Jordan Henderson was denied a dramatic last-gasp winner by a marginal offside call as 10-man Everton held on for a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in an electric Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
As Liverpool celebrated, referee Michael Oliver - with the aid of VAR - ruled Sadio Mane had been fractionally offside in the build-up to the goal as Everton survived the late scare to take a share of the spoils.
The game had already been clouded in controversy following an earlier VAR decision not to review a high tackle by Jordan Pickford which injured Virgil van Dijk.
Mane had fired the visitors into an early lead (3) that was cancelled out by Michael Keane's header (19), but Mohamed Salah restored Liverpool's advantage with a well-taken finish for his 100th goal for the club.
Everton roared back as Dominic Calvert-Lewin rose to head home Lucas Digne's cross (81), but they were reduced to 10 men following Richarlison's wild challenge on Thiago.
It looked like the hosts had not held on when Henderson converted Mane's cross in the 93rd minute but what Jurgen Klopp insisted was a "legitimate goal" was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check - a decision that later prompted Liverpool to seek a review from the Premier League.
The result means Everton preserve their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League ahead of the remaining top-flight fixtures this weekend, with Liverpool up to second on 10 points.
- Jurgen Klopp rages at disallowed goal
- Liverpool ask Premier League to review VAR application
- Merseyside derby drama: Key moments explained
- Liverpool wait on Van Dijk, Thiago injuries
Everton: Pickford (7), Coleman (6), Mina (7), Keane (8), Digne (7), Doucoure (6), Allan (7), Andre Gomes (5), Rodriguez (7), Calvert-Lewin (7), Richarlison (6).
Subs: Iwobi (6), Godfrey (7), Sigurdsson (6).
Liverpool: Adrian (6), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (7), van Dijk (6), Robertson (7), Henderson (7), Fabinho (7), Thiago (8), Salah (7), Firmino (6), Mane (7).
Subs: Wijnaldum (n/a), Gomez (6), Jota (6).
Man of the match: Thiago Alcantara.
How Everton got out of jail
Heading into the 237th Merseyside derby, Liverpool began with a point to prove following the 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa before the international break - and were in front after two minutes and 15 seconds.
- How Everton and Liverpool lined up | Match stats
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Mane, who missed the trip to Villa Park after testing positive for coronavirus, was on hand to finish off a sweeping move as he fired Andrew Robertson's cut-back high into the net beyond Jordan Pickford for Liverpool's fastest ever for in a Premier League Merseyside derby.
The England No 1 was then fortunate to escape punishment when he collided into Van Dijk inside the penalty box, but the Liverpool defender was flagged offside before Pickford's challenge. The Dutchman was unable to continue as Joe Gomez came on in his place, and the hosts gradually found their rhythm.
New Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara was handed his full debut in the 237th Merseyside derby. The Spain international and Sadio Mane both came into the side having recovered from Covid-19, as did Jordan Henderson, who has not played for the club since September 20 because of a knee injury. Joel Matip also made his first appearance since the opening day of the season, replacing Joe Gomez.
Everton, too, were at full strength with Allan and Andre Gomes back in the starting line-up, replacing Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson. New signing Ben Godfrey is named on the substitutes' bench as Ancelotti is able to field his perceived strongest side with Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne shaking of injuries to start in the full-back positions.
Calvert-Lewin was released down the right by James Rodriguez and his shot from the angle was tipped around the post by Adrian. But Liverpool failed to survive the corner as the Colombian's delivery was headed in by Keane for his third goal of the season.
In an entertaining opening half, Liverpool were next to threaten as Pickford saved smartly to deny Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick - but Everton were dealt a blow after 30 minutes as captain Seamus Coleman suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury and was replaced by Ben Godfrey for his Everton debut.
Liverpool duly targeted attacks down their left as Mane nearly turned in another Robertson cross but the half ended with the scores level. The second period started in lively fashion as Henderson's rasping drive narrowly cleared the crossbar before Calvert-Lewin was unable to connect with Digne's low cross.
