Liv­er­pool held by Ever­ton

The Star (Jamaica) - - Front Page -

No win for Liv­er­pool on the long­est day of the year, and an even longer wait maybe to clinch the ti­tle.

When you’ve been wait­ing 30 years — and then had the corona­tion de­layed by three months be­cause of a pan­demic — pa­tience is ex­pected.

The qui­etest of the 236 Mersey­side der­bies, with fans de­nied ac­cess to Good­i­son Park, pro­duced no goals as Ever­ton held Liv­er­pool to a 0-0 draw yes­ter­day.

Liv­er­pool are an un­prece­dented 23 points in front. But it is now no longer so cer­tain that a vic­tory over Crys­tal Palace on Wed­nes­day at An­field will seal the ti­tle. That sce­nario will re­quire Burn­ley not los­ing to sec­ond-place de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City to­day.

But with eight games re­main­ing, Liv­er­pool have con­sid­er­able breath­ing space to end the drought and win their first do­mes­tic cham­pi­onship since 1990.

AT­TACK­ING PO­TENCY

Af­ter a 103-day wait to re­turn to league ac­tion, Liv­er­pool’s at­tack­ing po­tency had been neutered with Mo­hamed Salah not fit enough to come off the bench. The search for a goal saw Joel Matip’s header go wide in the first half and Fabinho hav­ing a free kick tipped over goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford late on.

“Phys­i­cally it was re­ally in­tense. I’ll take that,” Liv­er­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp said. “We didn’t have enough chances. Most of the time we were dom­i­nant but they had the big­gest chance.”

That came for Carlo Ancelotti’s side with 10 min­utes to go when Do­minic Calvert-Lewin’s shot was saved by Alis­son and a fol­low-up from

Tom Davies hit the post. Alis­son was alert again to deny fel­low Brazil­ian Richarli­son as the game came to life in the clos­ing stages.

“The play­ers are rusty,” Calvert-Lewin said. “It was a strange game. It was bizarre with a game of this mag­ni­tude. Usu­ally the place is bounc­ing and it was hard to get used to at first.”

With no crowd, there was a tran­quil­ity to an of­ten fiercely con­tested derby, al­though Liv­er­pool were also held score­less on the pre­vi­ous two trips here.

It was a 5-2 loss at An­field in De­cem­ber that saw Ever­ton slip into the rel­e­ga­tion zone and Marco Silva fired. Liv­er­pool saw the strength of the re­vival un­der Ancelotti, who has guided Ever­ton 11 points clear of danger.

The only foot­ball that fans could see at Good­i­son Park was a fam­ily kick­about against one of the stands be­fore kick­off.

For once on derby day, the tightly packed rows of ter­raced hous­ing had no fans tram­pling past doorsteps or scour­ing for park­ing spa­ces. Ad­vice from pub­lic au­thor­i­ties was fol­lowed as fans largely stayed away to al­low a game that po­lice ini­tially wanted to be played in an­other city to go ahead.

They didn’t miss much in­side where a max­i­mum 300 peo­ple were al­lowed, in­clud­ing a small me­dia con­tin­gent spread across small wooden seats usu­ally oc­cu­pied by fans in a sta­dium that first opened in the 19th cen­tury.

At times, the dom­i­nant sound was a sax­o­phon­ist’s melody fil­ter­ing in from the out­side on this cool evening as the Premier League was con­tested on the day of the sum­mer sol­stice for the first time in a sea­son that should have ended a month ago.

“Ev­ery­one is just happy to be back,” Liv­er­pool de­fender Vir­gil van Dijk said. “We didn’t lose and it is an­other point to­wards our goal.”

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