Football News

“His control of the game has been very good” – Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool player ratings

By Dean Smith

Published: 22:52, 4 April 2023

Liverpool managed to hold out for a goalless draw against goal-shy Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues had the better of the game, taking 12 shots to Liverpool’s seven, with Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz squandering the best of the hosts’ opportunities as they failed to take advantage of Jurgen Klopp’s out of form side.

Remarkably, these two sides have now played out four consecutive goalless draws in all competitions.

Chelsea

Kepa Arrizabalaga – 6 – The majority of his work was done from long-range efforts as shown by Liverpool’s final xG of just 0.35

Reece James 7 – Won more aerial duels than anyone else on the pitch (3) and caused Tsimikas some problems surging down the Blues’ right side.

Wesley Fofana7.5 – Defended well to keep Darwin Nunez quiet and put in an excellent block to stop Fabinho’s strike late in the first-half. Finished the game with a match-high eight tackles and five interceptions.

Kalidou Koulibaly – 6.5 – Did little wrong and kept Firmino very quiet with his aggressive, front-foot defending. Made a habit of finding himself in the right place at the right time, making five clearances from Liverpool’s rare forays forwards.

Marc Cucurella – 6 – A middling performance from the Spaniard, who struggled with Jota’s direct dribbling on a handful of occasions but made a key challenge to deny the Portuguese forward in the first-half.

Ben Chilwell – 6.5 – Chilwell probably had the better of Joe Gomez on this particular side of the pitch but if Bruno Saltor is to re-use this 3-5-2 formation during his interim spell in charge, he will need more from his wide players going forward. The ex-Leicester man attempted just seven passes in the final third.

Kante – 8.5 – Captaining the side in his first start since returning from long-term injury, any fans that doubted Kante’s ability to fully recover were proven wrong during his 68 minutes tonight. From the first whistle he was covering defensively while also helping out in attack, creating good chances for both Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic. He’s been sorely missed by the Blues.

Enzo Fernandez – 7.5 – “His link from front to back, his passes and his control of the game’s been very good” waxed Gary Neville after opting for Fernandez as his Man of the Match. A few wayward passes in the first-half gave way to a much more assured performance in the second period. Completed 76 passes – 11 more than anyone else on the pitch.

Mateo Kovacic – 5.5 – Missed two of Chelsea’s best chances of the game, beating Alisson but having a first-half attempt cleared off the line, then blazing over from inside the box after being played through by Kante in the second half.

Joao Felix – 7 – Comfortably Chelsea’s most threatening player going forward throughout the night, he consistently showed good feet to cause the Liverpool defence problems but just couldn’t find the final pass or finish. Completed the joint-most successful dribbles in the match with five.

Kai Havertz – 4.5 – Highlighted Chelsea’s need for a recognised centre-forward with a below-par performance. Should’ve broken the deadlock on a handful of occasions and ended the match with an xG of 0.9. Should’ve done better with the original chance that led to the offside goal.

Substitutes

Conor Gallagher (for Kante) – Had plenty of the ball after coming on, completing 14 of his 15 passes in just 21 minutes.

Mykhailo Mudryk (for Chilwell) – Struggled to meet the pace of the game.

Raheem Sterling (for Felix) – Mistimed a late run to be caught offside which could’ve led to a chance.

Liverpool

Alisson Becker – 6.5 – Closed down Havertz well to save two big chances for the German forward and those saves take him to 85 for Liverpool in the Premier League this season, showing how much pressure he’s been under in comparison to previous campaigns.

Joe Gomez – 6 – Some clumsy touches defensively, in particular one skewed clearance that kept his side under pressure. Looked better going forward and drew a good save from Kepa in first-half.

Ibrahim Konate – 6.5 – Put in an excellent block on Kovacic’s attempt in the first-half to prevent a near certain goal. Liverpool’s most prolific ball-player on the night ending the game with 89.55% passing accuracy from 67 passes.

Joel Matip – 6  – Made an excellent recovery to stop an early Joao Felix chance after the Portuguese forward had seemingly got the better of him. Made some nervy touches however after that.

Kostas Tsimikas – 6 – Awful early pass gave Joao Felix a great chance to score but the Greek international defended relatively well afterwards aside from a poor challenge on the same opponent that saw him booked.

Jordan Henderson – 5.5 – Played some good progressive balls forward in the first-half to relieve some of the pressure on Liverpool, but a total of 43 completed passes showed that the game passed the midfielder by somewhat.

Fabinho – 5 – Failed to control the midfield as we’ve known him to previously, which has been a real issue for the Reds of late. Arguably lucky to remain on the field having made a match-high four fouls and won just two tackles. Wasted one of Liverpool’s few chances after the ball fell to his feet from a Reds corner.

Curtis Jones – 5.5 – A quiet night for the 22 year old, who was tidy enough with a 92.59% pass completion but failed to provide much ammunition for Liverpool’s frustrated front three. Picked up a silly yellow card for remonstrating with the referee.

Diogo Jota – 6 – Offered more of a threat with his direct running than Firmino or Nunez, but couldn’t quite make it count. Had one of Liverpool’s best opening’s in the first-half, but missed the chance to shoot and was dispossessed – perhaps lacking confidence in front of goal after now going 31 games without a goal for his club.

Roberto Firmino – 5 – Got frustrated and made some poor decisions in periods where Liverpool were struggling for possession. There were glimpses of the Firmino of old with some neat touches to find Nunez, but for the most part he failed to be the fulcrum Liverpool needed higher up the pitch as they failed to register a touch in Chelsea’s box in the first 30 minutes.

Darwin Nunez – 4.5 – Although Nunez’s physicality allowed Liverpool to progress up the pitch quickly at times, it was a lacklustre showing for the Uruguayan on the night as he was dispossessed the joint-most amount of times in the game (three) and failed to get the better of a measured Wesley Fofana. Failed to really trouble Kepa with either of his two shots.

Substitutes

Mohamed Salah (for Firmino) – A surprise admission from the starting XI but did little to prove Jurgen Klopp’s decision wrong after being introduced.

Andrew Robertson (for Tsimikas) Kept the marauding James a little quieter.

James Milner – (for Jones) Provided a little more stability than the frustrated Jones.

Cody Gakpo – (for Nunez) Barely registered a touch in his 10 minutes on the field.

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