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Ancelotti impressed by Everton’s defensive effort in derby draw

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The Toffees held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw yesterday at a quiet Goodison Park

Everton FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images

It wasn’t as full-throated a battle as we have come to expect when Everton take on Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park, but for the third consecutive year the result was the same, a 0-0 draw.

Carlo Ancelotti was hamstrung even before the opening whistle with injuries putting paid to his best laid plans. However the team displayed a level of defensive organization that we have not seen in recent years and kept the almost-crowned champions at bay without too much trouble.

The Blues only saw 30% of the ball in the game, but created the better chances and indeed should have taken all three points when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s backheel was parried away by Alisson and Tom Davies was only able to roll the rebound back off the far post.

“Honestly, we were really close to winning but it was a difficult game. We performed really well, we were focused and sacrificed.

“At the end we had opportunities to score and were a bit unlucky. But Liverpool played a good game and had more possession but defensively we were really good.

“We had the opportunity and did our best, Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies did their best.”

The veteran manager commended his side for how well they did holding Liverpool to only their second scoreless outing of the season.

“We were a bit unlucky but, honestly a draw was fair. The performance was good and for this reason we can be satisfied.

“We competed well against Manchester United, too. When we are focused and work well together we are a good team and can compete.

“We didn’t have lot of possibility to play as we want but defensively we were really good.”

The oldest player in the royal blue on the day was captain Seamus Coleman, and he turned in a man of the match performance shutting down the Liverpool left. Ancelotti reserved some special praise for the veteran.

“[Coleman played] really well, the derby is really special for him.

“He was strong and concentrated and a great example for the others. The others, their sacrifice and teamwork was really good.”

Everton remain in twelfth, with the next game away at bottom side Norwich City, and Ancelotti knows how important it will be for the Toffees to start stringing together some wins, with only two in their last eight games now.

“We have to win games, this is our goal, to try to have points and to win.

“The period before lockdown we played against top teams and didn’t win.

“Now it is time to win and try to climb the table.”