Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool
If you’ve been less than enthused about the prospect of the Premier League returning to empty stadiums, perhaps the only thing capable of stirring your Blue blood for Everton’s first match in more than three months was that it was a derby. And if the Toffees’ record in this fixture has long since beaten the optimism out of you, there is always that flicker of hope in your heart (based on the law of averages, if nothing else) that Everton could finally beat Liverpool for the first time in a decade.
For a heart-stopping moment in the 80th-minute of an often tedious match, it looked as though the Blues might have done it, too. A driving run from Richarlison, a cheeky heel-flick goal-wards from Dominic Calvert-Lewin pushed into the path of Tom Davies and, with the far corner of the goal beckoning, the young midfielder tucks a shot past Alisson Becker.
Ordinarily, a packed Goodison Park would have held its collective breath, ready to erupt in jubilation. As it was, Evertonians up and down the country and across the globe froze on their sofas as Joe Gomez got a crucial deflection on the shot, diverting it onto the post. Just when Everton needed a touch of luck to end a sorry Merseyside derby record, it didn’t arrive and the wait for bragging rights has been extended for another few months.
As the cliché goes, you make your own luck and in football, that means creating enough chances to increase the odds of fortune falling in your favour and Everton didn’t really do that, even though they came out of the game having carved out the better opportunities to win the contest.
Under normal circumstances, it would have been more frustrating but emerging from a three-month suspension of the season with no competitive action since that harrowing defeat at Chelsea in March, the performance from Carlo Ancelotti’s men should be viewed in context. This goalless Goodison derby, the third in a row now, was played out between two rusty-looking teams, often with the feel of a pre-season friendly or exhibition game.
Yet, despite the general lack of attacking fluidity, there were elements of this display to admire from Everton, not least in defence where Mason Holgate was outstanding, Michael Keane pleasingly dependable and Seamus Coleman rolled back the years with a tenacious performance worthy of his status as club captain.
It was clear that Ancelotti had drilled into his charges a game plan based on containment for the first hour at least, one that succeeded in making the media darling, champions-elect look decidedly ordinary. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of the Blues’ wide players, with Alex Iwobi tucked into a wing-back style role providing plenty of protection for Coleman but without much license or ability to get forward into attacking positions. The Nigerian is a much better player operating centrally behind the striker but in a 4-4-2 system (even one that was supposed to pivot to 4-3-3 when Everton had the ball), he looks a few levels short of what the team needs.
On the other flank, young debutant Anthony Gordon was game and showed flashes of what he is capable of but he, too, was somewhat stymied by Everton’s disjointed and ineffective possession of the ball. Often, the most productive route was a high ball searching out Calvert-Lewin or one down the channel for either he or Richarlison to chase, leaving Gordon and Iwobi largely peripheral. In central midfield, Davies and André Gomes sat in, charged with choking Jürgen Klopp’s much-vaunted attack and rarely ventured forward, robbing the home side of a link man between midfield and attack.
It made for a very tepid first half, one that started well enough with Richarlison prompting Alisson to push his shot behind as early as the fourth minute before lapsing into something a lot less attractive on the eye. Takumi Minamino hammered one wide from distance after Gordon had been dispossessed in midfield, Joel Matip headed wide when he might have hit the target following a free-kick and Roberto Firmino also shot wide after referee Mike Dean somehow elected not to award a foul on Gomes.
Everton briefly roused themselves with a decent move 10 minutes before half-time when Gordon back-heeled Calvert-Lewin’s pass into Richarlison’s path but the Brazilian’s effort was blocked. The half finished, however, with Holgate making an excellent lunge to charge down a Minamino chance.
With no changes from Ancelotti at the half-time interval, the pattern continued into the second half, with Everton seemingly waiting for Liverpool to score in order to find the impetus they needed to make a breakthrough of their own. Naiby Kaita half-volleyed past Jordan Pickford’s post and Virgil van Dijk headed tamely at the England ‘keeper before the hosts gave the visitors a warning sign of how they might end up unlocking their back line and nicking the points.
