This afternoon’s Merseyside derby was unfortunately one that won’t be remembered in the annals of the fixture’s history. Neither Everton nor Liverpool managed to get on the score-sheet at Goodison Park, and both goalkeepers were rarely tested despite Simon Mignolet and Joel Robles enduring rather ropey form of late.
Everton and Liverpool are two clubs synonymous with developing young players however, and if there’s one silver lining to be taken from today’s 0-0, it’s that there was plenty of impressive youthful talent on display for both sides.
With that in mind, here’s the THREE young hotshots that lit up an otherwise drab Merseyside derby.
Brendan Rodgers saw fit to issue Jordon Ibe his first Premier League start since returning from a six-month loan spell with Derby County against Everton this afternoon. It didn’t take long for the 19 year-old to repay his manager’s faith in him, producing this cracking effort half-way through the first 45, chipping Joel Robles’ wood-work:
In fact, he finished the first half with the most successful dribbles and second most shots of any Liverpool player, as detailed below:
Unfortunately however, his influence waned in the second half.
Although there were no goals to speak of today, one positive Everton can take is their clean sheet. The Toffees have defended nothing short of woefully at times this season, conceding 34 goals in just 24 games – only Newcastle and the Premier League’s bottom three have a worse record.
Reinstating John Stones at the heart of defence since his return from injury however has made a huge difference, and Everton have now recorded three clean sheets in their last three Premier League outings with the young England international in the side, including in today’s Merseyside derby.
In terms of the stats too, he was arguably the Goodison outfit’s best defender today, as detailed below:
That produced was a positive response from Everton fans on Twitter:
— Danish Football News (@DanishFooty) February 7, 2015
John Stones is gonna be unreal in a few years.
— Padraig (@Goondogan) February 7, 2015
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 7, 2015
In terms of value-for-money, Emre Can might well be Liverpool’s best signing of the summer. Despite being primarily considered a defensive midfielder, he’s excelled in the unique right-centre-back role Brendan Rodgers has thrust him into in recent weeks. Whoscored.com actually rated the Germany U21 as the Man of the Match – here’s a look at his stats:
To summarise, that’s the most tackles, interceptions and successful dribbles of any Liverpool player. Not bad for just under £10million. Add that to a pass completion rate of 87%, and there’s surely enough evidence to suggest Can’s future does indeed lie further up the pitch.
Once again, Liverpool fans on Twitter were very impressed:
Emre Can. Magnificent.
— Dan Kennett (@DanKennett) February 7, 2015
— Liverpool FC (@LiverpooLegacy) February 7, 2015