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WORLD-CLASS KEEPER

Klopp praises ‘world-class’ Alisson after Everton draw

That was the closest either side came to scoring in a low-key Goodison Park encounter, which ended goalless.

In Summary

• That’s what a world-class goalkeeper is — nothing to do for pretty much 90 minutes then he’s there — Klopp.

• Everton keeper Jordan Pickford saved well from Fabinho’s free-kick in the closing moments but it was a game that highlighted two understandably rusty sides - although Liverpool’s coronation will come soon.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with goalkeeper Alisson
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with goalkeeper Alisson
Image: /REUTERS

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised “world class” goalkeeper Alisson after his late save secured a point against Everton in the Merseyside derby.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s close-range flick was kept out by the Brazilian before Tom Davies’ shot from the loose ball struck the post.

That was the closest either side came to scoring in a low-key Goodison Park encounter, which ended goalless.

“We should not take him [Alisson] for granted,” said Klopp. “Absolutely outstanding. That’s what a world-class goalkeeper is — nothing to do for pretty much 90 minutes then he’s there.”

Liverpool now need five points to be sure of the Premier League title and can still clinch their first top-flight trophy in 30 years against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday.

Alisson also saved well from Brazilian compatriot Richarlison as a largely tame game, with the surreal atmosphere of a derby played behind closed doors, sprang to life.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford saved well from Fabinho’s free-kick in the closing moments but it was a game that highlighted two understandably rusty sides - although Liverpool’s coronation will come soon.

Liverpool would have hoped to set up a potential title win at Anfield on Wednesday with victory here at Goodison Park - but after 106 days out of action, it was perhaps understandable that a side that have overpowered so many were short of their best.

Forward Mohamed Salah was only fit enough for the bench while left-back Andy Robertson was injured. Both were missed as Liverpool saw plenty of the ball but struggled to seriously test Pickford.

Naby Keita looked energetic until he came off but boss Jurgen Klopp now has further concerns over James Milner, who sustained a hamstring injury, and Joel Matip who also limped off — although Joe Gomez is an ideal replacement there.

Liverpool’s star of the show was keeper Alisson, who was in superb form when called upon in those crucial late moments.

This point - and Liverpool certainly did not deserve more - means the celebratory champagne may be on ice a little longer but it is only a matter of time, even days, before they are back at the peak of the domestic game by clinching that long-awaited title.

“The point is one we deserve,” added Klopp. “Everton were well organised so we had to run a lot but we looked fit and ready. Now we’ve got three days. Crystal Palace looked good on Saturday and we have to make sure we are ready for Wednesday.”

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti’s predecessor Marco Silva was sacked after a 5-2 derby capitulation at Anfield in December - and the difference the decorated Italian has made since was in evidence here. Ancelotti had already made a good start to his Goodison career before the season was halted, but he has now had more of a chance to impart his methods and can be well pleased with what he saw here. In fact, he may feel disappointed his side did not win.

Everton conceded possession for long periods but were superbly organised defensively, and Alisson was much the busier goalkeeper. Captain Seamus Coleman was simply outstanding for Everton, while the budding leadership qualities of young defender Mason Holgate could be heard as his instructions echoed around Goodison Park.

Ancelotti also has two dangerous forwards in Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison while talented teenager Anthony Gordon, who struggled to make an impact, will be better for the experience.

Ancelotti will know he needs more strength and physical presence in central midfield but this is a different Everton side to the one that capitulated so miserably in December, before also losing to a youthful Liverpool side in the FA Cup third round under the new manager.

Everton will be better when Ancelotti has more of his own signings in the team, but the signs are still promising.

“Honestly we were really close to winning but it was a tough game, difficult game,” Ancelotti said. “We performed really well. We were focused, we sacrificed. We had opportunities to score at the end. Liverpool played a good game, they had more possession but defensively we were really good.”