A season of frustration continued for Liverpool and Chelsea after a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Saturday did little to help either team’s hopes of securing Champions League qualification next season.
A game that was short on chances and quality underlined why both teams are struggling in midtable in the Premier League and face a challenge to break into the top four.
Benoit Badiashile and substitute Carney Chukwuemeka had opportunities to score in each half for Chelsea, but neither was clinical enough to make Liverpool pay.
It is now three league games without a win for Liverpool in what was Jurgen Klopp’s 1,000th game in management and his 250th in charge of the Merseyside club.
The draw at least ended a two-game losing streak for his team.
Chelsea fans got a first look at new signing Mykhailo Mudryk, who showed some promising moments when coming on as a second-half substitute.
But, like Liverpool, Graham Potter’s team will need to improve quickly if it is to rise up the table and compete to get into the top four.
Klopp’s Liverpool reign has seen the storied club re-establish itself as one of the best teams in Europe.
However, the German went into this landmark game trying to get the season back on track, with any hopes of challenging for the title effectively over after an inconsistent campaign.
Klopp described last week’s 3-0 loss to Brighton as the worst of his time at the club.
It’s a similar story for Chelsea, which has now won just two of its last 10 games in all competitions.
The two teams were ninth and 10th in the standings going into the game, with Liverpool ahead on goal difference.
Chelsea had the better chances to take all three points but did not make them count.
Kai Havertz thought he had put the Londoners ahead within minutes of kickoff when firing in a rebound after Thiago Silva struck the post. The away team’s celebrations were cut short, however, when VAR adjudged the German to be offside.
Badiashile later forced a save from Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson when failing to get enough power on a header from around six yards out.
Mudryk, who signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal that could be worth up to $108 million, caused Liverpool problems with his speed and dribbling after coming on in the 55th minute.
And another substitute Chukwuemeka might have settled the game when breaking into the box late on, only for Andy Robertson to snuff out the chance with a last-ditch block.