Calvert-Lewin sent Richarlison into space down the channel with a beautiful ball over the top but the Brazilian’s shot from the angle was wild and well off target. A minute later, Dean unfathomably gave a free-kick and showed a yellow card to Lucas Digne for a perfectly-executed tackle just outside Everton’s penalty box but, thankfully, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s direct effort caught the wall and flew over.
Gylfi Sigurdsson had replaced Gordon by this point and the much-maligned Icelander’s introduction had the effect of making the Blues stronger on the ball and more assured in midfield where they had hitherto been overrun at times. And for the last half hour, apart from another Alexander-Arnold free-kick in injury time, it was Everton who looked the more likely to win it.
Davies agonisingly hitting the woodwork was as close as they would come but Calvert-Lewin went close by throwing himself at a cross from the ensuing corner and a minute later, Richarlison popped up on the left side of the reds’ box again but having delayed to allow reinforcements to arrive, he ignored Iwobi in a better position and went for goal from a tight angle, only for Alisson to beat his shot away.
Bernard came on for the last six minutes or so and Moise Kean got literally a run onto the field before Dean called time and both sides had to be content with a point.
With Europe already slipping away prior to the lockdown, this last quarter of the season was always bound to be one of further discovery for Ancelotti and, by blooding Gordon and deploying Iwobi in a different role, he is learning more about the capabilities of his squad.
The boss will take heart from an impressive defensive display, even allowing for some early sloppiness in distribution, but the team remains uncomfortably short of quality in attacking midfield, something that will hopefully be addressed in the summer.
For now, attentions turn to relegation-threatened Norwich who were soundly beaten at home by Southampton on Friday. Three points there and Ancelotti’s men might be able to gather some momentum in what will effectively be pre-season for 2020-21 given the way the schedule is likely to go.
Reader Comments (56)
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1 Posted 22/06/2020 at 08:13:40
Defensively, Everton are at last able to set up shop, they still will find it difficult to break down teams that do the same to them, as the lower-half teams are apt to do.
I though Iowbi did play well in his role. He was often on the ball, with few options, hence often criticised. Gomes wasn't fit so was off the pace. When pressurised, his weakness regarding ball detention was exposed.
Davies played as usual and Gordon was out of his depth. Iowbi apart, the rest of the midfield regularly gave possession away and all of them had poor pass completion rates. They did help the defensive shape. It was only when the backs pushed up in support that the midfield started to function.
The defence all played well, led by Holgate. Seamus had obviously worked hard during the break. Keane was comfortable partnering Holgate and Digne was professional. All were pinned back by a dysfunctional Everton midfield, who couldn't retain the ball.
The forward line was unsupported for most of the game. Calvert-Lewin was poor at positioning, holding the ball up and lay off completion. Richarlison was better, but his passing needs improving. Everton's finishing is not Premier League standard. Pickford kept his head, but his ball distribution was woeful.
Overall, the performance was a lot better than before. Implementing a game plan and tactically they were better than Liverpool, who will struggle to get over the line, till late on in this program of matches. If at the start of this season so many teams had not struggled, they would have not been in the position they are in.
The Prancing Clown was relieved to get a draw. Ancelotti won on the day.
2 Posted 22/06/2020 at 08:33:19
A lot better than Chelsea when we introduced the UK to social distancing.
3 Posted 22/06/2020 at 08:50:18
In all fairness the entire Team was pretty poor.
4 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:14:42
Give the lad a chance. He busted a gut and will probably come good but to slam him so callously ain't gonna do any good!
5 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:28:14
I think the only time Iwobi was positive we created a very good chance, when Gordon's little back-flick set Richarlison up in the first half, but he should have taken a touch towards their goal, instead of rushing a very weak shot.
At least the Brazilian showed plenty of fight, something Iwobi desperately needs to bring into his game if he's to be a success at Everton in any position.
6 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:29:45
As it was, despite chasing the ball for the majority of the game, I thought we at least looked as fit as Liverpool throughout the match.
I wonder whether we are now reaping the benefits of Ancelotti's tactical prowess? It most certainly looked like we had a game plan going into the game at least. I honestly expected Liverpool to have a comfortable win, once they began to pin Everton inside their own half for long periods of the game.
