It was a game to forget for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp. Not only did Liverpool draw a game they should have won, but they gifted city rivals Everton a point.
Facing a team who could barely attack for most of the game, and who had only three shots in the whole game – one of them a penalty – you got the feeling that only a Liverpool mistake could have allowed the Toffees back into the game. The longer the game went on with the Reds leading by just one goal, the more you felt they were in danger of making the mistake to allow their opponents a way back.
So it proved: a soft penalty for a slight push in the box gave Wayne Rooney, of all people, the chance to equalise and rob a point. Whether or not you think a spot kick should have been given is probably open for debate. What isn’t in question is that putting two hands on your opponent’s back when he’s facing away from the goal is a thoroughly stupid thing to do, especially when you’re dominating the game. If you’re a Liverpool fan and the object of your frustration is Craig Pawson, your anger is misplaced: Dejan Lovren is your man.
Indeed, although it was Lovren who made the mistake by needlessly giving the referee a decision to make, there should also be some frustration aimed at Liverpool’s attack, too. Despite resting players after their midweek exertions against Spartak Moscow, and despite the potential tiredness of those who did start both games, the side picked by Jurgen Klopp really should have been able to put Everton away. And the stats show it.
Sadio Mane is the case in point: the Liverpool attacker had 76 touches in a good display at Anfield. He and Mohamed Salah frightened the Everton defence all afternoon, and his directness was clear: his two shots were just the tip of the iceberg, but in a performance where he also had 76 touches (quite a few for such an attacking player) and attempted 50 passes, five of them were key passes which created some sort of chance for his team.
The Senegalese international completed five dribbles, too, taking the game to the Everton defence.
And yet, despite his good performance on the whole – just like the Liverpool side – it was his wastefulness in front of goal which frustrated, though. Perhaps the most obvious incident was when Mane opted to shoot instead of squaring a pass to the waiting Salah who would have had a tap-in in front of an empty goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side may have been unlucky not to take full victory in a game they dominated, but they only have themselves to blame, firstly for giving Everton the chance to get back into the game – which they grabbed with both hands – and for not putting the game beyond Allardyce’s side in the first place. They’ll have to learn from these mistakes if they’re to finish in the top four.