Liverpool endured a frustrating afternoon at Anfield as Stoke's renowned battlers fought their way to a goalless draw.
A stalwart defensive display made it five draws in seven matches by Tony Pulis' men, while a point will be scant consolation for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
It could have been worse for Liverpool, who twice almost pushed the self-destruct button, but ultimately this will be viewed as another disappointment in a stop-start season.
Stoke had clearly anticipated Reds goalkepper Jose Reina would refuse to launch the ball long, and it was Nuri Sahin who conceded possession, giving Charlie Adam a chance to humiliate his former employees. The Scot advanced toward goal, but Reina was quickly out of the blocks to narrow the angle and parry the shot.
Liverpool committed the same mistake again soon afterward. This time it was Steven Nzonzi snapping into the challenge as another Reina pass went awry and Michael Kightly tried to flight the ball into the goal, but the keeper recovered to turn it over at full stretch.
A terrific combination between Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez was just thwarted and Gerrard then picked out Glen Johnson's run with a pass of arrow-like precision, but his England team-mate, on the run, could not keep the shot down.
A run of genuine brilliance by Suarez, the most gifted person on the pitch by some distance, nearly brought a superb goal, but he just bent the shot wide of the angle.
Raheem Sterling was presented with perhaps Liverpool's best opportunity after Daniel Agger's driving run, but he tried to drill it inside the near post and only found the side-netting.
Suarez then showed the best and worst of his talents in the space of a couple of minutes, first with a dive in the penalty area that was embarrassingly obvious, then bursting down the right and powering a shot against the outside of a post from a tight angle.
Martin Skrtel nearly snatched a winner at the end when he hooked Joe Cole's ball back across goal, but it dropped, agonisingly for Liverpool, the wrong side of the post.