This was a Merseyside derby that felt like it might just have every element of drama this historic fixture can supply, but when Jordan Henderson scored what seemed to be a 90th-minute winner there was just one more protagonist left to make his presence felt.
That was the Video Assistant Referee, feeling perhaps a little forgotten, in these days of Project Big Picture squabbles and Covid stadium shut-outs, but here he was once more, wading into the melee and getting it wrong when it mattered most. Hard to say just how the Var, David Coote, could judge that Sadio Mane was offside as he prepared to create what might have been the winning goal for Henderson. Coote could surely not have been looking at the same freeze-frame on BT Sport that the rest of us were shown.
That evidence appeared to reveal Mane level before he crossed for the goal that would have given Liverpool victory against the 10 men of Everton. It is understood that a part of the arm deemed not handball – and therefore legitimately able to score off – was judged offside by Coote. A fabulous game was nearing its end and needed a decision that matched the quality of the action. What came next felt frankly inadequate considering what was at stake.
Jordan Henderson had the ball in the Everton net in stoppage time...— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 17, 2020
But it was ruled for *this* offside call in the build-up 😳 pic.twitter.com/BJ2N2qc1jN
Jurgen Klopp said later that he returned to the temporary away dressing room outside Goodison Park to discover his staff watching the replays on a laptop in some disbelief. “The goal should have counted,” he said. “It’s so obvious but it’s not our day.” It had not been Var’s finest 90 minutes either way, with Coote failing to recommend that referee Michael Oliver review a sixth-minute disaster-challenge from Jordan Pickford on Virgil van Dijk that ended the Dutchman’s involvement in the game.
There had been an offside called by Var in the build-up which seemed to distract Coote from taking further action, although there was much about Pickford’s challenge that warranted further investigation. Klopp said later that Van Dijk was usually capable of playing through all sorts of pain but not the kind inflicted this time – and it was the first minutes he had missed in the league in more than two years. Oliver would eventually raise the red card to a blue shirt independent of Var, and that was for Richarlison who could have no complaints over his 88th-minute lunge at Thiago Alcantara.
What a day Pickford would have – that Van Dijk foul, two brilliant saves and then an error for Henderson’s disallowed goal for which he was absolved by the Var. You have to wonder how his Everton team-mates feel, although Carlo Ancelotti was stoic in defence of his English goalkeeper. “I’m not worried,” he insisted, although one gets the sense that he probably should be.
For Klopp this was the performance that he wanted from his players after the heavy defeat inflicted by Aston Villa before the international break. The Liverpool manager would later say that his team “dominated” the game against an Everton team that he very much implied were playing as well as they ever could hope to. One suspects Everton might get a lot better, given this was just their first draw in the eighth game of a season in which they are still unbeaten.
Klopp could rely on two marvellous finishes from Mane and Mohamed Salah for his team’s two goals. On the other side there were two equalisers, first from Michael Keane and then from the young English goal-machine Dominic Calvert-Lewin who has 11 goals in 10 games for club and country. He became the first Everton player to score in each of the club’s first five league games to a season since Tommy Lawton in 1938-1939. His headed goal was a breathtaking leap and connection, and even Klopp said that as the cross came over he could hear the Everton bench declaring the goal inevitable.
Klopp was deeply unhappy about the injuries to Van Dijk and Thiago, and that anger will only grow if they are judged to be out of action for some time. It was a game of extraordinary intensity and with a full Goodison Park instead of the echoing stands this would have been unforgettable. As it was, the players made enough noise and, in the 10 years that have passed without a victory in the derby, Everton at last looked ready to give their neighbours a game.
The referee Oliver had some unenviable calls to make. Most of all within six minutes when a marginal offside call against Van Dijk early in a phase of play seemed to cancel – in the mind of the Var – the possibility of punishing Pickford’s dreadful challenge on the Dutchman moments later. Coote was fixated with the marginal offside earlier in the phase of play and never applied himself to the challenge that came after, when Pickford wrapped his legs around the Liverpool defender and seemed to jar his knee in the process. It should have been a red card.
As it was, Everton would play most of the game with 11 players ,while Liverpool would be without their best defender. It became a frantic game of moments of great quality, starting with Mane’s first touch goal inside the area within three minutes. The ball from the left was from Andy Robertson who had gone past Seamus Coleman, the Everton captain, with his first touch and snapped a ball into the box that Mane met with formidable power.
