Chelsea were held to a barren draw by Liverpool on Tuesday in their first Premier League match since sacking coach Graham Potter with the Blues showing the same inability to turn chances into goals that led to the manager’s downfall.
The fourth goalless stalemate in a row between the two teams – including last season’s FA and League Cup finals which Liverpool won on penalties – summed up the problems that have hamstrung the two English heavyweights this season.
Chelsea dominated much of the Premier League encounter but spurned one opportunity after another. Joao Felix and Mateo Kovacic went close in the opening minutes followed by chances that went untaken by Kai Havertz in another toothless display for the Blues who have scored only 29 times in 29 league games.
Reece James, restored to his more dangerous role as a marauding right wing-back by Chelsea’s interim head coach Bruno Saltor, and Havertz had the ball in the net either side of halftime, but both efforts were ruled out.
Liverpool sought to make Chelsea pay for their profligacy at the end of the first half with their first moments of danger, including a rasping shot by Fabinho that Blues defender Wesley Fofana deflected wide with a glanced header. Felix and Kovacic wasted further chances for Chelsea in the second half.
The draw left Liverpool in eighth place in the league table, seven points behind Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth Champions League qualifying spot having played a game less than Spurs.
Chelsea stayed stuck in 11th place in the Premier League.