Everton 2-2 Liverpool: The key controversial moments analysed from dramatic Merseyside derby

Everton and Liverpool played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park but there were three key controversial moments which could have swung the game another way. Here, we analyse the decisive moments involving Jordan Pickford, Richarlison and Sadio Mane.

preview image 3:08
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton's draw with Liverpool in the Premier League.

There may not have been fans in the stands but Everton and Liverpool served up a classic Merseyside derby in their 2-2 draw at Goodison Park. But there were three key moments which fans from both sides will be talking about for a long time to come.

Sadio Mane got Liverpool off to a flying start with his finish on three minutes but Jordan Pickford's bad challenge on Virgil van Dijk - which forced the defender off but saw the keeper escape punishment - was a pivotal moment on six minutes.

Michael Keane pulled Everton level midway through the first half and after Mohamed Salah's super strike on 72 minutes, Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his incredible scoring streak with another Everton equaliser 10 minutes from time.

But there were more twists to come with Richarlison shown a red card for a bad challenge on Thiago after referee Michael Oliver had blown his whistle for a foul by Yerry Mina on Mane, before the Liverpool forward was controversially adjudged offside in the build-up to Jordan Henderson's injury-time strike.

Liverpool later asked the Premier League to review the application of VAR in the game.

Here, we pick apart the controversial incidents which have put VAR in the spotlight once again…

Van Dijk injured but why no red card for Pickford?

Virgil van Dijk injury 1
Image: Jordan Pickford rushed out to Van Dijk as he controlled a high ball into the Everton box
Virgil van Dijk injury 2
Image: Pickford missed the ball but caught Van Dijk around his knee
Virgil van Dijk injury 3
Image: Van Dijk was forced off with the injury but there was no penalty because of an earlier offside call, although the officials could still have sent Pickford off

Van Dijk had already gone in hard on both James Rodriguez and Calvert-Lewin inside the first 90 seconds but those challenges paled in comparison to Pickford's lunge on him inside the Everton box.

Also See:

With Liverpool already leading 1-0, Fabinho looped a high pass into the area, but as Van Dijk went to control it near the touchline, Pickford clattered into him knee-high and without getting anywhere near the ball.

Pickford flew out and it's an awful challenge on Van Dijk. You can see his knee twist.
Sky Sports' Sue Smith on Pickford's challenge on Van Dijk

So why wasn't Pickford sent off and Liverpool awarded a penalty? We've spoken with former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher to find out. Well first of all, the penalty call was out of the equation because Van Dijk had been flagged offside. That infringement preceded any foul from Pickford, so Everton were rightly awarded a free-kick where Van Dijk had been offside.

But Pickford could still have been sent off for serious foul play. However, referee Michael Oliver and the VAR officials either didn't see the challenge clearly, or did see it and decided it wasn't serious foul play...

Ultimately, Van Dijk limped off the pitch to be replaced by Joe Gomez and Liverpool went on to concede twice from headers without their towering centre-half on the pitch.

Sky Sports' Sue Smith: "Pickford flew out and it's an awful challenge on Van Dijk. You can see his knee twist. It's a real horrible challenge. A let off for Everton."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said: "I've only seen it live, in the game. I saw it pretty quick and for me it was a clear penalty but then obviously we saw the flag went up for offside. I still think it was worth a look at the foul, but it didn't happen. We have to ask other people about why. I don't want to say 'Jordan Pickford didn't want to do it' but it's a challenge a goalkeeper cannot make inside the box. If it's not offside, it's 100 per cent a penalty.

"Virgil played for us I don't know how many games in a row… he plays with pain and pretty much everything but he couldn't play on. That's not good."

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti: "I don't know because I didn't see but I feel the decision was affected by the fact that it was offside. Unfortunately, Van Dijk had an injury, and I hope he can recover well and soon."

Richarlison sent off after the whistle is blown

Richarlison (obscured) is shown a red card by referee Michael Oliver
Image: Richarlison (obscured) is shown a red card by referee Michael Oliver

While Pickford escaped punishment in that first incident, Richarlison was sent off for his foul on Thiago - even though referee Oliver having blown for Yerry Mina's foul on Mane.

As with the Pickford incident, serious foul play can be punished after whistle has blown on a previous foul. But the inconsistency in the decisions will be a talking point.

What was undebatable was the ugliness of Richarlison's tackle on Thiago. With high studs on the Liverpool midfielder's shin, and real force applied to the challenge, the Brazilian deserved punishment.

Klopp said: "I leave the pitch and Thiago tells me that in the red card situation with Richarlison that he thinks he got injured. We will see if it's true or not… if the player feels like this we will need to have a look."

Henderson goal ruled out but was Mane even offside?

Everton Liverpool offside Mane
Image: Liverpool's Sadio Mane appeared to be in an onside position, according to the still used by VAR

Henderson thought he'd won the derby for Liverpool deep into injury time when his shot squeezed home but Pickford - who would have faced criticism for his weak attempted stop - was spared blushes by another offside call. But this one was far more controversial.

Stop killing the game! What's offside there?!
Sky Sports' Paul Merson on Mane's offside

Mane was adjudged - by the narrowest of margins - to have been offside in the build-up. But images broadcast of VAR making the decision were far from conclusive. In fact, they appeared to show only Mane's elbow being ahead of the Everton defence. And you can't be offside with your arm.

Sky Sports' Paul Merson: "Stop killing the game! What's offside there?!"

Klopp said: "I came into the dressing room, and there were people standing there saying they'd watched the [VAR disallowed goal] situation back and they were saying they didn't understand why they whistled offside. I've had about 10 interviews and everybody tells me that it was not offside and this doesn't lift my mood, obviously.

"I'm really in support of VAR and especially with offside you expect that the right decision would be made."

LAST CHANCE To Land The £1m!

LAST CHANCE To Land The £1m!

You read correctly. The £1m Super 6 jackpot is up for grabs for one last time this weekend. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.

Around Sky