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Reds Column II

Premier League 2020-21 Summary: Everton vs Liverpool

In the 237th Merseyside Derby, Liverpool Fc were robbed off their win against bitter rivals and hosts Everton Fc as the match ended 2-2. This result meant that Everton Fc (The Toffees) are still yet to beat Liverpool Fc (The Reds) in more than 10 years.

After an embarrassing record loss (to the hosts Aston Villa Fc more than a fortnight ago), the Reds needed to put on an improved performance but this time, the Reds quickly got off to a flying start.

In the 3rd minute, Sadio Mané struck the ball on to the left top corner of the net after Andrew Robertson nipped past Seamus Coleman and brilliantly assisted to Mané.

The match will be best remembered for its share of VAR Controversies as key decisions went against the Reds. Virgil Van Dijk was caught offside in the 11th minute but was badly injured from a reckless scissor type challenge by the Toffees Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford inside the Penalty Area.

Shockingly, VAR checked only for the Offside and did not check for the dangerous challenge by Pickford. This was the first reprieve for the Toffees as no further action was taken against Pickford. Joe Gomez then replaced the injured Van Dijk.

The Toffees soon equalised in the 19th minute as James Rodríguez’s corner kick as Michael Kean headed from very close. All the fallible Adrián could do was meekly blocked the ball into the net.

Both sides looked threatening. However, it was the Reds that had more possession but was not clinical enough with their finishing. Both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané had their fair share of scoring opportunities to restore the lead for the Reds but did not capitalise.

The Second Half began with the match evenly poised at 1-1. Pickford continued to deny the Reds with several fine saves but was again beaten in the 72nd minute. A righted footed cross from Jordan Henderson was not properly cleared by Yerry Mina as the ball fell right on to the path of Salah. The Egyptian quickly struck the ball fiercely on to the top left corner of the net.

The Reds could not cling on their lead as a floated cross from Lucas Digne was met by the Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the Englishman out jumped Andrew Robertson and headed the ball past the hapless Adrián.

Richarlison was given his marching orders as the Brazilian was sent off for his dangerous tackle on Thiago Alcântara on the 90th minute.

With the Reds in search for a winner, Henderson scored from the resulting cross from Mané following a brilliant pass from Thiago. Pickford tamely punched the ball but the ball still went in the back of the net. The goal though was chalked off after a VAR review and spared Pickford’s blushes.

The Reds were denied their third goal by a margin of millimetres. Interestingly, the VAR was called upon to verify the goal that denied the Reds their winning goal but was anonymous when a dangerous challenge from Pickford on Van Dijk was left unchecked early in the first half.

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Adrián – 5: Could have reacted quicker with Kean’s header from Rodríguez’s corner kick and punched the ball clear rather than into the net. Despite performing much better than the Aston Villa Fc Match. The Spaniard looked nervy throughout the match and as soon as the ball got to his feet, everyone around him felt a sense of panic.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6: Clearly wasn’t the best game from the young Englishman despite doing a decent job on Set-Pieces. Got easily beaten by James Rodríguez.

Joël Matip – 6: Denied a goal scoring chance from the header as Pickford dived to his left to save. Looked composed and kept the dangerous Calvert-Lewin at bay.

Virgil Van Dijk – N/A: Looked confident but was forced off as the result of the reckless challenge from Pickford.

Andrew Robertson – 7: The Scot always looked to get the Reds on the front foot. Defensively looked compact and made vital save to deny Calvert-Lewin in the second half.

Midfield:

Thiago Alcântara – 7: The Spaniard showed what the Reds sorely missed. Linked up with the front three and made several incisive passes into final third. One of those passes resulted in Henderson’s goal that got chalked off after a VAR Review.

Fabinho – 6: Got beaten easily by letting Keane to head the ball in to net for the opening goal for the Toffees. Looked composed for most parts of the match and was booked for a foul on James Rodríguez in the second half.

Jordan Henderson – 6: The Englishman was denied the winning goal by mere millimetres. Showed a lot of intent and drove the Reds attack with top quality passes with one of them resulting in Salah’s goal.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 7: The Sengalese constantly haunted the Toffees defence. Missed a few chances but struck the opening goal for the Reds.

Roberto Firmino – 6: Linked up well with Mané and Salah. But could not influence the game itself and was substituted for Diogo Jota in the 77th minute.

Mohamed Salah – 6: Missed couple of good chances but pounced on the misplaced clearance from Mina to restore the lead temporarily for the Reds.

Substitutes:

Joe Gomez – 6: After Van Dijk was forced off; the young Englishman was quickly brought on. Looked troubled and was caught ball rather than marking Calvert-Lewin which led to his fellow Englishman out jumping past Robertson to equalise for the Toffees.

Diogo Jota – N/A: Brought on to replace the tiring Firmino and like the Brazilian, could not dictate the game. Both looked jaded after returning from their International commitments.

Georginio Wijnaldum – N/A: Replaced Fabinho in the 90th minute as the Reds were search for their winning goal.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 6: The Reds under the German have kept their unbeaten record against the Toffees that now extends past 10 years. The German and everyone connected with the Reds will be bemused with some of the decisions that went against the Reds.

The Reds will rightly feel they have been robbed of their win but there are still no excuses for their poor finishing. Aston Villa Fc has already shown to the Reds in a humiliating manner of how to score goals without wasting opportunities.

The immediate and biggest worry will be the injury of Van Dijk. The Dutch in all likelihood will miss the opening Champions League Group match against the hosts AFC Amsterdam on 24 October 2020 (8 pm (BST)).

With Alisson also sidelined for the immediate future, Klopp especially will be hoping that Van Dijk will not be sidelined for an extended period.

 

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