Liverpool, Everton share spoils in Merseyside derby

Top of the table, Everton plays champions Liverpool at lunch time
Top of the table, Everton plays champions Liverpool at lunch time
Liverpool failed to beat Everton at Goodison Park
Liverpool failed to beat Everton at Goodison Park

Everton dented the title hopes of rivals Liverpool by holding them to a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby.

The Reds would have reclaimed top spot in the Premier League with a win but they remain second, one point behind leaders Manchester City.

It is first time since 7 December that Jurgen Klopp’s side have not been top of the table having played the same number of games as City.

Mohamed Salah had the game’s best chance but was excellently denied by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford when on-on-one.

Salah was kept out again in the second half by a brilliant challenge from Michael Keane in the penalty area when the Egyptian looked to be through on goal.

Later in the second half, left-back Lucas Digne also produced an excellent last-ditch tackle to prevent Liverpool’s Fabinho shooting from close range.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was rarely troubled, making a routine catch to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header in the 52nd minute.

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Liverpool frozen out once more

Everton followed Manchester United’s lead in simply refusing to let Liverpool’s much-vaunted attack pass.

Klopp’s side created more opportunities and looked the more likely winners but the cutting edge was missing, with Salah the main culprit.

The Egyptian looked back to his best in Liverpool’s 5-0 win against Watford on Wednesday but here he was short of his best, denied by Pickford in the first half and then hesitating just long enough to allow Keane to make that outstanding late intervention.

Liverpool created a few scrambles to play on Goodison Park’s nerves as the seconds ticked down but they could not make the breakthrough they needed.

Manager Klopp looked happy enough at the final whistle but Liverpool were pressed into mistakes with misplaced passes and too many attacks just fizzling out.

They are right in this title hunt but this was a long way from their best and it is the first time since 7 December that they have not been top of the table having played the same number of games as Manchester City.

Everton and Silva can take heart

Everton’s supporters relished the final whistle and putting a dent, albeit a small one, in Liverpool’s title aspirations as they taunted their counterparts from across Stanley Park.

And this was an occasion when Goodison Park was at its atmospheric best, an air raid siren blaring around the stadium before kick-off and the traditional playing of Z Cars.

Everton were badly wounded by what happened at Anfield earlier this season when they lost so late and while there was almost an air of panic about some of their passing, their threat grew as the game went on.

Marco Silva’s defence, so often criticised this season, stood firm, helped by Pickford, and this may well have been defender Keane’s best game for the club since his £30m move from Burnley in summer 2017.