Instead, with a little bit of good fortune, we could have nicked all three points. Looking at that team yesterday, and the average age, which I believe was 23 years old, there is a nucleus of players who have the potential and ability to perform at the top level.
Holgate, Digne, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Gomes (when fit), and Pickford – who, despite calls for him to be dropped, seems to have the backing of the manager and the coaching staff – could make a big contribution over the next couple of years.
Holgate in particular, has been a revelation since being given a settled position in the team. Digne also showed signs yesterday that he was, once again, approaching his best form.
Ironically, it was one of our oldest players in the team, Coleman, who gave a MotM performance, rolling back the years for an imperious display, resulting in the substitution of the ineffective Mane.
Interesting to see Klopp's tactics of launching the long ball up to Origi when he brought him on as sub, in an attempt to unsettle the two Everton centre-backs. Fortunately, they stood firm, as they had largely all game.
Still not convinced about Iwobi though, I'm simply unsure about his future role and position in the team. He's certainly not blessed with pace, and he's not a recognised midfielder either, or an out-and-out winger?
Maybe like some of the other younger members of the team, his performance will improve with time, but a big question mark still remains over him for me.
I think Carlo will stick with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison as the front two for the remainder of the season but, against the better defences in the Premier League, we need a more varied goal threat, someone who can create and finish chances.
Our current midfield, simply don't have enough potential goalscorers amongst them and, with any team looking to make real progress, the goal contribution needs to be spread around the team.
As Brands alluded to over the weekend, there will be more outgoings in the squad than players coming in, and I totally agree with this, as we need to 'move on' those players who have no role to play in the future, but continue to draw massive salaries at the same time.
Unfortunately, we are still counting the financial cost of poor player recruitment over the last 4 years, but I would be happy to see the 2 or 3 players that have been mentioned coming in to fill those positions where we are noticeably weak, ie, centre-midfield, right-wing, and it seems Carlo has already decided we need a new partner at centre-half for Holgate, despite the impressive showing yesterday by Michael Keane.
I know we keep repeating this mantra, but we are a team in transition, but I am more confident with Ancelotti at the helm of our great club than any of his predecessors of the last 20 years.
Onwards and upwards.
7 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:43:49
Unfortunately Davies just doesn't impose himself, and I just don't see him being that tenacious midfield ball winner we all hope. Can he develop into something else? Gomes too was slow and didn't manage to win the ball off their midfield.
When we did have the ball, we were woeful with it and couldn't string 3 passes together.
But, when we do attack, we are dangerous and always capable of scoring. A bit more sharpness and one of our chances could have gone in.
Tough game for Gordon, he showed flashes, but he was basically playing as a midfielder in a 5-3-2 with the only attacking outlet being long ball, so can't expect much from him. It will be good to see him at Norwich, and hopefully Ancelotti will continue to use the remaining games to evaluate some of our younger players.
8 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:45:31
Iwobi, as Tony Abrahams correctly says, looks like he really would prefer not to have the ball. Gomes sprays crossfield passes magnificently, but they are crossfield, not defence-splitting and he needs rest periods far too often to be the man you can build a midfield around. Gordon tried without being anything more than marginal, but it is early days and he will improve.
I thought Calvert-Lewin worked hard and was a thorn in the side of the Liverpool defence. Richarlison was Richarlison, he fell down far too often, but he has pace and ability. His one real opportunity showed a lack of composure, but so do most strikers in similar circumstances.
Pleased that we didn't lose and that the defence and the organisation was spot-on. We've delayed their inevitable coronation and that's a good point. Interestingly, I think the empty stadium helped us; we stayed calm and organised and didn't get into chasing the winner as the crowd would have encouraged us to do.
9 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:56:11
Carlo got his tactics spot on, a very disciplined approach. The players carried out his plan to near perfection and, had Tom Davies put the best chance of the game away, it would have been perfect.
Seamus kept their most potent threat very quiet, I can't remember Mane being so quiet in a game. Carlo realized that trying to play a high line would have been suicidal, especially given Michael Keane's lack of pace. So we played deeper than normal, but that didn't allow any space behind to allow their forwards to run behind our back 4.
