Chelsea hosted Liverpool Tuesday night in a matchup of two mid-table Premier League teams. The match would be the first fixture without Graham Potter as head coach for the Blues. Interim boss Bruno Saltor has taken over at the club until a permanent manager can be named. Unfortunately for the neutral fan, there wouldn’t be any goals in the game.
The two clubs entered the night in surprising positions in the Premier League table. Liverpool, after finishing in the top three in each of the last four seasons, sat eighth. Chelsea, on the other hand, are having an even worse campaign in west London. The Blues were 11th at the start of the night and have fired two different managers since September.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp made some interesting changes to his starting XI for the matchup. The German opted to put Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson all on the bench. Star center back Virgil van Dijk also missed out on the action due to an illness. The hosts looked to take advantage of the key absences early on.
Multiple scoring chances early
Joao Felix, Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz all had good chances to put their team ahead inside the opening dozen minutes. Felix first had a shot blocked by Joel Matip inside the area. Ibrahima Konate then made a goal-saving clearance just a minute later from a Kovacic shot. Havertz saw his shot well blocked by Alisson from point-blank range at the 12-minute mark.
Reece James had the ball in the back of the net halfway through the first period, but an offside flag was raised a few seconds prior. Liverpool’s best chance in the first half came from a Fabinho shot just seconds from the halftime whistle. However, Wesley Fofana headed the ball away to safety just as it was approaching Chelsea’s goal.
VAR review preserves draw between Chelsea and Liverpool
The hosts once again had the ball in the back of the net in the 50th minute. However, just like the previous incident, the goal would ultimately not stand. Alisson first saved a shot by Havertz, then the ball came back off of the German’s elbow and rolled into the net. The goal was initially given, but VAR made quick work of the review to rule it out.
Despite the series of scoring chances, the match ultimately finished level at zero. The result doesn’t really benefit either team either. Both clubs remain in the same position as they were prior to the start of the match. Chelsea will look to get Saltor’s first win as a head coach at Wolves on Sunday. Liverpool’s fixture list doesn’t get any easier, as they next play league-leading Arsenal at the weekend.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Propaganda Photo
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