Jordan Pickford undoubtedly deserves a spotlight in these three thoughts. Everton conceded 72-percent possession, which saw the team defending for most of the second half. As such, the former Black Cat was called upon time and again to preserve not only the win but the clean sheet as well. Here’s a snapshot of the 26-year-old’s contributions in the derby: Touches – 47, Goals conceded – 0, Saves – 6, Shots from inside the box saved – 2, Big chances saved – 1, Claims – 1, Punches – 1, Clearances – 1.
Everyone knows what happens when Pickford is off his game, but the England international showed up when it mattered in Everton’s first win against the Reds since 2010. He confounded Mo Salah, Sadio Mané, et al en route to a six-save master class, looking all of the £25 million goalie he was signed to be. Let’s hope the mercurial shot-stopper finds a consistent run of form following a stellar performance.
No local rivalry in top flight football has been as lopsided as the Merseyside Derby. Even Espanyol and Torino have picked up wins more recently against their more illustrious neighbors.
Everyone knows how much this win means to the blue half of the region. Everton’s struggles in the last couple of decades against their bitter rivals are well-documented, but something about Saturday’s fixture gave it a different air, and it wasn’t just the gale swirling around the stadium. By netting twice, the Toffees have now outscored Liverpool at Anfield in 2021 by a margin of two goals to one. What’s more, the pair of goals by the visitors is the first time they have done so since February of, wait for it, 1986.
Man, would I love to talk with someone who was there for that game! Below, please enjoy the brightest moments from Saturday’s post-game revelries.
"Tom, can you give a quick message to the fans tonight?"— Everton (@Everton) February 20, 2021
Saturday night's alright for dancing. pic.twitter.com/JaJ1hhJb01— Everton (@Everton) February 21, 2021
I’ve written about the menacing center-back here in the past, but after his performance in the Merseyside Derby, the Englishman is more than deserving of excessive amounts of praise. Whenever he’s in the XI, the former Claret instantly brings toughness and composure to the defensive side of the ball. He steadies the energy of younger players (Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate) and meshes with whomever else he is put beside (Lucas Digne and Yerry Mina).
In a game where Everton held the ball just 28-percent of the time, he was the general commanding his teammates against threat after threat as Liverpool attacked in droves. He led the Blues with 13, no, that isn’t a typo, clearances and again was a force in the air, winning three aerial duels. Keane also made six recoveries and blocked one shot. Nearly every Toffee merited a man-of-the-match selection, none more, however, than Keane.