The race for the top spot of Premier League has taken a turn as Liverpool lost their position to defending champions Manchester City after playing out a goalless draw against Everton in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park. Pep Guardiola’s City took the advantage after Riyad Mahrez scored the winner against Bournemouth, aiding his side to take a one-point lead over the Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Manchester City are now the table-toppers with 71 points, followed by Liverpool who stands on the second position with 70 points.
“We were the better side today in a difficult game”, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said, adding that he was “completely fine with chasing” Manchester City, who are now one point ahead as they bid to retain their title.
Liverpool, who have failed to impose themselves away from home in recent games, on Sunday again struggled to carve out many clear goalscoring chances on a blustery night that was generally low on quality attacking play.
On one of the rare occasions that they found themselves clean through on goal, Mohamed Salah, last year’s talisman and winner of the Golden Boot awarded to the league’s top scorer, was thwarted by a strong right-handed save from Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
The Egyptian was also thwarted by a last-gasp tackle by Michael Keane when well placed in the second half’s best sighting of goal for the visitors.
As is typical of a local derby, the first half in particular was, at times, a frantic affair, littered with misplaced passes by both teams as players found space and time on the ball were at a premium.
The Reds, who were coming off the back of a 5-0 home win against Watford in midweek, looked the more dangerous going forward, but they could not find a way through Everton’s rear guard. They have now scored just once in their last three games away from Anfield.
But their manager said he was not concerned by their recent offensive struggles on the road.
“To be successful in football, you have to be stable”, Klopp said. “We were stable again today”.
The Toffees themselves have struggled for form recently, having lost three out of their last four matches, although their last game at Cardiff City, in which they prevailed 3-0, was something to build on.
This was another encouraging performance for Marco Silva’s men, who are in 10th on 37 points, six points behind Wolves in 7th and still considerably short of the Premier League’s top six.
Thanks in large part to stellar performances from Pickford and centre back Michael Keane, they limited Liverpool’s potent attack to a handful of chances and frustrated the visitors throughout, although they will also be disappointed to not have troubled Reds goalkeeper Alisson.
“I’m proud of my players and the desire they showed”, Silva said afterwards.
“It felt amazing in our stadium. Our fans were amazing and they pushed the team from the first minute”.