Chelsea need more than a new manager! Winners and losers as Kai Havertz & Co. fluff their lines yet again and Liverpool fall flat once more in dour draw

Kai Havertz Jurgen Klopp Chelsea Liverpool 2022-23
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Two of the Premier League's traditional heavyweights played out a 0-0 draw that served to show exactly why they have struggled this season

Chelsea may have dispensed with the services of Graham Potter, but early evidence suggests that they are going to need more than a new manager to solve their biggest problem of this season: scoring goals.

The Blues were again profligate in front of goal during their 0-0 draw with Liverpool, with Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic the main culprits on another night that proved that a new central striker is a must in the transfer market this summer.

Liverpool, meanwhile, can feel fortunate to have come away with a point from west London, as Jurgen Klopp's much-changed team did little to inspire hope that they can end the campaign on a high and qualify for European football next season.

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They were once again indebted to Alisson Becker, and remain eighth in the table after the stalemate, with Chelsea four points behind them in 11th, though the Blues have played a game more.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Stamford Bridge...

  1. WINNER: N'Golo Kante

    WINNER: N'Golo Kante

    As good as it is to see Kante back, it's even more pleasing to seem him looking sharp as a pin.

    In his first start since August, Kante was absolutely everywhere - hassling Liverpool and snapping into challenges out of possession, and carrying his side forward with driving runs with the ball.

    This was a timely reminder of the France international's importance to Chelsea. Potter will be cursing the fact that he barely got to utilise him.

  2. LOSER: Diogo Jota
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    LOSER: Diogo Jota

    At what point do we need to talk about Diogo and his drought, then?

    Next week will mark the Portugal international’s one-year anniversary, and it isn’t one he’ll fancy celebrating.

    Twelve months without a goal, for a player who has made a career out of scoring big ones? That has to be a major concern for Jota, and for Klopp.

    Yes, he has had injuries, but Jota has still played 32 games for Liverpool in that period, half of them starts. But for whatever reason, the killer instinct he showed during his first 18 months at Anfield has deserted him.

    That much was evident late in the first half here, when he was played in by Curtis Jones inside the Chelsea penalty area. The pass demanded a driven, first-time strike on his left foot, but Jota opted to cut back inside, allowing Marc Cucurella to get a tackle in. 

    He would not get another opportunity, finishing the game without having had a shot and having fewer touches than any Liverpool starter other than Darwin Nunez, who was substituted.

    Not good news, as far as the Reds are concerned, but at least their next opponents are Arsenal. Jota has a great record against the Gunners, and Sunday would be a good time to rediscover that scoring touch.

  3. WINNER: Alisson Becker

    WINNER: Alisson Becker

    It’s a good job Liverpool have the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, else they’d be getting dragged into a relegation battle.

    OK, that’s a bit dramatic perhaps, but there’s no doubt the Reds have been indebted to Alisson this season. While the rest have floundered, the Brazilian has stood tall, a lone standard-bearer in a campaign of serious regression.

    He was needed again here, his first-half save from Havertz outstanding and ensuring the Reds reached the interval level. After the break he denied the same player again, one-on-one, deserving the luck which came his way when the ball ricocheted into the net off the German’s arm.

    Alisson must be bewildered by what is going on ahead of him. He certainly looked it when Joel Matip, inexplicably, chose to ignore his shout and head the ball down to Joao Felix, who blazed his shot over.

    Jordan Henderson, the captain, had the cheek to try and question his goalkeeper afterwards. He soon backed down. He should have known better.

    Liverpool have 99 problems, but their keeper ain’t one.

  4. LOSER: Kai Havertz

    LOSER: Kai Havertz

    Havertz has a good scoring record against Liverpool, but spurned Chelsea's best openings at Stamford Bridge as his side failed to make their early dominance pay.

    After Alisson denied his early tap-in, Havertz was slipped through on his preferred left foot but dragged his finish woefully wide of the post.

    When he finally did score, it was only after his initial poor finish came back off Alisson, onto his arm and into the back of the net, prompting an inevitable VAR intervention.

    Unsurprisingly, Chelsea's struggles in front of goal continued in the post-Potter era, and he was the embodiment of that.

  5. WINNER: Bruno Saltor
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    WINNER: Bruno Saltor

    Chelsea's interim manager picked his first-ever line up as a coach, going with a 3-5-2 shape.

    Expectations may have been low, but the Blues were actually more dominant here than they had been in a number of their games under Potter, with Kante, Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez commanding the midfield - the only thing missing, as usual, was a winning goal.

    A former defender, Bruno was never likely to be the man to solve Chelsea's profligacy in front of goal - a task that is perhaps above his station - but this was an encouraging start to his interim tenure nonetheless.

  6. LOSER: Kostas Tsimikas
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    LOSER: Kostas Tsimikas

    “It was clear that we needed new ideas, fresh minds,” said Jurgen Klopp pre-match, and his words were certainly backed up by his team selection.

    There were six changes from the XI which had started the dreadful defeat to Manchester City, with Virgil van Dijk ruled out through illness and the likes of Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Cody Gakpo dropped to the bench.

    There was a change of left-back too, with Andy Robertson replaced by Tsimikas, but it is fair to say that the Greek failed to seize his opportunity.

    His first act saw him concede a foul, needlessly, on Kante. Then came a poor giveaway in the Chelsea half, which led to a big chance for Felix.

    Tsimikas was a bag of nerves, poor defensively and dire going forward. A clipped cross into Kepa Arrizabalaga’s arms summed up his first half. A dreadful corner soon after even more so.

    Robertson, unsurprisingly, was summoned when Klopp made his first changes of the night, 20 minutes into the second half. The Scot was poor at the Etihad last weekend, but he’ll play against Arsenal on Sunday. He remains Liverpool’s best left-back, by some distance.