The 2014-15 Goodison Park edition of the Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool had nothing on the 2013-14 battle that ended in a draw after six goals. Toffees manager Roberto Martinez had promised attack, but both sides had trouble getting going in the final third. Here are five thoughts on the match:
1. Everton send Steven Gerrard stateside without the satisfaction of a win.
The big story of the Merseyside Derby was Steven Gerrard's final chance to beat the team that he once supported. But the 34-year-old Gerrard was often frustrated (as was the rest of the Reds attack) by John Stones, Phil Jagielka, and Muhamed Besic. Liverpool fans expecting heroics from Gerrard in his final derby left disappointed at the end of the day.
2. The Everton offense wasn't much of a threat.
Ross Barkley came on in the 85th minute and immediately ignited the Blues' offense. His first pass found Seamus Coleman, who was streaking down the right side, but Coleman's shot was stopped by Simon Mignolet.
Besides a few dangerous-looking link-ups from Coleman and new Tottenham loanee Aaron Lennon, the Everton attack had trouble building up out of the back. A few longball attempts looked menacing, but Romelu Lukaku was too often caught offside, especially in the second half.
3. Jordon Ibe surprised with his start, and his play.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers surprised everyone when he called on 19-year-old Jordon Ibe to start on such a huge stage. The youngster, making only his second Premier League appearance, replaced Lazar Markovic on the right side. In the 26th minute, his shot from outside the Everton penalty area beat Joel Robles, but hit the post. If Ibe continues to play like this he could be a thorn in Everton's side for years to come.
4. Gareth Barry nearly cost Everton.
Gareth Barry conceded possession to Liverpool in the 50th and 52nd minute, resulting in dangerous chances for the Reds. The first was called offside, and Robles made the save on the second, but both could have spelled disaster for Everton.
While Barry managed to snuff out some Liverpool onslaughts, his ability to hold the ball and a few of his passes must be pointed out. He was the weakest link in the Toffees' defensive midfield.
5. It looked like Steven Naismith suffered a head injury.
Naismith went up for a ball in the air in the first half, and it looked like he came down on his head after being flipped over by Joe Allen. Later in the half, Naismith went to the ground after he couldn't get enough on a Seamus Coleman cross. He looked confused, and even went over to talk to Martinez, and it looked like Ross Barkley would replace him before the half ended.
But Naismith finished the half, and wasn't replaced when the second half began. He went on to play 40 more minutes.
There was a lot to complain about from a fan perspective, but at the same time, two points from two derbies is better than last year's campaign. It doesn't get any easier for Everton, who travel to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to face Chelsea.