The post-Graham Potter era got underway as Chelsea and Liverpool played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.
Both sides have endured massively underwhelming seasons, coming into this game in eleventh and eighth respectively as both face a challenge to qualify for any kind of European football, let alone the Champions League.
Chelsea have struggled for goals all season, and a run of two wins in their last nine Premier League games saw Graham Potter relieved of his duties at the weekend.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have looked defensively fragile this season, and Jurgen Klopp made six changes to the side that was heavily beaten by Manchester City last Saturday.
It was Chelsea who created the better of chances in the first half, though they were once again left ruing their inability to find the back of the net, and while the Blues did think they’d taken the lead midway through the first half, Reece James’ strike from the edge of the area was quickly chalked off for an earlier offside.
Mateo Kovacic was then guilty of blazing another gilt-edged chance over the bar early in the second half, before Chelsea had another goal ruled out after Kai Havertz’s initial effort came off Alisson and rebounded off the German’s arm and into the back of the net.
While the stats say that Liverpool ended the game with more shots on target (4) than Chelsea (3), in truth, the visitors’ best chance came at the end of the first half when Wesley Fofana got a vital block on a Fabinho effort.
The result means that it now six consecutive draws between the sides in all competitions, the last four having ended without a goal, and speaking after the game, Kai Havertz said he felt Chelsea did enough to claim all three points.
“I think so, especially on the balance of the first half, we had a lot of chances, me included,” he told Sky Sports. “Second half was maybe tight, but the first half we deserved to score. It’s again 0-0 so that’s it.
29 – Chelsea have scored 29 goals in 29 Premier League games this season, only ever netting fewer at this stage of a league campaign twice before (23 in 1921-22 and 16 in 1923-24). Lacking. pic.twitter.com/4ny4Wgimlc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 4, 2023
“Maybe yes [it was one of those nights], especially after the loss at the weekend we missed a bit of confidence but that doesn’t make it easier in front of the goal. But at the end, we are professionals and it is our job to score and now we have to prepare for the weekend and keep on pushing.”
Asked if he expected his goal to be ruled out, he said: “I think with the new technology, it is pretty clear. It’s tough. I also scored at Anfield and it was small margins where the goal was disallowed so it’s not so nice to score, celebrate, have all the emotions, but in the end you have to wait for the VAR. But that is how it is.”
The German said the players were ‘frustrated’ to see Graham Potter lose his job saying that the players need to ‘take responsibility’ for the poor results.
“It’s tough. When a manager leaves a club it’s not easy because it is our job to win games, but when the manager gets the sack we are all in the same boat and have to take responsibility for that. We have to accept this. It’s not nice, but we have to be professional. We are all frustrated to see Graham go, but we have to accept the situation.”
The 23-year-old urged the fans to stick with the side as they look to rediscover their form, with a Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid to come later this month.
“There are still nine games in the league, and Chelsea doesn’t deserve to be eleventh. It’s simply not nice to be there.
“We all have to stick together, including the fans. Of course, it’s not nice but you have to think we also have a quarter final in the Champions League and have to get as much confidence as possible in the upcoming games. It’s not easy, but us players need the fans as well and we are all in the same boat.”
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