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Everton 0, Liverpool 0: First Thoughts

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In Brendan Rodgers' 100th league game and Steven Gerrard's final Merseyside derby in the league, both sides shared a point in a goalless draw.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

liverpool blog fc sbn

Everton 0
Liverpool 0

  • Pre-match thoughts: Derby day in the Premier League. After a hurricane-like performance from Harry Kane in the North London derby and Southampton's late winner against Queens Park Rangers, a Liverpool win in the Merseyside derby would make the race for fourth retain a somewhat congested look. Jordon Ibe was the big surprise as he started in place of Lazar Marković on the right, Adam Lallana's injury meant he was out, and Steven Gerrard joined Philippe Coutinho behind Raheem Sterling as Daniel Sturridge continued on the bench. There was no place for Mario Balotelli.

  • The game started at a fast pace, and opening ten minutes was not entirely comfortable for Liverpool as Everton squeezed up when the away side were in possession in deep areas. Steven Gerrard's free-kick was headed for the top right hand corner of Joel's goal, but the Everton keeper was equal to it. Everton showed zeal in the tackle early on with Kevin Mirallas, Steven Naismith, and Gareth Barry making strong challenges and pestering for the ball.

  • Lucas came off for Joe Allen after 16 minutes as he probably aggravated the thigh injury that kept him out of the replay against Bolton. Ibe nearly scored a minute later after the ball rolled out to him in the Everton area from Sterling's deflected shot.

  • Jordan Ibe's run from the right and powerful shot had Joel beaten on the 27 minute mark, not the post. It would have been a wonderful first derby goal from the youngster. That was the most notable effort of the half as Liverpool took more control of the game against a side that increasingly played on the counter.

  • Half-time thoughts: Mamadou Sakho was put under pressure by Everton attackers and struggled with no outlet as Roberto Martínez targeted the French international. There were also a couple of questionable headers that lacked conviction and accuracy. Martin Skrtel battled with distinction, Emre Can stood up to Romelu Lukaku, and Jordon Ibe offered same ball carrying ability as Lazar Marković. Philippe Coutinho was Liverpool's best player in the half, while Steven Gerrard was the worst. The captain lacked movement and meaningful involvement except for his free-kick, and the midfield wasn't faring too well with Henderson and Allen both providing middling contributions in the absence of Lucas Leiva.

  • A powerfully struck free-kick early by Mirallas in the second half flashed wide but warned Liverpool of danger. Liverpool pressed in Everton's half to create a good opportunity for a pass and goal on the counter. Sterling was put through by Coutinho, and Gerrard acrobatically sent an effort goalwards from a corner that hit the head of Naismith. Liverpool started the second half well and in control.

  • Aaron Lennon was introduced on the hour for Mirallas to provide fresh legs out wide. Daniel Sturridge was introduced for Philippe Coutinho, which was a puzzling decision by Brendan Rodgers when Coutinho had been Liverpool's best player. For 15 minutes or so, the game was scrappy with much of Liverpool's attacks coming down the left. However, a first meaningful attack on the right from Jordon Ibe brought an excellent chance for Alberto Moreno who couldn't sort his feet out to put his side ahead.

  • Rickie Lambert came on for Raheem Sterling on 82 minutes as Rodgers looked for a late winner, and his opposite number brought on Ross Barkley for the troublesome Muhamed Bešić a few minutes later. Barkley made an impact with a lovely pass for the marauding Seamus Coleman who forced a good save from the commanding Simon Mignolet. Gerrard curled wide from a Sturridge pass immediately after.

  • Full-time thoughts: Another clean sheet and another derby draw in the Premier League under Brendan Rodgers. Mamadou Sakho was strangely shaky in possession, but Simon Mignolet was generally more aggressive even though he was hardly tested. A win at home to Tottenham would make this result look a lot better. Jordon Ibe and Steven Gerrard illustrated the future and the past respectively, and Brendan Rodgers would do well to be mindful of that in pursuit of qualification for the Champions League.

liverpool blog fc sbn

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.