It feels like it’s been forever. But Everton finally returned to action after a three-month hiatus.
And the stakes were high with title-bound Liverpool the visitors.
But with no crowd and Liverpool getting changed in a portacabin in the car park (more of this, please), what did the numbers tell us about Everton’s return?
Only one Everton player aged over 27
Captain Seamus Coleman (31) was by far Everton’s oldest player to start the game.
The next oldest player was Michael Keane (27), while everyone else was aged 26 or under. Indeed, the Blues starting line-up’s average age was just 24.45 – a very positive signal of the youthful spine that is emerging at Goodison Park.
6 of the 10 EFC outfield players aged 24 or under.— Tony Scott (@Tony_Scott11) June 21, 2020
Carlo going for youth.
Mason Holgate (23)
Dominic Calvert Lewin (23)
Anthony Gordon (19)
Tom Davies (21)
Alex Iwobi (24)
Coleman puts in a MOTM display at Goodison
Despite performing a back up role for much of this season, Seamus Coleman put in a mature and accomplished display at right-back with the erratic Djibril Sidibe apparently out injured.
Coleman has started just 15 games this season, but this display will surely leave Carlo Ancelotti wondering if the experienced Irishman remains his best right-back.
Of course, right-back is a key position for Everton heading into the summer. The Blues have an option of around £12 million to sign Sidibe permanently in the summer, but many fans don’t believe this is value for money.
Maybe Coleman won’t be Everton’s first choice right back ahead of next season, but he certainly showed here – like Leighton Baines has done on several occasions – that he remains a capable deputy.
Solid showing at both ends of the park
Along with Seamus Coleman, Everton’s other stand out performer was Tom Davies, who almost won the match for the Blues with 10 minutes to go when his deflected rebound hit the post.
Davies gets more than his fair share of stick, but many people seem to forget just how young Davies still is.
The midfielder put himself about well and his one-touch game was on point as usual. He completed 81.5% of his passes (only Michael Keane completed more) and made three tackles (only Coleman made more).
Although Everton were on the backfoot for most of the game, Davies showed himself to be an accomplished box-to-box player – which will be a vital component of this 4-4-2 system.
3 unsuccessful touches for the young winger
Making your full debut at 19 against what, pains me to say, is probably one of the best teams in the world is a big ask.
And, in truth, Anthony Gordon struggled to make an impact upon the game.
There were some positive touches and a superb delivery from a free kick, but he didn’t really make a significant mark.
I’ve long been calling for Gordon to get his shot and I was delighted to see his name on the teamsheet. But it wasn’t the most inspirational performance you’ll ever see – not that it was a dud either.
That said, I’m very confident that this is the most talented player to come through the Everton ranks since Rat Barkley. He needs time to adjust and against a team like Norwich (who we face in midweek) he could cause some real problems.
Seven of the last eight Goodison derbies have ended in draws
On the face of it, it seemed the lack of a crowd didn’t have a detrimental affect on Everton.
The two previous visits of Liverpool to Everton also ended in goalless draws, so this was much of the same.
After all, the Goodison crowd is notoriously unforgiving and if this showing is anything to go by, Carlo Ancelotti may use this opportunity to blood some youth into the side ahead of the new season.
11 - Seven of the last eight Premier League Merseyside derbies played at Goodison Park have ended level. Indeed, Everton versus Liverpool has finished goalless on more occasions than any other Premier League fixture (11, includes Anfield meetings). Margins. #EVELIV pic.twitter.com/r9oKSXgzxc— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 21, 2020