Merseyside derby drama: Van Dijk suffers injury, Pickford avoids red

There was plenty of early drama in the Merseyside derby on Saturday as Liverpool took an early lead against Everton at Goodison Park – and it almost got a lot worse for the Toffees.

With Everton heading into the clash top of the Premier League table, the pressure was on Jurgen Klopp’s champions – but Sadio Mane got the ball rolling for the visitors after three minutes.

Mane missed Liverpool’s 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa before the international break, but wasted no time in making up for a lost opportunity.

Left-back Andy Robertson won a 50-50 with Seamus Coleman on the right edge of Everton’s area and his driven cross was fired home first-time by Mane at the near post with less than four minutes on the board.

There was more drama to come early doors as England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was fortunate to avoid conceding a penalty and receive a red card after clattering knee-high into Virgil Van Dijk.

Pickford was saved by a marginal VAR decision which ruled Van Dijk’s shoulder was offside: given that the challenge would have been classed as serious foul play rather than violent conduct, referee Michael Oliver would not have been able to award a retrospective red card for the challenge.

Everton benefited further as Liverpool’s defensive linchpin Van Dijk was unable to continue and was replaced by Joe Gomez after 10 minutes – and Michael Keane took advantage as he headed home a corner to level things up 10 minutes later.

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