Carlo Ancelotti must regret handing Andre Gomes a starting role in Saturday’s Merseyside Derby after witnessing the Everton midfielder struggle against Liverpool.
The Toffees hosted their Stanley Park neighbours at Goodison Park this weekend looking to maintain an unbeaten start to the season, having won each of their opening Premier League and Carabao Cup fixtures.
An early goal from Sadio Mane left Everton on the back foot from the third minute, but the Blues refused to break and moved level through Michael Keane midway through the first half.
Mohamed Salah later restored the Premier League champions lead, yet Everton were able to dig deep again through Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s tenth goal of the season and seventh in the league.
The Merseyside Derby continued to edge in Liverpool’s favour through a late sending off for Richarlison, with referee Michael Oliver showing the Brazilian a straight red card for a studs-up foul on Thiago Alcantara.
Jordan Henderson appeared to further punish Everton when his stoppage-time effort found a way past Pickford, but would be denied following a VAR check which deemed Sadio Mane to have been marginally – albeit debatably – offside in the build-up.
Everton were able to hold on and claim a draw as a result of David Coote’s decision at Stockley Park, however Ancelotti will have been questioning his decision to start Gomes having witnessed the 27-year-old struggle throughout the affair.
Gomes returned to the Everton starting line-up to face Liverpool having sat out the Blues’ 4-2 win over Brighton & Hove Albion prior to the international break through a minor issue, marking his fourth appearance of the league season.
Ancelotti ultimately had to haul the £21.6m-rated midfielder off in the 72nd-minute once Liverpool moved into a 2-1 lead, however, after a lapse second of concentration from Yerry Mina presented Salah with his chance to strike past Jordan Pickford with a well-placed volley.
Gomes was seemingly always at least a yard off the pace during his time on the field, with the former FC Barcelona midfielder Marco Silva once hailed as “a player with high quality” (Liverpool Echo) losing possession 13 times and losing nine of his 13 duels, per SofaScore.
The £112,212-per-week man, in fact, won just three of his 12 ground duels, committed four fouls, was caught offside once, dribbled past once, misplaced each of his three long balls, failed to find a teammate with his sole cross, failed in two of three attempted dribbles, failed to record a single effort on goal and was shown a yellow card.
Gomes was able to record one key ball from his 20/26 accurate passes, two tackles and one clearance, but his overall impact on proceedings left Liverpool able to utilise their right-hand options in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Salah.