Everton and Liverpool played out a goalless draw at Goodison Park, but the hosts had the best chances to win the game late on
Jamie Carragher says Everton deserved to win Sunday’s Merseyside derby, while Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp praised the defensive performances from their teams.
It was a rather uninspiring return to Premier League action for Liverpool and Everton, who played out a goalless draw at an eerily-empty Goodison Park and put a dent in the visitors’ title charge.
In fact, it was Everton who could have dealt an even bigger blow late in the game when Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tom Davies and Richarlison went close within a matter of minutes, and Carragher believes the hosts should have taken all three points.
He told Sky Sports: “I thought Everton deserved to win. You can talk about Liverpool having the possession, but it’s about what you create and the chances that you make. Everton allowed Liverpool to have possession because they know they can’t take them on in that type of game. It was easy for Liverpool to dominate possession, but when you get that much possession in the opposition’s half, it’s about what you can do with it.
“It was huge, getting Ancelotti as manager – lots of people questioned it; was he just coming here for a pay-day? It’s not easy for Everton, knowing what’s across the park at Liverpool. They want to try and compete and getting someone like Ancelotti in, you can’t question he’s not on the same level as Liverpool’s manager – of course he is; it’s just whether he can get the players here or whether he has the finances to. It’s so difficult to break the top six; it’s not just big money, it’s out-of-this-world money.
“A big thing for Everton is getting the stadium done, then can they attract top players to really challenge for the top four? They’re the noises coming out of the club. It’s not realistic right now, but maybe they can start pushing for that year in, year out.”
Former Everton striker Tim Cahill also praised Ancelotti’s effect on the club, saying: “He’s worked with some of the best players, the best teams in the world. He has an aura. He gets it, he understands the club and tactically, he’s now learning more about his players.
“Now it’s about the consistency over the next eight games because Carlo can attract big talent and that could be the game-changer for next season.”
Liverpool were without Mohamed Salah, who remained on the bench, on their return to action and it showed with only three shots registered on target and Jordan Pickford untested for much of the game.
Carragher believes Liverpool must bring in support upfront, saying: “The front three are as good as anyone in Europe but whenever one of them is out, there is a massive drop off. When Liverpool dropped points at Manchester United, Salah wasn’t playing. That’s why Liverpool need to strengthen the front three.
“Divock Origi is a legend for Liverpool as he’s scored big goals at big moments but doesn’t have quite the quality. Is Minamino part of the front three? Not for me. The front three are very robust and don’t miss many games but if Liverpool were to lose one of them, especially the two wide players, for a lengthy amount of time they could have a real problem next season.”
Despite the lack of goals, Liverpool manager Klopp believes the same fight was shown as it would in a regular Merseyside derby, and admitted the standard was similar to other games at Goodison Park, with the last three Premier League meetings there ending in a 0-0 draw.
He told Sky Sports: “It was a real fight. Both teams showed that they understand it’s a derby – even without a crowd. It was intense, physical, all-in.
“The players were really in the game, so that’s good. I really liked our defending; the high press, midfield press, counter-press good. We won a lot of balls.
“We didn’t have a lot of chances. Most of the time we were dominant but they had the biggest chance – that’s how it is. It came out of the blue. We were lucky in that moment but apart from that, we were in control.
“Of course we want to make more chances; we have to be more clear in situations – pass the ball, shoot in the right moment, more crosses. The second half we started to do that better but Everton defended really well; they tried to take care of Sadio and Trent and we were not smart enough to use the space for somebody else. That’s normal when you begin to play again but a lot of things very good. Physically, I liked it.
“You saw the derbies we had here before – they were never really better, I have to say! Each team is fighting like crazy so in the end there is not a lot of football. There is space for improvement for us here at Goodison. I like football when it’s slightly different but that’s how it is – we had a proper fight, it was intense and we were ready for that.
“Now I know we are ready because you don’t know 100 per cent if we did enough [during the break], but we can involve fresh legs on Wednesday. So far, so good, but I saw Crystal Palace yesterday and they looked like a well-oiled machine. It will be tough.”