Liverpool and Chelsea on Saturday did little for their chances of climbing into the English Premier League’s top four with an uninspiring 0-0 draw, as Newcastle United went third after another goalless draw at Crystal Palace.
In a repeat of last season’s EFL Cup and FA Cup finals, which Liverpool won on penalties after 0-0 draws, neither side could break the deadlock at Anfield to remain 10 points off the top four.
Chelsea did have the ball in the net early on, but Kai Havertz’s strike was ruled out for offside after a video assistant referee review.
The visitors introduced new 100 million euros (US$108 million) signing Mykhailo Mudryk off the bench in the second half and the Ukrainian came as close as anyone to a winner when he fired into the side-netting.
Juergen Klopp admitted he might not have made it to 1,000 games in his managerial career if there had been too many similar matches in the previous 999, but he was satisfied with a first Premier League clean sheet since October last year.
“I’m okay with 0-0 because you have to accept these steps,” Klopp said.
Newcastle missed the chance to go two points clear of Manchester United ahead of their trip to leaders Arsenal yesterday.
The Magpies did enough to edge above United on goal-difference as they extended their unbeaten run in the league to a club record 15 games.
“All you can do is sit back every week and be very proud of what they’re delivering,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe said.
Newcastle United controlled the majority of the game, but were thankful to Nick Pope for a sensational save to deny Jean-Philippe Mateta a second-half winner for Palace.
At the other end of the table, Everton’s 69-year stay in the top flight looks ever more precarious.
Jarrod Bowen struck twice in the first half as West Ham United won 2-0 at the London Stadium to move out of the bottom three thanks to their first win in eight league games.
An 11th defeat in 14 matches puts more pressure on Frank Lampard’s position as Everton manager.
“It’s been a bad run of results for us all, and for Frank, but I would never say that,” said Everton chairman Bill Kenwright on whether the former Chelsea coach had taken charge for the last time. “We’ve just got to start winning.”
Leicester City secured their first point since the World Cup break, but were denied a vital win by a late Brighton & Hove Albion equalizer in a 2-2 draw at the King Power Stadium.
Kaoru Mitoma’s sumptuous strike gave the in-form visitors the lead, but Marc Albrighton quickly leveled and Harvey Barnes put Leicester in front just after the hour mark.
Teenage striker Evan Ferguson came off the bench to head in off the post in the 88th minute and snatch a point that moves Brighton into the top six.
AFC Bournemouth dropped into the bottom three despite ending a run of six consecutive defeats with a 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest.
Jaidon Anthony put the hosts in front, but Sam Surridge came back to haunt his former club seven minutes from time.
Southampton remain rooted to the foot of the table after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa that was disrupted by a drone flying above the stadium.
Play was temporarily halted and players taken off the pitch at St Mary’s for their own safety toward the end of the first half.
Once the action got back underway, Villa maintained their upward momentum under Unai Emery as Ollie Watkins headed in Douglas Luiz’s free-kick 13 minutes from time.
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