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Klopp okay with “absolutely deserved” Merseyside Derby draw

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Jurgen Klopp‘s second choice men still controlled the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park on Saturday, and survived Everton’s late charge to collect an away point.

[ MORE: Allardyce fails derby test ]

The 0-0 draw may hurt Liverpool’s chances of finishing second in the Premier League, but forgive the majority of Anfield for not caring too much given an explosive and comprehensive 3-0 win over Manchester City in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

The Reds still out-chanced Everton to the tune of 10-6 shot attempts and 62 percent possession in a derby the hosts would’ve desperately wanted to win.

“A point is okay. Everton were always ready to fight but we didn’t give them the opportunity until the late stages, we stopped playing football and were a bit lucky. But that is what we have to take. I think it’s an absolutely deserved draw.

“For 75 minutes we were completely in charge. I am absolutely okay, it’s not the best day in my life but let’s carry on. Now we have to focus immediately and be ready again on Tuesday, let’s fight for the next round.”

Man, do we love that “best day in my life” quote from Klopp, who can be absolutely hilarious at times.

Klopp’s mostly second choice team started Ragnar Klavan at left back and both Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings in the front three. A point and health for Tuesday’s UCL second leg is absolutely “okay.”

Sad scoreless derby draw is Allardyce’s Everton death knell

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Everton’s failure to find any semblance of offense against the largely second team version of their Merseyside Derby rivals should serve as the death knell for Sam Allardyce at Goodison Park.

The Toffees accomplished nothing Saturday despite their point gained against Liverpool, who were away from home and coasting toward Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League second leg at Manchester City.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

We mean, Ragnar Klavan started at left back!!

No, the Toffees did not have prime playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson, but that shouldn’t have mattered given the Reds plans for the Merseyside Derby.

Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings started with Sadio Mane. Klavan was at left back. The bench had a majority of kids.

Allardyce opened the match with a cautious approach. Why did urgency only arrive in the final 15 minutes? Was Allardyce’s Everton afraid to lose to second-choice rivals? Or was he playing for a point in a match which only carried merit in terms of bragging rights?

Yes, Everton was still in a race for the 7th place spot which seems destined to reward with Europa League play. But they aren’t any more, five points and behind Burnley having played two more matches.

But they’ve spent big to firm up their status as a should-be Top Six contender. Arsenal’s poor season opened that door; Ronald Koeman put the club in a hole in terms of reaching that status, but no club — not Burnley, not Leicester City, not Arsenal — has done enough to make coming back an impossibility.

Everton is now under .500 during Allardyce’s reign, falling to 7W-4D-8L. That’s 1.3 points per game, and would have them with two more projected points than they stand with Koeman’s total included.

The fact that Cenk Tosun, a player who Allardyce reportedly didn’t want, was Everton’s best threat on the day also says something (Theo Walcott was also lively, as the manager continued to “save teams” via the transfer market). Everton was always going to rise above the drop zone, and those who bought into the fear of its legitimacy can be forgiven but not held up as bastions of perspective.

West Ham United has seen this before, and it should come as some comfort to Everton’s hierarchy that they were bamboozled by a man who has bamboozled so many others. Even the English national team fell for his act.

It’s not that he’s useless, rather it’s the reputation he’s cultivated as a man who’s going to do anything for your club more than Tony Pulis or Mark Hughes or any of the other brigade of “next tier” managers underneath the top bosses in world football. Yes, he led Bolton to Europe. So did Alan Pardew at Newcastle, and Slaven Bilic as Allardyce’s replacement at West Ham.

This cannot be your man, Everton, not if you want to be anywhere near your Merseyside rivals at any time soon.

Everton 0-0 Liverpool: Lackluster derby at Goodison

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  • Match snaps to life late
  • No Salah for Liverpool
  • Tosun, Walcott lively

Liverpool and Everton provided few chances of merit in the 231st Merseyside Derby, a scoreless draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Everton’s Europa League dreams probably die with the draw, as the disappointing Toffees are five points back of seventh place Burnley having played two more matches than Sean Dyche‘s Clarets.

Liverpool moves a point back of Manchester United having played two less than the Red Devils.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Danny Ings‘ start was his first in the Premier League since Oct. 2015.

The first proper chance of the game came when James Milner clipped a ball toward the penalty spot, with Dominic Solanke heading wide of the far post.

Jordan Pickford would stop a harder strike from Solanke around the quarter hour mark.

For Everton, Cenk Tosun had a penalty shot denied and Loris Karius got his flying fingers to a Yannick Bolasie rip from the outskirts of the 18.

Pickford stopped Milner with a fine leap at the other end as the game hit the 30th minute.

The second half’s first half-hour was more about battles than highlights, as several players went head-to-head including Danny Ings and Seamus Coleman.

Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain snapped a shot high of the frame in the 70th minute.

The hosts finally began a series of threatening moves in the final 15 minutes, and Tosun was a foot from sliding a goal home for Everton.

Theo Walcott‘s cross was nearly headed into the far corner by a slipping Tosun, and Coleman almost found the rebound at the near post.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin flubbed an 88th minute chance which almost certainly should’ve been a winner for the beleagured Allardyce.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Three things learned: Everton v. Liverpool

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LIVERPOOL — Everton and Liverpool played out a tight, tense 0-0 draw in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp‘s much-changed side huffing and puffing against a resolute, if uninspiring, Everton.

