Chelsea 0 Liverpool 0

Last updated : 12 June 2008 By Paul Lagan
A goalless bore draw saw Chelsea fail to close the gap on second-placed Manchester United to one point, while Liverpool must fear that they will miss out on fourth place.

Very little was created by either side and only league leaders Arsenal, who play tomorrow, will take any comfort from the result.

Chelsea can claim an undefeated home record of four years was reached, but three points were even more important if they were to mount a serious challenge on the title.

Liverpool were forced into desperate defensive measures in the first five minutes with Martin Skrtel intercepting an inch-perfect through ball by Nicolas Anelka which, if it had found Joe Cole, would have left the England midfielder with a free run on goal.

Liverpool, for their part forced they way back into the game with excellent periods of possession.

The visitors' first attack on goal came on 15 minutes when a deep Steve Finnan cross was headed on by Peter Crouch, but the forward only managed to head wide from eight yards out.

The beanpole striker had a glorious chance two minutes later to score the opener when he played a one-two with Ryan Babel, but he scuffed a left-foot shot wide of Cech's goal.

Cech was forced into a smart save a minute later when good approach play saw Steven Gerrard nip the ball past Ricardo Carvalho on the right and send across a deep pass to Crouch. Unfortunately the striker could not get much power behind his header and Cech held comfortably.

Referee Mike Riley ignored pleas from Chelsea for a dead-cert penalty when Javier Mascherano mistimed a challenge on Joe Cole in the Liverpool area on 25 minutes.

The remainder of the first half was an evenly contested affair with neither defence unduly tested.

Babel had a fine chance on 49 minutes, weaving his way into the Chelsea area, on the left. But after passing Juliano Belletti, he pushed the ball too far forward and Cech collected it with ease.

This was followed a minute later with a Gerrard free-kick, but the Chelsea wall held firm.

Claude Makelele attempted an audacious half-volley from 35 yards out on 50 minutes, but his once-in-a-season effort sailed wide of the Chelsea net.

Chelsea manager Avram Grant replaced out of sorts Shaun Wright-Phillips on 64 minutes to add some much-needed wing play into the Chelsea play.

Frank Lampard, out since Boxing Day played just 70 minutes and was replaced by John Obi Mikel.

Rafael Benitez countered with the introduction of Jermaine Pennant for Babel on 72 minutes.

Chelsea first worthwhile effort of the second half fell ten minutes from time when, Mikel fed the ball to Ashley Cole, wide on the Liverpool left. The ball dropped invitingly for the in-rushing Michael Ballack, but the German skipper's right-foot volley inched past Reina's left-hand upright.

Liverpool's counter-attacking play a minute later almost saw Pennant sneak in the far post and slot home, but his header was also just wide of goal.

Grant's last throw of the die came five minutes from time with the replacement of Joe Cole for Claudio Pizarro.

But it was almost a John Arne Riise' own goal which won the game for the home side. Thankfully for the Norway defender his headed backpass fell straight into the arms of Jose Reina.