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Everton 0, Liverpool 0 - Match Recap: Dull Derby Draw

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The Reds’ return to the Premier League ends in a bore draw, as both sides look like they’ve had about three months off.

Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool

Everton:
Liverpool:

Pre-Match

Some surprises in the starting XI as Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah are left on the bench in favour of Joel Matip, James Milner, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino.

First Half

Very sloppy start from the Reds, with Fabinho in particular looking out of sync. Late challenges and misplaced passes abound. Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin nearly punish them, but the latter can’t quite get into the path of the Brazilian’s cross-shot.

Liverpool have established possession but struggle to generate good shooting opportunities. A wayward Minamino effort from range their only attempt after 15 minutes.

A rare sight as Milner is booked for his first foul, a late lunge on Richarlison as the Brazilian navigates his way out of the Reds’ counter-press.

Tom Davies escapes a booking for a ugly slide on Mané, before Matip nods a Trent set-piece wide of the post despite getting a free shot at it. Half an hour gone. Football is back and it’s kinda rubbish, really.

An offsides Richarlison heads over at the other end. This all feels like a set-piece or mistake is likely to be decisive.

Roberto Firmino hooks the ball wide of the post from 18 yards after Minamino picks Gomes’ pocket in midfield and Henderson breaks forward. Had options, but taking the shot was a reasonable decision.

Sadio Mané shrugs off the challenge from Seamus Coleman and is cut down by a desparate Michael Keane. Mike Dean rightly pulls out the yellow card. Trent smashes the subsequent free-kick on target, but Jordan Pickford gets there and gathers his own rebound.

And here comes Joe Gomez for James Milner, who appears to have picked up a hamstring injury, putting his alleged cyborg origins in doubt.

Naby Keïta drives forward and sets up a pair of one-twos before feeding Mané in the box. Sadio cuts it back for Minamino, but the former Salzburg man ses his effort from 12 yards blocked.

Second Half

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Takumi Minamino to start the second half.

A slick piece of interplay between Keïta and Roberto Firmino’s chest ends with the former smacking a volley at goal, but the Guinean can’t find the target from 12 yards.

The Reds establish their dominance here, but while Everton have been rendered completely unable to move play into their visitors’ half, Pickford hasn’t been made to stand on his head either. Virgil van Dijk heads on target following a Trent corner, but Matip can’t quite get to it, and it is easily collected by the goalkeeper.

Dignè is booked for a slide on Sadio Mané after the number ten suddenly found himself in space. Trent hammers the set-piece via the wall for a corner.

Georginio Wijnaldum and Everton slayer Divock Origi take the pitch in place of Keïta and Firmino. Mané takes up the central position, with Origi playing off him.

Matip goes down with an injury and is replaced by Dejan Lovren.

Wild scenes as Wijnaldum and Fabinho conspire to give up possession in midfield, Lovren fails to close down Richarlison, and Alisson’s rebound from the striker’s backheeled effort falls into the path of Davies, but the midfielders shot bounces off the post. Calvert-Lewin heads wide on the ensuing corner. The Reds escape.

Another scramble in the Liverpool box as Lovren forgoes football for a game of slip and slide. Alisson saves Richarlison’s point-blank effort.

Fabinho fires a swerving free kick in injury time, but Pickford gets to it and punches it over the bar. The subsequent corner comes to nothing.

Final Thoughts

Well that looked very much like what it was; two sides who have spent the past three months not doing the thing they did tonight. The Reds largely dominated the game up until it became muddled and disjointed in the final half hour, while Everton will feel somewhat aggrieved having missed the biggest opportunities of the match.