The Merseyside Derby was memorable in that it was Steven Gerrard’s 33rd and final one before he heads across the pond to MLS, but otherwise it was one to forget.
While an exciting game over the first half-hour, nobody capitalized and both teams began to both play more conservatively and make more mistakes as it came to a 0-0 close at Goodison Park.
Each team had chances early on, but it appeared to be Liverpool on the front foot through the opening 20 minutes. Steven Gerrard came inches from the top corner on a 9th-minute free kick, and Jordon Ibe – one of the few standout players in the match – was close from a tight angle but Joel Robles was there to spurn the chance at the near post.
Lucas, who has been in fine form of late, was forced off early with an injury, walking straight off after pulling up lame in the 16th minute. He was replaced by Joe Allen who scared many Liverpool fans by immediately coming in and marking the big Romelu Lukaku on Everton’s first corner.
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The game pulsated past the 20th minute mark as Everton built themselves into the game and Steven Naismith had a chance but couldn’t collect a cross at the far end of the box despite plenty of space. Ibe continued to be bright on the other end, and rattled the far post with a shot from distance after a midfield run as the game neared the half-hour mark.
Things came out in the second half as furious as they ended in the previous 45, but the final ball still wasn’t there. Raheem Sterling came close twice in the 52nd minute, but twice Robles was there to ward him off. Both teams poked and prodded but the defenses proved stout as time wore on. Brendan Rodgers introduced Daniel Sturridge for his third straight appearance off the bench, and he produced some half-chances, but couldn’t squeak it through the Toffees defense.
The game eventually devolved into a snoozer, as both sides gave the ball away cheaply in the middle third. Tensions and tempers flared as the game wore on, and things boiled over in the 77th minute as referee Muhamed Besic and Ibe got tangled up, and Steven Naismith and Jordan Henderson earn themselves yellow cards in the ensuing fracas.
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It would grind out to a halt and finish with nothing between the teams, with Everton getting its first shot on target in the 87th minute. The point draws Liverpool within four points of Arsenal, while the Toffees draw level with Crystal Palace and jump above them into 12th on goal differential.
Everton: Joel, Oviedo, Jagielka, Stones, Coleman, Besic (Alcaraz 87′), Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas (Lennon 60′), Naismith (Barkley 85′), Lukaku.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Lucas (Allen 16′), Henderson, Gerrard, Moreno, Ibe, Coutinho (Sturridge 65′), Sterling (Lambert 82′).