Everton 0-0 Liverpool: Salah issue and Klopp almost hit – What we spotted in derby draw

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Goodison Park witnessed yet another Merseyside derby draw on Saturday afternoon with Liverpool and Everton both left frustrated in a goalless – but entertaining – stalemate. Both teams hit the woodwork in the first half while Everton had a Conor Coady goal ruled out by VAR on 69 minutes and Jordan Pickford and Alisson produced several fine saves to prevent a victor. Express Sport looks at what we spotted in the match.

Another Goodison blank

It’s official – no fixture in the history of English top-flight football has resulted in more draws than this. This latest stalemate saw the Merseyside derby move level with Chelsea vs Manchester United on 25 draws. That it came at Goodison should be absolutely no surprise to anybody.

Goodison and derby draws are all too familiar by now – nine of the past 13 matches at this ground have ended level. Everton’s winless home streak against their neighbours goes on having not beaten Liverpool at home since October 2010 while the Reds’ hopes of first back-to-back wins at Goodison for 13 years ended in disappointment.

Jurgen Klopp went bold with his Liverpool line-up, recalling Darwin Nunez to the forward line and naming an attack-minded midfield with Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho the two No 8s. Yet even still, it was a largely dull first half punctured with only a few moments of real quality – Tom Davies and Nunez almost producing wonderful goals.

Roberto Firmino’s half-time introduction improved Liverpool – and the in-form Brazilian was twice denied by Jordan Pickford after the hour. It was a more enterprising second half from both sides in fact, with Alisson forced to deny both Neal Maupay and Dwight McNeil. But VAR overruling Coady’s finish meant there was nothing to separate the two teams once more.

Klopp nearly struck

Everton thought they’d broken the deadlock on 69 minutes when centre-back Coady – a boyhood Liverpool supporter – tapped in Neal Maupay’s low cross. Goodison Park erupted only for VAR, after a lengthy wait, to wreck the ecstasy of the home supporters and delight the away end. 

And the frustrations were too much for one supporter behind the dugouts and the press box in the Goodison Road Stand as a half-full plastic bottle was launched towards the pitch from the top deck and landed in Klopp’s dugout to a huge splash.

The object was inches away from striking the Liverpool boss, who responded by turning round and producing a long stare up into the stands. You can imagine the gestures he got back from the Everton fans in response.

Klopp’s Salah and Trent conundrum

The past few seasons, so much of Liverpool’s success has come down the right-hand side where Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah have combined to devastating effect. Six matches into this season, though the pair have both goals and assists to their names, it’s clear they are not as threatening as could or should be.

Salah has two goals and two assists in six Premier League matches but there is no doubt that the Egyptian, particularly unstoppable in the first half of last season, is nowhere near as dangerous so far this term. He is being deployed far wider and less as an inside forward in a noticeable change of approach from Liverpool.

And Klopp will surely be concerned at how uninvolved Salah has been for large periods of matches – even though he saw more of the ball after Firmino came on and would’ve netted a late winner if not for a fine Pickford save. Right now, Diaz appears a much more consistent threat throughout matches although he couldn’t find an opening goal either having been denied by the post in the first half.

Alexander-Arnold, too, is struggling to impact matches in the way we’re used to seeing. He was substituted off here before the half-hour mark, having also been taken off early in the late midweek win over Newcastle. He didn’t look happy about it on either occasion. And for Liverpool to put together the kind of winning run they need to rival Manchester City, they need the pair back to their best and quickly.

Van Dijk gets away with one

No fixture has produced more red cards in the Premier League era than this, with 22. Despite that, Liverpool have managed to avoid receiving a red in the derby since 2010 when Sotirios Kyrgiakos was given his marching orders. Their last Goodison red in the league was way back in 1999.

But Virgil van Dijk, who has had a rocky start to the season by his standards and has been outshone by Joe Gomez, was awfully fortunate here to see out the full 90 minutes. A studs-up challenge high on Amadou Onana’s left leg in the 76th minute might’ve resulted in a red on another day. The Dutchman was given just a yellow but surely should have been dismissed by referee Anthony Taylor, who angered the home fans a few times with his decisions.

Peter Walton explained of the decision on BT Sport: “The threshold on that one if there’s any force used against the foot it’s a yellow card. If the force is used to the shin it could be elevated to a red card. But in this instance Virgil van Dijk’s foot actually slipped down the shin and ended up on the foot which is why it’s a yellow card.” Nonetheless, Van Dijk was a lucky boy.

A better point for Everton

While Everton came agonisingly close to their first win at home to Liverpool in 12 years – they were a mere matter of inches away both when Coady’s goal was ruled out and when Davies struck the post – the mood in Goodison at full-time summed it up. There were no complaints after a battling display.

They may still be without a Premier League win this season but this was a promising performance off which Lampard will hope he can build something. They are still yet to score more than twice in a match this season and that is something the Toffees will need to address, though there were plenty of promising counter-attacks here and Maupay looks a handy addition.

There was a lot of encouragement in this point for the Toffees and it was a match that will surely leave Liverpool far more frustrated than the hosts. There are more points on the board at Anfield than Goodison but not enough for a team of their ambitions with Klopp as manager. There is a six-point gap to Arsenal – who face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday – despite having played one match more.



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