Later Coleman appeared to feel the hamstring problem that he had carried into the match, replaced by new signing Ben Godfrey for his Everton debut. On the sidelines, the Everton captain would later become embroiled in a dispute with Klopp. On 19 minutes, Calvert-Lewin powered down the right channel and forced a near-post save from Adrian. From the subsequent James Rodriguez corner, Keane out-jumped Fabinho to head in the equaliser.
There was much left in this game for both sides, including those two fine Pickford saves. They were the kind he is much more confident making: split-second flings to stop what looked like goalbound certainties from Trent Alexander-Arnold and then Joel Matip. A Yerry Mina mistake did for Everton. His insubstantial, flappy clearance fell straight into Salah’s stride for a left-foot dispatch.
That might have been it, but this Everton team look much more capable. There was that Pickford save from Matip and then came the equaliser from Calvert-Lewin. Pickford should have saved Henderson’s late goal and spared Var the trouble. As it is, it feels like we are back where English football left off: despairing at the flawed human application of technology that seems to have made things worse.
And that's all the live reaction from us
Read Sam Wallace's full match report from Goodison Park above.
Jurgen Klopp is understandably not happy
The Liverpool manager is furious about the challenge on van Dijk that injured him, the disallowed goal and the Richarlison red card challenge on Thiago.
He has legitimate grievances on all three, in fairness
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is deadly at the moment
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the first player to score in each of Everton’s first five league games in a season since Tommy Lawton in 1938-39.
He is some player right now.
The run of red cards continued...
22 - Everton vs Liverpool has seen the most red cards in Premier League history (22), with Everton's 15 red cards in this fixture also a record for one team against another in the competition. Feisty. #EVELIV— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
Liverpool probably deserved all three points...
But Everton fought back into the game, staying strong. Dominic Calvert-Lewin held his nerve when it counted to bury the equaliser.
Here is the offside decision made by VAR - I told you it was close...
Jordan Henderson had the ball in the Everton net in stoppage time...— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 17, 2020
But it was ruled for *this* offside call in the build-up 😳 pic.twitter.com/BJ2N2qc1jN
FULL TIME: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Everton have a chance to win it. A free kick in a dangerous position finds Calvert-Lewin but his header is saved by Adrian.
And that is that. Goals, red cards, controversy - a Merseyside derby!
90+5 min: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Everton now attack, looking for a winner after that reprieve. They lose possession and Liverpool flood forward. Robertson loses control of the ball, goal kick to the home side.
Thiago is named man of the match.
NO GOAL - OFFSIDE
Mane is ajudged to be offside by around 1mm... Wow, he looked onside to me...
NO GOAL - 2-2.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Henderson) Everton 2 Liverpool 3
Another wave of attack comes. Thiago plays the ball to Mane who finds Henderson in the box. He rolls it with his left foot, Pickford should do better, and it rolls over the line.
VAR is checking it - was Mane is offside? It is so close.
90+2 min: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Robertson breaks into the box but Keane makes a tackle, before thumping it long. Liverpool come again, but Jota and Mane collide both going for the ball in the box.
90 min: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Can Liverpool, with a man advantage, grab a winner?
Five minutes of added time. Wijnaldum is on for Fabinho.
RED CARD! Richarlison
Mina fouls Mane, the ball goes loose and Richarlison still makes a challenge after the whistle had already been blown. He dives in high on Thiago, catching him directly on the knee.
You will have to wait a long time to see a more clear-cut red card.
87 min: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Rodriguez is back on his feet. Everton attack once more, the Colombian puts his cross into the hands of Adrian.
Mane is then fouled by Mina right on the edge of the box. Alexander-Arnold goes for goal, but it goes high and wide.
Wijnaldum is set to come on for Liverpool.
85 min: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Richarlison breaks into the box, cutting past Alexander-Arnold but his pass falls for a red shirt.
At the other end, Robertson overcooks a cross. Everton survive. Rodriguez is down following a tackle from Fabinho. There was not too much in that.
83 min: Everton 2 Liverpool 2
Liverpool nearly take the lead at the other end! The ball falls to Mane in the box but Pickford manages to make a save from a bouncing shot.
The away side are determined to come away with all three points here.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Calvert-Lewin) Everton 2 Liverpool 2
It is that man again. A cross is lofted into the box by Digne. Calvert-Lewin rises highest, directing the ball into the bottom corner. No chance for Adrian!
Game on, again!
80 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 2
Another save from Pickford! This time he denies Salah. A powerful shot, but right at the Everton goalkeeper.
