The 23-year-old produced an inspired display to frustrate the visitors and keep a clean sheet in his side's increasingly desperate bid for Premier League survival.

It was his first appearance since November but there were no signs of rustiness as he produced save after save, and Adkins was grateful for the superb display.

"All the headlines tomorrow will be about Alex McCarthy, won't they? He's put a fantastic goalkeeping display in. He's been out injured for a long period of time," Adkins said.

"I'm really pleased with the players, their attitude and their application. I thought it was a good game, but we've kept a clean sheet and it's fair to say Alex has pulled off some world-class saves today."

Adkins would have been hoping for better than a draw, however, as his team still sit bottom and seven points from safety.

"We know where we are in the division and we need to get the three points," he said.

"That's why we talk about Alex McCarthy's saves and we also talk about Pepe Reina's save from Jobi McAnuff. If that one had gone in, who knows what the story could've been.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, admitted his side were frustrated by an outstanding goalkeeping display, and was quick to praise McCarthy, who he worked with closely during his days at the Madejski Stadium.

"I don't think our players could have done any more," Rodgers said. "Some of our interchange and creativity today was outstanding.

"Some days you say you have days like that where the 'keeper saves one or two, but we had 14 shots on target today, away from home.

"I know young Alex very well. He's genuinely a top, top 'keeper but to perform like that having been out for so long was an absolutely staggering performance.

"We're frustrated, of course, because some of our play was very, very good. We had to defend the counterattack a couple of times, which is natural when you have the ball and you're on the front foot. We mustn't forget Pepe Reina made a great save as well."