The Merseyside Derby was a standout fixture in the Premier League’s long-awaited return. It was meant to be the emphatic return of the champions-elect in Liverpool. Instead, in what is becoming the norm in Derby games at Goodison Park, the game was slow, lethargic and not very entertaining; something that the end score of 0-0 reflected.
Things could have easily been worse for a Liverpool side controlled by Naby Keita from midfield, however, and but for the combination Alisson Becker and Everton’s poor finishing, they would have been travelling home with zero points.
Naby Keita Impresses As Liverpool Celebrations Are Further Delayed
Keita The Key
For most players, the game was a chance to gain some crucial match sharpness under their belt. But for Keita, it was the chance to finally stake his claim for a starting place. And that he did. The Guinea international conducted the orchestra of Liverpool’s midfield to perfection in the 60 minutes that he played; the tempo was set by Keita; the opportunity to win the ball back was taken by Keita, and any combination play came through the number eight.
Had Keita been given the full 90, Liverpool may have come away with all three points. It certainly has to be said that when he did make way, Liverpool stopped controlling the midfield- an indication of the midfielder’s growing importance to Jurgen Klopp.
Despite Liverpool dominating for most of the game, Dejan Lovren almost handed Everton their first Merseyside Derby win in ten years. The Croatian entered proceedings off the back of an untimely Joel Matip injury before going onto make a classic Lovren mistake; a mistake that should have cost Liverpool a couple of points.
The long ball, much like most of the game, was sent down the flank into Richarlison. The Brazillian had been silenced all game by Matip and co; the same task was expected to be completed by Lovren. Lovren, though, got too tight and was instantly spun by the Everton forward, who eventually done the Croatian again before seeing his shot saved.
The chance could have been a deciding one had Richarlison taken it to turn Merseyside blue for the first time in a long time. Everton, however, have once again failed to be clinical and, therefore, failed to secure a first Derby win in a over a decade.
When Can Liverpool Win the Title?
As it stands, if Manchester City beat Burnley on Monday, Liverpool need to beat Crystal Palace in order to set up one more title showdown at the Etihad Stadium. If all goes to plan, we could see Liverpool deal one more fatal blow to Manchester City by winning the title in City’s backyard.
If Manchester City lose to Burnley, however, then Liverpool can win the title on Wednesday, at Anfield, against Crystal Palace.