78 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool win a corner, a header is direct into the bottom corner and somehow Pickford keeps it out! What a save from the under pressure keeper.
Jota is on for Firmino, Iwobi on for Doucoure.
77 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 2
Calvert-Lewin bursts into the box, taking a deft touch with his chest, before Robertson makes a crucial challenge.
There is going to be space for Liverpool to counter and kill the game now.
74 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 2
That was Salah's 100th goal for Liverpool, what a time to do it!
Sigurdsson is on for Gomes. Everton set to attack for the remaining 15 minutes or so.
GOOOOOOAAAAAL! (Salah) Everton 1 Liverpool 2
A low cross is cleared by Mina. It falls to Salah on the edge of the box who hits it first time into the bottom corner. Wow! That was a clinical finish.
That goal has come from nowhere!
68 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
It feels like the time for some substitutions, the match has fallen slightly flat. Rodriguez is dispossessed by Fabinho and Liverpool break. Gomes chops down Firmino to stop the counter, earning a booking.
65 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Everton are growing into this match more and more. It feels a very even contest, both teams feel equally likely to score next.
62 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool win a corner. Roberston whips it in, Calvert-Lewin heads clear.
Everton clear long.
60 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Robertson, who looks to be fine now, sprints forward, running the ball straight out of play. Perhaps he is not his usual self...
Richarlison hits the post! Everton sustain an attack, the ball comes to Rodriguez who floats a perfect ball to the back post. Richarlison meets it with power but can only hit the woodwork from a tight angle.
57 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Robertson is up now, he looks set to continue. Firmino bursts forward but is tackled at the crucial moment. The game has been a littler slow and more controlled after the break.
54 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
A collision between Allan and Robertson halts play. It seems as if Robertson caught Allan off the ball. Should be a free kick to Everton, it was unnecessary from the Liverpool left back.
Robertson has stayed down after the incident, Allan is now back to his feet.
51 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Everton should score! Rodriguez plays a superb ball across the pitch, Digne drives in a low cross and Calvert-Lewin fails to make any contact on it! You would have put a lot of money on him scoring, given his form, from six yards out.
49 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Another chance for Jurgen Klopp's side. The ball falls to Henderson this time. He hits a half-volley with the outside of his foot, the ball just going wide. Some technique on show from the captain. Good effort.
47 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool start brightly. Salah and Henderson link up nicely, a crucial intervention stopping a shot. The ball falls to Fabinho who blasts a shot powerfully into the stands...
Everton get the game restarted
Huge half awaits.
What a signing James Rodriguez has turned out to be
6 - Only Tottenham duo Harry Kane (9) and Son Heung-min (7) have been involved in more Premier League goals this season than James Rodríguez (3 goals, 3 assists). Super. #EVELIV— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
Here is the incident of the half - should Pickford have been sent off for this challenge after van Dijk was ruled offside?
Should Jordan Pickford still be on the pitch? 🤔— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 17, 2020
His tackle on Virgil van Dijk came while the defender was ruled offside, but VAR didn't suggest Michael Oliver gave it another look. pic.twitter.com/owmCaRpzWb
Liverpool deserve to be in front
Everton's goal was very much against the run of play. Liverpool have been a little bit disappointing in front of goal, a couple of chances wasted with tame attempts.
HALF TIME: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool have one last opportunity before the break, Richarlison making a crucial interception in his own area with Robertson bursting into the box behind him.
That's the half. Plenty going on, as you would expect...
45+2 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
There are four minutes of added time. Gomes' cross looks goal bound, forcing Adrian to tip it over the bar for a corner.
The corner from Rodriguez goes straight out.
45 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool win another free kick in a dangerous area. Mane skips past Rodriguez who brings him down just outside the box, earning himself a yellow card.
Mina heads the resulting cross away, it falls to Thiago who volleys goalwards, only for it to be blocked by the stomach of a brave Everton defender.
The home side counter, Liverpool retreating sharply to snuff it out.
43 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool should score! Henderson bursts into the box, but the low cross towards him is deflected, meaning the Liverpool captain shins it wide from six yards out. Credit to the defence, perhaps.
41 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Doucoure fires in a low cross and Richarlison cannot quite latch on to it at the back post. That was close. Much better from Everton.
They attack again, this time Gomes is caught offside.
39 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
The free kick is lofted into the box and Mina heads it back across goal. It falls to Fabinho who starts a counter. Liverpool break forward bur Alexander-Arnold puts too much on his pass allowing Everton to escape.
