Rating the Liverpool Players Against Everton

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2013

Rating the Liverpool Players Against Everton

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    Liverpool had to settle for a single home point against Merseyside rivals Everton, with the two teams scrapping out a largely uneventful 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

    With the Blues leading the Reds in the Premier League table, the emphasis was with the home team to push for the victory, but neither team could arguably claim credit for being the dominant force for the entire 90 minutes. Liverpool brought plenty of possession and intent at times, but they lacked a cutting edge too often and certainly were missing the clinical edge they had at Newcastle last week.

    For Everton, they threatened only intermittently, but will count themselves unlucky to have had a goal dubiously ruled out in the second half.

    Here are the player ratings for the Liverpool side from the Merseyside derby.

Goalkeeper: Pepe Reina

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    Pepe Reina had a relatively quiet game in terms of having to make saves, with Everton hitting the target with just two of their 11 shots during the game, but his biggest moments of action came with an impressive consistency in taking high crosses and free kicks comfortably and with authority.

    Aside from one early chance which Marouane Fellaini poked wide, Everton were not a threat from any of the high free kicks they hoisted into the penalty area, and Liverpool were careless enough to give a fair few of those away.

    Reina was, however, lucky to get away with being awarded a free kick after a minor bump from Victor Anichebe, causing a disallowed goal for Sylvain Distin.

    Reina: 7/10

Full-Backs: Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique

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    Liverpool's wide defenders contributed to the clean sheet, but they were a real disappointment on the day.

    Glen Johnson has seen his form dip worryingly over the past month, and he continued that trend against Everton. Despite initially looking like he was getting involved in plenty of the Reds' forward play, he continually lost possession going forward, and committed a number of fouls which allowed Everton to put potentially dangerous free kicks in from their left as well.

    On the left, Jose Enrique had one of his more horrifying games at both ends of the field.

    A mistimed control on the left let Kevin Mirallas in to bear down on goal before he was thwarted by the centre-backs; a dreadfully under-hit back-pass almost let the same Everton player one-on-one versus Reina, only for an arm across his chest and a dodgy dive by the forward; and a succession of failures to track Seamus Coleman adequately on the overlap could all easily have cost the Reds dear.

    On the ball in the final third he was no better, with the exception of two low, fizzing crosses which should have been better attacked. Jose Enrique was sloppy in possession and took far too long to make decisions on what to do with the ball.

    Both Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson were the worst two passers, in terms of pass completion, in the Liverpool side.

     

    Johnson: 5/10

    Jose Enrique: 4/10

Centre-Backs: Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger

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    Liverpool's central defensive duo, much like their Everton counterparts, were in splendid form.

    Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger repelled almost everything aerially, distributed the ball well and remained concentrated throughout. Carragher would have preferred to win to mark his final derby, of course, but he will be at least satisfied to have contributed to another clean sheet.

    Beside him, Agger was dominant on the ground and continued his upward trajectory of form over the final months of the season.

    A couple of headers at the other end might have yielded a goal for the Reds, but he failed to make them count enough.

     

    Carragher: 7/10

    Agger: 8/10

Central Midfielders: Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard

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    The Reds battled gamely for possession and control in the middle of the park for much of the game, but it was in large part down to the efforts and endeavours of Steven Gerrard.

    Lucas was once again unable to keep pace with runners from deep in the centre, though he recovered from a poor opening half hour to put in a decent display for most of the middle of the match. Again towards the end, he failed to offer adequate protection or keep hold of the ball, but Liverpool still out-worked Everton in this area for much of the game.

    Gerrard was the best player on the pitch, putting in the few "derby day tackles" that the game saw and pinging a few long-range passes to open the game up and create the odd chance. He came close to scoring with a bursting run into the box which saw him around Tim Howard, but didn't quite have the left-footed finish to beat Sylvain Distin.

     

    Lucas: 6/10

    Gerrard: 8/10 MOTM

Attacking Midfield: Stewart Downing, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson

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    It was a real mix of performances in Liverpool's line ahead of midfield.

    Stewart Downing put in a very hard-working shift, tracking the dual threat of Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar going towards his own goal, but on the ball offered comparatively little in the opposite direction.

    He beat Baines for skill a couple of times, but delivered no quality balls into the box and failed to link up well enough with Daniel Sturridge.

    Henderson again worked hard and was involved in most of the Reds' play going forward, with his energy and ability to pass first-time a welcome change to the tempo for most of the match, but he was a little off with his passing at times in terms of accuracy. It was a little surprising when Henderson was substituted, but a change in system was needed for the Reds to try and win the game.

    Philippe Coutinho was certainly the most technical and creative of Liverpool's side again, showing great craft to spin away from Leon Osman in the first half on a number of occasions. The second half saw him play the best couple of passes, as Sturridge had a couple of chances to score, but ultimately he couldn't find the right finish himself from a couple of shots of his own.

    Frequently Everton had to resort to fouling the Brazilian to stop him, but there wasn't the consistency from the team in getting Coutinho on the ball to open up the Blues regularly enough.

     

    Downing: 6/10

    Coutinho: 7/10

    Henderson: 6/10

Striker: Daniel Sturridge

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    It can be frustrating watching Daniel Sturridge; he has the ability on the ball to split defences or beat them on his own, but sometimes he does neither too often in games.

    Against Everton, he was just a yard short of reading the game, half a second too slow in starting his runs forward, a little lacklustre in closing down the defence and made too many wrong decisions with a final pass or shot.

    Even so, he remained a threat, rounding Tim Howard to almost score and lashing another shot into the side-netting. Perhaps a first-time effort would have been better for the first attempt, but in general Liverpool didn't create enough to lay any real blame at the feet of Sturridge for not scoring a goal.

    The lack of real work rate and poor decisions, though, are his areas to improve on significantly over the remainder of the season.

     

    Sturridge: 6/10

Subs: Fabio Borini and Martin Skrtel

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    Brendan Rodgers opted to make two changes during the game against Everton. He firstly swapped Fabio Borini on for Jordan Henderson, pushing the Italian up front and moving Coutinho out to the left. It gave Liverpool a greater presence in the final third, but the tempo wasn't picked up on the ball enough for it to make a real difference.

    The one chance Borini had to have an impact, he was caught on his heels for just a fraction of a second too long, racing onto Jose Enrique's low cross but not making contact.

    Late in the game, Martin Skrtel came on for Stewart Downing as Liverpool moved to a back three. Tactically, it let Liverpool have far more of the ball more quickly and higher up the pitch, but it came too late in the game for too much impact.

    Skrtel barely had anything to do in his few minutes on the field.

     

    Borini: 6/10

    Skrtel: no rating.

    Unused subs: Brad Jones, Seb Coates, Suso, Jonjo Shelvey, Oussama Assaidi.

     

     

    Match data from WhoScored.com