Everton kept up the energy
The Merseyside Derby always provides an electric atmosphere both on and off the pitch. Everton, despite their struggles this season, came out ready to play against an opponent with only one loss this season. With a solid first half in the books there were some concerns that Everton would be hard-pressed to keep up the pressure against Liverpool.
The second half came and went and Everton played surprisingly well against a very difficult opponent. The players really seemed to show up for this match and the performance reflected that effort. In so many matches this season, the players on this team seem at times like they can’t be bothered to try. If the team can keep up this effort through the last half of the season, there may be hope yet.
Very solid defensive performance.
Defense has been one of Everton’s biggest weaknesses for the past few seasons. It seems as though no matter what players or manager they bring in, they leak goals frequently. But against an offensively potent Liverpool squad, the defense held their own.
Michael Keane in particular was incredibly impressive in this match. Keane has been inconsistent in his time with Everton. He often follows up a world-class performance with an absolute stinker the next week. But against Liverpool Keane was one of the biggest reasons his team held a clean sheet. His last minute tackles saved Everton on more than one occasion.
Lucas Digne, Jordan Pickford and Idrissa Gueye also played well and the defensive unit as a whole did an excellent job cleaning up the mistakes of Morgan Schneiderlin. The defensive midfielder was the clearest weak link in the Everton defensive unit and seemed completely off the pace.
Silva went for the win
For all the criticism Marco Silva has earned himself this season, it is difficult to fault him for how he handled this particular match. It was by no means a flawless tactical match, but he has to be given credit for not bunkering down in the second half.
It feels like past managers would have brought on a 5th defender in the last half hour and prayed that Liverpool didn’t break through. But to Silva’s credit he made three offensive substitutions and really tried to steal a win from Liverpool.
There is certainly an argument to be made that Richarlison and Andre Gomes should have been playing from the start of the match. But the late game subs certainly made for an exciting second half that had many on the edges of their seats.