More than five million people watched Sunday’s Merseyside derby as Sky Sports registered record viewing figures in the United Kingdom for a live Premier League match.
Everton’s goalless draw at home to Liverpool peaked at 5.5m and averaged 5m for the 7pm kick-off shown on a number of channels across the broadcaster’s network.
The match was shown free-to-air with a 1.9m average on the Pick channel, with 3.1m across Sky Sports channels and Sky One.
Sky Sports’ previous record was for the 2012 Manchester derby, which was also shown free-to-air, and which attracted an average audience figure of just over 4m.
A number of matches are being shown free-to-air after the government insisted the only way the Premier League could restart was if all the remaining 92 matches were broadcast.
Around a third were freely available to combat the potential issue of fans breaching social distancing guidelines by congregating to watch satellite services or even outside grounds.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp meanwhile was left disappointed with the lack of chances his team created after Sunday’s stalemate. The Premier League leaders need five points from their remaining eight matches to secure their first league title in 30 years.
On their return after the three-month stoppage due to COVID-19, Liverpool found themselves frustrated by Carlo Ancelotti’s well-drilled Everton side.
Klopp was pleased with the way his team approached the match, in terms of their fitness and defensive solidity but was left frustrated by his forward players.
“We didn’t have enough chances. Most of the time we were dominant but they had the biggest chance,” said Klopp, whose side survived a late scare when Tom Davies hit the post in the 80th minute.
“I liked a lot of things about our game but we didn’t have those moments in attack, we didn’t have the rhythm,” he said.
“Everton defended really well and we were not smart enough to use the space. That is normal when you start to play again.
“It was a real fight. Both teams showed they understand it is a derby. Intense, physical, all players were all in.
“The point is one we deserve. When I think of all the derbies here, they looked pretty similar. Everton were well organised so we had to run a lot but we looked fit and ready.”
Ancelotti said his team had stuck to their gameplan well.
“It was not an open game because we did not want an open game. The performance was good against a strong team. We showed good personality and character. A draw is fair,” said the Italian.
“We performed really well. We were focused, we sacrificed. We had opportunities to score at the end. Liverpool played a good game, they had more possession but defensively we were really good.”