Football News

“It feels like we lost two points” – Player ratings as Everton’s excellent defence frustrates underwhelming Liverpool

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:47, 3 September 2022

Everton frustrated their neighbours Liverpool with an excellent performance in their goalless draw at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.

Although the Toffees remain winless after six matches, this was the biggest sign of improvement under Frank Lampard, while Liverpool temporarily moved into fifth with their third game unbeaten.

Here’s how the players rated at Goodison Park.


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Everton

Jordan Pickford – 9 – Didn’t have too much to do in the first half but produced an unreal save to deny Nunez’s volley just before half-time. Much busier in the second half but held firm and pulled out another ridiculous save to push Salah’s shot onto the post in injury time. Everton’s Jordan Pickford is starting to look a lot like England’s Jordan Pickford. Eight saves in total to keep his first clean sheet of the season.

Nathan Patterson – 8 – His battle against Diaz was fun to watch and he gave the Colombian a tough afternoon, undeniably getting the upper hand. For his first Merseyside Derby, Patterson could not have asked for a better start.

Conor Coady – 8 – Wasn’t really tested by the Liverpool attack in the first half but was solid as the Reds piled on the offence. Thought he had put Everton 1-0 up after tapping in from close range but it was ruled out for offside. An overall good display with 12 clearances.

James Tarkowski – 8 – See above. There’s a decent partnership with Coady building, and Tarkowski chipped in with eight clearances.

Vitaliy Mykolenko – 8 – Like his fullback partner, Mykolenko was fabulous defensively and kept Salah extremely quiet.

Tom Davies – 8 – A real presence in midfield, hit the post with a smart shot that had Alisson beaten, and helped keep Everton with a semblance of control even though Liverpool dominated possession. Deserved his standing ovation when taken off.

Amadou Onana – 8 – An absolute rock in front of the Everton defence yet again, making sure Liverpool had very little happiness through the middle. Had to tone things down slightly after getting booked but still marshalled the midfield perfectly with a match-high seven tackles.

Alex Iwobi – 8 – Another good performance as a No.8 for the Nigerian, who often pushed further up the pitch to press alongside Maupay. He’s been one of the real positive changes since Frank Lampard came in.

Demarai Gray – 6 – The least involved of the Everton attack but he still had his moments.

Neal Maupay – 6 – Making his Everton debut, you can already see the influence Maupay is having on the Toffees attacks. The Frenchman caused some early problems and perhaps should have tested Alisson more, especially on the break in the second half, but it’s a positive start.

Anthony Gordon – 7 – Caused a lot of problems against Alexander-Arnold and did his bit to help Mykolenko defensively. Slowed down slightly in the second half but this was another good game.

Substitutes:

Idrissa Gueye (for Davies 61′) – 7 – Helped Everton control the midfield after coming on and looked at home at Goodison Park. Bringing him back was a smart move by Everton.

Dwight McNeil (for Gordon 82′) – 6 – Came on and immediately tested Allison with a looping (deflected) effort.


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Liverpool

Alisson – 8 – Wasn’t troubled too much but was equal to everything thrown at him. Made a brilliant save to deny McNeil’s deflected shot late on.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6 – Asked the odd question of the Everton defence with his crossing but could not have the influence we know he can. Did leave space wide open behind him for Gordon to enjoy. Taken off just before the hour mark.

Joe Gomez – 8 – Although they didn’t conceded, Liverpool’s defence looked disjointed except for Gomez. The Englishman was reliable at the back and, aside from one error that almost cost a goal, proved tough for the Everton attack to beat. Made a team-high five tackles and three interceptions.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – An imposing presence as always without really being tested. But the Dutchman wasn’t happy after the match, telling BT Sport: “They had a couple of opportunities and an offside goal. They had two good saves from Alisson, I think we had a little more [chances] than that. We should have won in my opinion. It feels like we lost two points.

“We wanted to stay calm. They wanted to be aggressive, feed the crowd. We had to keep our cool and play quickly from side to side, because the spaces were so massive between the lines. Sometimes we did that, sometimes we didn’t and created unnecessary problems.

“We changed system a little bit [at half-time] but it’s still the same principles. At times it went well, but at times we could have done better. It feels like we lost points here but it’s still early in the season. We have to stick together, focus on winning games and take it step by step.

“A clean sheet also wasn’t a bad thing at this stage.”

Kostas Tsimikas – 5 – Starting ahead of Robertson, the left-back did not make too much of a mark on the game until the second half, when he sent an effort across goal – though it ended up curling away. Subbed off not long after.

Harvey Elliott – 6 – His talent was a bit wasted in a more conservative role but that shouldn’t be attributed to him in this match. Definitely the best of the starting midfield trio and didn’t look completely overrun when switched to a double pivot.

Fabinho – 5 – Completely taken out of the game by Everton’s marking so could not pull the strings as he usually does.

Fabio Carvalho – 5 – Making his first start for Liverpool, Wednesday’s match-winner struggled to get on the ball as his side utilised the other side of the pitch. And when he did manage to get possession he was clattered by Onana and had to come off at half-time with an injury.

Mohamed Salah – 6 – Kept really quiet by Mykolenko but could have won the game in the dying stages only to be denied by Pickford.

Darwin Nunez – 6 – Back in the team after suspension, had an early headed chance that he should have done better with. Frustrated for most of the game but did almost put Liverpool ahead with a wonderful strike saved by Pickford. Had six shots in total but hit the target with just two of them.

Luis Diaz – 6 – Made to work hard by Patterson, hit the post with a rocket just before half-time. Not his best Liverpool game.

Substitutes:

Roberto Firmino (for Carvalho 45′) – 7 – His introduction at half-time brought a change to a 4-2-3-1 and Liverpool looked more dangerous with him playing behind Nunez. Will have been upset with a substitute appearance after his recent form.

Andrew Robertson (for Tsimikas 59′) – 7 – Created three chances in just 30 minutes on the pitch, with no Liverpool player creating more.

James Milner (for Alexander-Arnold 59′) – 5 – Started at right-back and was getting exposed by balls over the top. Pushed to midfield eventually but his presence wasn’t noticed.

Joel Matip (for Elliott 80′) – 6 – Brought on at centre-back, and didn’t have much to do.

Diogo Jota (for Nunez 80′) – 6 – Part of a Hail Mary by Klopp but couldn’t help get the goal.

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