The Toffees had been the better side for most of the game, with all of Liverpool’s high-powered attack failing to impress. The Reds did find a winner in the end, however, as forgotten man Divock Origi popped up with a stoppage-time winner. What did we learn?
1. Glorious Goalkeepers
Eyebrows shot up around the country when Everton paid £30m for Jordan Pickford. Much debate ringed out, was he worth the price? It was a price tag that followed him around. The same happened when Liverpool paid £75m for Alisson; could a goalkeeper ever be worth that?
Well on the evidence of this evening’s Merseyside Derby, the answer is most assuredly yes. In the first half especially, both goalkeepers were the only reason that the game remained goalless. Sure, they were protected by two quality defensive units, but in the end those defences got bypassed and it was only some superb shot-stopper work that kept it 0-0.
It’s not often that a derby can be pulsating and still finish scoreless. The goalkeeping genius on display is the reason why, today, we got all the thrills of an end-to-end contest but none of the tempo-altering goals thanks to the glorious goalkeepers. Well, for 94 minutes, anyway…
2. Jordan Rickford
What… the… hell… was… that?
Jordan 'I won't blunder like Alisson' Pickford. 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/Xc4SXyySOw
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) December 2, 2018
With Liverpool in desperation mode, they hoofed a free-kick Manchester United style into the box. That was cleared, but then Virgil van Dijk mis-hit a shot back into the box. This was a mega scuff, it looped high into the night and was falling onto the top of the bar.
Ever wonder why goalkeepers always stuff balls over the ball even though it looks like it’ll just bounce calmly out of play? Well, watch Pickford, who misjudged the flight of the ball to either try and catch it, or leave it expecting the ball to go for a goal-kick. Except it hit the bar and looked to bounce onto his palm before dribbling down into play for Divock Origi to stab it home for a late, late winner. A sensational winner and a massive black mark on what had been a sublime goalkeeping performance.
Jordan Pickford is a Red
Jordan Pickford is a Red
Jordan Pickford has little arms
And passed the ball to Divock's Head
— oh you beauty (@natefc) December 2, 2018
“I’m going to try not to put myself in that position to make those mistakes,” said Pickford after Alisson’s Cruyff Turn gone wrong earlier in the season against Leicester. And to his credit, he hasn’t put himself in that situation; he came up with a much, much worse one.
Pickford’s been mugged right off 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/uCGSv4gigc
— Liam King (@LK95_) December 2, 2018
“I won't blunder like Alisson.”
Jordan Pickford vows not to take risks like the Liverpool goalkeeper…
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) December 2, 2018
Alright then, Pickford mate pic.twitter.com/9j0rVhlDCT
— Robin (@Robish13) December 2, 2018
— Tim (@sm1thy23) December 2, 2018
🗣"I won't mess up and take risks like Allison"
👀 Jordan Pickford. pic.twitter.com/s7N0Huk8ce
— Fantasy iTeam (@fantasyiteam) December 2, 2018
3. André Gomes reborn
When André Gomes left Barcelona, he did so under such a cloud that no one could have imagined him putting his career back together as quickly as he has. And his resurrection has been incredible. The Portuguese has hit the ground running at Everton and now looks every inch the kind of player that Barcelona paid €55m for.
Gomes brings an incredible serenity to the Everton midfield and that was on full display against Liverpool. The Reds never truly had a hold of the game because every attempt to flex their muscle in the middle of the park simply rebounded off Gomes’ broad chest. He tackled, he dribbled, he passed. There wasn’t a tremendous amount of flair on display. Just a consistent level of excellence that elevated Everton.
4. Faltering Firmino
As André Gomes has risen, Roberto Firmino has fallen. Alright, ‘fallen’ may be a tad harsh, but he’s not been the same player he was last season for a while now. Not since Jan Vertonghen went knuckle-deep in his eye socket, anyway. The match-winning cameo soon after was the last time where you felt that Firmino was as world-class as he was last season.
Since then? He’s struggled. At full-time today Firmino has just two goals in his last 15 games. Today during the game? He was atrocious. Genuinely terrible. Anonymous as an attacking threat and not even all that impressive in terms of linking with his team-mates. Jamie Carragher said he looked like a new signing still adapting to the league, and that’s remarkably accurate.
Liverpool won the day but they will be hoping and praying that his form can pick up soon.
5. This ain’t your daddy’s Everton (or maybe it is)
Liverpool have scored five 90th-minute winners against Everton in the Premier League:
🔴 Ronny Rosenthal
🔴 Gary McAllister
🔴 Dirk Kuyt
🔴 Sadio Mané
🔴 Divock Origi
More than against any other side in the competition's history. ⏱ pic.twitter.com/RXnrNAUduo
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 2, 2018
For 92 minutes, Everton were excellent. They matched and at times even bettered Liverpool. They attacked with confidence, dribbling when they had to, passing when they should. They created good chances and were only denied a goal by Alisson’s awesome outing (and one big miss from Yerry Mina early on).
They looked so comfortable and in control. A draw would have been a fair result, even a win wouldn’t have been outrageous. Richarlison was dogged and defended superbly in addition to his dynamic attacking play. André Gomes ran midfield. Yerry Mina was a titan at the back. This definitely ain’t your daddy’s Everton! Or, hey, maybe this is your daddy’s Everton – because they played magnificently against Liverpool, missed some big chances and then lost the game in the last second in the stupidest way imaginable.