Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC fought out a scoreless draw in Group G as last season's winners and losing semi-finalists shared the spoils at Anfield. The London club had arrived on Merseyside intent on avenging their semi-final defeat last May but in the end Jose Mourinho's side were happy to leave with a point in a match that Liverpool dominated without creating too many clear-cut chances.
Rafael Benítez opted for an attacking formation with Djibril Cissé joining Peter Crouch up front while Didier Drogba led the Chelsea line in preference to Hernán Crespo. The Liverpool supporters taunted the visitors with chants of "champions of Europe" before kick-off, but it was Chelsea who threatened first from a Frank Lampard free-kick on seven minutes after Xabi Alonso had been booked for a tug on Michael Essien. Lampard's strike from 30 metres brought a one-handed save from José Manuel Reina low to his right, but the Spanish goalkeeper completely missed Damien Duff's subsequent corner and was relieved to see the ball fly out for a goal-kick.
Crouch's height was causing problems for the Chelsea defence from set-pieces and with 19 minutes on the clock the England striker rose above John Terry to nod the ball back across the five-metre line. The onrushing Sami Hyypiä stretched as he sought to prod home only for Drogba to get there a fraction earlier and clear the danger.
This was a good spell for the home side but Chelsea were dangerous on the counterattack, as Arjen Robben demonstrated just after the half-hour mark. The Netherlands winger turned Hyypiä inside out before unleashing a venomous left-foot shot which brought a good save from Reina. With half-time approaching Chelsea created another opening when Duff slipped past Djimi Traoré before sending a tempting ball across the face of goal. However, Drogba failed to read the Irishman's intentions and the chance was gone.
Liverpool on top
Liverpool started brightly after the interval and Luis García almost made the breakthrough after 47 minutes. Again Crouch was instrumental in the build-up, flicking a long ball into the path of the Spanish midfielder who darted between Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho, but Petr Cech saw the danger and raced off his line to smother the ball before García could convert. At the other end Drogba went close, rising to head a Ferreira cross from the right just over the bar.
Jamie Carragher then threatened the Chelsea goal with a header from a corner that required a last-ditch intervention from William Gallas. The pressure from the home team was building and Drogba needed to be alert to clear a free-kick from Gerrard.
As the game entered the final quarter, Mourinho introduced Shaun Wright-Phillips for Robben but Liverpool still looked the more likely scorers and Cech was called into action to pluck Gerrard's cross out of the air before it could reach García. Duff then raced through on goal but Reina cleared before the winger could capitalise. It proved to be the Irishman's last contribution as he was replaced by Crespo shortly afterwards.
Liverpool substitute Florent Sinama-Pongolle then caused panic in the Chelsea rearguard when he escaped to the by-line with six minutes remaining before delivering a cross that was cleared only as far as Alonso, but the Spaniard's long-range drive was held comfortably by Cech.
The sides meet again in the Premiership on Sunday but for now both will be content with a point which leaves them joint top of Group G, one point clear of Real Betis Balompié.