Liverpool extended their unbeaten run against local rivals Everton on Saturday, after a drab derby encounter at Goodison Park ended goalless.
With the visitors already looking ahead to the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City on Tueday, Jurgen Klopp named a much changed side against the Toffees – with an injury-savaged squad not helping matters.
Nevertheless, it was the Reds who had the best opportunity early on – the ball fell to youngster Dominic Solanke, who could only direct his header straight at Jordan Pickford from eight yards out.
Then it was Everton’s turn to come close. Yannick Bolasie’s curling effort appeared to be heading in, but Liverpool keeper Loris Karius was at full stretch to keep the 28-year-old at bay.
With the first half ending goalless, the second half appeared to be heading in a similar vein with neither side really threatening until the seventeenth minute mark.
From then on, the hosts all of a sudden, began harrying and pressing the away side at will – with the backing of a boisterous Gwladys End. Cenk Tosun’s headed effort bounced across goal, but the arriving Seamus Coleman was unable to get any connection on it to direct it in.
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin also saw his curled effort drift just wide, as a late onslaught from Sam Allardyce’s side looked like it was going to get them all three points.
But Liverpool held on for a point, with the added bonus of no injuries ahead of Tuesday’s vital clash against Man City at the Etihad.
Loris Karius: 7
Karius wasn’t actually tested too often by the home side, but he made a terrific stop in the first half from Yannick Bolasie’s curling effort.
Nathaniel Clyne: 7
Clyne was making his return from a serious back injury he obtained last summer which left him sidelined for a lengthy period. He fared pretty well in his comeback game.
Dejan Lovren: 7
The much-maligned Croatian was one of the few unchanged names from the side that romped past Man City on Wednesday – and although his positioning was slightly iffy at times, he didn’t do anything wrong of note.
Virgil van Dijk: 7
Another fine, imposing performance from Van Dijk, who is beginning to make his presence felt in the side. He won plenty of aerial duels throughout and kept Cenk Tosun quiet.
Ragnar Klavan: 7
Klavan was seemingly paired up at left-back or in a makeshift back 3 against Theo Walcott. However, despite concerns from Reds supporters, the Estonian coped fairly well on the whole and managed to deal with the 29-year-old’s pacey presence.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7.5
Wijnaldum, who has regularly come under fire for his disappointing away performances for Liverpool, was much improved against Everton. Played in a deeper midfield role, he was tidy on the ball and tracked back when needed.
Jordan Henderson: 7
Suspended for Tuesday’s crunch tie at the Etihad, the 27-year-old got back well and made some important defensive contributions.
James Milner: 7
Milner did a good job in the middle of the park and covered a lot of ground. Also, forced Pickford into a save when his curling effort had to be kept out.
Sadio Mane: 6.5
Even though Mane was the only out of the ‘front three’ for the Reds starting against Allardyce’s side, he was somewhat peripheral throughout. His pace always caused problems, but the end product was lacking more often than not.
Dominic Solanke: 6
It was a frustrating afternoon for Solanke at Goodison. He spurned a wonderful opportunity to put the visitors ahead early on but his header was straight at Pickford. Thereafter, he was not able to have an impact on the game.
Danny Ings: 6
Solanke’s attacking counterpart also struggled throughout against the Toffees. Ings, who was looking for his first goal since October 2015, failed to trouble Everton’s defence. Got himself embroiled in a few rows with their players too!
Substitutes - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7
Was brought on for Milner with just over twenty minutes to play. Almost made an immediate impact; despite running at the defence, Chamberlain could only fire over.
Substitutes - Roberto Firmino: 6
Made little impact – made a few fouls here and then late on.
Substitutes - Trent Alexander-Arnold: N/A
No time to make an impact.