Sam Allardyce‘s side now haven’t won any of their last 17 derbies against Liverpool as Yannick Bolasie had a shot saved by Loris Karius superbly and Cenk Tosun went close late on.

Without the injured Mohamed Salah, Liverpool failed to really take the game by the scruff of the neck despite having large spells of possession.

Here’s what we learned from an edgy encounter at Goodison.


AGITATION GROWS AT EVERTON

“You hardly touched the ball!” sung the Liverpool fans towards the Everton supporters midway through the second half.

Of course, they did touch it, many times, but you get what they’re saying. Everton’s fans appear to be fed up with Sam Allardyce’s direct style of play and the odds of him being in charge next season appear to be growing by the day.

This was a perfect audition for what Everton could become under Big Sam but instead he stuck to his principles as his team set up to defend and did just that with an unadventurous plan. Even a few decent chances at the end of the game which fell to Cenk Tosun and Dominic Calvert-Lewin couldn’t lift the mood among Everton’s supporters.

Their lack of ambition was summed up when Wayne Rooney and Yannick Bolasie were both taken off in the second half and Idrissa Gueye and Calvert-Lewin came on. Rooney, playing in a central midfield role, was livid with the decision and the decision to take Bolasie off was cheered by the home fans after several slack moments despite his curling shot almost giving the Toffees the lead in the first half.

Allardyce has Everton into the top 10 of the Premier League and away from the relegation zone which was his remit when he took over. But that’s not enough for Everton’s fans who were promised a push for UEFA Champions League under new owner Farhad Moshiri.

As Liverpool fans sung sarcastic songs about Allardyce and his style of play, it seemed clear that most of the home fans inside Goodison feel the same. Tosun had little support the entire game and Everton’s defenders were clearly told to lump the ball forward rather than to build from the back. Everton were set up to defend and not to lose but against a Liverpool side who had clearly prioritized their UCL quarterfinal second leg at Man City on Tuesday with their team selection, this was a chance for Allardyce’s side to make a statement. They didn’t. At all.

Big Sam has defended the job he’s done at Everton since he arrived. In the week he compared their situation to that of West Brom’s who sit bottom of the table but where above Everton in the table when he took over.

Ye it’s not about where Everton are in the table. Their performance in Saturday’s Merseyside Derby against a much-changed Liverpool side  proved that Allardyce’s methods aren’t what the fans want and this relationship isn’t working out despite Everton clear of relegation danger.


SOLANKE READY TO STEP UP

Dominic Solanke‘s fourth start in the Premier League was a big moment for him. With Solanke and Danny Ings starting in place of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, they had huge boots to fill but Solanke was up to the task.

He nodded wide early on and had a snapshot from close range which Jordan Pickford saved superbly, but it was his ability to hold the ball up and link up with Sadio Mane and Ings which impressed.

Despite failing to score in 23 appearances this season in all competitions (19 of them have been as a second half sub, often late in the game) at 20 years of age Solanke is ready to step up and play regularly in the Premier League.

His pace and power caused Everton’s robust defense problems and even if he can’t get ahead of Firmino and Salah at Liverpool, a loan move to another PL club will surely be on the cards for next season. Klopp has been reluctant to loan youngsters out but Solanke has shown considerable progress this season and the next step must be to play regularly in the PL. He can do it. And score goals. No question.


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE NOW LIVERPOOL’S FOCUS

With a top four spot all but secure with five games to go, with got a glimpse of Klopp’s mindset for the final weeks of the Premier League season: the UEFA Champions League will be the focus.

Ings, Solanke, Ragnar Klavan and Georgino Wijnaldum all came in to the starting lineup and youngsters Curtis Jones, Conor Masterson and Rafael Camacho were all on the bench.

Klopp’s comments after Liverpool’s 3-0 win against Man City at Anfield on Wednesday suggested he wasn’t happy with an early kick off on Saturday for this game but he was in a position where he could afford to rotate his team with the second leg in Manchester in mind.

Those who came in did well but tired late on and with the Premier League title gone, Liverpool’s focus is now on at least making the final four of the Champions League rather than finishing second in the PL.

Watch Live: Everton v. Liverpool

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The Merseyside Derby takes center stage to kick off the Premier League weekend as Everton host Liverpool (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in the 231st meeting between the two teams.

This clash at Goodison Park will be an intriguing one as Everton sit pretty in midtable with nothing to lose, while Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will still be feeling confident after their 3-0 shellacking of Manchester City in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal in midweek.

Despite some people dubbing this the “Friendly Derby” there is no love lost on the pitch as more red cards have been dished out in meetings between these two teams than any other PL encounter. Everton haven’t beat Liverpool since 2010 and haven’t won any of their last 16 derbies.

In team news Everton make one change as Tom Davies comes in for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Liverpool make a host of changes as Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings start up top, Mohamed Salah isn’t in the squad and Roberto Firmino is on the bench. Nathaniel Clyne makes his first start after returning from injury, while Andrew Robertson has been given the weekend off.

LINEUPS

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Rooney, Schneiderlin, Davies, Walcott, Tosun, Bolasie. Subs: Martina, Gueye, Niasse, Funes Mori, Calvert-Lewin, Robles, Baningime

Liverpool: Karius, Clyne, Lovren, van Dijk, Klavan, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner, Ings, Solanke, Mane. Subs: Firmino, Moreno, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mignolet, Masterson, Alexander-Arnold, Jones.