Carlo also knew that their midfield didn't have a player who would carry the ball towards our back 4 and in turn make us lose our shape. Michael Keane always looks more comfortable when he doesn't have to worry about players running in behind him. Mason Holgate gave another assured performance as did Lucas Digne. Pickford had very little to do but what he had to do was done without any histrionics.
Tom Davies and André Gomes worked tirelessly but, because of how we were set up, had very little attacking opportunities. Richarlison gave them most to worry about, ably assisted by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
I thought Gordon and Iwobi made very little impact going forward, but this will have done Gordon the world of good knowing Carlo had this much faith in him to start him ahead of Bernard.
I really don't see a lot from Iwobi and haven't since he arrived. But even Carragher and Barnes admitted Everton should have won.
Quite amazing the game is at Goodison and our token blue was Tim Cahill but Sky still made sure there were 2 reds against him.
On a final note, seeing as the only people allowed inside the ground were supposed to be essential people, so how come Dagleish was allowed to sit in the stand???
10 Posted 22/06/2020 at 09:56:49
On the midfield, I saw potential in the centre for one of the first times this season. It's been noted several times that Davies isn't defensive, or attacking, or creative, or goal scoring - so what does he do? Similar accusations have been levelled at Gomes.
I think that those two compliment each other as they can both pass, they can both venture forward if needed, they can both put a tackle in, they both work hard and they both always show for the ball. They are both good central midfielders. They're not a combination of one defensive and one attacking, they are simply both decent in every area without excelling in any. They'll never score more than 5 goals a season, however I think they'll chip in with a few once the team settles. Likewise, they'll never make 8-10 tackles a game, but they'll make a few when needed.
I honestly think that they have the potential to save us a few quid in midfield and allow us to concentrate on the glaring lack of class and bodies out wide.
11 Posted 22/06/2020 at 10:15:06
12 Posted 22/06/2020 at 10:24:59
13 Posted 22/06/2020 at 10:25:46
With some strengthening we can improve our midfield and that is what will take us to the next level, and maybe us taking the game to the RS for once.
Overall I think there is no need for panic, we have some good players in the squad. Mr Brands is right to say we need to have sharp focus on two or three signings only.
Ones that will really make a difference.
14 Posted 22/06/2020 at 10:31:47
Apart from that the team worked hard to earn a valuable point, Keane played very well and hell always play better when we play deep, with a high line he is an handicap, but well done Michael for yesterdays game.
15 Posted 22/06/2020 at 10:34:14
We restricted them to chances from free-kicks. Keane and Pickford looked more assured than they have in previous derbies. Coleman and Holgate played well. Gomes wanted too much time on the ball and was dispossessed twice.
I was hoping Davies would have hit his shot high rather than going across goal. That's the difference between the top players though. They get chances and take them. Aguero, for example, would have finished that.
I'd have liked to have seen Moise Kean come on earlier. I think his unpredictability could have caused them problems and he definitely has something to prove.
All-in-all, a boring game but we held our own. At least we've become difficult to beat at Goodison against them.
The only comment the RS-supporter who I work with could muster today on our video call was the fact that we made them get changed in a portacabin. You can have your title but you've got no class.
16 Posted 22/06/2020 at 10:48:02
A good, lung-busting effort all round, with an excellent defence and yet further evidence for the central midfielder with strength & presence to be a focal point, keep the ball and drive us forward.
On Wednesday, I'm expecting us to have the ball and attack more, which will pose a different test for the whole team.
We really do need that central midfielder, though.
17 Posted 22/06/2020 at 11:19:15
Also, why are protesters en masse allowed to gather in their thousands and football supporters cannot?
18 Posted 22/06/2020 at 11:33:18
The Goodison crowd can also be very harsh on some Everton players more than others. Ross and Rom often got a lot of stick which was mostly unfair, particularly when you consider Rom has been our most prolific goalscorer for decades. If there was a crowd last night, Iwobi would have been the target.
19 Posted 22/06/2020 at 11:35:04
20 Posted 22/06/2020 at 11:51:03
We can make some excuses, I suppose after a 15-week layoff and it is now a good time for Carlo to juggle the pack somewhat with nothing to gain but a better insight into future plans.
