Liverpool drop more points at Everton in thrilling Merseyside derby

What's behind Liverpool's stuttering start? (1:37)

Janusz Michallik points the finger at Mohamed Salah & Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool are held by Everton. (1:37)

LIVERPOOL -- Everton and Liverpool played out a goalless draw at Goodison Park in a Premier League Merseyside derby that was a lot more entertaining than the scoreline would suggest. Both teams hit the post on more than one occasion and each goalkeeper was called upon to make multiple saves. Everton thought they had scored the opening goal midway through the second half, but VAR ruled that Conor Coady was offside when he tapped in from close range.

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Here is our reaction to Saturday's thrilling Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

JUMP TO: Player ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Postmatch quotes | Key stats | What's next?

Rapid Reaction

1. Liverpool drop more points in thrilling Merseyside derby

Liverpool's sluggish start to the season continued with a 0-0 Merseyside derby draw against Everton at Goodison Park, with a VAR offside decision denying Frank Lampard's team a first home win against their neighbours since 2010.

Coady looked to have opened the scoring for Everton on 69 minutes when he tapped in at the far post to divert Neal Maupay's cross into the net, but after a lengthy VAR review, the on-loan Wolves defender saw his goal ruled out.

Although a defeat would have been harsh on Liverpool, who hit the woodwork three times, Everton gave their best derby performance at Goodison for a number of years, and aside from Coady's disallowed goal also hit the woodwork through midfielder Tom Davies and saw Maupay denied by a goal by a brilliant Alisson save.

The draw left Everton still searching for their first win of the season and Liverpool also remain without a victory away from home this term. But the bigger significance for Liverpool is the number of points they have dropped in six games this season. Jurgen Klopp's team have now dropped as many points as they won -- nine -- and they ended this game four points behind champions Manchester City, who have played one game fewer.

It could have been worse for Liverpool, though, had VAR recommended a red card after a bad challenge by Virgil van Dijk on Amadou Onana late in the game. Had Van Dijk's foul been deemed serious foul play by VAR, the Liverpool defender could have been dismissed, but he survived the incident to remain on the pitch.

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2. Nunez holds his nerve on frustrating return

Darwin Nunez could have picked a better game to return from a three-match suspension that a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, but Liverpool's record signing survived the hostile environment without being lulled into another disciplinary issue. The Uruguay international, suspended after being sent off for violent conduct against Crystal Palace last month, had to cope with the close attentions of defenders James Tarkowski and Coady as well as a passionate home crowd that was ready to goad the former Benfica striker at every opportunity.

But Nunez held his nerve and showed flashes of why Liverpool expect him to be the focal point of their attack for years to come. He almost scored with a dipping volley late in the first half, only to see keeper Jordan Pickford brilliantly tip his shot onto the crossbar. Pickford denied Nunez again early in the second half when the Everton No. 1 kept out a well-struck half-volley by the Liverpool forward.

Having been forced to sit out three games so soon after his arrival, Nunez may have felt he had to rebuild bridges with his teammates and the club's fans against Everton. But while he couldn't find a goal to repay them for his Palace red card, Nunez showed plenty of other qualities and it is clear that he will be a positive addition to Klopp's squad at Anfield.

3. Everton finally getting recruitment right

Everton's poor record when it comes to transfers in recent seasons has been one of the major factors in the club's failure to deliver on the pitch, but their performance against Liverpool showed that this summer's recruitment have finally made a positive impact on the team.

Largely because of the financial implications of seeing major backer Alisher Usmanov sanctioned by the UK government earlier this year due to links with Vladimir Putin, Everton have had to go back to basics in the transfer market by searching for bargains and loan signings.

Free transfer James Tarkowski and on-loan Coady are two examples of the smart acquisitions, with the two England internationals forming a reliable partnership at centre-half. Tarkowski and Coady had to keep Nunez and Mohamed Salah quiet, but they managed it well, even when Roberto Firmino was added to Liverpool's front line in the second half.

Idrissa Gueye, signed from Paris Saint-Germain this week, has also proven himself at Everton during a previous spell at the club, and Maupay enjoyed a lively debut following his arrival from Brighton. Onana, a £33 million signing from Lille, has been the big outlay this summer and the Belgium midfielder dominated the midfield against Liverpool.

