Copy of 2022-09-03T133425Z_97023996_UP1EI9311PA5T_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-ENGLAND-EVE-LIV-REPORT-1662215710026
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) in action with Everton's Vitaliy Mykolenko during the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. Image Credit: Action Images via Reuters

Liverpool have fallen further behind the English Premier League pacemakers after gritty Everton deservedly took a share of the spoils in a thrilling Merseyside derby at a rip-roaring Goodison Park.

But I think this match has highlighted one of the worst decisions by Reds boss Jurgen Klopp – the sale of Sadio Mane.

This was a match crying out for the former Senegal striker who so often in the past was the scourge of the Toffees. But with him flogged to Bayern Munich, it isn’t a surprise that Liverpool have made an erratic start to the new season.

Aside from the mauling of Bournemouth, they have struggled in matches that they usually used to win. But that was when they had Mane in attack. Now their game plan is obvious – they are relying far too heavily on Mo Salah to unlock defences. If you stop him, you can stop Liverpool.

Their record signing Darwin Nunez is yet to settle in the English game and he felt the force of the derby. It was too physical, too competitive and too quick for him and indeed the entire Liverpool team as Everton raced out of the blocks and pinned the away side back for large chunks of the 90 minutes.

Had Tom Davies’ effort curled a millimeter more it would have clipped the post and gone in to give the Blues a deserved lead. But it stayed out, whilst at the other end Jordan Pickford made a brilliant save to deny Nunez and then Luis Diaz went close as his effort also hit the post.

This was like a game of basketball, it was end to end action with both goalmouths seeing plenty of efforts go begging. It ended 0-0 but Liverpool got away with a point as Conor Coady’s effort was wrongly chalked off by VAR.

It would have been some story had boyhood Reds fan Coady won it for the Toffees but in the end a draw was a fair result.

Going forwards, Klopp will need to find a way for his side to make the most of their ball possession because for all of their attacking play, they seem quite easy to defend against. They were held by Fulham on the opening day, then Crystal Palace got a point off them before losing to Man Utd. Two wins followed by they have been stopped in their tracks once again by a steely Everton side who look like they now have the quality to enjoy a solid season.