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Liverpool’s incredible 3-0 win over the mighty Manchester City in midweek’s Champions League quarterfinal first-leg was marred by a number of injury setbacks which forced Jurgen Klopp to field a much-altered starting line-up for today’s Merseyside derby versus Everton.
The Toffees have been thoroughly dominated by Liverpool in their recent meetings but the afternoon clash at Goodison Park handed Sam Allardyce’s men a golden opportunity to break the curse and take advantage of their rivals’ weakness by grabbing a famous win. However, they failed to do so despite a late storm as the game ended scoreless after 90 minutes.
Liverpool lacked creativity up front and could not trouble Jordan Pickford in Everton goal barring a couple of occasions. The Englishman, however, was alert and denied Dominic Solanke and James Milner with a couple of decent stops.
Loris Karius, on the other end, pulled off the save of the game when he sensationally kept out Yannick Bolasie’s curler which was going straight into the back of the net. The first-half was eventless and hence ended without a goal.
Everton started the second-half with a similar defensive approach but the introduction of Idrissa Gana Gueye and Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw them take control of the midfield and explore the width of the pitch.
They dominated the show completed in the closing minutes but missed a few sitters which should have been converted. The game ended all square at Goodison Park and the Reds collected one crucial point on the road to strengthening their stance for a top-four finish.
The Reds custodian denied Yannick Bolasie’s sublime curler with an outrageous save. He was not tested apart from that and maintained his composure throughout the game.
Made his first appearance of the season and had a great first-half down the right flank. He had a late scare after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s arrival who, alongside Leighton Baines was creating chances but the Englishman managed to come out without conceding.
Was excellent against Manchester City in the midweek but failed to match the level this afternoon due to some clumsy clearances and misplaced passes. The Croatian, however, helped his side maintain back to back clean sheets.
Another towering display from the big Dutchman who kept Cenk Tosun under control and helped his side deal with Big Sam’s ‘long-ball’ strategy.
Ragnar Klavan (6)
He was not fully fit but was handed a start in an unusual left-back role. The defender did not offer much going forward and tried to keep Theo Walcott under control. The pacy Englishman, however, troubled the Estonian late in the game.
The skipper helped his defence, won back possession in the midfield and also distributed a couple of great forward passes in the first half but failed to keep hold of the ball after Gueye’s arrival.
His strong physical presence helped the Reds dominate the game in the middle of the park but lacked enough support going forward. He failed to create anything spectacular to break the deadlock.
Worked his socks off, screened Klavan so that he did not get exposed down the left and also created a few goal-bound opportunities from both the flanks.
The forward missed a header in early minutes and also should have done well from the close range when he failed to beat Pickford one-on-one. Tried to play some one-twos to build the momentum up, but his first touch and the lack of accuracy let him down throughout the game.
Sadio Mane (6.5)
Started the game brightly but faded away due to a lack of supply from the midfield. The Senegalese thoroughly missed Andrew Robertson’s runs, crosses and link-up play down the left flank.
Ings worked hard, helped his defence and midfield, but failed to create anything up front as he was held by the Everton backline without much trouble. Was replaced by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the closing minutes.
Made a strong forward run as soon as he came on for Milner but failed to keep his thunderous strike on target.
Did not create anything up front as the Reds were busy defending Everton’s attacking threats in the closing minutes. The Brazilian mostly spent his time in defending deep and helping his midfield.
Was introduced late in the game in the place of Danny Ings.