Liverpool and Everton drew 0-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, in what was one of the more forgettable Merseyside derbies between the two in recent times.
There was just one change from the side that beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 in the FA Cup on Wednesday evening, with exciting prospect Jordon Ibe coming in for Lazar Markovic. Steven Gerrard started what is likely to be his final ever game against the Toffees, while Daniel Sturridge began proceedings on the substitutes’ bench.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were looking to build on their excellent recent form, and the 224th Merseyside derby was sure to be as evenly contested as ever.
It was 3-3 in the same fixture last season; could the Reds pick up all three points this time around?
Raheem Sterling almost stole in after seven minutes but could only fire wide, and Gerrard tested Joel Robles with a free-kick shortly after.
Lucas Leiva, so important to Liverpool in recent weeks, left the pitch through injury after 15 minutes, with Joe Allen replacing the Brazilian.
It was fairly even in the opening 25 minutes, with neither side creating a huge amount of note. The Reds enjoyed two thirds of the possession.
Ibe was denied a sensational goal, hitting a thunderous effort against the post after an excellent run. It would have been one of the great derby goals.
Coutinho’s dipping long-range effort was dealt with by Robles, and it was the last action of note before the break. At half-time it was goalless.
There were no changes at the interval, as both sides looked for victory and bragging rights.
Sterling was twice denied by Robles, while Gerrard’s spectacular acrobatic effort was deflected over. Sturridge replaced Philippe Coutinho after 55 minutes, perhaps surprisingly.
Liverpool were completely dominant after half-time, but struggled to break down Roberto Martinez’s side. A 0-0 draw continued to look more and more likely with 20 minutes remaining, in what was an insipid contest.
Substitute Rickie Lambert had a half chance to snatch victory with six minutes left, and Simon Mignolet made a terrific save from Seamus Coleman, but a share of the spoils was probably all either team deserved on the day.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Can, Skrtel, Sakho, Lucas (Allen 16), Henderson, Gerrard, Moreno, Ibe, Coutinho (Sturridge 56), Sterling (Lambert 82).
Subs not used: Ward, Johnson, Lovren, Markovic.
Everton starting XI: Joel, Oviedo, Jagielka, Stones, Coleman, McCarthy, Besic, Barry, Naismith, Mirallas, Lukaku.
Referee: Anthony Taylor