Liverpool and Chelsea drew 0-0 in a Premier League match that was exactly what it appeared to be: a matchup between two mid-table sides.
On the surface, Jurgen Klopp picked a surprising XI—with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho all starting the match on the bench—however, in truth, the manager simply appeared to be placing faith in the same crop of players who showed an ability to actually press the opposition in the midweek FA Cup victory over Wolves.
Both Liverpool and a Chelsea team currently somewhat in disarray were in desperate need of points on the day, evidenced by the intensity that both sides brought to the proceedings. And while the Reds looked largely blunt going forward save for a late Darwin Nunez-inspired flurry as a substitute returning from injury, Liverpool showed actual fight and willingness to close down that has been missing in the recent post-World Cup malaise.
“We started well in both halves,” Klopp said speaking to BT Sport post-match. “We had good spells but we couldn’t keep it up. We defended with passion rather than organization in the second half.
“We had to be ready for little steps and this was a little step. We have a clean sheet against Chelsea.
“We can build on this.”
It was the Reds’ second straight clean sheet in all competitions, a small but meaningful positive considering it was only their first in the league since October’s win over West Ham. It was however the third straight goalless draw between these two clubs, stretching back to last season when the Reds bested the Londoners twice in penalties in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals.
“The two finals last year were different games,” Klopp admitted. “But they were hectic in moments as well. Today was 9th vs 10th [in the Premier League table]. We have to build.”
“We won a lot of balls in the first half but gave them away too quickly. Even Thiago did that which was unnecessary.”
“We showed the boys where Chelsea struggled to defend us in the first half—we couldn’t quite capitalize in the second half.”
The result moves Liverpool up to 8th in the table and 10 points off the top four. The Reds have a little over a week’s break before taking on Brighton in the fourth round of the FA Cup next week Sunday.