Liverpool 0, Chelsea 0
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Darwin Núñez are all on the bench as Jürgen Klopp tries a team featuring Harvey Elliott, Stefan Bajcetic, and James Milner at right back to take on struggling Chelsea.
It’s nearly a disaster right from the off when Chelsea manage to score on a rebound in front of the goal. But when will players learn not to celebrate goals before they check the VAR? Kai Havertz is declared offside and the goal is overturned.
If you thought that scare would be enough to ignite a fire in Liverpool, you haven’t been paying much attention this season, unfortunately. Cody Gakpo fires over the top after a lovely lay-off from Mohamed Salah.
17 minutes in, the Reds put together another nice move in attack, but an overhit cross from Milner sees it go wanting.
The unfamiliar defensive line of Andy Robertson, Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konaté, and Milner has been extremely vulnerable in the early stages of this first half, leading to several tricky moments for the Reds to wiggle out of.
The second part of the first half sees Liverpool working themselves more into the game. They are retaining possession and looking more confident on the ball. A one-two between Salah and Robertson looks promising, but Salah’s pass is just slightly to heavy for Robertson to reach it.
The first half ends with a good chance wasted from Salah. Naby Keïta passes it to him in the perfect position for him to cut in on the left and slot it home the way we’ve seen it happen 1000 times before. However, the resulting shot is over the bar, and the teams head into the locker rooms scoreless.
The second half begins with a bang as Konaté sends a long shot from the halfway line, looking to beat Kepa, who was out of his box. The ball goes just wide, but that was a good way to wake up the Liverpool fans who must be freezing in the stands.
Minutes later, Gakpo sends a third shot over bar in this match. This time it’s off of his head thanks to a free kick.
The first 10 minutes of the second half have been completely dominated by Liverpool. The Reds look determined to make up for their lackluster performance in the first 45 minutes. Now they just need to get a goal out of it.
On the other end, Mason Mount gets a nice through ball in to Hakem Ziyech, who luckily fires over the bar.
Klopp makes his first change 61 minutes into the scoreless game, and Núñez replaces Keïta up front.
Chelsea’s big winter signing Mykhailo Mudryk makes his debut and nearly scores a stunning solo goal after beating several Liverpool players. His shot hits the side netting and goes out of play.
72 minutes in, Alexander-Arnold retakes his place in the defense, replacing Milner.
Since Mydruk came on, the game has shifted back to Chelsea’s favor, all of the momentum leaving Liverpool like poking the air out of a balloon.
A triple change comes for Liverpool: Gakpo, Bajcetic, and Elliott off and Fabinho, Henderson, and Curtis Jones replacing them.
Well, that was just as soul-crushing as I feared it would be. Good to know, good to know.