Liverpool 0 Everton 0 | Merseyside Derby Stats & Analysis

Liverpool 0 Everton 0 | Merseyside Derby Stats & Analysis

On a gloriously warm spring day there were no goals but plenty of excitement on display at Anfield. It was an odd match, defined by a typically frenetic derby pace, but the occasion didn’t get the best of anyone and both sides were disciplined. In total only 3 yellow cards were shown.

The match was defined by width, specifically both teams focused their attacks down the left flank. Everton had a goal disallowed that was arguably harsh, but aside from that, neither team looked incisive enough to break the 0-0 scoreline.

For Everton, the centerback pairing of Distin and Jagielka performed magnificently. Liverpool’s top performer was Gerrard,  who had the most touches on the ball of any player on the pitch, Red or Blue.

Line-ups and tactics

Liverpool vs. Everton

Liverpool fielded a line-up that was highly familiar from the past few matches. This starting eleven was the same that pumped 6 goals past Newcastle last weekend.

Everton made only a single change since their 1-0 win against Fulham. Goal-shy Jelavic was benched in favour of starting Gibson as a third midfielder, perhaps in an attempt to increase congestion in the centre of the pitch to break up Liverpool’s possession play. If this was the intent of starting Gibson, it was effective. Liverpool still took away a larger slice of the possession (54.5%), but this is less than they have enjoyed in previous matches. The Reds also failed to create many opportunities through the centre, and looked to play the ball down their left flank through Enrique. The Spaniard had 95 touches on the ball, approximately 30 more than his counterpart Johnson on the right flank.

Everton also heavily favored their left flank, predictably looking to create through the partnership of Baines and Pienaar. Baines had 76 touches on the ball as opposed to the 55 of Coleman. His 11 crosses were over double that of any other player, his passes had 6 penalty area entries and he also created the only clear cut chance for Everton in the entire match.

In response to this wide play, Gerrard and Sturridge both formed a smart partnership in the first half. Sturridge’s off the ball movement was exemplary of smart forward playing against advanced fullbacks. When Coleman and Baines attempted to find space in Liverpool’s half, Sturridge tended to drift wide and look for space behind the two fullbacks. In the first half, Gerrard found Sturridge twice with long balls from Liverpool’s own half:

The movement and the passes were equally clever, but Sturridge ultimately lacked the final product.

Even without his passing to Sturridge, Gerrard was Liverpool’s best passer and most involved player. He had the most touches on the ball of any player in the match: 100. Gerrard also had 8 penalty area entries (the most of any player), 17 final third entries (again, the most in the match), and 6 interceptions (you guessed it: the most of any player). It was a fantastic all around performance, defensively and offensively.

It is also worth mentioning Coutinho, whose creativity seems to be consistent throughout his matches. He played just behind Sturridge, as he has in previous matches. He looked to thread passes to create chances to Sturridge. Coutinho created 4 chances (including Liverpool’s only clear cut chance) and succeeded in 3 of his 5 attempted dribbles.

To wrap up, it would be a shame not to mention Everton’s immensely strong defensive effort. Distin in particular was titanic in his defensive efforts. Distin racked up 12 total clearances, 3 tackles and 3 ground duels (all six of which marked a 100% success rate). Jagielka was also impressive, and the two centerbacks bear a significant degree of credit for keeping the door locked against Liverpool.

All in all Everton lacked creativity when the physicality of Anichebe failed to create enough chances, but they also repelled all of the creativity in Liverpool’s Gerrard and Coutinho. It was an exciting match, albeit in a uniquely football-ish sense; nothing particularly notable occurred, but there was no lack of entertainment.