Liverpool and Chelsea laid their respective Premier League struggles bare for all to see in a bitterly disappointing stalemate at Anfield.
The two giants, who have been in constant pursuit of major prizes in recent seasons, are currently locked well outside the top four – and how it showed in a dismal game almost devoid of entertainment and quality.
Chelsea had an early Kai Havertz strike ruled out for offside by VAR and there was also a lively debut as a second-half substitute for £89m new boy Mykhailo Mudryk, while Liverpool keeper Alisson saved well from another new Chelsea signing, defender Benoit Badiashile.
Liverpool’s own £45m recruit Cody Gakpo was quiet – he did force one save from Kepa, but otherwise there was little to warm a capacity crowd at a freezing Anfield.
The quality of this game was reflected in the subdued atmosphere at Anfield, with the final whistle greeted with near silence apart from some very mild applause.
Chelsea will regret not taking some of the opportunities they had when Liverpool’s defence was stretched, but this is a time when they will accept small mercies and a point at Anfield