The heavily anticipated Merseyside Derby on Sunday evening was unfortunately the dampest of squibs, as Carlo Ancelotti's Everton held Liverpool to a draw that will keep them waiting on their long-awaited Premier League title.
Each side's big talking point ahead of kickoff emerged alongside the teamsheets. With a hectic schedule ahead, both Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp sprung a surprise or two, with Ancelotti offering a first league start to winger Anthony Gordon.
Wow, Anthony Gordon handed his first ever Premier League start in this evening's Merseyside derby— Adam Jones (@Adam_Jones94) June 21, 2020
What a day this will be for the youngster!
?Anthony Gordon has been given his first Premier League start in the Merseyside Derby pic.twitter.com/oBqD0SFAOa— The Toffee Blues (@EvertonNewsFeed) June 21, 2020
6 of the 10 EFC outfield players aged 24 or under.— Tony Scott (@Tony_Scott11) June 21, 2020
Carlo going for youth.
Mason Holgate (23)
Dominic Calvert Lewin (23)
Anthony Gordon (19)
Tom Davies (21)
Alex Iwobi (24)
It was an entirely more dramatic selection from Klopp, who opted to rest the half-injured Mohamed Salah for Takumi Minamino while Andy Robertson - suffering from a minor knock - wasn't risked. From a fantasy football perspective, that's a disgrace of a decision.
Liverpool's defence has a right footer at left back, no Wijnaldum in midfield meaning Keita will be the one reliant on keeping the team compact by staying in central zones & not drifting forward leaving Fabinho isolated in transition & finally Minamino (a #10) out wide. Shocking.— EBL (@EBL2017) June 21, 2020
GET INNNN TAKI AND NABYYYYYY— hoever SZN (@dontleavekloppo) June 21, 2020
Minamino finally unleashed from the shackles of playing down the middle ahhh the league isn’t ready— Dan??? (@Ifcdan) June 21, 2020
The real star of the show, naturally, was Mike Dean's new beard.
...actually, on second thoughts, get it shaved. It's unsettling.
The first half was very tumbleweed.gif, but Liverpool fans did get some unwanted excitement when Milner - standing in for Robertson - was forced off in the first half. He grimaced in pain as he took his place in the stand, and was replaced by auxiliary full-back Joe Gomez.
James Milner comes off injured on his 535th Premier League appearance. Joe Gomez replaces him. Milner joined Gary Speed (RIP) as the joint 5th Premier League record appearance holder today.— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) June 21, 2020
Jurgen Klopp taking a leaf out of Brendan Rodgers' book by sticking Joe Gomez in at left-back. Haven't seen that for a while.— David Lynch (@LynchStandard) June 21, 2020
Quick half-time report?
Yep, that'll do it.
The second half saw Liverpool improve incrementally, but they continued to be frustrated by what was a firm defensive performance from their rivals. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was thrown on at the break, and closely followed by a slate of subs on the hour mark - Merseyside derby legend Divock Origi among them.
Klopp giving Origi instruction to "knock the ball in with his left testicle, his weaker testicle, in the 96th minute" pic.twitter.com/xtiQ5akxwq— roger bennett (@rogbennett) June 21, 2020
This kind of gini sub performance please pic.twitter.com/K6uhMDJxXO— Dead account (@b_themister) June 21, 2020
Klopp might have been considering throwing Salah into the fray as the game wore on, but he was forced to use his fifth substitute to replace Joel Matip with Dejan Lovren - who is, to put it lightly, not quite the player you want to be bringing on late in a game.
if he ruins this I stg— Joe (@IIoydyy) June 21, 2020
The Croatian went on to demonstrate just why fans were wincing at his introduction. Some questionable defending led to three clear Everton chances in quick succession, but he was twice bailed out by his goalkeeper who was in fine form.
Thank God for Alisson, Lovren is such a liability— sᴀʟ (@sxlang_) June 21, 2020
Lovren was on for what, 15 mins? Managed to force Alisson to bail us out twice— Archie (@archieIfc) June 21, 2020
How Everton failed to score from either of those chances, or the Tom Davies effort which hit the post, is another question altogether.
80' HOW??!! Two golden chances but somehow the ball stays out. DCL's flick is just saved by Allison, before Davies' shot hits the post. ARGHHH!!!— Everton (@Everton) June 21, 2020
? 0-0 ? #EVELIV
Everton were THIS close to taking the lead. ? pic.twitter.com/rF8gVlWSDJ— 90min (@90min_Football) June 21, 2020
Nonetheless, the wait goes on. Everton are now 23 Merseyside derbies without a win, while Liverpool will likely have to wait until their trip to the Etihad next midweek to win their first title in 30 years.
NEW CLUB RECORD— LFC Stats (@LFCData) June 21, 2020
Jurgen Klopp has now broken Bob Paisley’s record of most Merseyside Derby games unbeaten, with his 11th game tonight.
Klopp’s record against Everton now stands at 7 wins, 4 draws and 0 defeats. pic.twitter.com/6XIwqxOJZ2
Liverpool now need 5 points to win the Premier League title.— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) June 21, 2020
It can be won on Wednesday against Crystal Palace should Man City lose to Burnley tomorrow, and Liverpool win.
Otherwise, it can be decided at the Etihad on July 2nd.
Source : 90min