Liverpool-Everton Wrap: Reds, Toffees Draw In 225th Merseyside Derby


Oct 4, 2015

The 225th meeting between Liverpool and Everton proved all Merseyside derbies can’t be classics.

The Reds and the Toffees played to a 1-1 draw Sunday in a Premier League game at Goodison Park. Neither the red nor blue sectors of Liverpool were able to claim the full share of bragging rights, as Everton-Liverpool ended in a stalemate once again.

Danny Ings scored Liverpool’s goal near the end of the first half, but Romelu Lukaku canceled the Reds’ advantage just three minutes later. The goals punctuated a fiery opening period, but the second half failed to build on the excitement and largely played out without major incident.

While only one point separates Everton and Liverpool in the standings, the 10th-placed Reds sit four places lower than the Toffees in the Premier League standings after eight games in 2015-16. Neither team took advantage of the latest Merseyside derby’s offer — a chance to pull away from their rival in symbolic and practical terms — over the course of the game.

Liverpool started brightly, showing better organization and attacking intent, but Everton soon matched the visitor’s energy level, fighting spirit and ability to craft scoring chances. Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard stopped James Milner’s 26th-minute sliding shot at the near post. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet demonstrated his superb shot-stopping attributes by making fine saves on Steven Naismith and James McCarthy in the 28th and 30th minutes.

A shoving match between Emre Can and Ross Barkley in the 34th minute was a portent of coming equality between the teams. Neither young player backed down before teammates pulled them apart and the referee showed yellow cards to both.

Ings highlighted his growing importance to Liverpool in the 41st minute when Barkley lost him in the penalty area and he nodded Milner’s corner kick past Howard.

But Lukaku tied the game before Liverpool fans had a chance to finish their song of delight at Ings’ goal. Can misplayed a clearance, sending it straight into Martin Skrtel’s body. Lukaku then pounced on the loose ball and fired it past Mignolet.

Lukaku’s goal dashed Liverpool’s hopes of entering the interval with a wave of momentum. The Belgian striker instead ensures his status as a cause of Liverpool’s deflation endures.

Everton and Liverpool traded shoves, goals and high points in the first half. They shared a trough of quality and intent in the second period, failing to lift the game to either a sizzle or boil. Their lack of sustained attacking quality is to blame, as is the fact neither boosted itself nor melted down psychologically, as they threatened to when Lukaku and Mamadou Sakho squared up to one another near the end of 90 minutes.

Perhaps it’s fitting this was the case Sunday. The 225th Merseyside derby was the first such game in which Liverpool’s starting lineup didn’t include a local player since 1986. Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard now have ended their Liverpool careers. No one was on hand to bottle the passion of local pride into a swift kick or winning moment.

Instead, Liverpool continued on its current path, and streaks followed suit. The Toffees now haven’t beaten the Reds in 10 Premier League games. The Reds still are struggling on the road, having won just once in their last nine games away from Anfield. Mistakes still are plaguing a Liverpool team, which has conceded a goal from a winning position in its last six games.

Liverpool-Everton Verdict: Reds stuck behind curve >>

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@premierleague

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