21 Posted 22/06/2020 at 12:51:48
Joe Williams by a mile. Wigan got a bargain.
Unsworth gave Big Joe a top player.
22 Posted 22/06/2020 at 13:17:49
Over-the -top tactics from the Police when the public relaxed a bit. But they held back when protestors decided to reek havoc. Ah well, let's see what the future brings. COYB
23 Posted 22/06/2020 at 13:30:16
24 Posted 22/06/2020 at 13:43:11
25 Posted 22/06/2020 at 13:53:06
26 Posted 22/06/2020 at 15:58:18
27 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:02:54
Bernard Gomes Davies Siggy
Digne Keane Holgate Coleman
I would love to see Beni given some time on the pitch. Come to think of it, this seems like a great time to blood in the youngsters - Gordon, Beni, Adeniran, with there being no crowd pressure.
28 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:08:11
A general comment regarding his performance. Ancelotti kept him on to learn and he will learn. A derby and first match after lockdown, not the ideal game to be introduced. A lot to cope with.
29 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:15:31
30 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:35:55
1) I watched a stream on my PC so didn't have the option the TV channels offered of listening to the artifical crowd feed, or turn that off and listen to the players and coaches yelling at each other.
I read one report that the most vocal among the Everton contingent were Seamus and Mason. I'm not surprised by either, and on the latter it reinforces my belief that he is one of our narks and leaders.
Did anyone take up this option? If so, what kind of stuff were they shouting and to who in particular?
2) I've seen no mention of it. Was there any sort of attempted gathering of fans of either hue around the stadium?
Any info appreciated. Cheers.
31 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:38:14
32 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:43:37
I've already praised Keane, but bravery is the key, and listening to the arguments on Iwobi, I'd say it's the missing ingredient for a lad who can obviously play, but is he brave enough to really go and do it?
33 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:45:16
But, what I think I saw last night was Carlo execute a very risky strategy of what I have suspected for some time; it you sit back and deny this Liverpool team the space behind the defence they need for their full backs to feed their pacy & lethal front 3, you can potentially nullify them. I say risky as you're inviting them to attack you, which itself can obviously lead to said strategy being dead in the water pretty quick.
But last night we stuck to it for an hour or so and it nearly paid off. It wasn't pretty, not my cup of tea, so to say, but we executed it well in the end.
I'll caveat that with the fact both teams were clearly rusty and this, as with other matches in the restart, has been like watching those August matches with teams coming back from pre-season.
A decent point in normal circumstances against a team that has pretty much swept everything before it this season and whether you approve or not, tactical nouse from our Manager in my opinion. Had Lady Luck shone on us, it would have been the perfect tactical schooling from Signore Ancelotti to Herr Klopp.
34 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:50:43
A firm government that knew what it was doing would have stopped all these demos. But then, too many people are talking about 'antifa', the 'hard left', 'fascists' and 'racists, rather than how dreadful the government is, so maybe their strategy's working, eh?
Testament to the majority of football fans that they're not descending on stadiums.
35 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:52:27
36 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:53:42
37 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:54:04
This largely urban myth that the Goodison crowd is somehow more hostile to its own team than any other major club needs putting to bed. Just because a few narks, here and there, vent their views loudly and often doesn't make the Goodison crowd a homogeneous mass of bile filled fans out to destroy any young buck who has the audacity and temereity to wear an Everton shirt.
In much the same way as the regulars who turn up at the other place and Old Trafford aren't likely to accept bad play from their players with words of encouragement and a 'never mind lad, be better next time".
38 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:56:29
Exactly Patrick, weve put up with more shite than most, but if a player is brave, the crowd usually stays with them, although young Tom Davies might disagree with me on that?
39 Posted 22/06/2020 at 16:59:50
The silent majority of the country generally debate differences in an adult manner, agree, disagree, go about their business and make personal decisions based on the advice given, regardless of who is in Government. We have our choice to choose; it's called an election. Otherwise we're conforming to a nanny state dictated to us by bullies, communists and fascists alike.
Can we get back to Everton v Liverpool??
