Liverpool and Chelsea’s struggles this season continued in a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp and Graham Potter’s respective sides both failed to take control of a match that was there for the taking and they now remain mired in mid-table.
Chelsea had the ball in the net after just three minutes. Conor Gallagher’s corner was knocked back by Benoit Badiashile and diverted against the post by Thiago Silva, with Kai Havertz sweeping in the rebound. But the German was judged to have been offside when the Brazilian struck the ball and the goal was chalked off.
Down the other end, Mohamed Salah was released by Stefan Bajcetic and teed up Cody Gakpo, but the winter signing was leaning back and his strike sailed harmlessly over into the Anfield Road stand.
Gakpo again fired over after robbing Lewis Hall of possession on the edge of his own box a short time later as his frustrating first half continued.
Chelsea were beginning to find holes in the Liverpool defence. A cutback from Havertz was pulled just behind Mason Mount before a cross from Hall went right through the Reds’ six-yard box without finding a telling touch.
A smart save from Alisson managed to keep Badiashile’s header from a wicked Hakim Ziyech free-kick out just after the half-hour mark.
Liverpool’s attempts to open the scoring continued with Thiago’s deflected shot through a crowd of bodies being easily held by Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had very little to do in the game’s opening stages.
Harvey Elliott’s teasing cross was headed just past the post by Silva with Gakpo waiting to nod in as the hosts cranked up the pressure at the end of a drab first half.
Liverpool came flying out of the blocks after the break, with Ibrahima Konate nearly lobbing Kepa from the halfway line and Naby Keita seeing a volley blocked by Silva.
Gakpo was continuing to struggle to get efforts on target, heading over from close range after a clever ball across from Bajcetic following a deep free-kick.
Ziyech managed to dribble his way through towards the Liverpool box from around 40 yards but was unable to keep the shot at the end of his mazy run down, while Potter chose to introduce new signing Mykhailo Mudryk.
The Ukrainian winger nearly scored a dream goal on his debut after weaving his way past three Liverpool defenders, only for his effort to hit the side-netting instead of the inside of it.
Darwin Nunez came off the bench and nearly grabbed an assist when he won the ball high up the pitch and laid it off to Gakpo, who swivelled neatly but his strike was a poor one and Kepa was able to hold it with ease.
Mudryk spurned another glorious chance to open his Chelsea account when he met Ziyech’s deep cross, but instead of shooting tried to bring it down and the ball trickled behind.
Deep into five minutes of stoppage time, Andy Robertson made an excellent last-ditch challenge to keep out Carney Chukwuemeka and the spoils were shared.
GK: Alisson – 6/10 – Made some decent saves and wasn’t at fault for a goal, so an improvement on recent weeks.
RB: James Milner – 3/10 – Crossing was wayward, caught in possession on occasion and tried his luck trying to win free-kicks. Made to look a fool by Mudryk after his introduction. Looked every bit of his 37 years of age.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – 5/10 – Not quite the commanding presence Liverpool need just yet.
CB: Joe Gomez – 5/10 – Distribution was a little sloppy while a lot of Chelsea attacks were built down his side.
LB: Andy Robertson – 7/10 – Showed great energy and tucked into a struggling midfield to help out.
DM: Stefan Bajcetic – 6/10 – Did not seem fazed on his first Premier League start.
CM: Naby Keita – 5/10 – Unadventurous with possession, didn’t provide a lot out of it.
CM: Thiago – 5/10 – Offered little with the ball but swept up very well, ironically.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 4/10 – Chelsea knew exactly how to nullify Salah, who was on the periphery of the game and whose touch seemed off.
CF: Cody Gakpo – 4/10 – Snuffed up physically, which isn’t great for some who is 6’2. Ball-striking technique also seemed off.
LW: Harvey Elliott – 5/10 – Brought technical excellence but little in way of penetration.
Darwin Nunez (63′ for Keita) – 6/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold (72′ for Milner) – 5/10
Jordan Henderson (82′ for Elliott) – N/A
Fabinho (82′ for Bajcetic) – N/A
Curtis Jones (82′ for Gakpo) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 5/10 – This was a real chance for Liverpool to breathe fresh life into their season, but now it’s easy to see why they’re struggling.
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6/10 – Kept Liverpool out with some routine saves. Sometimes struggled on crosses.
RB: Trevoh Chalobah – 6/10 – Barely troubled by Elliott, though had to be on his toes to duel with Nunez.
CB: Thiago Silva – 8/10 – Seemed to win every duel on the floor and in the air.
CB: Benoit Badiashile – 7/10 – His physicality helped gobble up Gakpo.
LB: Marc Cucurella – 6/10 – Did well to keep Salah quiet.
DM: Jorginho – 5/10 – Provided little control in a stinking midfield battle.
CM: Conor Gallagher – 5/10 – Energetic and got into good positions but wasn’t always useful.
CM: Lewis Hall – 6/10 – Showed great determination and courage, though was a little sloppy if brave in possession.
RW: Hakim Ziyech – 6/10 – Created plenty of chances and chaos. Should probably have hit some shots with more conviction given the space he was sometimes afforded.
CF: Kai Havertz – 5/10 – Dropped deep to link play but was scarcely a direct threat after his disallowed goal.
LW: Mason Mount – 5/10 – Worked hard and was creative when he had the ball, but those moments were few and far between.
Mykhailo Mudryk (55′ for Hall) – 7/10
Cesar Azpilicueta (82′ for Chalobah) – N/A
Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang (82′ for Havertz) – N/A
Carney Chukwuemeka (82′ for Mount) – N/A
Graham Potter – 6/10 – Showed some decent signs of progress but his side again looked a little toothless.