By Andy Jones.
Everton hosted city rivals Liverpool in what was an eventful 95 minutes of football on Saturday.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson thought he had won the game in stoppage time only to see his effort ruled out for an offside in the build-up.
A dramatic finish to what had been a close encounter, Everton’s Richarlison saw red after a reckless challenge on Thiago Alcantara before Henderson’s injury-time strike was ruled out. Replays appeared to show Sadio Mane in an onside position in the build-up, but VAR dumbfounded TV pundits and fans alike when the goal was disallowed.
Nevertheless, the game saw Liverpool take the lead twice only for Everton to claw them back on both occasions.
Evertonians still await a derby day victory, taking their run in the fixture to 23 games without a victory.
Four goals and a red card – this one lived up to the hype.
Electric Start From The Reds But Toffees Fight Back
Jürgen Klopp’s men came flying out of the blocks with their familiar pressing and crisp passing, taking the lead after just three minutes.
It was a brilliant first-time finish from Sadio Mané as the Senegalese forward ran on to a superb Andrew Robertson cross slotting the ball past Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
Liverpool continued their electric start and looked likely to score with each attack until a horrific tackle from Pickford on Virgil van Dijk left the Dutch defender slumped on the floor.
Pickford was lucky not to see red as replays showed a reckless and dangerous tackle from the England goalkeeper who was fortunate to stay on the pitch with just ten minutes gone.
Joe Gomez replaced Van Dijk and Liverpool continued to dominate possession in the opening quarter of the match.
Everton grew into the game after Van Dijk’s departure and a James Rodriguez corner on 19 minutes saw Michael Keane drive a header past Adrian in the Liverpool goal. The Liverpool keeper’s hand not strong enough to keep out Keane’s powerful header.
The Anfield club created more chances throughout the first half; another Mané and Robertson combination ended with the Liverpool No. 10 putting his shot wide of the far post as he ran on to the Scotland captain’s low cross.
Henderson then had a chance after his late burst into the box was met by a Roberto Firmino pull back, only to see the ball ricochet wide off his shin.
With half-time approaching, Everton’s Richarlison blazed an effort over from the edge of the box.
The Brazillian initially turned well before snatching at his shot and watched it fly into the stands.
Trent Alexander-Arnold then had a shot brilliantly saved by Pickford as he combined with Henderson at a freekick routine.
The second-half started in a much more cautious manner. Richarlison came closest on 60 minutes when he saw his header bounce back off the post after a sumptuous James cross.
The Colombian’s inswinging ball from the right found his teammate at the far post — the angle seemed to be against Richarlison but the Brazilian will be disappointed he didn’t at least hit the target.
Everton’s front line was linking up well and five minutes later James found himself in space on the edge of the box forcing a good save from Adrian.
Everton were left to rue their missed chances as Mohamed Salah finally claimed his 100th Premier League goal for the Reds.
The Egyptian pounced on a poor clearance from Yerry Mina to rifle home an instinctive finish after some good work from Henderson on the right.
Liverpool seemed to grow in confidence after taking the lead and Joel Matip forced Pickford into another exceptional save.
Pickford, playing in his 150th Premier League game for the Toffees, showed sharp reactions again, making another good save from Salah who had livened up after his goal.
Everton kept pushing forward as they looked for the equaliser and sure enough moments later a brilliant Lucas Digne cross from the left was met by the towering Dominic Calvert-Lewin with 10 minutes to go.
The in-form striker leapt high above Robertson, directing his header across goal past Adrian for his 10th goal of the season.
At 2-2 the game was poised for an exciting finish and it didn’t disappoint.
Richarlison lunged in on Thiago and replays showed the Brazilian’s high foot slamming into Thiago’s shin. Referee Michael Oliver went straight for the red card — a truly shocking tackle from Richarlison.
Liverpool looked to have taken advantage of the extra man when captain Henderson thought he had sealed a late winner in injury time.
The Liverpool captain had finished off a brilliant move started by Thiago’s sumptuous no-look pass but Mané had been deemed to stray offside before crossing to Henderson.
Despite the striker looking onside, VAR cut Liverpool’s celebrations short, denying the champions their 12th derby win in 10 years.
Good Result For Both?
The disappointment of having a last-minute winner ruled out will likely hurt Klopp and his men, but last season’s champions will be pleased with their performance — much improved from the debacle at Villa Park two weeks ago.
Thiago looked cool and classy in the centre of the park, winning BT’s Man of the Match award, although good performances from Roberston and Henderson showed that Liverpool have put that defeat at Villa to bed.
Klopp speaking to BT Sport after the game, said: “The performance was top, it was a top game. It was a good game for both teams.
“We were clear, dominant against a side who is full of confidence, has a clear plan, we played a really really good game.
“It was probably the best away game since I’m in Liverpool [that] we played at Goodison.”
Klopp looked frustrated in his post-match interview, the sucker punch of having the winner taken away looked to have annoyed the normally jovial German.
Carlo Ancelotti was delighted his side competed and made life difficult for their cross-city rivals.
Everton in no way shape or form hung on here, their performance matched that of Liverpool’s with Keane and Calvert-Lewin the pick of the bunch.
Calvert-Lewin continued his fine form under the stewardship of Ancelotti and helped to maintain Everton’s unbeaten start to the season with yet another goal.
And though James wasn’t at his best, he still provided some moments of quality. His delivery in the second half was outstanding, switching play from the right to the left several times, looking for Richarlison and Digne, a tactic employed frequently throughout the half.
“It was terrific, it was a good game in my opinion,” Ancelotti told BT Sport. “Exciting game, a lot of fight, a lot of pressing, a lot of Intensity.
“My feeling is good. We competed with them, we were 1-0 down, we equalised, 1-2 down we equalised. The character of the team was good. Difficult but I think this is a good test, I have a good feeling.”
The Italian coach praised his side’s character to come from behind twice and will be cautiously optimistic they can challenge for trophies this season.
Both managers will be pleased to have not lost this one, but either could have grabbed the win here and although neither will be too disappointed at the result both Ancelotti and Klopp will feel the game was there for the taking.
Roll on the return at Anfield these two could be fighting for the title by then.