Goals, controversy and even a red card. This was a quintessential Merseyside Derby.
Everton’s hope were high for this one, but after putting in what was arguably our worst performance of the season, a 2-2 draw against the league champions isn’t to be sniffed at.
So what did the numbers tell us?
Pickford’s Lucky Day
3 Great Saves, but Saved Twice by VAR
The Derby brought out the best and worst in Jordan Pickford.
First there was that wild challenge on van Dijk which he was luckily ignored by all officials and someone’s toe was offside. If it had been onside, it would have been a penalty and a yellow/red card.
Then he pulled off a superb save from a free-kick that was destined for the top corner to keep Everton in a game.
In the second half, he then pulled off potentially the save of the season as he clawed out Matip’s header while at full stretch, before also doing well to stop Mane’s path in a dangerous one-on-one.
But then with the clock ticking down, he could only send Henderson’s low drive looping into the net – before VAR ruled the effort out.
And this is the Pickford dilemma.
In terms of talent, he has it in abundance: especially when it comes to having the ball at his feet and shot-stopping. Unfortunately the wild blood rush moments (ala van Dijk) remain too frequent and are punctuated by the occasional strange piece of handling (ala Henderson’s effort).
Pickford is definitely capable of being not Everton’s first choice, but a great goalkeeper for the club. However, if Everton are to kick-on and breach the top four this season, Pickford is going to have to prove to Carlo Ancelotti that he is a safe pair of hands that can be trusted in tight games.
Midfielder completes just 77.8% of his passes
There’s been some discussion as to what Andre Gomes brings to this side.
He’s a classy operator for sure and you may argue that he makes things “tick”, but he does not win the ball back much, cover a lot of ground, nor score or create a lot of chances.
The one thing he is normally solid at, though, is keeping the ball. But against Liverpool, he couldn’t even do that and looked well out of his depth during the first half.
A player of Gomes’ ilk should be expecting to completing at least 85% of his passes, but he limped to a Tom Davies-esque 77.8% pass success rate and was frequently overpowered.
This isn’t to dismiss Gomes, but I don’t think he’s suited to these high intensity games. Instead, I feel he is better dictating play when we’re playing lesser opposition, rather than scrapping for every ball with a backs-to-the-wall kind of game.
Another two goals in response
Everton teams of recent years have been accused of being mentally weak and unable to turn adverse situations around.
That’s certainly not been the case so far this season.
Indeed, the Blues didn’t go into their shell after falling behind not once, but twice, against Liverpool. Instead, despite not putting in their best performance, they were still able to continue plugging at the Reds and creating chances.
It’s been a similar story all season. The Blues also fell behind against West Brom before coming back and then taking the lead.
DCL Strikes Again
Has scored in each of Everton’s first five league games of the season
Calvert-Lewin is the man of the moment, and he showed his development once again with an absolutely towering header to equalise.
10 years and counting
Let’s face it, it wasn’t the Derby result Evertonians have been dreaming of.
But in the context of the final five minutes, it was Blue faces that were smiling.
We didn’t lose, but an unwanted record continues against the Reds.
This draw marked the 10th year (to the very day) that Everton last beat Liverpool. The last victory came on 17 October 2010, when the Blues won 2-0 at Goodison, courtesy of Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta.