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Everton worry after Amadou Onana’s Kop clash as Sean Dyche rages at Jurgen Klopp decision

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The Blues boss was confused by the yellow card he received in the aftermath of a decision that shaped the Merseyside derby.

Everton suffered a frustrating defeat at Anfield in a game that was defined by the big decisions of the match officials.

Sean Dyche had little complaint over the yellow cards that ended Ashley Young’s game before half-time and acknowledged referee Craig Pawson had every right to give the penalty that led to Mo Salah breaking the deadlock with 15 minutes to go.

But between those incidents there was the decision not to show Ibrahima Konate a second yellow after he fouled Beto midway through the second half. It was a contentious call and, with the game goalless and Everton relatively comfortable even with 10 men, it was a significant one.

The reaction in the Everton dugout, which continued long enough for Dyche himself to get booked, is among several moments from Saturday that go beyond the headlines.

There was early concern for Amadou Onana in the first half after he tussled with Luis Diaz in the Everton box. As the Belgian international attempted to shepherd the ball out of play for an Everton goal kick, he lost his balance and ended up over the advertising hoardings in front of The Kop. Club staff tended to him before he gingerly returned to action.

“I was literally gesticulating”

Sean Dyche was furious at the decision not to send Ibrahima Konate off after he wiped out Beto while already on a yellow card. But for all his gestures and protestations, the booking he later received was not handed out immediately after the controversial call by Craig Pawson. Instead, the booking followed moments later as Jurgen Klopp withdrew the centre back in what appeared a tacit acknowledgement he had been lucky to stay on the pitch.

The change sparked another outburst of derision in the Blues dugout – prompting Pawson to dish out a yellow card to Dyche. After the game, Dyche’s anger continued as he said of his own booking: “I got a yellow card, I don’t even know how, it was a near impossibility. I don’t know what for, I was literally gesticulating like everyone else in the stadium… That is ridiculous.”

Pickford pulls out unusual distraction technique

The controversy continued after the decision to show leniency to Konate, with Liverpool still unable to break through Everton’s defence and create a clear cut opportunity. Instead, the hosts needed Mo Salah’s penalty after VAR intervened to award a spot kick when Luis Diaz’s cross hit the arm of Michael Keane. This brought Jordan Pickford into action. The England number one was unable to reproduce the heroics of the penalty save from James Maddison against Leicester City late last season, but had a good go at putting Salah off, at one point walking towards him to perform an exaggerated lunge as part of efforts to delay proceedings.

Young and old sample derby atmosphere

Ahead of the drama that was to follow, Dyche had been all smiles in and around Anfield in the build up to the game. The Blues boss entered the stadium laughing with assistant coach Steve Stone and later gave a rallying ‘C’mon’ in the tunnel as he walked into a group of his players preparing to take to the pitch for the warm-up. It was clear this week in his comments, on and off camera, that he understood the privilege of being involved in one of football’s greatest derbies.

Everton’s travelling squad included a few players who did not make the bench but still got to take part in the occasion – both ends of the age spectrum within the dressing room were represented with Andy Lonergan, who recently turned 40, and academy youngster Mackenzie Hunt getting to sample the atmosphere.

Spotlight elsewhere as Everton retain buffer

There is a long way to go in this season and Everton are showing signs of progress. The points tally remains lower than is ideal though and was not improved despite the spirited display in testing circumstances at Anfield. While the time for looking at the results of other teams is a long way off, Everton did not lose their buffer to Burnley or Bournemouth, who both suffered disappointing defeats and now find themselves under huge pressure to improve quickly.

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