Goalless, Listless, Aimless: Chelsea And Liverpool Deliver Fourth 0-0 In A Row

These sleeping giants are desperate for goals and direction
21:58, 04 Apr 2023

There was a point in the recent past where Liverpool and Chelsea were your two of the three most recent Champions League winners. It’s not that long since each won the Premier League title. But in a season where each of these sleeping giants are toiling in midtable, the fact they played out a fourth consecutive 0-0 draw tonight feels strangely appropriate. Neither team looks like scoring an on-field goal or achieving a wider one. Clubs that have trophy rooms to envy are spiralling, albeit for different reasons. 

For Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, it is the listlessness of a golden generation fading. Perhaps their iconic coach is fading with them. In Chelsea’s case, playing their first game under interim head coach Bruno Saltor, it is the fact new ownership has brought rampant spending and dugout chaos, with two managers being sacked and countless players being signed without a plan. Different trajectories then, but tonight at Stamford Bridge they met each other at very much the same stage of their malaise.


Chelsea did everything but score in a first half in which Bruno Saltor’s temporary charges were far superior. Joao Felix was a constant nuisance throughout, with his direct running punching holes in the Liverpool defence. Mateo Kovacic had the same effect when jinking into the box, only to be blocked by the boot of Ibrahmima Konate.

Kalidou Koulibaly carved out a chance with an incisive long ball out to Ben Chilwell. The full back’s cross was delivered to Kai Havertz before Alisson pulled out the save. A Havertz flick on to Felix almost created something from nothing for the west Londoners, but Alisson was alive to the danger there too.

The Liverpool keeper did have to pick the ball out of his net at one stage. A Chilwell corner eventually trickled out to Reece James, to rifled the ball home like it had somehow wronged him. But after laborious VAR deliberation it turned out there was an offside in the build-up and the score remained goalless.

For the most part, Liverpool’s passing moves would disintegrate before posing a threat in the first half. They did enjoy a little spell before the break, with Joe Gomez forcing a save from Kepa at range and Fabinho going close, with Wesley Fofana heading away his effort. But up until now it had been almost all Chelsea.

One of Chelsea’s best chances of the game went begging two minutes after the restart. Kante slotted through Kovacic one-on-one with Alisson, but he could not even direct his shot on target. Instead, the ball would land in the stand after a hopelessly skied effort.

They wouldn’t have to wait for long to have the ball in the net. But Havertz’s spirited burst through and finish was denied because it rebounded back off Alisson onto his arm before going in. Given they’d shared three-and-a-half matches, plus two sets of extra time, without a goal between them it felt weirdly apropos for these goal-challenged rivals.

Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson were introduced from the bench, taking the lineup closer to Jurgen Klopp’s usual selection. When this did not bear scoring fruit he turned to James Milner and Cody Gakpo. The German desperately searched for a formula that he had been unable to find across almost 7 hours of football up to this point. 

The goal never came. A game to forget for two teams enduring a season to forget. If they keep going this way, these gilded sides may have to cope with a season outside of European competition next year. On the evidence of this stale showing, perhaps both would benefit from being refreshed by a season with less football to play.

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