Thiago and Salah then play a delightful one-two in the box, only for Salah to pass his shot right at Pickford. Thiago is a class act. Salah's finishing has been below par so far today.
37 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Salah attempts a shot under pressure in the box following the free kick, Godfrey blocks it behind for a corner. The resulting ball in is once again headed away.
Rodriguez if fouled on half-way as Everton attempt to counter.
35 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Firmino rolls the ball to Robertson who finds Mane in the box. The winger tries to angle it past Pickford who makes a reasonable low save. Mane could have done better with that, he was only 12 yards out or so.
Allan gives away another foul, this time on Mane.
33 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Richarlison is staying on. What a match for Godfrey to make his debut. A reminder that van Dijk and now Coleman have both been forced off through injury already.
Henderson switches the play to Mane. The ball is brought down and laid off to Thiago, the Spaniard's shot just going wide.
31 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool have undoubtedly been the better side so far, playing with dynamism and attacking intent. But, Everton are still in this game. They just need to keep the ball!
Richarlison then loses it, but he buys a free kick from Michael Oliver, saving his blushes.
Coleman and Richarlison have both gone down in different parts of the pitch, worrying signs for Everton. And Coleman is coming off, replaced by new signing Ben Godfrey!
28 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Everton are sloppy in possession, again. Fortunately for the home side, Mane's pass only finds Pickford with Salah lurking at the back post.
Allan catches Thiago, free kick just inside Everton's half. Alexander-Arnold crosses it into the box, but Mina heads the ball away.
26 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Henderson rolls it off to Alexander-Arnold who whips it towards the top corner, Pickford reacts well, tipping it out for a corner. Superb save!
The corner is headed clear.
24 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Liverpool attack once more, Everton dropping nearly everyone behind the ball. Mane wins a free kick on the edge of the Everton box as Gomes raises a high boot just as Mane went to head it. Fair call.
Great position to shoot.
22 min: Everton 1 Liverpool 1
Allan is dispossessed by Fabinho in the Everton half, the ball makes its way to Salah who cuts in on his left. The resulting shot is tame and straight at the keeper.
Salah normally does a lot better with those.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Keane) Everton 1 Liverpool 1
A perfect cross is put in and Keane jumps highest, headering the ball with power through the hands of Adrian.
The marking was not the best, but it was a powerful finish from Keane.
19 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 1
Richarlison makes an elusive run down the left but James cannot thread the ball to him. The Colombian picks up the ball again, playing in Calvert-Lewin down the right. He releases a shot from a narrow angle which is pushed behind for a corner.
17 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 1
Liverpool attack down the left once more, Thiago dinks a ball over the top, but Pickford races out to collect it.
Pickford hammers it down field, Calvert-Lewin brings it down and fires a shot off with his left foot. He is ruled offside. The shot was tame and straight at Adrian, anyway.
Here is the opening goal of the match
The perfect start to the Merseyside derby for Liverpool 🔥— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 17, 2020
Sadio Mane finishes a wonderful team move just two minutes into the action at Goodison Park! pic.twitter.com/npk78b1eYj
14 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 1
The injury to van Dijk means Gomez has the chance to redeem himself after that poor showing against Villa.
Liverpool are controlling possession on the whole, maintaining the ball in the Everton half. A speculative cross from Henderson is dealt with by Keane.
12 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 1
Van Dijk is off after that challenge! How big a moment could that be. Gomez on to replace him.
Everton have grown into the game a touch, showing some glimpses of good build-up.
8 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 1
The Merseyside derby has a possible red card early doors. Pickford could well have been sent off, if van Dijk was not marginally offside - as confirmed by VAR.
Wow, what a start. Pickford has got away with that. He absolutely clattered van Dijk, catching him high.
5 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 1
Liverpool are playing with real intent, passing the ball around with energy. Mane whips in a cross and Henderson is beaten to it. Corner to the away side.
Coleman heads the ball away and van Dijk is caught offside from the second ball. Pickford hammers him with a horrific challenge, he is very lucky it was offside.
VAR is having a look, however.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Mane) Everton 0 Liverpool 1
Liverpool attack down the left and Robertson drives in a powerful cross. Mane greets it, smashing the ball over Pickford and into the back of the net.
Well that did not take long. What a start for Liverpool!
2 min: Everton 0 Liverpool 0
Van Dijk sprays an accurate pass across the field to Alexander-Arnold, who is then dispossessed by Keane. The ball is lumped forward and James Rodriguez is fouled by van Dijk.
