With no changes from the side that waltzed past Newcastle United last weekend, Brendan Rodgers' squad inspired a bit of optimism ahead of Jamie Carragher's last Merseyside derby , as the win at St. James' Park was among Liverpool's most impressive of the season.
And so, in typical Liverpool fashion, it would make sense that they conspire with Everton to produce one of the most suffocatingly medicore perfomances as an encore, failing to do much of note in splitting the points with their neighbors. Carragher, Steven Gerrard, and Philippe Coutinho were Liverpool's best on the day, while Marouane Fellaini's elbows and Sylvain Distin's disallowed goal ended as the major Everton talking points along with two crucial Phil Jagielka blocks.
There were a number of disappointing individual performances to go along with the result, as Jose Enrique stumbled badly after a good run of form and Glen Johnson continued his downward trend of the past few months. Daniel Sturridge, who looked so capable and confident leading the line against Newcastle, missed his first touch badly and couldn't do anything with the service provided by the eager Coutinho. Borini was all energy after coming on for Jordan Henderson, who'd been average but not at his best, and Martin Skrtel--who replaced a slightly injured and largely ineffective Stewart Downing--had little to do in his appearance other than receive a Fellaini elbow to the face.
We'd hoped today could provide spark for a run-in that seemed destined to slog along, but in the end all that was provided was a reminder of how stagnant and sterile this Liverpool side can be. Capable of absolute magic one week and today's performance the next, there need to be improvements, plain and simple. Better players added, better approach, better management by those in charge, and just simply better overall.
Two left to go, and then a vital summer for Liverpool. Let's hope Fulham and QPR offer more in the way of fun, because we know they'll offer little in terms of actual meaning.