Liverpool and Everton played out a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park today, with both sides cancelling out each other’s attempts on goal. Here we look at five of the biggest talking points from the game.
5. ‘Pool for top four?
It’s safe to say at this point that Everton are out of the race for a Champions League spot. However, a win today would have seen their Merseyside counterparts climb to within two points of fourth. As it was, they could only secure a point but 4 points isn’t exactly a mountain to climb.
United are still to play tomorrow but many are predicting a slip-up for Van Gaal’s side. Given their form of late and the fact that Big Sam’s West Ham are currently a force to be reckoned with, this is by no means unlikely.
Taking into account the fact that Spurs beat Arsenal earlier this afternoon and Southampton also grabbed a last minute victory, the race for 3rd and 4th looks wide open.
There are currently six points between Southampton, Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. 5 teams. 2 places. This is the best top 4 race in a very long time.
4. Gerrard’s Last Hurrah
Today saw a number of derbies take place across Europe (in case you missed it, Atletico vs Real is certainly worth checking out here). Everton vs Liverpool certainly promised a lot but in truth it was a bit of a yawn fest.
It was Gerrard’s last Merseyside derby so it was a shame that he said goodbye to the often ferocious fixture after such a damp squib. He attempted an awesome scissors kick in the second half that would have surely set the stadium into meltdown had it hit the back of the net but it was sadly blocked by Steven Naismith.
He’s not gone yet but that’s it as far as Everton are concerned. Too bad, but at least they said goodbye in a fitting manner.
3. Did Lambert’s heart rule his head?
This January transfer window there were rumours aplenty that Rickie Lambert could have signed for Aston Villa. A club in much need of firepower up front; they have struggled to clock up the goals of late.
Lambert came in late on for his boyhood club today but one must wonder if he would have been better off joining the likes of Villa who would be in need of his services far more than the Reds.
He had one shot which could have been a dream moment but one senses those kind of moments will be few and far between now especially with Daniel Sturridge back in the fold.
2. Jordon Ibe’s performance
The 19-year-old made only his second league appearance for the Reds this afternoon and acquitted himself magnificently. His first half, arrow-straight shot which game clattering off Tim Howards left hand post showed just how much ability the young man has.
In the second half it was much the same from the teenager but as the game became more squeezed he often went missing due to the lack of space in midfield.
He is however certainly one for the future and if he can recreate the effort he had in the first half more often then he will definitely make his way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans on a more permanent basis.
1. High pressing from both sides contributed to 0-0 draw
With the game lacking in a lot of goalmouth action one can argue that this must go, at least partly, down to the fact that both sides pressed so high up the pitch.
Steven Naismith has always been known for his work-rate but the effort which Romelu Lukaku and Naismith put in to strangle Liverpool’s attempts of releasing the ball into the middle third quickly was fantastic.
Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho also managed this to good effect for the Reds as well as causing problems once they were in possession too.
It was an even encounter as both sides cancelled out what the other was trying to do. At times it was ugly but it was a great lesson for all in how to defend from the front.
The PA Team.