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'WOW!' - Liverpool winners, losers and ratings as Pickford has game of his life to extend Salah goal drought - CoolBaze.com

‘WOW!’ – Liverpool winners, losers and ratings as Pickford has game of his life to extend Salah goal drought

 

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The 241st Merseyside derby ended with honours even after a captivating 0-0 draw between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park.

Somehow, this breathless contest ended goalless, but featured high drama in any case, with both sides hitting the woodwork in the first half, both goalkeepers making huge saves in the second, and Conor Coady having a goal ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR check.

 

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Everton saw Tom Davies strike the post in the first half, but needed Jordan Pickford to save them with a brilliant tip onto the bar from Darwin Nunez’s dipping volley, shortly before Luis Diaz rattled the frame of the goal for Liverpool.

 

After the break Pickford twice denied substitute Roberto Firmino, as well as Nunez and Fabinho, while Alisson Becker spread himself well to prevent Neal Maupay from marking his Blues debut with a goal.

 

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Maupay’s shot was then turned in by Coady, only for the VAR to flag an offside that the assistant referee had missed.

 

Incredibly, there was still time for Pickford and Alisson to make crucial late saves to deny Firmino and Dwight McNeil, and for Mohamed Salah, anonymous otherwise, to hit the post in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

 

Joe Gomez:

Having waited a long time to get back into Liverpool’s team, Gomez looks like he’s not about to waste his big chance.

He was outstanding here, assured alongside his great mate Virgil van Dijk at centre-back and then positive and strong at right-back in the closing stages.

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Save for one loose clearance, which almost led to a goal for Tom Davies, this was the England international at his best.

Joel Matip is fit again, but the shirt is Gomez’s for now, surely?

Jordan Pickford:

 

He may not have particularly happy memories of this fixture, but the England goalkeeper will remember this derby for quite some time. He saved Everton in the first half, acrobatically turning Darwin Nunez’s dipping volley onto the crossbar,

 

and after the break he was superb in repelling Nunez, Roberto Firmino (three times), Fabinho and, in stoppage time, Salah. It looked like Pickford got the faintest of touches to the Egyptian’s strike, which rebounded to safety off the post. If he got a bit lucky, he deserved it.

 

He definitely earned his clean sheet.

“WOW” was the reaction from Klopp after learning Pickford had made eight saves in total.

 

Roberto Firmino:

Introduced at half-time, the in-form Brazilian was Liverpool’s sharpest and most threatening player thereafter.

Drifting into space behind Nunez, Firmino’s elusive movement and smart passes enabled the visitors to play properly for the first time.

Had it not been for Pickford, once, twice, thrice, the No.9 would have won the game for his side.

The Goodison atmosphere:

Talk about a place transformed. In this fixture last year, Liverpool fans sang ‘they’re gonna boo in a minute’ and they were right.

 

The unhappy tenure of Rafa Benitez had turned Goodison, never the most patient of places at the best of times, into a bearpit of the wrong kind, one which seemed to have a negative effect on Everton’s players rather than the opposition.

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It’s different now, with Frank Lampard harnessing the power of the home support better than Benitez ever could. From the bus welcome beforehand, all blue smoke and passionate singing, to the way Blues fans stuck with their team (and against both Liverpool and referee Anthony Taylor) throughout the game, this was a different Goodison. A better one, for sure.

 

The Losers

Mohamed Salah:

The grimace said it all. It just wasn’t the Egyptian’s day.

That’s three games without a goal now for Salah, although he must have thought he’d won it for Liverpool when he swept Luis Diaz’s pass goalwards in the fifth minute of injury time.

But through a combination of Pickford and the post, he was to be denied. It was his best – only – chance of a frustrating afternoon, in which he was played well by Vitalii Mykolenko and left reeling from a piece of outrageous skill from Alex Iwobi in the second half.

 

Beware Napoli and Wolves, mind. Salah’s droughts don’t tend to last too long.

Luis Diaz:

Salah was not the only Liverpool attacker to enjoy an irritating afternoon. Diaz, too, struggled to make an impact, although he was inches away from firing his side ahead in the first half when his effort came back off the woodwork.

Like Salah, there’s never any lack of endeavour with the Colombian, who was still running hard in the final seconds, but too often he did his work too far away from goal, and at times his tendency to cut inside from the left was a little predictable. Credit to Nathan Patterson, the young Everton full back, who competed gamely.

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The minority of idiots in the city of Liverpool:

There was a touching show of solidarity before kick off here, with a blue and red banner unfurled across the divide between the home and away sections of the Bullens Road stand.

 

‘Enough is enough. Our city in unity’, it read, a message of solidarity in the wake of the murder of nine-year-old Olivie Pratt-Korbel, which has left the city in a state of shock.

 

There was another in the ninth minute of the game, as all four sides of Goodison Park began a chorus of applause. The planned singing of ‘Merseyside, Merseyside’, didn’t really materialise, but the message was clear; one city, united.

 

Spare a thought, then, for the idiots who chose the morning of the game to vandalise a series of buildings and murals close to Anfield and Goodison, spraying them with profanities, graffiti and, in one instance, racist abuse.

On a day when the city of Liverpool went for unity, a minority chose idiocy. They cannot ever be allowed to win.

 

Liverpool Ratings: Defence

Alisson Becker (8/10):

Safe hands to deny Gordon and a brilliant spread to stop Maupay after half-time. Equally good to keep out McNeil’s deflected late shot.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (6/10):

Distribution wasn’t what it can be, and again he was replaced early in the second half.

Kostas Tsimikas (6/10):

Preferred to Robertson, he was a little erratic in the first half and made some rash challenges. Better going forward though missed a good close-range chance.

 

 

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