Everton are still winless this season, but manager Frank Lampard has his team on the right track thanks to the summer recruitment.

Player ratings

Everton: Pickford 9; Patterson 8, Tarkowski 8, Coady 8, Mykolenko 7; Onana 7, Davies 6, Iwobi 6, Gordon 8, Maupay 7, Gray 6.

Subs: Gueye 7, McNeil 6

Liverpool: Alisson 8; Alexander-Arnold 5, Gomez 6, Van Dijk 6, Tsimikas 6; Fabinho 6, Elliott 7, Carvalho 6; Salah 7, Nunez 7, Diaz 6.

Subs: Firmino 7, Robertson 6, Milner 6, Jota 6, Matip 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Jordan Pickford

The Everton goalkeeper made a series of top-class saves, from Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino in particular, to keep his team in the game. Pickford can be erratic at times, but this was one of those days when he performed like England's best goalkeeper.

WORST: Trent Alexander-Arnold

The Liverpool right-back was substituted for the second successive game by Jurgen Klopp and he failed to even last an hour against Everton. Defensive shortcomings and a failure to add his usual quality going forward may have led to his early withdrawal.

Highlights and notable moments

Goodison Park was rocking before kick-off, and the home fans had another reason to cheer when they saw club legend Duncan Ferguson walking around the pitch while on media duties. The former striker, who also took over as caretaker manager at Everton during his time on the club's coaching staff, remains a firm favourite on the blue half of Merseyside.

And Everton were in ecstasy when they thought Coady had put them in front. But that quickly turned to despair when VAR ruled that the defender was marginally offside when he scored.

The goal would have been extra satisfying for Evertonians as Coady came through the youth system at Liverpool, though he only made one appearance before leaving to join Huddersfield Town following a season on loan at Sheffield United.

After the match: What the managers, players said

"I love Virgil van Dijk, as a player he is fantastic. But sometimes you mistime tackles, it was up on Amadou's shin and his foot was on the ground. I'm surprised it hasn't gone to VAR and the ref gone to look at it and made the correct decision. It doesn't matter now, but for me it was a red and that changes the face of the last 20 minutes. There was some talk before this about bad tackles and the referee just has a job to do, and so does VAR, I just think they got that one wrong in my opinion." -- Everton manager Frank Lampard;

"We created a lot of chances and especially with the timing of our last goal [against Newcastle on Wednesday], it feels like we lost two points. The best moments they had were from counter-attacks after we were in their box. Our positioning for the second ball wasn't great. It's not the start we wanted. Six games and nine points is not exactly a dream, but those are the points we've got and let's go from there. If we get through these moments together, we have a chance to create better moments in the future." -- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp;

"I think we're building. I think we've got that character now as a team, and the team spirit is pushing us on. We haven't got a win on the board yet, but we've been hard to beat. ... I thought I had a good game today, I was right in the moment and I was helping the lads. You need a lot of leaders around the pitch and I think, looking around, we've got that." -- Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford;

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

Liverpool are now on a 12-match unbeaten streak at Everton (3-8-0) in the Premier League. They last lost a league match at Goodison Park on Oct. 17, 2010.

That unbeaten streak on the road is the second-longest in the league history of the Merseyside derby (15 by Everton from 1899 to 1914).

Since the 2008-09 season, only twice have both sides hit the post in a league edition of the Merseyside derby -- Dec. 2, 2018, and today.

Coady's disallowed goal is the fourth that the Toffees have had overturned by VAR in the last two seasons, tied for most in the league with Arsenal, Manchester City and West Ham.

Up next

Everton: For all their joy at gaining a well-earned point against their local rivals, Everton are still near the bottom of the table and looking for their first league win of the season. Next up is a tough trip to Arsenal on Sept. 11, and they will hope to get a victory either there, against West Ham or at Southampton before they host Manchester United on Oct. 9.

Liverpool: Another failure to win left Liverpool outside of the top four before the rest of the Premier League had even played in this round of fixtures. But they have the welcome distraction of the Champions League to come, with Wednesday's trip to Napoli and the visit of Ajax to Anfield the following week coming either side of a home league game against Wolves.