Liverpool and Everton shared the spoils at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby as the Reds slipped to second in the league.
Liverpool bad or Everton good?
I can honestly say it was a bit of both. Although Everton offered not so much in attack, they were solid and consistent on the ball. When they broke away they were direct and caused Liverpool a couple of problems along the way but didn’t register many real chances. Liverpool on the other hand carved open Everton a few times with three spectacular chances which were all hindered by either exceptional defending or poor attacking prowess.
Two of these chances fell to Liverpool’s top scorer Mo Salah. Twice he looked to have sped away from the Everton defence only for the move, which was solely down to him, to be riveted with poor touches, visual ineptness or just plain slow thinking – the Egyptian did not have a good game by his standards that’s for sure. It may have been the home side’s exceptional support from the fans that dragged them through the motions of getting a result against the league leaders and fierce rivals.
Another huge chance fell to Fabinho which was put on a silver platter by Virgil Van Dijk, who had another outstanding game throughout; Fabinho’s first touch took the ball away from him and an Everton defender managed to flick the ball away, the goal was gaping and it was inside the six-yard box – a chance an attacker surely would have scored. There were other chances too but the Toffees held their own remarkably well and they battled right to the end to take a well-deserved point. That brought a close to the Merseyside derbies for the season and in truth, both matches probably should have ended 0-0 with the first encounter displaying a huge mistake from Pickford at Anfield in the 96thminute. Maybe two derbies this season is enough given how both games went.
Leaders become chasers
A fourth draw in the last nine Premier League matches for Liverpool meant they now trail Manchester City in second spot, by a single point. Manchester City have finally closed the gap and started to open up their own after a poor run of games for Liverpool where they have severely lacked the required spice up front to break teams down and take all the points on offer within 90 minutes. It has been their downfall, whilst they are keeping clean sheets with ease, they’ve now had three scoreless draws in their last four games across all competitions.
Jurgen Klopp has a lot of work to do in order to inspire the Liverpool front three back into form. The worse thing about the current slump is that the attackers are not playing very well, they aren’t creating a huge amount of chances either and when they do, they are struggling to find the net.
Where are Keita and Shaqiri?
In short, on the bench. We can only assume that they just aren’t performing in training and Klopp just isn’t as impressed as he should be. When you think of a Liverpool side that is struggling to create, your first thought is probably Shaqiri, second it would be Keita and lastly Lallana. Liverpool needed a goal to break the deadlock on Sunday afternoon and Klopp chose Lallana who didn’t make a difference at all.
Liverpool fans have been questioning Klopp’s decision making and substitutions recently but there must be a method in the madness. Either Shaqiri and Keita just aren’t doing it in training or Klopp doesn’t have the faith in them to change a game midway through. Fans need to trust Klopp and his reasoning behind it all but the more mistakes and scoreless draws that occur, the angrier Liverpool fans are going to get as plan b at this stage just isn’t working.
Marco Silva – is he the man?
Everton fans are more than likely still undecided at this time for where their manager sits within their heads and their hearts. It has not been plain sailing for the Everton manager this season and although Everton have spent well, bringing in players of great quality over the last few seasons, they have not managed to solidify a true place in the league table nor have they managed to play consistently from game to game.
It’s hard to say at this point whether he is the man, his side lie in 10thspot, six points from his previous employers, Watford, in 8thand six points from Newcastle in 15th. One thing is for sure, he hasn’t turned many heads in a positive fashion as Everton have lost more games than they have won this season, 12 vs 10. For most games, they have not been at the races at all and with a goal difference of zero also it is far from an ideal season. No doubt, if they stay on a steady path till the end of the season I can see Silva being given another season at the helm with some more money to spend over the summer but next season will need to be the season otherwise I can see him leaving his post shortly after the 2019/20 season commences.
Liverpool face Burnley at their home ground on Sunday, midday, whilst Everton travel to Newcastle on Saturday for a 15:00 kick off. Liverpool will drastically want to rebound here and will most likely be looking for another thumping result as they delivered to Watford and Bournemouth in more recent weeks. Everton will want to build on their two clean sheets in the last two games having not kept a clean sheet since the end of January. All to play for as the 30th game of the season is just around the corner.