Fernando Torres taken off as Liverpool fall further behind in race for fourth spot.
|Nani contemplates two dropped points at Ewood Park [GALLO/GETTY]|
Manchester United suffered a third major blow in eight days when a 0-0 draw at Blackburn Rovers damaged their hopes of claiming a fourth consecutive English Premier League title.
United, who went out of the European Champions League on away goals to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, failed to break down a resolute Rovers side which means they remain stuck behind leaders Chelsea having played a game more.
Chelsea have 74 points from 33 games while United, whose 2-1 defeat at home to Chelsea last weekend cost them top spot, have 73 from 34 games. Arsenal are still in the hunt with 71 points from 33 games.
Liverpool’s hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League look all but over after they were held 0-0 at home by fellow Europa League semi-finalists Fulham at Anfield on Sunday.
In the day’s third goalless stalemate Wolverhampton Wanderers eked out another point in their bid to retain their top-flight status, drawing at home to Stoke City.
United manager Alex Ferguson made six changes to the side who started the ultimately fruitless 3-2 win at home to Bayern with Dimitar Berbatov and Federico Macheda up front and Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes also included.
However, with leading scorer Wayne Rooney missing after re-injuring his ankle on Wednesday, United were toothless as for the seventh time this season they dropped vital league points in the match following a midweek Champions League fixture.
|Results & fixtures|
Saturday April 10
Sunday April 11
“You start looking now for other results to go for you. We didn’t get the rub of the green in the final third and our selection wasn’t good,” United assistant manager Mike Phelan told BBC Sport.
“We cannot rely on Wayne, he is having an exceptional season, but this is Manchester United and other players have to show why we bought them to this club in the first place.”
Rovers’ Paul Robinson was the busier of the two goalkeepers, the pick of his saves being the one that denied Antonio Valencia early in the second half, but the home side looked comfortable for most of a scrappy encounter.
United’s problems increased late on with defender and England World Cup captain Rio Ferdinand dislocating a finger and then limping through the final minutes with what looked like a groin injury.
Spain striker Fernando Torres was missing for Liverpool as they were held at home by Fulham – a result that leaves them in sixth place, two points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who have two games in hand.
Manchester City, favourites to break into the top four, went four points clear of Tottenham when they beat Birmingham City 5-1 later on Sunday.