second half saw Danny Murphy go close with a powerful drive before Heskey crashed a header against the crossbar in the 63rd minute. Murphy then wasted Liverpool's best chance when he dragged a shot wide from eight metres and Owen fluffed an effort into the arms of Mondragón in stoppage time.
Steven Gerrard was carried off with a suspected thigh injury in the second half, while Galatasaray's Murat Sözkesen also left the pitch with an injury. Ümit's 57th-minute yellow card, for a foul on defender Abel Xavier, means the striker will now miss next week's return match in Istanbul on Matchday Ten.
Galatasaray defended resolutely and will be delighted with a point from a difficult away fixture, while Liverpool will know that the result will make qualification from a group that also contains FC Barcelona and AS Roma a much tougher task.