Liverpool missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they were held to a
0-0 draw by a gutsy Everton side at Goodison Park.
The Reds knew that victory would have put them above Manchester City, but they were unable to find a way past a dogged and disciplined Everton in what was, typically, a tight and tense Merseyside derby.
The only real clear chance of the game fell to Mohamed Salah after 28 minutes, but he was thwarted by a well-timed reaction save from Jordan Pickford when one-on-one with the Everton goalkeeper.
A fiercely contested match saw few goalscoring opportunities for both teams, though the game was there for the taking as both teams tired in the closing stages but, in the end, neither side was able to deliver a telling blow as the points were shared.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
The worst of Storm Freya has not yet arrived on Merseyside, but the Goodison Park faithful certainly cooked up a storm, creating an electric atmosphere in an attempt to put the Reds off their game.
Although the crowd did appear to affect Liverpool throughout the first half, Everton's midfield lacked the courage required to dictate the game and really unsettle the Reds as they were content to keep Liverpool at arm's length.
The Toffees relied on a direct game plan with Dominic Calvert-Lewin deployed as the main target man, the hosts were confident of matching Liverpool blow for blow in what was, unsurprisingly, a fiery and physical affair. To the hosts' credit, that is exactly what they did from first minute to last, and were fully deserving of a point as a result.
Starting XI: Pickford (8*); Coleman (7), Keane (7), Zouma (6), Digne (6); Schneiderlin (5), Gueye (6); Bernard (5), Walcott (5), Sigurdsson (6); Calvert-Lewin (7).
Substitutes: Richarlison (6), Tosun (6), Gomes (6).
After his howler cost Everton a point in the first Merseyside derby of the season, Jordan Pickford made amends for that error with a stellar performance between the sticks for the Toffees.
Jordan Pickford looked Liverpool in the eye and said thank u, next. What a guy 👏🏻— Francesca Lever 🧚♀️ (@franlever) March 3, 2019
Jordan Pickford > Trump's Wall— Slevin Kelevra 🇺🇸 (@DrunkUncTony) March 3, 2019
His save could prove to be crucial not only within the context of the match, but also within the Premier League title race. When he was up against Salah one-on-one, conventional wisdom would have it that the Egyptian scores, but Pickford did exceptionally well to deny him.
Pickford also did well with his distribution, with no errors apparent this time round, as his vital save earned the Toffees a point that they more than merited.
Key Talking Point
Liverpool looked unnerved in the early stages, with a partisan Goodison Park crowd playing on the minds of the Reds players. Having produced a similarly uninspiring performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford last week, Liverpool were unable to break down a determined Everton side.
Given that Liverpool have surged into the position of title contenders this season thanks to the potency of their front three, it is ironic that they have been let down by a lack of goals when they have needed them most.
Uninspiring in the final third for the second week in a row, the Reds' star-studded attack that has been their saving grace so many times throughout the course of this campaign was inconspicuously absent when, in a fixture like this, it should have taken centre-stage.
Starting XI: Alisson (7); Alexander-Arnold (7), Van Dijk (8*), Matip (7), Robertson (6); Henderson (6), Fabinho (5), Wijnaldum (6); Salah (4), Origi (5), Mane (6).
Substitutes: Milner (6), Firmino (6), Lallana (6).
Virgil Van Dijk's presence in defence is a big reason why Liverpool have only conceded eight goals on the road so far this season.
I’ve never seen a better Centre half than Virgil Van Dijk and I don’t think I ever will, absolutely outstanding again— Darren Farley (@DFImpressionist) March 3, 2019
At Goodison Park, under the most intense pressure, Van Dijk restored some calm to a Liverpool side who looked anxious at times. The Dutchman won every duel and made every header that he had to, correcting the errors of his team-mates like any good centre-half.
Everton will hope to capitalise on their good form as they travel to St James' Park to face Newcastle next Saturday, whilst Liverpool will hope to return to winning ways when they are back in action a day later, hosting Burnley on Sunday.