Everton hosted Liverpool in the first Merseyside Derby of the season at Goodison Park this afternoon and, after losing twice to their bitter rivals last season, Frank Lampard will be delighted to take a point from the game.
The Toffees were ready to put up a fight when Jurgen Klopp’s side made the short trip for the early kick-off between the two clubs and, as expected, the end-to-end spectacle was full of drama from start to finish.
Despite enjoying less possession (39%), completing fewer dribbles and fewer passes, the argument could be made that Everton were unlucky to not take all three points from the match – with the Blues creating more big chances and seeing a goal narrowly ruled out for offside by VAR.
Boyhood Liverpool academy player turned Everton centre-back Conor Coady found the back of the net, but after a thoroughly checked VAR review the player’s likely winning goal was disallowed in the 71st minute, but this was not the only frustrating glimmer of hope from Everton.
One player who made not only his derby debut but his Everton debut today was newly-signed striker Neal Maupay, with the forward being given the perfect opportunity to prove his worth to Frank Lampard. However, his efforts were nothing short of wasteful throughout the game.
The £35k-per-week former Brighton and Hove Albion attacker was dubbed a “horrible finisher” by journalist Ahmed Yussuf after his display, and it comes as no surprise after he wasted what was probably the most clear-cut chance of the entire game in the 65th minute.
Along with a big chance missed, Maupay attempted no dribbles, had fewer touches than Jordan Pickford (24 to 39) and lost possession of the ball every four touches – returns that will disappoint the Toffees boss, who had put all his hopes of a goal-scoring striker into the Frenchman whilst Dominic Calvert-Lewin recovers from his hamstring injury.
Indeed, Lampard recently confirmed that Calvert-Lewin is getting very close to returning, so it will be interesting to see when the England international does get back to action if Maupay continues to get chances to start – as he may have not only cost Everton three points against the Reds, but he could have also wasted one of his few chances to display his talent from the off.
Everton are now unbeaten in their last four Premier League games with four consecutive draws, but Lampard will now need to work with his players to take it to the next level to turn their equalisers into winners over the coming weeks and months ahead.