For fans, Sunday's derby between Liverpool and Everton was a largely dull and lifeless affair. Even with a win, Everton would have been underdogs to manage a fifth-place finish and Europa League qualification; even with a win, Liverpool would have been underdogs to beat Everton to sixth and a final table result good for little beyond bragging rights. And in the end, it was a game to match its lack of real import.
In retrospect, the dull and at times even indifferent draw that played out between one side happy with a point to keep the lead on their rival intact and another with nothing left to play for but pride is less than entirely surprising. What is a surprise, though, is that Jamie Carragher appears at least content with a draw to mark the final derby of his career. Not happy, perhaps, but at least content.
"There was a lot of talk before the game about the fact that it was my last derby and people were saying ‘we want to win for Jamie’ and stuff like that," said the defender, who grew up part of a family of Evertonians in Bootle before joining Liverpool's academy. "But also in the back of my head I knew that Evertonians would have loved to be able to say they beat me in my last derby.
"I wouldn’t say I’m pleased with a draw, but we’ve gone another one undefeated [and] I’m pleased with my record in these games. I’ve always loved playing in derbies. I’ve always said for me it’s the biggest game and I will miss them. I will be watching them next season and I will probably be even more nervous. When you play you can do something about it, but watching is very nerve racking."
When it comes to suggestions Everton's supporters should have been able to say they beat Carragher in his final derby after a Sylvain Distin header was controversially disallowed, the defender believes the play was blown dead when Victor Anichebe impeded Pepe Reina rather than for a shove by Distin some speculated was the infringement. He also believes that, right or wrong, it made up for an officiating mistake in the previous derby.
"I haven’t seen a replay," he said following the match, "but the referee spoke to Anichebe before the corner about getting in front of Pepe Reina. I think that’s what he gave it for. I don’t think it was for Distin on me. They might be complaining about that but we can bring up the goal Luis Suarez had disallowed late on at Goodison.
"We’re disappointed we didn’t win and I am sure Everton will be pleased. Credit to them as obviously it’s a better result for them than it is for us. If you go away from home and don’t get beat in a derby game it’s a good result."
With Everton remaining five points ahead of Liverpool and only two games remaining in the season, it's all but a mathematical certainty they will finish ahead of Liverpool—making for the first time since 1937 that Everton have managed to do so two seasons in a row in the top flight.
As for Carragher, all that remains for now is a trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham on Sunday before he plays the final game of his career at Anfield on the 19th against last-place QPR, with some suggestion Steven Gerrard will hand over the captaincy to Carragher for his final game as a Red.
Read More: A Final Derby to Forget for Jamie Carragher