Liverpool failed to build on their midweek triumph at Leicester City with a drab home draw with Sunderland.
Steven Gerrard was rested, perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s must-win Champions League clash with Basel, but his side struggled without their captain.
Wes Brown and Connor Wickham wasted decent chances for the well-drilled visitors.
Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling had a late penalty appeal turned down but Sunderland were good value for a draw.
It took the home side 17 minutes to win their first corner and they did not register their first effort on goal until 23 had passed when Adam Lallana combined with ex-Southampton team-mate Rickie Lambert who headed well wide.
Liverpool were missing the prompting and drive of Gerrard, so often their inspiration, and he was sent out to warm up by Rodgers before the half-hour mark to rapturous applause from a previously slumbering crowd.
Things could have got a lot worse when, in the last action of a turgid first half, Brown rose unmarked to meet Sebastian Larsson’s corner. The ex-Manchester United man would have relished a goal in front of the Kop but nodded a glorious chance over the bar.