Liverpool-Everton Verdict: Reds Stuck Behind Curve Ahead Of International Break


Oct 4, 2015

Liverpool will have difficulty doing anything but staying in place without momentum.

The Reds endured another frustrating afternoon, yet still claimed a Premier League point, against Everton on Sunday at Goodison Park. The 1-1 draw in the 225th Merseyside derby left the Reds with mixed emotions, having dramatically taken the lead against their local rivals only to lose that advantage within three minutes.

Liverpool’s latest mixed result and performance was a microcosm of the opening stage of its 2015-16 season. Liverpool played with quality, organization, spirit and focus for most of the game but never showed enough of any of these traits to claim reasonably to have warranted the victory. The Toffees were the Reds’ equals in almost aspect of the game. For Liverpool, scrapping on level terms with its local rival simply isn’t good enough to meet its domestic and continental ambitions.

Manager Brendan Rodgers said after the game he’s pleased with the Reds’ performance, which included some positives. Danny Ings continued to press his claim for a more prominent role going forward by scoring Liverpool’s sole goal. Ings now has scored in three of the last five games. Ings boasts the type of goal return for which Reds everywhere longed throughout 2014-15 and in the first month of this season prior to his emergence as a starter.

Rodgers bemoaned recent defensive mistakes during his pregame comments. He has another to add to the list, as Emre Can’s misplaced clearance set up Romelu Lukaku, who tied the game in first-half extra time, just three minutes after Ings had put the Reds in front.

Liverpool started the season with an air-tight defense but couldn’t find a way to score. After scoring once and conceding once in its opening three games, Liverpool has scored eight goals and conceded 12 in its last eight games in all competitions. The floodgates have opened for better and for worse.

The Reds now must wait two weeks until their next game. They currently sit 10th in the Premier League standings with 12 points after eight games. Results and performances in the Capital One Cup and UEFA Europa League have followed a similar arc.

The current state of the Reds is a matter of perspective. They always were going to have a tough start to the season, given those first seven road games against the league’s heavy hitters. They’ve earned five points from the first four games of that stretch.

We suggested earlier this season Liverpool needed 10 points from those seven road games to enter December in a good position. Liverpool can do so by taking five points from its next three games — against Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City.

But that napkin math was based on Liverpool winning its home games against lesser (on paper) opposition. Liverpool’s loss to West Ham and draw with Norwich City showed Anfield is no fortress this season.

Liverpool will continue to struggle without that platform from which it can bank points it should, and dawns like the win over Aston Villa will continue to be false ones.

Liverpool-Everton Wrap: Merseyside derby stalemate in every way >>

Thumbnail photo via Jon Super/Associated Press

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