The Merseyside Derby ended in an anticlimactic 0-0 draw at Goodison Park on Sunday night. Liverpool started the brighter of the two sides, with Naby Keita and Sadio Mane threatening the Everton defence. However, they would struggle to create many opportunities, with Roberto Firmino’s scuffed shot the closest they would come to scoring. Everton almost won the tie late on, after Tom Davies struck the post, but it was honours even at the full-time whistle — taking Liverpool one small step closer to their first Premier League title.
Liverpool’s work on the training pitch appears to have paid dividends, as some of the sides passing patterns were incredibly slick. The final ball was often lacking, but in transition, the attack still functioned very well. On the defensive end, little got past the dominant Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, with Everton’s best chances coming after the latter went down with an injury.
Liverpool often lacked real incision in the final third, perhaps unsurprising with this being Liverpool’s first game since the restart. When the away side did create opportunities, their finishing was also rusty, evidenced best by Firmino’s scuffed first-half shot.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — With Mohamed Salah and Andrew Robertson both absent through injury, the German boss picked close to his best available XI. His inclusion of Naby Keita was justified, as the energetic midfielder linked up superbly with Mane on the left side of the pitch. Klopp’s substitutions, while often necessitated by injury, seemed to have a negative effect on the side, with Dejan Lovren looking notably off the pace.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 7 — Scarcely had a shot to save, but his distribution and handling was assured as always. The Brazilian was called into action late on, stopping well from Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s nifty flick.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 — The Liverpudlian’s radar was slightly off for once, with a number of his crosses and free kick’s going astray. However, as the game progressed his influence on the proceedings increased.
DF Joel Matip, 7 — Exceptional in the tackle, accurate in possession, and confident when striding forward with the ball. On his day, the towering defender is one of the league’s very best.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Started the game slowly, typified by a rash tackle on Richarlison. As the game progressed, the Dutchman grew in stature, dominating the aerial battle against Everton’s forwards.
DF James Milner, 6 — Made a solid start and was positionally smart throughout the first half. However, the veteran midfielder sustained a hamstring injury after 40 minutes, for which he had to be substituted.
MF Fabinho, 7 — Marshalled the midfield very well from a deeper position, helping to control the game with accurate passing and key interceptions.
MF Naby Keita, 7 — One of Liverpool’s liveliest players, chipping in with key interceptions, and sharp one-twos. If he can build on this display going forward, it may be tricky for his midfield colleagues to force their way back into the side.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 — The skipper was peripherally involved in good phases of play, but, without Salah on the right side, he struggled at times to forge a similar connection with Minamino.
FW Takumi Minamino, 6 — The January arrival showed glimpses of quality, with some neat link-up play and movement. However, in key areas, his decision-making was slightly off.
FW Sadio Mane, 8 — The Senegalese star was Liverpool’s best player by some margin. He drew fouls from the Everton backline while also making a number of intelligent runs in behind — but was ultimately unable to carve out a clear opportunity of his own.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Ever the team player, he was heavily involved tonight, contributing with industrious hard work and impressive link-up play. With that being said, he did manage to squander his team’s best chance in the first half.
DF Joe Gomez, 6 — Replaced James Milner in the first half after the Englishman picked up an injury. Playing at left-back, he was solid defensively, but failed to create a great deal going forward.=
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — Came on for Minamino at half-time but struggled to stamp his authority on the game in the second half.
DF Dejan Lovren, N/R — Brought on by necessity due to Matip’s injury, Lovren looked off the past and struggled with the speed of Everton’s attackers.
FW Divock Origi, N/R — The Everton bogeyman couldn’t find a winner this time in his 25 minutes on the pitch.