40 Posted 22/06/2020 at 17:01:52
I see Iwobi is the subject of much discussion across a number of threads.
The boy has ability, of that there is no question. Carlo's tactics yesterday demanded that both he and Gordon tracked back and supported their respective full backs which blunted both players attacking prowess. I personally thought the younger Gordon did better at this than the more experienced Iwobi, but wasn't surprised by that. Why?
Because yer dad Dave and I have often expressed a similar opinion of Iwobi. He simply doesn't like the physical side of the game.
I read one poster suggest Iwobi got the nod over Bernard because the wee Brazilian wouldn't have handled the physical aspect of the game well.
I think that is wrong on a couple of levels. Firstly, Bernard is more robust than he is given credit for. Not only does he ride challenges well, time and again I've seen him win back the ball from bulkier players. Iwobi, thus far, hasn't shown any appetite for the physical side in his game. He visibly shies away from it.
Secondly, Bernard and Digne really work well together. It would have been no great shake up to the tactics or line up to pair Digne and Bernard together down the left and switch Gordon to play in front of his skipper Seamus. Indeed, it might have benefitted him given how vocal Seamus was all game.
Still interested in knowing if anyone caught what the players or coaches were yelling during the match...
41 Posted 22/06/2020 at 17:08:57
42 Posted 22/06/2020 at 17:16:53
Maybe hes been scarred since Germany, systematically destroyed your adopted country in the World Cup semi final, all those years ago, but he never looks comfortable playing out wide in a four, in a position that can definitely be the most thankless task, because you have to be able to do so much running without the ball?
43 Posted 22/06/2020 at 17:21:26
When I come on here and don't see people talking about 'antifa' and the 'hard left taking over the country', I'll stick to the football.
I'd love a glass of what Seamus had before yesterday's match. He was immense!
44 Posted 22/06/2020 at 17:25:10
45 Posted 22/06/2020 at 17:45:44
Wouldn't disagree with that Paul.
Very much on board with a recent theme of yours. Stop buying peripheral players to complement the existing underachieving players.
Get the real big dogs in to replace the failures, that bite and can instantly transform a team and improve results.
We need a big, big signing in centre mid to start giving us a smidging of a chance to be genuinely competitive.
46 Posted 22/06/2020 at 18:19:47
The tax trials are far more interesting over here, finding out that Harry Redknapp's dog had his own bank account and the jockey Lester Piggott paying them a six figure sum from a previously undisclosed bank account!
47 Posted 22/06/2020 at 18:41:16
For the first half an hour he was like a rabbit in the headlights. Panic stricken at the mere sight of a football. Then he had a bit of a good run and set up a half chance and seemed to improve.
I think he needs confidence more than most. He was a bit part player for most of his time at Arsenal, and he hasnt shaken that off. Its like the time served apprentice who doesnt want to do a job on his own.
He has to man up and now take the bull by the horns. Footballing wise he has now reached maturity and needs to show what he can do.
Because of this Its too early to write the lad off. He needs a bit more time to establish himself and for his confidence to grow. A goal or two and the fans behind him will make all the difference. Carlo will demanding more and its up to him to deliver it if he wants a place in the starting lineup.
48 Posted 22/06/2020 at 18:43:13
There is no doubt Carlo is capable. His big achievement was to produce a professional defensive performance, from well coached players. Something we all haven't seen from Everton for a long time.
He will improve midfield and attack in due course.
49 Posted 22/06/2020 at 18:44:07
50 Posted 22/06/2020 at 19:06:06
51 Posted 22/06/2020 at 19:13:17
52 Posted 22/06/2020 at 20:38:25
53 Posted 22/06/2020 at 22:52:05
Also, I can't believe anyone is actually watching us and saying we may not need a new central midfielder. This team is screaming out for a new midfield.
54 Posted 23/06/2020 at 10:34:30
Why aren't the players, officials, commentators wearing masks? They did when they got off the team bus.
Also, If a player gets booked, he normally shows the ref the back of his shirt. But the name is not there. I declined to answer.
55 Posted 23/06/2020 at 14:37:20
56 Posted 23/06/2020 at 16:28:23
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