MERSEYSIDE DERBY: VAR TO VAN DIJK TO WHO WAS VICTORIOUS
Everton continued to hold their grip on the top spot of the Premier League, following an intensely fought out draw against Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
Results like this come from a controversially played game, and this one didn’t fail to produce such. Surely, there are many talking points on how the match ended up with such a result when one side was seemingly on the verge of a great escape.
The tactics of both managers proved to be effective, as they exchanged blows all game long. The Reds really got the hosts running with their pacey counter-attacking play, a proven strategy by Jurgen Klopp.
Carlo Ancelotti had other things in mind, with the Toffees controlling the midfield under the masterful production of Colombian James Rodriguez. His passing evidently contributed to their attacking play.
Everton also took advantage of aerial battles following the early exit of Virgil Van Dijk after a nasty challenge by keeper Jordan Pickford. This proved very effective as they scored both goals from headers by Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
With tactics aside, one vivid aspect really stood out of the game, VAR. This technology cost Liverpool three points and as a result, hugely benefited Everton. Firstly, Pickford’s potentially season-ending challenge on Van Dijk was no doubt worthy of a penalty. But with the offside ruled, his injury was not justified.
And secondly, the call against Jordan Henderson’s goal proved to be infuriating for the champions, with VAR ruling Sadio Mane offside by inches.
The whole match proved to be intense with a flurry of strong tackles and an onslaught of shots by both teams, however, VAR surely took the spotlight for this one once again.
Many would say that Everton got lucky because of VAR decisions. But it should not totally count out the winning pedigree Ancelotti brings to the club after fairing out evenly with Klopp. In spite of the controversies involved, surely hype is high for the Toffees as they continue to build up their winning form and turn Merseyside blue.