Liverpool fail to return to the top of the Premier League table after they were held to a goalless draw in the 233rd Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park

Jurgen Klopp’s men were unable to bring their recent goalscoring form, which saw them blow Watford away earlier in the week, as the Toffees stood resolute to earn a hard-fought point.

The result is a boost to title rivals Manchester City, who now lead the championship by a single point with nine matches remaining. As for Everton, they end a run of nine consecutive defeats against their fierce neighbours, ensuring breathing room for Marco Silva in the process.

As expected, there were winners and losers.

Winner: Lucas Digne

On the face of it, Digne has been a successful acquisition for Everton.

The 25-year-old Frenchman joined from Barcelona, where he was deemed surplus to requirements last summer, and has since established himself as the club’s first choice ahead of stalwart Leighton Baines.

He’s popped up with some important goals as well as being a constant attacking threat. However, there have been the odd lapses in concentration, as well as receiving a number of booking and one sending off.

Today he seldom journeyed forward, in the knowledge of Liverpool’s threat on the flanks. Instead, Digne’s defensive attributes came to the fore. No moment illustrated it more than when he made a last-ditch tackle to deny Fabinho in the final 20 minutes.

There was also a crucial intervention to ensure Trent Alexander-Arnold did not pick up a lofted ball into the box during the first half.

Not everyone was impressed. Graeme Souness felt he was too cavalier and not focused enough particularly concerning a chance that fell to Mohamed Salah in the first half.

“This is bad from Everton’s point of view,” he said on Sky Sports.

“Watch Digne at the bottom of the picture. He’s gone too early before they’ve got great possession, Everton. He’s gone and left Salah to have a straight run onto goal.

“He gets it onto his left foot here, does everything he wants to do but give the goalkeeper great credit for saving that. Watch Digne, he’s gone, and until you’ve got full possession and the player is not under pressure, you can’t leave Salah that free. You’re risking everything.”

Everyone’s a critic.

Loser: Pickford’s route-one passing

Gary Neville, on co-commentary duty for Sky Sports, put forward the notion that the Toffees have a mental block when facing their more illustrious neighbours. There’s no question who has bossed this fixture in recent years, with Everton having failed to win in 18 straight derbies heading into this weekend.

As the game went on, the more it became clear this wasn’t just down to psychology. The gulf in class was sizeable, even if Klopp’s men weren’t at their scintillating best.

Silva, who has endured incredible flack of late, must shoulder the blame. His tactics simply played into Liverpool’s hands. Everton huffed and puffed but lacked that cutting edge and, in one sense, they were guilty of relying on a very senseless kind of route-one football.

Jordan Pickford’s decision to continually pump the ball up centrally towards the Reds’ backline was both baffling and easy work for Virgil van Dijk and Co. It didn’t go down to well with Gylfi Sigurdsson, who was visibly frustrated at times.

Winner: Goodison Park

Everton will soon bid their spiritual home of 127 years goodbye.

It’s a reaction to modern football and commercial interests. A capacity of less than 40,000 means they are falling behind the Premier League’s big boys including local nemesis Liverpool.

However, moving to a swanky new ground means something intimate will – as West Ham learned – be lost; the atmosphere generated at Goodison has always been palpable even during the hard times.

This afternoon was no exception; from start to finish the place was bouncing as they cheered their players on – in their battle with a far better side – further highlighting what impact the “twelfth man” can have. At least they held up their end of the bargain.

Loser: Mohamed Salah

Today just wasn’t Mohamed Salah’s day. We’ve been saying that a lot of late. The league’s best footballer is currently a shadow of his former self. He kept getting in the right areas but his killer instinct was lacking much of Everton’s joy.

Salah’s big chance came in the first half when he was played through one on one with Jordan Pickford. He failed to find the net and it’s now just one goal in six games; that was practically unheard of last season, if Liverpool are to end a 29-year wait to be English champions once again, Salah needs to rediscover his scoring boots.

Winner: Virgil van Dijk

Is there a better central defender in European football today? You can make a case for some but among that conversation has to be Van Dijk who needs to be dubbed as the ‘Colossus of Breda’ following yet another performance of authority.

No one in a blue jersey could touch him in the air. Van Dijk’s aerial supremacy is well known but this was something else. On no fewer than eight occasions was he tested off the ground and the Dutchman won all but one.

Loser: Jurgen Klopp

Sir Alex Ferguson called it squeaky bum time: the final moments of a close season. Liverpool remain calm but they must be concerned about their recent away form. They’ve now dropped six points across their last three matches on the road. Michail Antonio rescued a point for West Ham before the Reds played out a goalless draw at Old Trafford.

This latest setback, which means Liverpool’s fate no longer in their own hands, only intensifies the scrutiny and pressure on Jurgen Klopp, who has now seen his team fail to score in three of their last four games.

But a more immediate concern is the accusation of predictability coming from the club’s own support. A number of fans took to social media to bemoan Klopp’s decisions – specifically the decision to overlook brought Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri in favour of James Milner and Adam Lallana – when it came to his substitutions.

Winner: Manchester City

Everton and (especially) Manchester United aren’t traditional buddies with Manchester City, but Pep Guardiola might want to give both clubs a hug. Both teams in the space of a week have taken four points off Liverpool (across their last nine games Klopp’s men have dropped 11 points) meaning it’s City, with nine matches remaining, who lead the championship. With the gap between City and Liverpool being just one point it’s fair to say we are all in for a treat heading into the final stretch.

Game on.

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