Today saw a big, big game at Goodison Park – a mini Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool reserves. The first mini derby of the season was at Liverpool’s Kirkby academy last month – it ended in a draw. This one did too.
Rodolfo Borrell, Liverpool’s reserve team manager, fielded a hugely inexperienced side compared to that fielded by former Everton centre back – manager of the reserves, Alan Stubbs. Stubbsy fielded a side which featured the likes of first team centre-back Phil Jagielka; midfielders Jack Rodwell & Ross Barkley; Victor Anichebe, Leon Osman and finally, James McFadden.
Liverpool’s side, however, featured no first-teamers and therefore the odds were stacked massively against them.
The game looked to have got off to the worst possible start from a Liverpool point of view when after just sixteen seconds, Toffee’s midfielder Leon Osman breezed past Andrè Wisdom and fired towards the goal of Brad Jones – who made a great save. Fortunately, Irishman Seamus Coleman put the rebound wide.
As the game grew, Liverpool overcame the early Everton pressure and most definitely became the better side with Josè Suso Fernandez, Krizstian Adorjan and former Queens Park Rangers youngster, Raheem Sterling all giving 110% to make Liverpool tick going forward.
At first, the Liverpool midfielders were non-existent because they were being over-run hugely by the Everton midfield, but like I said, as the game continued, they became the more dominant side. Raheem Sterling hit the post with a curling effort just seconds before the break.
At the break, it was 0-0 and I was unbelievably surprised that is was. Liverpool were unfortunate not to be ahead after all the chances they had had, but there was one reason and one reason only as to why they weren’t and that was all down to Everton’s number one, Jan Mucha, who was outstanding in the first half.
Moving into the second period, it starting at the same frantic pace that the first half did. It was end to end. Liverpool continued where they left off at the break, but unfortunately, from an Everton point of view, there was no threat whatsoever.
It wasn’t until the fifty eighth minute when Everton withdrew Leon Osman and brought on Francisco Junior that they actually provided any type of threat. Following the substitution, Ross Barkley was pushed forward to provide a further threat, but there wasn’t one that materialised. In fact, Liverpool gained confidence from the lack of Everton pressure and were outstanding on the break.
It was a good derby that was played in a great venue and had a great spirit to it. It was just a shame that we didn’t see any goals.