Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Due to Liverpool’s progression in this season’s Champions League, today’s derby took a little step down in the list of priorities for Klopp and his team. The Reds made five changes with a view to protecting the full-strength eleven for Tuesday night’s game at the Etihad. That’s not to say, however, that Liverpool did not still put a strong team out, a team that should be able to challenge for all three points at Goodison Park.
Klopp set up with Klavan at left-back. It would be interesting to see how Raggy would cope with Walcott and Coleman on that side. starts. Solanke started as the central striker, with Bobby on the bench. Danny Ings and Nathaniel Clyne also came in to make their first starts of the season. Camacho was drafted into the Liverpool bench after Moreno was injured in the warm-up. Wijnaldum was to be tired in the “number six” role in preparation for City as Henderson will be suspended for that game.
Fun fact – Danny Ings’ last start for Liverpool in the Premier League was at Goodison Park when he scored in the 1-1 draw just hours before Brendan Rodgers then lost his job.
Everton fans need some light at the end of this longest of tunnels. Patience seems to be running thin among the fanbase with Sam Allardyce, and who could blame them. Could “Big Sam” inspire the Toffees to a derby-day victory which would possibly act as some reprieve for the under-fire manager?
Everton lineup (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Coleman, Jagielka(c), Keane, Baines; Rooney, Schneiderlin; Walcott, Davies, Bolasie; Tosun
Subs: Robles, Baningime, Calvert-Lewin, Gueye, Martina, Mori, Niasse
Liverpool lineup (4-1-2-3) – Karius; Clyne, Lovren, van Dijk, Klavan; Wijnaldum, Henderson(c), Milner; Ings, Solanke, Mané
Subs: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino, Jones, Masterson, Camacho, Oxlade-Chamberlain
The first ten minutes of the game was even enough. Liverpool had the first attempt with Gini Wijnaldum skying his effort high and wide after some nice setup play from Solanke on the left. Gini was still trying to put that “no away goals” hoodoo to bed. Not like that, he wouldn’t, though.
At the other end, Cenk Tosun turned and tried a volley from outside the box but it went well over.
In the 15th minute, Clyne put a cross in from the right – it rebounded to Solanke who, from six yards out, reacted instinctively and put a shot on goal but Jordan Pickford made a very good reflex save to deny Solanke his first Liverpool goal.
A few minutes later and Klavan was trying his best Kolo Toure-impression when he sliced his clearance from a cross just wide of Karius’ right-hand post.
In the 22nd minute, Bolasie (who loves to torment the Reds – even from his Crystal Palace days) tried a long-range curling effort and brought the best out of Karius. The German stopper had to dive at full stretch to turn Bolasie’s effort just around the post. It really was a top-class save from Karius.
Seven minutes after that, it was Pickford’s time to shine, again. This time, James Milner was cutting in from the left. He tried a good effort with his right foot and hit the target only to see Pickford tip it behind for a corner.
There wasn’t much else to report in the first-half. Virgil van Dijk tried his luck from a very long-range free kick in a central position. It was a simple save for Pickford. Mané had a chance in the 44th minute but blazed his strike high and wide. 0-0 at the break.
Gini Wijnaldum’s first half in the No. 6 role:
98% pass accuracy
75% of duels won
4 possession gains
1 key pass #LFC
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) April 7, 2018
Half-time: Everton 0 – 0 Liverpool
Liverpool tried to push the game early in the second half. They had plenty of possession and pegged Everton back but there seemed to be a lack of self-belief among players like Henderson and Wijnaldum any time a shooting opportunity presented itself.
A very unhappy Wayne Rooney was taken off after 57 minutes with Idrissa Gueye replacing him in Everton’s midfield.
Three minutes later, Coleman and Danny Ings were at loggerheads after something Ings was saying to the referee, Michael Oliver, after being penalised for a challenge on the Irish right-back. It all calmed down after a minute with no bookings needed.
Then Bolasie was replaced by Calvert-Lewin as Allardyce was hoping for some injection of creativity into his struggling Blues side.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Oxlade-Chamberlain entered the fray in place of James Milner. Almost immediately, the “Ox” picked the ball up in midfield and broke at Everton’s defence. His shot from outside the box just rose too much and went over Pickford’s crossbar. Impressive entrance to the game for one of Wednesday night’s heroes, though.
Here’s a stat: 72 minutes played, Cenk Tosun yet to touch the ball in Liverpool’s penalty area.
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) April 7, 2018
Mané created some space for Solanke in the 74th minute. Solanke’s effort was blocked on the edge of the box by Coleman, as was his second shot when the ball came back to him.
That was Mané’s last involvement in the game with Bobby Firmino being brought in to replace him for the final 15 minutes.
In the 77th minute, Baines got in behind the Liverpool defence and pulled a ball back from the byline but his cross was just too far ahead of Tosun who tried to get a foot on the end of it.
Baningime came on for Tom Davies in the 80th minute in what was Everton’s final substitution.
Lovren lost a challenge with Tosun wide on the left-hand side in the 82nd minute. Tosun had a free run at the Liverpool area but sliced his effort. Just as Tosun’s mishit was coming in the direction of Theo Walcott on the right, the former Arsenal forward lost his footing and the chance was gone.
Everton were trying to turn the screw now in the final stages of the game as they felt they may be able to capitalise on any fatigue felt by the Reds due to Wednesday night’s game. They got some crosses into the box but the ever-impressive Loris Karius coped well with all the aerial challenges and displayed a safe pair of hands.
The Toffees’ best chance came in the 87th minute. Walcott went outside Klavan on the right and swung in a perfect cross. Tosun made the header at the back post but he really should have hit the target. Instead, his header went back across goal where Seamus Coleman stretched but could not reach it to tap in what surely would have been the winner for Everton.
A minute later, Coleman made the break down the line. His cross deflected through the crowd and found Calvert-Lewin at the back post. The youngster put his shot wide of Karius’ goal when he also should have scored.
There were three minutes of injury-time to be played. Alexander-Arnold replaced Danny Ings as Klopp looked to just see the game out.
That was how it finished. 0-0 and this weakened Liverpool team ensured the Reds were now 17 games unbeaten against their Merseyside rivals. More importantly, it was another point towards guaranteeing a top-four finish and no injuries were picked up for Klopp’s team ahead of Tuesday night.