Most years, a draw at Goodison Park is considered a decent result for Liverpool. Derbies are different, after all. Just because the red half of Merseyside boasts the better team, it doesn’t mean the blue half capitulate.
True, it is now 19 games in this fixture with an Everton win – the longest run in Mersey derby history – but that doesn’t mean Liverpool come away with three points every time. Their last six visits here have produced five draws – and usually that’s fine.
Not this time. This is a head-to-head title race and results have to be matched. Manchester City won this weekend, Liverpool did not. Now they trail by a point, two taking inferior goal difference into account.
Mohamed Salah was denied at the last moment by the stretching Michael Keane, who put in a sublime last-ditch challenge
The Egyptian was ready to shape to poke the ball towards goal, but was thwarted by the former Manchester United man
Trent Alexander-Arnold beat the wall in the second half with a curling freekick, but it wasn’t enough to beat Jordan Pickford
Salah had also had the best chance of the first half after being sent through on goal and bearing down on Jordan Pickford
The Egyptian opened his body but could not curl the ball around the England No 1, who got down low to make a save
Pickford got a solid hand to the ball and the hosts were able to evade danger and head back up-field with possession
Local boy Alexander-Arnold put in a big challenge on Brazilian winger Bernard, under the watch of both managers
Tension immediately came to the boil, as captain Seamus Coleman was seen screaming in the direction of Divock Origi
It’s not the end of the world. Plenty of games left, plenty of swing potential, not least a Manchester derby – but the advantage is now with Pep Guardiola’s men, and every red slip from here is potentially calamitous.
It was a helter skelter of a match but not, as the scoreline suggests, a great one. The defences were the best of it. Virgil van Dijk stunning for Liverpool, Everton ferocious in shutting out Liverpool’s three-pronged attacking line.
Michael Keane made a quite brilliant tackle to deny Fabinho in the second-half, Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a header from a corner well saved by Alisson. If this doesn’t sound much in the way of action, that’s about right. There was lots of noise, plenty of fury, but not much in the way of goal threat.
PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
EVERTON (4-3-3): Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Schneiderlin (Andre Gomes), Gueye, Walcott (Richarlison), Sigurdsson, Bernard, Calvert-Lewin (Tosun)
Subs not used: Jagielka, Stekelenburg, Davies, Kenny
Manager: Marco Silva
LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1): Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Milner), Salah, Mane (Lallana), Origi (Firmino)
Subs not used: Keita, Sturridge, Mignolet, Shaqiri
Booked: Robertson, Fabinho
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Referee: Martin Atkinson
MOTM: Van Dijk
- Premier League
- Premier League
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- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
At the end, the stalemate was greeted like Everton’s first win since 2010. Liverpool may see it that way, too.
This was like one of those old school Merseyside derbies in that it was built up to an extreme level of anticipation and could probably only disappoint.
So there was lots of blood and thunder, plenty of huff and puff but little or real quality to define it. Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal found touch from his kicks so often it was as if he was auditioning for a place in Eddie Jones’ Rugby World Cup squad. Mo Salah had the best chance of the first-half, and missed it.
The Republic of Ireland international then bellowed at his team-mates, urging them to get their heads in the game
Joel Matip was frequently involved as the game got under way, and battled in the air repeatedly with Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Klopp called over Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum during a break in play to deliver some revised game-plan tactics
Both managers were out in the technical areas, frequently, to urge their sides along in hope of making a breakthrough
Marco Silva was in the ear of the fourth official on multiple occasions, not happy with some of the calls made against his side
Virgil van Dijk was frequently seen calming down the Liverpool defence and organising the structure of his side
Everton barely threatened despite bustling about with great intensity.
Star of the show, on a day like this, is invariably Virgil van Dijk, as it proved. If it was discovered the ball had a homing device linked to implants in his feet and head it would have made sense.
He was aided, of course, by Everton’s bizarre conviction that Dominic Calvert-Lewin would have the beating of him in an aerial battle. There was little evidence to support this.
Everton’s best early chance came after ten minute when a move involving Lucas Digne, Calvert-Lewin and finally Gylfi Sigurdsson would have played in Theo Walcott, had Van Dijk not been alert to the danger.
That aside, a poor Walcott shot in the 38th minute, having done the hard part by losing Andrew Robertson, was the best of it for Everton in the first-half.
Theo Walcott was the first man to go into the book after receiving a yellow card from Martin Atkinson in the early stages
Owner of Everton FC Farhad Moshiri took his place in the stands ahead of the eagerly awaited Merseyside derby clash
Chairman Bill Kenwright was also present to watch the Toffees go up against their fierce city rivals
Liverpool looked more dangerous without rekindling thoughts of the midweek humbling of Watford.
It was 15 minutes before they had a pop through Salah, affording Pickford an easy save, but the England man had to be at his absolute best to keep him out after 29 minutes.
Morgan Schneiderlin was caught out in midfield by Fabinho who put Salah through with only the goalkeeper to beat. This time last year it would have been a goal, most probably, but Salah has been fallible on occasions in this campaign, and Pickford made an outstanding stop.
From the rebound, Jordan Henderson hit a fierce shot which Seamus Coleman blocked, bravely.
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