Friday 30 October, 2020

VAR ruins Merseyside derby with Liverpool denied victory

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, 11, celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League football match against Everton at Goodison Park stadium, in Liverpool, England, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Cath Ivill/Pool via AP).

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, 11, celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League football match against Everton at Goodison Park stadium, in Liverpool, England, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Cath Ivill/Pool via AP).

Liverpool were controversially denied a Merseyside derby victory as Jordan Henderson saw a late winner ruled out by VAR in a 2-2 draw with 10-man Everton. 

Premier League leaders Everton twice came from behind to level in an absorbing contest at Goodison Park. 

Michael Keane cancelled out Sadio Mane's third-minute opener and Dominic Calvert-Lewin did the same after Mohamed Salah scored his 100th goal for Liverpool. 

Richarlison was sent off for a rash challenge on Thiago Alcantara and that indiscretion looked to have been doubly punished in injury time by Henderson, only for VAR to intervene and keep Everton three points ahead of Liverpool, who are unbeaten in 23 Merseyside derbies in all competitions, at the top of the table.

Liverpool needed only two minutes and 15 seconds to break the deadlock as a well-worked move saw the ball shifted out to Andy Robertson, whose low left-wing cross was side-footed into the roof of the net by Mane. 

Everton were then extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty and go down to 10 men. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford clattered into Virgil van Dijk after Fabinho lofted the ball back into the box from a corner and was rescued by the offside flag against the Liverpool centre-back. 

Van Dijk subsequently limped off to be replaced by Joe Gomez, and his absence proved key as Keane rose highest to meet a corner from James Rodriguez and powerfully head home the equaliser. 

Liverpool continued to dominate the midfield and look the more dangerous, however, with Trent Alexander-Arnold's curling free-kick drawing a diving save from Pickford before Mane spurned a gilt-edged chance after more impressive work from Robertson. 

Only the woodwork prevented Richarlison from completing the turnaround after the restart, his header clattering off the far post after a wonderful deep right-wing cross from James. 

The hosts were left to rue that miss as a poor clearance from Yerry Mina presented the ball to Salah, who lashed a first-time effort beyond Pickford. 

Pickford had to be at his best to prevent Joel Matip and Salah from extending Liverpool's lead, which was erased when Digne lofted a superb cross for Calvert-Lewin to head into the bottom-left corner. 

Pickford denied Mane, who then headed Diogo Jota's rebound wide, but Liverpool's hopes were boosted by Richarlison's ill-advised tackle on Thiago. 

Henderson appeared to have decisively captialised on Liverpool's numerical advantage when Pickford inexplicably failed to keep his tame close-range effort out, but VAR adjudged Mane to have strayed marginally offside as he latched on to Thiago's telling ball down the left. 

 

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