Liverpool and Chelsea scrapped and haggled as laborious as they may on Saturday earlier than finally settling for a 0-0 draw at Anfield that does little for both workforce’s faint hopes of a top-four end within the Premier League this season.
Kai Havertz thought he’d scored inside three minutes after Liverpool did not defend a nook, however VAR overturned the trouble for offside and thus the sport settled again right into a irritating rhythm.
It was a day of notable moments — Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp celebrating his one thousandth recreation as supervisor, the English high flight (together with Premier League) reportedly staging its 50,000th fixture and a debut for much-ballyhooed large man Mykhailo Mudryk — however the match itself is not going to go down within the historical past books as the 2 sides fought to a irritating stalemate.
The outcome leads each groups firmly caught in mid-table, with Liverpool in eighth and Chelsea in tenth forward of the weekend’s different fixtures, separated solely by objective distinction on 29 factors with Brentford between them, and Chelsea having performed a recreation greater than each. Again to the drafting board, then.
1. Two struggling groups will be thankful for the shared factors
No matter these two groups have been hoping to get out of Saturday, they clearly did not get it, although each Klopp and Chelsea boss Graham Potter will pressure and stretch to extract the positives from a goalless recreation that does not harm their respective missions to get again into the European locations earlier than it is too late (do not inform them it already could be too late, although).
For Liverpool, they did not lose! They conceded a objective that was disallowed! Phew! They regarded higher as soon as Darwin Nunez joined Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah in assault, Trent Alexander-Arnold did not make a vital mistake, and Alisson once more was sturdy and stoic to disclaim Chelsea’s finest scoring possibilities. With so many accidents, Stefan Bajcetic once more bought the nod in central midfield and confirmed he has one thing to supply on the senior degree, whereas Naby Keita‘s poor passing was offset by a vigorous show of urgent and persistence to maintain Chelsea’s midfield off steadiness.
For Chelsea, it is one other well-earned level away from house as Potter continues to shuffle a workforce and squad in transition. Thiago Silva anchored the protection properly with Benoit Badiashile, Jorginho used each ounce of his veteran nous to disrupt the hosts’ makes an attempt at possession, and Hakim Ziyech made probably the most of his wing-back exile to use strain on a Liverpool protection that is constructed on sand.
Whereas each side can declare some extent of victory from a draw that was admittedly uninteresting for lengthy stretches, it should additionally go away them annoyed. For as unhealthy as this manner, each Liverpool and Chelsea might have finagled all three factors: Havertz had a objective disallowed within the third minute for offside (replays confirmed it to be a good name), Gakpo wasted a number of huge possibilities and Nunez additionally will know he ought to have transformed late on. Chelsea debutant Mikhailo Mudryk additionally gave the house aspect some nervous moments with two far-post efforts shanked into the aspect netting after whizzing right into a promising place.
2. If Klopp is to get one other 1,000 video games as a supervisor, he’ll have to reinvent issues
Liverpool followers may have hoped that their talismanic supervisor might get three factors in such a milestone recreation, however his decisions and his ways once more failed to provide the specified outcome. Is it time for a basic change in how they play?
With much less emphasis on urgent from the entrance, a extra conventional center-forward in Nunez and loads of senior gamers injured (Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz) or woefully off form (Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Curtis Jones), one thing should give. However what, precisely?
The primary half noticed Liverpool create only one scoring probability — a deflected Thiago shot that nestled gently in Kepa Arrizabalaga‘s fingers — and, regardless of a livid opening 10 minutes of the second half through which they hustled with tempo and nastiness, issues quickly regressed to the imply.
Waves of possession resulted in half-chances or rushed first-time pictures that troubled Row Z slightly than the Chelsea goalkeeper. Salah reduce a annoyed determine on the suitable given how little he was in a position to get the ball in area to run on the Blues protection, Keita performed extra passes to the opposition regardless of protecting each inch of the Anfield pitch, and the fan frustration was unattainable to disregard by the ultimate whistle.
To Klopp’s credit score, he is clearly looking for the suitable motivational lever to tug with a squad sorely missing good vibes — he began eight of the XI that received 1-0 at Wolves in midweek, maybe a reward for getting Liverpool’s first good results of 2023 — although it is not working. At the very least not accurately. A formation change, longer run of video games with Nunez up entrance, Alexander-Arnold in midfield, Salah in midfield? One thing’s bought to present, and rapidly: they face Brighton & Hove Albion away, Everton at house and Newcastle United away within the league earlier than a stomach-sinking Champions League date with Actual Madrid.