On the hour-mark, Everton very nearly completed the turnaround as following Keane's fine pass to James, his flighted deep cross was headed onto the post by the stretching Richarlison. Five minutes later, it was James testing Adrian with a low shot from 25 yards which had accuracy but lacked power.
But just as the game appeared to be drifting, Liverpool regained their lead out of nothing. Henderson was fed to the right and after his cross was flicked out by Yerry Mina, Salah pounced on the slack clearance to fire first-time into the bottom corner.
Klopp's champions looked to turn the screw as Joel Matip rose to meet Alexander-Arnold's corner to force a brilliant one-handed save from Pickford. Everton were losing their shape by now as Salah's clean strike from distance swerved and forced the Everton stopper into another parry away from his goal.
Everton stayed alive and Calvert-Lewin, starved of service in the opening 80 minutes, hung in the air to meet Digne's cross to restore parity and become the first player to score in each of Everton's first five league games in a season since Tommy Lawton in 1938/39.
Back came Liverpool as Pickford rushed out to deny Mane with his feet before substitute Diogo Jota swivelled and hooked the rebound towards goal with Mane almost flicking into the far corner as he got back to his feet.
The drama continued as Richarlison threw himself wildly into a challenge with Thiago, injuring himself before deservedly seeing Oliver's red card - and Liverpool thought they had made their numerical advantage count as Henderson swept home Mane's cross in the third minute of stoppage time.
Pickford's blushes were spared after he failed to get a strong enough hand on the shot, however, as after a long delay VAR official David Coote signalled the goal should be ruled out for the most marginal offside decision in the final chapter of this pulsating watch.
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: "We could've won, drawn or lost. The performance was good as we wanted to compete and in the end we did really well, with a good spirit. When we were down, we never lost confidence and we had opportunities to go ahead with Richarlison hitting the post. I am really satisfied.
"When you concede a goal, you always have to defend better and we have to defend better in certain situations, but against Liverpool it's really difficult. They keep a high intensity on the pitch but we competed well."
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: "It's the best away derby we've played since I've been at Liverpool. They used their set pieces well for the first goal and we avoided a situation like the second goal for almost all of the game. I heard the noise from the Everton bench when the ball was in the air as [Calvert-Lewin] scores from these situations.
"The players don't understand how [Henderson's] goal was offside. We had something last season where we had the 'arm-pit' goal that was offside. I've had about 10 interviews since this where everyone has told me that's it's not offside."
Man of the match - Thiago
Forced to sit out the Aston Villa defeat having tested positive for coronavirus, Thiago was back in the Liverpool side here orchestrating proceedings with 70 completed passes from his 76 attempts to win the midfield battle.
It was his wonderful ball down the inside channel to set Mane on his way for the late drama as Henderson's goal was chalked off but it would have been fitting had he been involved in the final say after a superb performance. No player completed more than his 48 passes in the opposition half while he also had a game-high 93 touches of the ball.
Liverpool extend derby record - Opta stats
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 23 meetings against Everton in all competitions, their longest run against a single opponent in history.
- Everton haven't led in any of their last 14 Premier League matches against Liverpool - only Crystal Palace have had a longer run against an opponent without going ahead in the competition (17 vs Man Utd between 1992-2017).
- Everton vs Liverpool has seen more red cards than any other fixture in Premier League history (22), with Everton's 15 in this fixture also a record for one side against another in the competition.
- Liverpool have conceded 13 goals in their five Premier League games this season - they conceded as many after 15 games last season. Indeed, 13 goals is the most Liverpool have shipped after five league games since 1953-54 (also 13).
Live Renault Super Sunday
Everton travel to face Southampton at St Mary's next Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off is at 2pm.
Liverpool visit Ajax in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday at 8pm before returning to Premier League action at home to Sheffield United on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office; kick-off 8pm.