Liverpool and Chelsea’s poor seasons were summed up in a dismal 0-0 draw at Anfield on Saturday that did little to aid their chances of climbing into the Premier League’s top four.
A point apiece leaves both clubs nine points adrift of the Champions League places and there was little to suggest either can quickly rekindle their former glories to make a charge up the table.
Chelsea had a goal scored by Kai Havertz ruled out for offside early on and there were promising flashes from new 100 million euro ($108 million) signing Mykhailo Mudryk off the bench.
But the Blues remain in 10th without an away league win since October.
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Liverpool edge up to eighth, above Brentford on goal difference.
Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton last weekend as the worst performance of his eight years at Anfield and, in the 1,000th game of his managerial career, made sweeping changes with Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold among those left on the bench.
The change in personnel did little to ignite a drastically improved performance as the Reds were penned back in the first 45 minutes by a similarly out-of-sorts Chelsea.
Graham Potter’s men had the ball in the net after just three minutes when Havertz slotted in after Thiago Silva hit the post from a corner.
However, the German was ruled offside after a VAR review.
Cody Gakpo twice blazed over with Liverpool’s two best sights of goal before the break, but it was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Benoit Badiashile’s header was well saved by Alisson Becker from another dangerous set-piece.
Klopp’s half-time team talk had the desired impact as the home side came out on the front foot early in the second period.
Yet they failed to create a clear-cut chance as Gakpo and Naby Keita saw shots blocked inside the area.
Mudryk was made to wait for his debut, but the Ukrainian’s introduction 10 minutes into the second half sparked Chelsea into life as he fired into the side-netting after some quick footwork.
Darwin Nunez’s arrival off the bench had a similar impact on the Liverpool attack, but the Uruguayan also failed to find a way through.
After a rampaging run, Nunez’s shot lacked the power to beat Kepa Arrizabalaga before he teed up Alexander-Arnold to slice Liverpool’s best chance of the game wide.
After stalemates in last season’s League and FA Cup finals, which Liverpool won on penalties, a third consecutive meeting between the sides ended goalless.