The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

THE WAIT GOES ON FOR LIVER­POOL

Liver­pool now five points off the ti­tle af­ter Mersey­side derby ends goal less

- BY CARL MARKHAM Sports · UEFA Champions League · Soccer · Liverpool · Liverpool Football Club · Jordan Henderson · Everton F.C. · Everton · Jürgen Klopp · Etihad Stadium · Manchester City Football Club · Manchester · Burnley F.C. · Atlético de Madrid · Madrid · Sadio Mané · Senegal national football team · Senegal · Alisson · Japan · Japan national football team · Salzburg · Joel Matip · Joe Gomez · Roberto Firmino · Scotland · Andrew Robertson · Crystal Palace F.C. · The Crystal Palace · James Milner · Brendan Rodgers · Tom Davies · Michael W. Dean · Red Bull Salzburg

Liver­pool cap­tain Jor­dan Hen­der­son and his Reds team-mates will have to keep the cham­pagne on ice a lit­tle longer af­ter a goal­less draw against city ri­vals Ever­ton meant the club’s 30-year wait for a top-tier ti­tle goes on. ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE AC­TION,

Liver­pool’s 30-year wait for a top-flight ti­tle will take a lit­tle longer af­ter a goal­less draw in the 236th Mersey­side derby still left them five points short of guar­an­tee­ing the tro­phy.

De­spite Jur­gen Klopp’s side dom­i­nat­ing on their re­turn to com­pet­i­tive ac­tion they man­aged just three shots on tar­get – bizarrely the same num­ber as their hosts.

That means their date with des­tiny will most likely have to wait un­til the trip to the Eti­had Sta­dium on July 2, un­less sec­ond-placed Manch­ester City slip up to­day at home to Burn­ley.

It had been 103 days since Liver­pool’s last match – the Cham­pi­ons League exit to Atletico Madrid – and the wait had ob­vi­ously been prey­ing on the mind of Sa­dio Mane, who in the ab­sence of a not fully-fit

Mo­hammed Salah was now the vis­i­tors’ main dan­ger.

The Sene­gal in­ter­na­tional was so keen to get the derby off to a fly­ing start that when ref­eree Mike Dean blew his whis­tle and 21 play­ers took the knee in sup­port of the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment the for­ward in­stinc­tively shot off into the Ever­ton half, hav­ing to quickly to re­treat 10 yards to as­sume the po­si­tion.

But while he was keen to make an early im­pact it was Richarli­son who was first to threaten, with his strike from a nar­row an­gle tipped away by Alis­son Becker.

The two teams’ full debu­tants were in­volved in Liver­pool’s first chance; Tof­fees teenager An­thony Gor­don be­ing robbed by Fabinho lead­ing to Takumi Mi­namino shoot­ing over from 25 yards.

Klopp said the break had helped the Ja­pan in­ter­na­tional’s fur­ther in­te­gra­tion fol­low­ing his Jan­uary trans­fer and the for­mer RB Salzburg for­ward seemed much more com­fort­able in his sur­round­ings.

Mid­fielder Naby Keita had also im­pressed the man­ager at Mel­wood and he trans­ferred that to the com­pet­i­tive arena in a bright 45 min­utes, tak­ing a pass on the half-turn and and run­ning at the de­fence on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions.

Ever­ton’s re­sponse was to get more play­ers be­hind the ball as they fin­ished the first half with just 34% pos­ses­sion – but they were lucky their op­po­nents were still shak­ing off the rusti­ness.

Joel Matip, pre­ferred to Joe Gomez as Vir­gil

Van Dijk’s de­fen­sive part­ner, wasted the best chance when he planted a header wide from Trent Alexan­derArnold’s free-kick, with Roberto Firmino drag­ging a left-footed shot wide af­ter An­dre Gomes had been robbed by Mi­namino out wide.

Liver­pool’s left-back is­sues – Scot­land cap­tain Andy Robert­son will not be fit un­til Wed­nes­day’s visit of Crys­tal Palace – were not helped by the loss of James Mil­ner just be­fore half-time to a ham­string in­jury, forc­ing Gomez to reprise a role he had not played since Bren­dan Rodgers was the Reds man­ager.

Alex OxladeCham­ber­lain re­placed Mi­namino for the sec­ond half and Liver­pool started to find a fa­mil­iar rhythm and turn up the pres­sure, al­though Ever­ton did not help them­selves

when Richarli­son blazed over when put through by Do­minic CalvertLew­in.

In­cred­i­bly they had the two best chances in the re­main­der of the game in the same move, Calvert-Lewin’s back­heel saved by Alis­son and Tom Davies’s fol­low-up hit­ting the post.

Last sea­son Ever­ton fans cel­e­brated the goal­less draw at Good­i­son as the game which cost their arch-ri­vals the ti­tle, their last dropped points of the sea­son see­ing them fin­ish sec­ond to Manch­ester City by a point.

But with their cur­rent 23-point ad­van­tage there will be no deny­ing Liver­pool this year as it only re­mains a case of when and not if, de­spite this stut­ter­ing restart.

Ever­ton striker Calvert-Lewin felt a draw was a fair re­sult.

He said af­ter full-time:

“We had a few chances but it wasn’t our day.

“It was not as sharp as you would ex­pect. The play­ers are rusty. We should have backed our­selves more in the bat­tle. I think the draw was fair.

“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.”

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 ??  ?? SO NEAR YET SO FAR: Ever­ton’s Tom Davies, left, looks
SO NEAR YET SO FAR: Ever­ton’s Tom Davies, left, looks
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 ??  ?? on as his shot strikes the post late in the sec­ond half of last night’s goal­less Mersey­side derby against Premier League lead­ers Liver­pool at Good­i­son Park
on as his shot strikes the post late in the sec­ond half of last night’s goal­less Mersey­side derby against Premier League lead­ers Liver­pool at Good­i­son Park
 ??  ?? The Premier League fan wall at Good­i­son Park
The Premier League fan wall at Good­i­son Park

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