Sam Allardyce will have been as pleased as punch to grind out a stalemate but a weakened Liverpool were there for the taking at Goodison on Saturday. Taken they were not.
Despite a late surge, Everton could not find a cutting edge as one of the most timid Merseyside derbies in history finished 0-0.
Below we dive into the Toffees’ individual displays, with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the clear pick of the bunch …
Jordan Pickford 8 – Wonderful stop from James Milner, and though he didn’t have to move very far to save Solanke’s point-blank effort, this was another mature peformance to add to his scrapbook.
Seamus Coleman 5 – Two superb blocks on Ings efforts towards the end yet saved his performance from mediocrity, beaten by Mane on occasion.
Michael Keane 7 – A much-improved display in what has shaped up to be a debut season to forget. Will not win any awards for composure but made 10 clearances amid Liverpool squalls of pressure.
Phil Jagielka 7 – Not a classic display by any means – there was nothing vintage about this match – but the 35-year-old held the fort and looked as energetic for his years as the younger and supposedly livelier Liverpool attackers.
Leighton Baines 6 – Solid. Dependable. Delivered one good chance for Tosun. Under the circumstances, that’s not a bad shift.
Morgan Schneiderlin 6 – Stuck his foot in more than most, which is something that the Frenchman doesn’t do enough for many fans’ money. However, he was hardly the metronomic presence that this game was crying out for.
Wayne Rooney 5 – His performance wasn’t ‘bull****’ – the phrase he seemed to utter after being yanked at the hour mark – as he showed passion if little else. If Everton are to move forward, though, it can’t be with Rooney in midfield.
Tom Davies 3 – Not only did Davies make just 19 passes in the 78 minutes he was on the field of play, but by the time he came off his passing success rate stood at a meagre 52.6 per cent. The 19-year-old has played a lot of football – yet is clearly still learning.
Theo Walcott 5 – Strange that he did not try and take on makeshift left-back Ragnar Klavan more, but playing narrowly seemed to be Everton’s gameplan. Nearly conjured an assist for Cenk Tosun towards the end.
Cenk Tosun 4 – When you’re presented with scraps of scraps for most part of the game, to not go closer with two relatively golden chances – the cross from Baines and then placing a header well wide – in the dying moments, makes you wonder just what a £27 million striker is supposed to deliver.
Yannick Bolasie 5 – That delicious strike aside, which brought the best out of Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius, Bolasie ran down a few blind alleys and his vision with the ball was blurry at best. Still not his pre-injury self.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin 7 – Injected far more cut and thrust than Bolasie when he was brought on for the last half-hour. He’ll be happy with everything up until the moment in which he shaped his body to shoot and ballooned a superb opportunity high and wide.
Idrissa Gueye 7 – One of the reasons why Everton gained a brief foothold in the game – assured both in the pass and tackle in replacement of a sub-par Rooney.
Beni Baningime 5 – The 19-year-old took no risks in the middle of the park for the 10 or so minutes he was on.
In what was possibly the meekest Merseyside derby of all-time there were nonetheless a few Liverpool players who caught the eye – for the right and wrong reasons.
Here are our ratings from the 0-0 draw at Goodison Park, as Liverpool stayed third in the Premier League.
Loris Karius 7 – Stopped Yannick Bolasie’s long-range strike – one of the game’s few moments of genius – with an equally clever save. Doing his best to prevent Liverpool looking elsewhere for a goalkeeper in the summer.
Nathaniel Clyne 6 – He’s back from that dodgy back. Provided width at times but over everything else, this was a chance for the 27-year-old to get some vital minutes under his belt.
Virgil van Dijk 7 – He is a man not to be messed with – and he’s continuing to sort out what once was a mess at the back. He extracted the few Everton fangs from this toothless Merseyside derby.
Dejan Lovren 6 – One heart-in-mouth moment when a mix-up with Jordan Henderson saw Wayne Rooney swoop in a dangerous position, but was otherwise sturdy alongside VVD.
Ragnar Klavan 6 – With Andrew Robertson and Alberto Moreno both sidelined, testing out the Latvian at left-back looked like a disaster in waiting. Stood up to the task, even if he offered zero threat going forward.
James Milner 8 – In the context of this drab game, Milner deserves a high rating. Head and shoulders over the rest – the only one to pick at Everton with vigour. Testing deliveries, stretched Everton’s defence at times before being preserved for midweek Champions League duties.
Jordan Henderson 5 – Game passed him by, like so many others, and was inaccurate with his passing to such a degree that he could hardly blame the poor conditions for each and every misplacement.
Georginio Wijnaldum 7 – Not as much of a factor in the second half but showed some ambition with a number of eye-catching dribbles, and his passing success rate – nearly topping 95 per cent – put Henderson to shame.
Dominic Solanke 4 – Few trudged out of Goodison taking pride from their performance, but Solanke was noticeably a level below the general mediocrity. Had trouble making the ball stick when it was played into him. According to whoscored.com, the youngster had eight instances of poor control.
Danny Ings 4 – Much like Solanke, it’s hard to ask Ings to step into the big and beautiful shoes of Messrs Firmino and Salah. But in his first-ever Premier League start 916 days after joining Liverpool, the former Burnley striker would have dreamed of making a far bigger impact.
Sadio Mane 5 – The brightest – or least dim – spot of Liverpool’s frontline, Mane still clearly struggled without the chemistry of his usual partners-in-crime. The Reds were playing on three or four different wavelengths.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6 – Tried to grab the game by the scruff of its neck immediately after coming on, driving upfield and firing a rising shot over the crossbar. Couldn’t keep it up.
Roberto Firmino 5 – The introduction that Liverpool fans were clamouring could do very little as Everton woke up in the last 15 minutes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold N/A – On the death throes as Jurgen Klopp looked to shut up shop.
A big day of action is set to unfold in the Premier League as under-pressure Manchester City have the chance to lift the title at Manchester United (18:00 UAE time).
In the early kick-off, Everton entertain Liverpool in the Merseyside derby (15:30), while Juventus are away to Benevento in Serie A (17:00) and Barcelona take on Leganes in La Liga (22:45).
We’ve got all the afternoon matches covered in England, plus there’s a packed bill of Serie A games in Italy to look out for.
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