Chelsea miss golden chance to close gap on Toon after 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Anfield
By Alessandro Schiavone at Anfield
Chelsea took a useless point back from Anfield after drawing 0-0 with Liverpool in a game neither side truly deserved to win.
England’s last two Champions League winners had their fair share of chances sweeten the mood around the club with three points. But in the end, the consensus prevailed that the draw reflected the game itself with neither crisis club particularly dominant or better than the other on the basis of what was produced over 90 minutes.
And two players more than any others could have made the difference had the stars aligned and luck been with them. Despite good movement on and off the ball, Liverpool’s new recruit from PSV Cody Gakpo spurned four chances, two of them clear-cut, to open his account in English football.
On the other hand when Mikhailo Mudryk was brought on midway through the second half, fear dictated the mood at Anfield as Chelsea cut the hosts open at will down the left-hand side.
Mudryk, who is the first Ukrainian since Andriy Shevchenko to play for Chelsea in the Premier League, may not have scored on his debut like his famous countryman but delivered an encouraging all-round performance
In four minutes, he showed what he’s all about as his quick feet, even faster thinking, pace and footballing arrogance suggest that he can terrorise any right-back in this league for the next eight years, the length of his ridiculous contract. The 22-year-old, who Brighton boss De Zerbi tipped to win the Ballon d’Or seems to know when to attempt a dribbling and when to pass the ball instead. And having signed a deal until 2030 there’s a lot for Chelsea fans to look forward to despite firing a blank on his debut.
Right after kick-off it looked as if German Havertz had given Chelsea an early lead only for his tap-in following a favourable rebound off the post to be chalked off for initial offside.
It was then Holland’s World Cup star Gakpo’s turn to waste back-to-back chances. First, he blasted Mohammed Salah’s cutback over before repeating the feat minutes later after dispossessing Lewis Hall.
In the second period the former PSV star didn’t do much better when heading over from a promising position. Moments later Kepa was then equal to his low effort following a lightning quick swivel in the area. It wasn’t the Dutchman’s day in front of goal but the signs, like for Mudryk, are promising.
The latter had a chance after the hour-mark to emulate his country’s greatest ever player Shevchenko and net on his debut for the Blues. Yet despite superbly feinting past a couple of Reds defenders in the box, his shot hit the side-netting.
In an ideal world this game would have ended in a scoring draw, with the new recruits from the Eredivisie and Ukrainian Premier League on the scoresheet.
Despite the clean sheet, which is of little consolation, neither Graham Potter nor Jurgen Klopp must be particularly happy about dropping two points and failing to close the gap on fourth-place Newcastle.
Yet, in light of the fact that there was a lot more rain than sunshine for both recently, this one point may not change lives but could be a good start in the right direction.