All you need to know about Sunday’s Merseyside Derby — as well as everything else in the Premier League — in quickie form, complete with Bay State Soccer Sentinel insight and analysis:
No Salah for Liverpool in scoreless draw with Everton: While the Reds — the presumptive Premier League champions — owned the match, possession-wise with 70 percent of the ball, Liverpool lacked teeth in its attack against an Everton side that played well in its 4-4-2 formation, and even looked to postpone the coronation. Mohammed Salah did not feature for Liverpool, with Jurgen Klopp using four subs — including a couple of offensive-minded ones not named Salah — before being forced to make a defensive sub in the last quarter of an hour. Richarliason, though, was dangerous as the fulcrum for the Blues, as he came closest to scoring on a couple of occasions.
Earliest Liverpool can clinch the title is Wednesday: OK, here’s the situation. A Liverpool win Sunday would have meant that Manchester City needed to beat Burnley Monday in order to pull within 23 points of the Reds. With Liverpool drawing, a City win Monday puts it within 20 points. If City lose/drop points to Burnley Monday, and if Liverpool beat Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday, the race is over and Liverpool win the title. Should both win tomorrow and Wednesday, the title can be won by Liverpool with a single point at City on Thursday, July 2.
Pulisic pushes Blues to comeback win: With Chelsea trailing a goal to nil at Aston Villa in the 55th, the Blues inserted American midfielder Christian Pulisic, and with his first touch of the match at the hour mark, the Pennsylvania native put Chelsea into the ascendency, bringing the match to level terms. But not two minutes later, Oliver Giroud put Chelsea ahead to give the Blues all three points.
Newcastle holds Sheffield, keeps Blades out of the Champions League places: A right royal thumping on Tyneside, as the Magpies put up a three-spot on 10-man Sheffield United. The Blades could have moved up to fifth and supplanted Manchester United in the Champions League race with a win, but NUFC scuppered those plans with three second-half goals.
Arsenal lays an egg as Brighton complete sweep: The Gunners, who had difficulty putting away crosses into the 18-yard box in the first half, couldn’t put away Brighton Hove & Albion as the hosts scored twice in the last 20 minutes — including a Neal Maupay goal in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time — to complete their season sweep of Arsenal. While BHA held firm in 15th, Arsenal fell one place to 10th. Arsenal also lost Bernd Leno to an injury late in the first half, adding to its injury woes.
Pogba off the bench gives Man United a critical point: Say what you will about the impact a substitute has on a match; it has to be the right sub at the right time, and for Manchester United, that was Paul Pogba’s job Friday at the Tottenham. Spurs held a 1-0 lead after January arrival Steven Bergwijn’s thunder strike on the counter, but Pogba drew a penalty from Eric Dier late, and Bruno Fernandes popped in the pen to pull to level terms. Another penalty to United was awarded a few minutes later, but VAR quashed it. Friday also marked the return of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min to the Spurs XI, given both suffered injuries in January and February, respectively, which were originally thought to be long-term absences.
WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT
Danny Ings/Stuart Armstrong, Southampton: The pair of Ings and Armstrong got the Saints rolling against Norwich City Friday, with each assisting the other in Southampton’s 3-nil win.
Jordan Pickford, Everton: A really fine performance by the Everton goalkeeper, who made all three stops and had to kiss the post on a couple of occasions Sunday.
Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea: He had both assists in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa, picking Pulisic out and feeding him a strike for the equalizer, then helping Giroud take all three points.
Arsenal: Not a good stretch for the Gunners, who have now lost two matches in a row in the league for the first time since losing three in a row from April 21-28 last year. Arsenal are at Southampton Thursday.
John Egan, Sheffield United: A rather dumb move out of Egan Sunday, who held Joelinton back while playing on a yellow card; he was shown a second one in the 50th minute, and that turned the match on the ear.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
This is the ninth straight Premier League season where Everton has failed to beat Liverpool.
Liverpool are now unbeaten in its last 11 versus Everton since Klopp took over in the technical area. Sunday was also the third successive scoreless draw between the two at Goodison, and Liverpool’s first scoreless draw in 39 league games — dating back to this fixture a year ago.
Seamus Coleman had 52 touches on the ball for Everton.
THEY SAID IT
“We score three at home for the first time; no one’s hear to watch it!” — Newcastle manager Steve Bruce