3. Chelsea’s new signings trace at a brighter second half of the season
Transfers and signings has turn into a little bit of a meme with regards to Todd Boehly and his strategies. From comically lengthy contracts to seemingly shopping for each winger linked with a Premier League transfer, Chelsea’s squad lately has extra of a “Getting To Know You” really feel than one in every of a well-honed collective. However there may be some technique to the insanity as a pair of these new arrivals specifically, Badiashile (signing No. 13 of 2022-23) and Mudryk (signing No. 15), appear greater than able to hauling the Blues again up the desk.
A lot had been written about Mudryk’s tempo previous to his arrival at Chelsea, however Saturday noticed him display why he was such a coveted switch goal this winter. In a breezy 40-minute cameo on the left wing, the Ukraine worldwide gave James Milner nightmares (and a deserved yellow card) whereas his means to hurry into menacing positions on the far publish might have resulted in a few objectives. These objectives will include higher management, and possibly higher timing, nevertheless it was a promising debut for a participant who has loads of hype to reside as much as.
In the meantime, Badiashile is a pure match alongside Thiago Silva within the coronary heart of the Blues protection. He gave Gakpo little room round objective, at all times served as the ultimate, insurmountable impediment for uncommon Salah forays into the field, and had sharper distribution of the ball than nearly everybody else on the pitch. His presence was sufficiently irritating for a Liverpool aspect that’s nonetheless looking for some momentum.
For now, we are able to chuckle at the truth that many of those Chelsea gamers have barely completed the meet-and-greet, however there’s loads of expertise within the squad, tons of choices in assault and a supervisor in Graham Potter who might but determine it out. Chelsea followers simply have to hope Boehly is not as jumpy along with his coaches as he’s along with his transfers.
Greatest and worst performers
Thiago Silva, DF, Chelsea: He could be up there in age, however the veteran defender was so typically the calming presence to nullify what little Liverpool created.
Thiago, MF, Liverpool: He is at all times the liveliest participant in Liverpool’s midfield and Saturday noticed him actually be the one one in pink making an attempt to create issues when confronted with a packed Chelsea protection.
Hakim Ziyech, FW, Chelsea: Had one good run past a string of damaged tackles that deserved a objective, however the Morocco worldwide was aggressive and all too desperate to run at Liverpool all through.
Naby Keita, MF, Liverpool: plenty of hustle, little finish product. Misplayed sufficient passes to frustrate the house followers.
Kai Havertz, FW, Chelsea: Remoted up entrance all through and did not get many alternatives to affect the sport or its end result after his early objective was disallowed by VAR.
Cody Gakpo, FW, Liverpool: Was concerned in a few of Liverpool’s brighter moments, however must translate his sharp ending from the Eredivisie and the World Cup to his new membership. Snatched at pictures, giving followers a memento slightly than a objective to rejoice.
Highlights and notable moments
Earlier than the match, Liverpool hailed their much-loved boss Klopp as he ready for his 1,000th match as a supervisor.
Tomorrow marks Jürgen Klopp’s 1⃣0⃣0⃣0⃣th recreation in administration.
A really unimaginable achievement pic.twitter.com/yWHjIU6xZC
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 20, 2023
There was loads of fuss surrounding Mudryk’s switch to Chelsea, however followers lastly bought to see what he can do when he got here on as a second-half substitute and bought everybody off their seat with a mazy dribble into the world.
An almost good end for Chelsea’s latest signing, Mykhailo Mudryk.
— NBC Sports activities Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 21, 2023
After the match: What the gamers/managers stated
Postmatch quotes will seem right here…
Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & Info analysis)
This match was the 50,000th within the historical past of the English high flight, 134 years for the reason that first league competitors started.
This was the primary Premier League assembly between Liverpool and Chelsea with each golf equipment outdoors of the highest 4 since 2016.
Kai Havertz’s disallowed objective was the fourth Liverpool have had overturned by VAR this season, greater than another Premeir League membership.
This was the third consecutive assembly between these two golf equipment to finish 0-0, after final season’s Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals (each of which Liverpool received on penalties). They’ve gone over six hours of taking part in in opposition to one another with out both aspect scoring a objective
Liverpool have failed to attain a Premier League win over Chelsea in 4 makes an attempt for the primary time since 2017-18.
Chelsea have now earned 15 Premier League factors at Anfield for the reason that begin of 2013, 5 greater than the following nearest membership (Crystal Palace, with 10 factors).
Liverpool: Klopp now has per week to relaxation earlier than match No. 1,001 as a supervisor, which will likely be an FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brighton (stream LIVE Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+ within the U.S.), earlier than their Premier League marketing campaign resumes at Wolves on Feb. 4.
Chelsea: With the Blues already out of the FA Cup after the tird spherical for the primary time in 25 years, they’ve loads of time for his or her new signings to settle in (and possibly make a number of extra) earlier than they host native rivals Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Feb. 3.