Everton battled to a hard-fought 1-1 draw an Anfield today after a dogged backs-to -the-wall performance. Wayne Rooney’s late penalty cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s sumptuous opener to the delight of Sam Allardyce whose tactical defensive plan got what it came for.
You could tell early on that Everton were here to shut up shop as Big Sam looked to stifle Liverpool’s “Fab Four”. The Brazilian portion of the so called foursome were on the bench however while Salah and Sadio Mane looked as energetic and dangerous as usual. Salah did well to hang a ball up to the far post and James Milner came running on it however his goalbound effort was tremendously blocked by local lad Jonjoe Kenny.
Kenny had a decent game however he almost cost Everton dearly as he overplayed not far from his own box and had the ball pinched by Mane who fed the unmarked Salah, whose shot was eventually blocked behind for a corner. Liverpool dominated the possession for the whole first half however Everton held relatively firmly up until the stroke of half time. Salah began the game as the Premier League’s top scorer and he showed all the signs of the confidence that brings as he shrugged off Cuco Martina before getting clear of Idrissa Gueye and curling one delightfully past Jordan Pickford to give his side the lead at the break. Mane missed the chance to make it 2-0 as he got past the overcommitted Ashley Williams but dragged his effort comfortably wide.
Everton will surely have received a stern talking to at the break with the new manager trying to rouse the troops. This didn’t seem to make much of an impact however as Liverpool missed a host of big chances in a spell of pressure stretching 20 minutes. Salah had the first of the chances as Milner curled a wonderful ball in for the Egyptian to head home but just as you expected the net to bulge the ball skidded wide and Everton were off the hook for now. Kenny made two big interceptions as on both occasions he had opposition players lurking behind him and Mason Holgate also cleared well as Dejan Lovren waited to tap home from a Liverpool corner.
Everton managed to survive the onslaught as they again frustrated Liverpool and attempted to break when they could as time ticked away and they were handed a massive lifeline in their pursuit of an equaliser. Rooney played a wonderful searching ball forward to Dominic Calvert-Lewin who brought it down well and went at Lovren before being barged over by the Croatian. Craig Pawson pointed to the spot and Rooney smashed his penalty home to send the Blue end crazy!
There's nothing quite like a Wayne Rooney penalty to secure a point at Anfield in the Merseyside derby. pic.twitter.com/wkizXbNAqX— Royal Blue Mersey (@RBMersey) December 10, 2017
Liverpool were stunned at the Everton leveller after dominating the match and their only meaningful effort came from a Coutinho free kick after a silly Morgan Schneiderlin foul within the Brazilian’s range. He whipped the free kick towards the top right corner but Pickford rose well and parried it before gathering.
Everton held on and took an unlikely point after frustrating Liverpool for large parts of the game. Big Sam certainly came with a plan but at 1-0 it was hard to see us creating enough to get back into it, so the good fortune of the penalty is always welcome to keep the new manager unbeaten and the spirits in the Everton camp high.