Chelsea were once again let down by their wayward finishing in their first game since Graham Potter’s sacking as Liverpool hung onto a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The head coach was dismissed on Sunday night after the 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa, with Bruno Saltor – who admitted before the visit of Jurgen Klopp’s side that he had never even picked a team before – replacing Potter on an interim basis.
But it was a case of the new boss being the same as the old one for Chelsea, who showed the same failings in front of goal that hamstrung Potter’s regime.
Chelsea, PL condemn offensive chanting
Chelsea and the Premier League swiftly condemned the offensive chants heard at Stamford Bridge regarding the Hillsborough tragedy during the game, with the Blues saying: “Chelsea FC condemns the inappropriate chants heard from some home fans during this evening’s game.
“Hateful chanting has no place in football and we apologise to anyone who has been offended by them.”
The Premier League added: “The Premier League condemns the tragedy chanting heard at tonight’s match between Chelsea and Liverpool.
“We continue to treat this as an unacceptable issue and are seeking to address it as a priority.”
The hosts had two goals correctly disallowed either side of half-time and missed the target with a number of other presentable opportunities on their way to a draw that leaves them in the bottom of half of the table, while Liverpool are eighth.
Chelsea: Kepa (7), Fofana (7), Koulibaly (7), Cucurella (7), James (7), Kante (7), Fernandez (7), Kovacic (6), Chilwell (6), Havertz (6), Felix (6).
Subs: Gallagher (6), Mudryk (6), Sterling (n/a).
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Gomez (6), Matip (6), Konate (7), Tsimikas (6), Henderson (6), Fabinho (6), Jones (5), Jota (6), Firmino (6), Nunez (7).
Subs: Salah (6), Robertson (6), Gakpo (6), Milner (6).
Player of the match: Enzo Fernandez
Chelsea let Liverpool off the hook
Chelsea have now built up an expected goals total of 4.28 and had 39 shots over their last two games, yet somehow conspired to take one point and score zero goals across those 180 minutes.
The Blues’ woeful finishing prevented Potter’s reign from ever getting off the ground and the theme continued under Bruno, who took charge of his first professional game after previously spending the entirety of his four-year coaching career under Potter.
- Chelsea: Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kante were fit enough to return as Bruno Saltor made two changes, with the latter starting for the first time since August
- Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp made six changes in response to the thrashing at Manchester City, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah among the players left out
Despite the turmoil surrounding Stamford Bridge, Chelsea did start the game well, with Joao Felix and Mateo Kovacic being denied by desperate Liverpool defending, although both should have taken their chances to strike at goal sooner.
Alisson then denied Kai Havertz at close range before Reece James saw a crisp volley ruled out for a marginal offside against Enzo Fernandez in the build up.
Kepa Arrizabalaga enjoyed a quiet evening as Liverpool’s miserable away record showed no signs of ending, although he was called into action to push away Joe Gomez’s powerful effort just before half-time.
The second half began in a similar vein to the first, with Kovacic again spurning a glorious chance before Havertz had a weak shot saved by Alisson, before seeing the rebound trickle into the net off his arm, with VAR cutting short Chelsea’s celebrations.
Chelsea seemed to lose belief that they would ever score a legitimate goal after that latest failure, with the second half meandering to a conclusion in front of a subdued set of supporters, both sets of which are used to witnessing games involving higher stakes and higher quality than this.
Chelsea travel to Molineux to face Wolves on Saturday – kick-off 3pm – before heading to the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday April 12 – kick-off 8pm.
Meanwhile, Liverpool host Arsenal on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.
Jurgen Klopp’s side then go to Leeds on Monday Night Football on April 17, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 8pm.
Chelsea’s remaining fixtures
April 8: Wolves (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
April 12: Real Madrid (A), Champions League quarter-final, kick-off 8pm
April 15: Brighton (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
April 18: Real Madrid (H), Champions League quarter-final, kick-off 8pm
April 26: Brentford (H) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm
April 29: Arsenal (A) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 6: Bournemouth (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 13: Nottingham Forest (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 20: Manchester City (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 28: Newcastle (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
TBA: Man Utd (A) – Premier League
Liverpool’s remaining fixtures…
April 9: Arsenal (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
April 17: Leeds (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
April 22: Nottingham Forest (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
April 26: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm
April 30: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 3: Fulham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm
May 6: Brentford (H) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
May 13: Leicester (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 20: Aston Villa (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 28: Southampton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm