Liverpool will need favours from Manchester City to clinch a first Premier League title in 30 years this week after being held to a 0-0 draw by Everton in a Merseyside derby without the usual fervour behind closed doors on Sunday.
Everton came the closest to breaking the deadlock as Tom Davies struck the post and Alisson Becker saved from Dominic Calvert-Lewin to deny the Blues a first derby win in 10 years.
Liverpool remain well on course to win the league with a 23-point lead over City at the top of the table.
The Reds could clinch the title on home soil against Crystal Palace tomorrow should Pep Guardiola’s men drop points at home to Burnley (yesterday).
However, if City beat the Clarets and Chelsea on Thursday, Liverpool’s next chance will come when they travel to their closest challengers on July 2.
“Both teams showed they understand it is a derby even without fans,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. “Intense, physical, all players were all in.”
The visitors began a derby like no other in the unfamiliar surroundings of a Portakabin in the Goodison Park car park before making their entrance from the opposite end of the ground to their hosts as Everton’s tight tunnel leaves little room for social distancing.
“Everyone didn’t know really what to expect,” said Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. “It was just good to be back out there.”
As with all matches since the Premier League’s restart, players and officials took a knee prior to kick-off, but Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was caught unaware as he made a brief dash down the wing before returning to join his teammates.
Another consistent feature during the first full weekend of Premier League action since March was a slow start as both sides adjusted to the new surroundings of empty stands.
“It was strange,” said Calvert-Lewin. “Playing with no fans it was a little bit bizarre with a game of this magnitude. Normally the place is bouncing so it was hard to get used to at first.”
Klopp left Mohamed Salah on the bench for the full 90 minutes due to a minor injury problem. – worldfootball.net