Liverpool, Everton Play to Goalless Draw in Jamie Carragher’s Final Merseyside Derby

Pepe Reina, Marouane Fellaini, Jamie Carragher and Jose EnriqueLiverpool was forced to settle for a goalless draw against Everton after a tense Merseyside derby at Anfield.

In what was Jamie Carragher‘s 30th and final derby, Reds captain Steven Gerrard and Blues midfielder Marouane Fellaini caused the opposing sides the most concern with the greatest opportunities.

The result sees the five-point gap between the two sides remain unchanged, with Everton sitting just one place above the Reds in the league.

Amidst the typically vociferous derby atmosphere, the Reds looked to stamp authority with the first attempt when Daniel Sturridge dragged a 20-yard half-volley wide.

Despite an encouraging opening for Liverpool, it was the Blues who came the closest early on through Fellaini in the 17th minute.

The Belgian wrestled with Carragher to meet a free kick from Leighton Baines with a prodded volley that trickled narrowly past the far post.

The visitors were nearly made to rue that missed opportunity when Gerrard was only just prevented by an expert intervention from Phil Jagielka shortly after the half-hour mark.

After controlling Stewart Downing‘s cross, Jordan Henderson teed up the captain for a goal-bound shot that the Everton defender threw himself in the way of.

That proved not to be the only vital contribution that Jagielka would make as he was called into action yet again with just five minutes remaining in the first half.

Sturridge failed to fully control an incisive pass but the tumbling forward still managed to steer the ball into the path of the onrushing Philippe Coutinho. Just as the Brazilian was about to freely burst into the 18-yard box, the Blues center-back made a last-ditch sliding tackle to clear the danger.

Three minutes after the restart, the combination of derby debutants Coutinho and Sturridge came agonizingly close to bringing a devastating effect.

A defence-splitting pass from the former handed Sturridge a sight of goal. The frontman remained composed as he tried to round Tim Howard but the Blues custodian anticipated his movement and blocked his attempt.

As the hour mark approached, Everton found the net but was judged to have done so in illegal circumstances.

The towering Sylvain Distin headed a corner past Pepe Reina but the Blues’ joy was short-lived as they were pulled back for obstruction in the area.

The tense nature of the game did not relent as the influential Coutinho looked to break the deadlock minutes later.

Glen Johnson‘s cross from the right flank drew no contact in the area as it fizzed through to Coutinho on the far edge of the area. The 20-year-old swiftly drilled a shot that unfortunately soared straight into the arms of Howard.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining, the American goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Gerrard but was saved by Distin.

As Liverpool surged forward in numbers, Sturridge played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of the skipper. His momentum took him past Howard but his side-footed effort from an acute angle was dramatically cleared away by the French defender.

Both sides threatened to take all three points towards the end. Daniel Agger failed to make the desired contact when meeting a Gerrard free-kick as he glanced a header wide before Victor Anichebe had the woodwork shaking as the game neared a close.

The Nigerian hit a deflected shot from distance that flew towards the top corner, forcing Reina to push the ball onto the post.

Despite both side’s efforts to steal a winner, both rearguards remained sturdy under pressure as Liverpool and Everton were awarded a deserved point each.

Liverpoolfc.com journalists’ man of the match: Steven Gerrard.

Photo via LiverpoolFC.com

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