We knew in advance that there’d be no Jordan Henderson, because he’ll be out for the next two weeks after getting injured against Newcastle. The event pushed the club to sign Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus. The new hire starts on the bench and starting in the midfield for the first Merseyside derby of the season is an interesting hodgepodge of Fabinho, Harvey Elliott, and Fabio Carvalho. Meanwhile, the defense includes Kostas Tsimikas in place of Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez partnering Virgil van Dijk.
It’s a hard, if predictable, start for the derby as neither both teams work their way into the match. Liverpool are dominating possession in the first minutes, with the Toffees content to stay back and hope for a break. Despite their dominance, the Reds have failed to score.
In fact, it was Everton that came closest at the start of the first half, first through a break by Maupay. Thankfully Onana scuffed his shot in the box, and Liverpool let off for that early mistake. More dangerously, Tom Davies hit the far post after another strong push from Everton.
Onana got shown a yellow card after a late challenge on Carvalho that had the new signing writhing on the ground in pain. The camera panned to Klopp, who wore the look of a man trying to figure which god he’s displeased. Carvalho jogged off the sting and continued to play.
On the other side, Liverpool, always eager to show up their blue counterparts, hit the post not once, but twice in one attack. First it was Darwin Núñez after beautifully controlling the ball with his chest and slicing it in. Then with the rebound, Luis Díaz managed to strike the other post.
Liverpool survived a late push by Everton in stoppage time to go into the break scoreless.
Liverpool came into the second half looking to put pressure on their opponents, pushing forward with far more intent than they had in the first half. Roberto Firmino was subbed into the game at halftime in place of Carvalho, and he made his presence known immediately.
The next substitutions were for Andy Robertson and James Milner to come on for both wingbacks, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Tsimikas, mixing up the shape.
Firmino seemed absolutely determined to score in this game. His first shot forced a diving save by Jordan Pickford. The resulting corner was another chance for Firmino and another save by Pickford. A harrowing few minutes for Everton, but Liverpool couldn’t capitalize.
Seconds later, Everton sped across the pitch to counter. This time, it was Alisson’s turn to show his stuff by making himself too big for Maupay to score past, even at close range.
About 70 minutes in, it appeared that disaster struck for Liverpool in the form of former player Conor Coady. However, VAR is a Red, and the goal was ruled offside.
Elliott and Núñez are the next double sub on Klopp’s list, being replaced by Diogo Jota and the returning Joël Matip.
Van Dijk gets away with one, picking up a yellow for a bad foul against Onana when a red wouldn’t have been a stretch for referee Anthony Taylor.
Besides brief spells in the first and second halves when the teams went end-to-end and either hit the woodwork or forced Alisson and Pickford into saves, this has been your typically boring Saturday lunchtime scoreless draw by the 85th minute.
The woodwork denied the Reds several times, but it’s hard to complain when they benefited from a VAR decision and probably could have had van Dijk booted with a red card. In the end, it’s another early match that I’m annoyed I had to wake up for, but the Reds picked up a point.