A marker laid down by the defender on Everton's new play maker.
Here we go!
Liverpool get us underway.
The sides are out on the pitch!
They are greeted by a grey and cloudy autumn afternoon.
A massive, and well-matched, derby is just minutes away
The teams are in (separate) tunnels, ready to go.
How will Liverpool's defence cope today?
Given that they conceded seven against Aston Villa last time out, the defence is will certainly be under scrutiny today. The high line is likely to remain, although there has been a change to personnel with Joel Matip replacing Joe Gomez.
They face an Everton side that have been scoring for fun, however.
Champion sides bounce back from adversity. Will Liverpool show that attribute this afternoon?
Carlo Ancelotti ahead of today's derby:
"We are going to play the best team in the Premier League. We do not think about the last game they played. It is an honour for us play against them.
"It is a good test to see where we are. I hope to give our fans at home happiness."
This match may well end up a draw, but I very much doubt it will be a goalless draw...
7/8 - Seven of the last eight Premier League meetings between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park have finished level, with Liverpool winning the other 1-0 in December 2016. Cagey. #EVELIV pic.twitter.com/7jHoCQuo9Q— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
Jurgen Klopp speaks ahead of kick-off:
"We are ready. They are ready. It should be a good game.
"We played a really bad game against Aston Villa. We did a lot of things wrong. But there were good things as well, and we need to improve and stabilise the things that were not good. That is the task for today's game."
Can Dominic Calvert-Lewin keep his momentum going?
The striker has been in clinical form this year, forcing his way into the England team earlier this week.
Calvert-Lewin has developed a physical presence in the box and seems to be reading the game better.
The only way his season could get any better is to score against Liverpool...
It is time to talk about the goalkeepers
It would be fair to say that both keepers have been struggling. Jordan Pickford is under pressure for both his Everton and England spot, while Adrian has been unconvincing as Alisson's back up.
You'd expect both sides to test them out from outside the box, especially early in the encounter.
For more on the goalkeepers, read JJ Bull on Adrian and Jordan Pickford's mistakes - are they really to blame?
Everton could hardly have been more impressive so far this season
1938/39 - Everton are looking to win their opening five league games for the first time since the 1938/39 campaign – their fifth game that season was a 2-1 victory against the reigning top-flight champions (Arsenal). Omen? #EVELIV pic.twitter.com/Eb0WRVsy0v— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2020
What a servant he has become for Liverpool, 250 up!
Bobby makes his 2⃣5⃣0⃣th appearance for the Reds 🙌🔴 pic.twitter.com/9ziUOlNEEz— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 17, 2020
Team news is in!
Allan and Andre Gomes are fit to start for Everton, with new signings Olsen and Godfrey on the bench.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Doucoure, Allan, Andre Gomes, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Subs: Delph, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Bernard, Godfrey, Davies, Olsen.
For Liverpool, Adrian continues in goal, Matip and Thiago also start.
Liverpool: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Wijnaldum, Milner, Gomez, Jones, Minamino, Jota, Kelleher.
Good morning, here is a preview of today's clash
Everton assistant manager Duncan Ferguson hailed the "magic" of Carlo Ancelotti, who has guided the Premier League club to the top of the standings early in his first full season in charge.
Everton have been transformed under Italian Ancelotti, whose shrewd signings during the close season - including the capture of James Rodriguez - and tactical nous have helped them win their opening four league games of the 2020-21 campaign.
Ferguson was Everton's interim manager for a brief period before Ancelotti's arrival in December. The Scot said he was immediately impressed by the veteran manager.
"The first thing I noticed when he came in was that he never changed anything. A new, younger manager could have decided to do things (differently) straightaway," Ferguson told the Daily Mail in an interview on Friday.
"They could have forced their philosophy - I hate that word - or style of play on to the team. Some managers would have just come in and gone... 'Change this. Change that. Change it all.' He never did it. I thought that was class.
"I learnt a lot from that. He's a relaxed kind of guy but, believe me, he's got a bite on him. Carlo has worked his magic. We've all got respect for him for what he has done in the game. But he's hardworking and out on the grass every day."
Everton are looking to win their opening five league matches for the first time since 1938 but face a daunting task against local rivals and champions Liverpool on Saturday.
The Merseyside club have not beaten Liverpool in their last 22 fixtures and Saturday marks 10 years to the day since their last victory over them.
The question is whether they can carry on their superb form against the reigning champions, who will be energised by their loss last time out.
Team news to follow shortly.