Liverpool in defensive crisis after Virgil Van Dijk picked up a long-term ACL injury in Merseyside derby draw against Everton
|Joe Gomez watched hopelessly as Adrian failed to stop Everton's equalizer.|
(Photo credit: Premierleague.com)
Liverpool went to Goodison Park with an intent to return
to winning ways after the 7-2 reverse at Villa Park, it was a day Everton also
looked to halt a winless run against their local rivals since 1999.
Everton had kept a 100% record since the start of the season and wouldn’t have a better momentum going into a derby they last won exactly 10 years ago when Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill fired the Toffees past a Steven Gerrard led Liverpool at Goodison Park.
The lunchtime kick off had drama and intrigue written all over it and the 90 minutes of intense football that followed proved nothing short of that.
Liverpool welcomed Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara back into the starting line up while Everton kept faith in the same line up that has been delivering the goods so far.
Liverpool rang a host of changes to the team that was pummeled by Aston Villa, Joel Matip returns in place of Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson replaced Gini Wijnaldum and it didn’t take long for the visitors to register a goal.
Andrew Robertson lofted in and was well met by Sadio Mane who marked his return from COVID-19 isolation with a bang just three minutes in.
But disaster struck for Liverpool shortly after, talismanic defender, Virgil Van Dijk had to be replaced for what would later be diagnosed as an ACL tear and would not play again until May at the earliest, leaving Liverpool quite uncertain at the back.
Joe Gomez replaced Van Dijk just after ten minutes.
The Dutchman’s absence was felt immediately, on the 20th minute, Michael Keane was wheeling away in celebrations, a corner kick from the left, off the boots of you know who met the head of the 3 Lions defender and Adrian was picking the ball from his own net.
Everton would later have a share of injury as captain Seamus Coleman limped off injured, making way for debutant, Ben Godfrey.
End to end stuff followed all through the half, Mo Salah should have given Liverpool the lead just before halftime but Jordan Pickford was up to it.
The second half wasn’t different from the first, both sides went for it and could both have scored before Mohammed Salah took initiative in the 72nd minute to hand Liverpool the lead again, one that looked like the winner.
Carlo Ancelotti sent on Alex Iwobi and Gylfi Siggurdsen, they delivered the goods with neat movement that pegged Liverpool back and leading scorer, Dominic Calvert Lewin headed home from a Lucas Digne cross to level the scores.
Calvert Lewin has now scored in every game this season.
Liverpool thought they had won it late on when Jordan Henderson fired in from close range only for VAR to call it back for offside against Sadio Mane in what was a matter of millimeters.
It ended 2-2 at Goodison Park but not without a late drama that got Richarlison sent off for the hosts.