A goalscoring milestone, a red card (and maybe another that should have been), a key player off through injury and four goals. Oh, plus a late and controversial VAR call, too.
Yes, the 237th Merseyside derby pretty much had it all.
An early kick-off following an international break may have raised concerns of a sluggish return in the Premier League, yet it soon became apparent that there would be no easing back into domestic duties at Goodison Park.
Liverpool scored early through Sadio Mane but lost both Virgil van Dijk and their advantage not long after. Mohamed Salah did put the champions back ahead with a notable strike in the second half, but Everton once again responded to grab a draw.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s towering 81st-minute header was far from the end of the drama, though.
The hosts had Richarlison sent off before Jordan Henderson appeared to have won it for the Reds, albeit with a helping hand from Jordan Pickford, whose earlier challenge on Van Dijk had ended the Dutchman’s involvement, with the goalkeeper not punished due to an offside call.
Yet, by the barest of margins, Mane was adjudged offside in the build-up when the play was checked at Stockley Park. No goal, then, meaning a point apiece and plenty of talking points and a host of interesting Opta facts.
6 – Only Tottenham duo Harry Kane (9) and Son Heung-min (7) have been involved in more Premier League goals this season than James Rodríguez (3 goals, 3 assists). Super. #EVELIV
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
MANE STRIKES BUT HOSTS KEANE TO RESPOND
Liverpool showed no signs of a delayed hangover from the stunning 7-2 loss to Aston Villa last time out, Mane – who had missed that game – getting the opener after two minutes and 15 seconds.
It was the Reds’ fastest ever goal in a Premier League derby, though Everton have done it quicker in the fixture – Olivier Dacourt scored after just one minute in April 1999 (though they went on to lose 3-2 at Anfield).
Andrew Robertson provided the assist, the full-back’s 14th since the start of the 2018-19 season; only Kevin De Bruyne (21) has managed more in the English top flight.
Yet the lead did not last for too long, Michael Keane heading in James Rodriguez’s delivery for his third goal of the season in the 19th minute, making it the earliest both teams had scored in a derby clash since November 2013.
SALAH REACHES CENTURY IN STYLE
Salah scored in the 72nd minute, the 100th goal of his Liverpool career in his 159th appearance – only Roger Hunt and Jack Parkinson have made it to the century in fewer appearances for the club.
The Egyptian’s instinctive finish when a loose ball fell into his path had Jurgen Klopp’s side on course for all three points but, while they are unbeaten in their last 23 meetings against Everton in all competitions – their longest run against a single opponent in history, they were unable to hold on in their neighbours’ backyard.
Calvert-Lewin climbed high to nod in Lucas Digne’s deep cross, his 12th headed goal in the Premier League since the start of the 2018-19 season. No other player has managed more than that total.
Having also struck on his England debut, the forward continued his fine start to the campaign, becoming the first Everton player to score in the first five league games of a season since Tommy Lawton, way back in 1938-39.
Everton have now scored 322 headed goals in the Premier League, more than any other club. If Calvert-Lewin is on target again next time out, with Everton up against Southampton, he will match Sergio Aguero’s scoring streak of six matches, which the Manchester City striker managed at the start of 2019-20.
100 – Mohamed Salah has scored his 100th goal in his 159th game for @LFC in all competitions – only Roger Hunt and Jack Parkinson have reached the milestone in fewer appearances for the Reds. Centurion. #EVELIV pic.twitter.com/qXKN4yWBGH
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
RICHARLISON SEES RED IN EVENTFUL FINISH
If Pickford was saved from being sent off by a technicality, there was no sparing Richarlison after he lunged in on Thiago Alcantara.
The Brazilian stayed down injured for a short while after the tackle, but treatment only delayed the inevitable. His red card is the 22nd in Premier League meetings between the Merseyside clubs, unsurprisingly the most in the competition. Everton, by the way, have accounted for 15 of those dismissals.
Liverpool appeared to have capitalised on the advantage of having an extra man when Henderson’s rather weak first-time finish was only palmed beyond the line by Pickford, only for the use of technology to wipe out what appeared to be a last-gasp winner.
The VAR call denied the visitors, though Klopp will also be aware this was a fourth league game in five without a clean sheet. They have conceded 13 goals at the start of their title defence – they did not leak that many in the previous campaign until 15 games in.
The potential absence of Van Dijk will not help in the quest to tighten up at the back, particularly with goalkeeper Alisson also sidelined through injury.
As for Everton, they remain unbeaten and while their 100 per cent record is no more, there are positive signs for boss Carlo Ancelotti and the fans for the months ahead. They still have not led in any of their last 14 Premier League matches against their rivals, but are now unbeaten in four derbies at home, all of which have finished as draws.
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