Mohamed Salah netted his 100th Liverpool goal in the Reds’ Merseyside Derby draw, but the hard-fought point was not without sacrifice as Virgil van Dijk was forced off early following a horror tackle from Jordan Pickford.
Jürgen Klopp made four changes from the side that lost 7-2 to Aston Villa before the international break, with Sadio Mané, Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip all returning to the XI after being passed fit earlier in the week.
Liverpool didn’t take long to start putting right the wrongs of Villa Park as the returning Mané lashed the ball into the roof of Pickford’s net in the the third minute.
Mohamed Salah switched the play to Andrew Robertson who skipped past Seamus Coleman with relative ease. The flying Scotsman burst into the box and fizzed a low cross towards the penalty spot, finding Mané unmarked who proceeded to smash the ball past the England number one and into the net.
Liverpool pressed their advantage and continued to press the Everton backline but unfortunately for the Reds their momentum was swiftly halted after a horrible tackle on Virgil van Dijk left the centre beak in a heap and in need of substitution.
Van Dijk’s presence was certainly missed as Everton drew level in the 19th minute through Michael Keane.
A corner curled into the penalty area found Keane free as the centre back climbed highest and directed his header goal bound. Although central and somewhat weak, Adrián flapped at the effort only to see it end up in the back of his net. Questions will yet again be asked of the Spanish ‘keeper who really should have done better.
The absence of van Dijk at the back saw Everton apply more pressure on the Reds backline, however, this seemed to benefit Liverpool in attacking sense as space began to open up for the Reds to take advantage of their signature counter-attacks.
Despite finding joy down the flanks and the front three linking up well, Liverpool did struggle to carve out any credible chances for the remainder of the half, with the score remaining 1-1 at the break.
Liverpool started the second half in similar vein as the first, attacking well with a high tempo, however, with van Dijk not on the pitch Everton push harder and higher and quickly started to look the more likely to take the lead.
In fact, the Toffees came closest on a couple of occasions first through Dominic Calvert-Lewin who failed to make contact with a low ball across the face of goal, and secondly through Richarlison whose downward header clipped Adrian’s post before being cleared by a relieved Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Despite Everton’s dominance the Reds showed that they were still a very real threat on the break and very much against the run of play took the lead again in the 71st minute through Salah.Embed from Getty Images
The goal, which is the Egyptian’s 100th for Liverpool, came after a Henderson cross was poorly cleared by Yerry Mina into the path of Salah. The Egyptian wideman quickly shifted his feet and connected with the bouncing ball perfectly first time to produce a flat and curling effort that nestled into the side netting of Pickford’s goal.
The Reds almost had a third instantly however, a breathtaking diving save by Pickford, who arguably should no longer have been on the pitch, denied a well placed towering header by Matip.
Liverpool’s lead again didn’t last long as the in-form Calvert-Lewin continued his hot streak to head the hosts level in the 81st minute.
A pin point cross by Lucas Digne found the England striker in the box amid Liverpool’s defenders. Despite the presence of both Andrew Robertson and Joe Gomez, Calvert-Lewin rose unchallenged and directed his header back across goal, wrong-footing Adrián who could do nothing as the header drew the Toffees level.
The Reds continued to push for the winning goal and for the final minutes of the match had a man advantage after Richarlison was sent off after a very late and aggressive tackle on Thiago in the middle of the pitch. Thankfully for Klopp, his marquee signing was able to continue, however, hearts up and down Merseyside would have been fearing the worst.
With the man advantage Liverpool continued to push and had the ball in the back of the net through Henderson however, a controversial VAR decision saw the would-be winning goal ruled out for the slightest and most questionable of offsides.
Liverpool are next in action midweek when they travel to Amsterdam to take on Ajax as the UEFA Champions League returns.
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