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Everton 0-0 Liverpool: Merseyside derby ends in a goalless draw

Everton 0-0 Liverpool: Toffees only the third side to take points off the leaders this season and nearly won as Tom Davies hit the post late on.

Everton 0-0 Liverpool Merseyside derby ends in a goalless draw www.africanstand.com

Liverpool will be made to wait a little longer to wrap up the Premier League title after being held to a goalless draw by Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

The Premier League leaders, clear by 22 points with nine games to go, were forced to cope without top scorer Mohamed Salah and left-back Andy Robertson as the pair had struggled with knocks throughout the week in training.

Jurgen Klopp, therefore, decided to hand Takumi Minamino his first Premier League start since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg in January, with James Milner deputizing at left-back.

For Everton, 19-year-old Anthony Gordon was handed his first start for the Toffees as the Merseyside derby, for the first time in its long history, took place without fans in the stadium.

The first few minutes of this fixture usually includes a raucous atmosphere and high-octane, end-to-end action. But without supporters inside the stadium, the players appeared to lack that motivation to crank up the tempo.

A mistake from Fabinho nearly allowed Richarlison to open the scoring after four minutes, flashing a cross-shot past Alisson’s goalmouth with Dominic Calvert-Lewin a few inches short of getting his foot on the end of it.

The leaders took their time to settle into possession and their first real opportunity came when Minamino fired over from 20 yards out before Roberto Firmino dragged an effort wide just a few minutes later.

Liverpool suffered another injury blow when Milner signaled to the bench with a muscle problem and Joe Gomez replaced the veteran just before the break.

Klopp acted decisively at the interval, hooking Minamino after a quiet first half on the right flank, and on went Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. That change injected some energy into the visitors as they began to pile on the pressure with Naby Keita going close.

But the game just seemed to be fading out in the second half as Liverpool controlled possession and Everton settling deep.

That was until Richarlison broke clear on the left flank and found Calvert-Lewin in the box. The striker intelligently backheeled towards the far corner and Alisson Becker saved superbly. Tom Davies arrived on the rebound and was unfortunate to see his scuffed effort bounce back off the woodwork.

Everton had come alive, out of nowhere, and Liverpool was living dangerously. From the resulting corner, Calvert-Lewin glanced wide after Mason Holgate’s flick-on at the near post, and only he would know how he hadn’t given his side the lead.

Despite the hosts’ late surge, the draw always seemed like the most likely outcome as Liverpool came away knowing that their title parade is almost an inevitability with just five points left to obtain.

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