LONDON – Everton ended Saturday still at the top of the Premier League after battling reigning champion Liverpool to a 2-2 draw in an exciting Merseyside derby, but the biggest story coming out of the match was word that the Reds plan to seek an investigation of two decisions made by the Video Assistant Referee.
Liverpool was leading 1-0 on Sadio Mane’s goal when Everton keeper Jordan Pickford brought down Virgil van Dijk with a dangerous challenge in the fifth minute.
But because one of the attacking players was deemed to have been offside, the VAR official in London focused on that and failed to advise referee Michael Oliver to review the encounter between Pickford and Van Dijk.
The Dutch defender, regarded by many as the world’s finest player at his position, limped off the pitch.
Fast forward to second-half stoppage time. With the sides level at 2-2, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson scored what looked like the game winner, only for VAR to disallow the goal based on a determination that Mane was offside.
“I don’t know where the line is where you can do offside. Yes, we should have won this game. The boys played a super game against a side with quality and confidence,” Reds manager Jürgen Klopp said afterward.
Controversies aside, the most entertaining Merseyside derby in years saw Everton come from behind twice to equalize and Mohammed Salah score his 100th goal in a Liverpool shirt.
The Toffies’ goals came from Michael Keane, in the 19th minute, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored with nine minutes left in regulation, his seventh goal in five matches.
Everton has 13 points, three more than second-place Liverpool, which must wait to learn the seriousness of the injuries to Van Dijk and to Thiago Alcantara, banged up in a 90th-minute tangle with Richarlison that brought the Brazilian a red card.
In Saturday’s other Premier League action, Manchester City climbed into the top half of the table with a 1-0 victory against Arsenal.
Raheem Sterling scored in the 23rd minute as City coach Pep Guardiola prevailed in the duel with former assistant Mikel Arteta, who took the reins at Arsenal last December.
The Citizens are ninth, with seven points from four matches.
The Gunners sit in fifth place with nine points after five games, ahead of London rival Chelsea, which had to settle for a 3-3 draw with visiting Southampton.
The Blues took a 2-0 lead on a brace by Timo Werner before Danny Ings pulled back a goal for the Saints in the 43rd minute. Southampton went level in the 57th thanks to Che Adams, but Kai Havertz scored for Chelsea two minutes later to make it 3-2 for the host.
Two minutes into stoppage time, Jannik Vestergaard replied for the Saints and they walked away with a point to boost their total to seven and grab 10th place.
The other Manchester team emerged from its slump with a 4-1 win at Newcastle United.
The game began badly for Man United, which went behind in the second minute on an own goal charged to Luke Shaw. Captain Harry Maguire, who has been struggling of late both on and off the field, equalized for the visitors in the 23rd minute.
The Red Devils looked poised to pull ahead after winning a questionable penalty, but Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow stopped Bruno Fernandes and the game was still deadlocked at 1-1 until the Portuguese midfielder scored from open play in the 86th minute to put his team ahead.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka made it 3-1 in the final minute of regulation and Marcus Rashford added a fourth goal six minutes later.
The victory lifted Man United to six points from four matches, though it remains in the bottom half of the table. Newcastle is 11th with seven points after five games.