After over 100 days without seeing the Reds in action in the Premier League, we were treated to as drab a derby as you’re ever likely to see. 0-0 was perhaps the most predictable scoreline when looking at the recent results at Goodison Park – combine that with the fact neither side has played a competitive match in three months, a scoreless draw was always very likely. Everton will perhaps feel a tad unlucky seeing as they forced a good save from Alisson, before clipping the post. The result was a fair one, though, and although we would have loved to win, the stalemate puts us another point closer to the title.
In goal, Alisson had virtually nothing to do until the final 10 minutes when a clever Calvert-Lewin back-heel flick tested the Brazilian’s concentration. He quickly got down to his left and diverted the shot away from goal, where Tom Davies was waiting to steer a shot onto the post via a vital touch from Joe Gomez.
In defence, with Robertson deemed not fit enough for the squad, James Milner started at left-back alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk. With next to no defending to do for the back four, the onus was on the full-backs to get forward and help create. Sadly, with Trent far from his best and Milner playing out of position, there wasn’t a lot of threat coming from either side. Milner was forced off late on in the first half with a hamstring problem and was replaced by Joe Gomez. With Gomez coming on at left-back, the same issues were present with having no natural left-sided player in that position. Joel Matip was also taken off with an injury midway through the second half and was replaced by Dejan Lovren. The less said about the Croatian, the better.
In midfield, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita started the game. Fabinho began the game quite poorly with some stray passes and late challenges, but improved as the match went on. Henderson had a solid game as well, while Naby Keita was the best of the three and looked the only player in red that was going to make anything happen. The Guinean was unlucky to be replaced by Wijnaldum in the second half and his exit from the field was very noticeable.
Up front, with Salah left on the bench as a precaution, Takumi Minamino started on the right alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. All three struggled to have too much of an impact with Everton defending well throughout. Minamino was replaced at the break by Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the Englishman failed to improve the lacklustre attacking performance.
As for Man of the Match, there weren’t many standout performers in this one, but I’m going to give it to Naby Keita. A lot has been said about how sharp he’s looked in this mini pre-season and he certainly showed plenty of promise during the time he was on the pitch.