Liverpool were insipid as they drew 0-0 at Everton on Sunday afternoon, as their Premier League title hopes were dealt a blow.
Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Premier League, Goodison Park
March 3, 2019
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson experienced his first Merseyside derby at Goodison Park and he was largely untroubled during a tense contest.
His distribution was typically reliable and he dealt with everything thrown his way with ease, including a good save to deny Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
After a magnificent performance against Watford in midweek, Alexander-Arnold was a far less influential presence at right-back.
He provided non-stop energy that gave the Reds an added attacking dimension but his inch-perfect end product was not on show.
Strong defensively up against Bernard, on the whole. Started well early on.
Joel Matip – 7
Matip has been in good form of late and he was again solid at Goodison.
Like Alisson, it was far from his busiest day at the office but he brought the ball out well from the back and looked composed in a fierce atmosphere.
Not always the most convincing, but hard to criticise him.
Virgil van Dijk – 8 (Man of the Match)
Liverpool’s towering centre-back was his usual imperious self throughout and comfortably the best player on the pitch.
His combination of pace, strength, aerial prowess and leadership all came to the fore in a huge game, as he comfortably outperformed every one of his teammates.
Andy Robertson – 6
Robertson hasn’t been at his absolute best of late and he again failed to hit top gear against Everton.
He made constant runs forward but his final ball was rarely on the money and he was given a tough time of things by Richarlison in the second half.
Booked for a foul on the Brazilian, as he looked increasingly ragged and leggy.
Fabinho – 6
Fabinho has become one of the first names on Liverpool’s team-sheet but he never managed to dictate matters on Sunday.
The 25-year-old got worse as the match progressed, like so many, with one wayward pass to Van Dijk almost costing a goal, and other balls also failing to find colleagues.
Can do better, will do better.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Returning to the side after missing out against Watford, the Reds’ captain shone in a more attack-minded midfield role in the opening 45 minutes but was anonymous after the break.
He was as involved as anyone to begin with, often linking well with Alexander-Arnold, and one sumptuous cross just evaded teammates.
Henderson didn’t step it up and rather than influence the play on the pitch he was more active shouting at his teammmates.
Still without a goal this season.
Gini Wijnaldum – 5
Wijnaldum was horribly quiet by this season’s standards, producing the kind of lacking away performance he used to be accused of.
He kept things ticking over in the middle of the park, knitting things and doing unnoticed work, but he had to do more and affect the game.
Substituted in the second half afer a ghost of a performance.
Mohamed Salah – 4
Salah was still searching for his 50th Premier League for Liverpool but he had a dreadful afternoon.
He hit the target with an early effort but then missed a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring after being sent clean-through by Fabinho.
The Reds’ Mo.11 then fluffed his lines again when in on goal, and a woeful attempt to play in substitute James Milner summed it up.
Liverpool needed their main man to step up but he went missing – again.
Divock Origi – 6
With Roberto Firmino only fit enough to be on the substitutes’ bench, Origi retained his place on the left of the attack.
The Belgian showed why he isn’t a regular starter, however, not affecting matters and giving away two sloppy fouls which affected the Reds’ rhythm.
One harmless shot wide was about all he could muster.
Sadio Mane – 5
Used in the central role he thrived in on Wednesday, Mane was poor, becoming an increasingly peripheral figure.
Too often, his touch and end product were sloppy and he rarely looked like causing Everton‘s defence problems, barring the odd burst of pace.
On days such as these, Mane can be so frustrating to watch.
James Milner (on for Wijnaldum, 62′) – 5
Not at the races, can’t come into this type of game as a sub at his age.
Roberto Firmino (on for Origi, 62′) – 6
Injected a bit of class, but didn’t do much.
Adam Lallana (on for Mane, 84′) – n/a
No time to make a proper impact. Was unlikely to score the goal that was needed.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Keita, Shaqiri, Sturridge.
Jurgen Klopp – 4
This was, to put it bluntly, Klopp’s worst performance of the season.
The starting lineup was understandable, but he failed to get even an adequate display from his side on such a big day.
His substitutions were the poorest aspect though, with his decision to bring on Milner and Lallana making little sense.
Where were Keita and Shaqiri? Or Sturridge? Goalscorers.
Lallana’s last goal was in May 2017. Milner struggled to pick up the pace of the game.
Desperately disappointing, and Klopp will know his team are now strong underdogs in the title race.