Everton 0-0 Liverpool: Reds lack spark in a poor Merseyside derby

Liverpool and Everton played out a poor 0-0 in the 224th Merseyside derby. 

The pre-match hype centred around it being Steven Gerrard's final Merseyside derby but the majority of the game passed him by.

Steven Gerrard Jordon Ibe

Gerrard plays possibly his last Merseyside derby - Ibe his first

He captained the reds and Jordon Ibe got a surprise start for Liverpool on the right in place of Lazar Markovic.  Daniel Sturridge again started the game on the substitutes bench.

There was little to separate the sides in the opening exchanges but the reds were faced with a problem when 15 minutes in Lucas signalled that he couldn't continue.  Joe Allen was brought on.

Following that early substitution Everton grew in confidence and in their percentage of possession.  Naismith was causing a nuisance but no real chances were created - Martin Skrtel in particular a real rock in the reds defence.

Although he had been barged off the ball easily in a couple of opening exchanges, Jordon Ibe was handling the pressure well and had the reds best chance of the half - possibly the game - when he powered forward and took advantage of a retreating blues defence to fire a shot that rebounded off the post.

Sterling found himself  in space a number of times but his finishing still has some way to go and his decision making wasn't up to scratch.

The game was passing the club captain by - he was limited to free kick duty although late on he did attempt an overhead kick that was saved.

Coutinho appeared to pick up a knock just before half time - we assume that was why he was chosen to be replaced by Daniel Sturridge in the 55th minute - because up until then he had been the reds brightest attacking spark.

The introduction of the Liverpool striker had little impact and even when Lambert was brought on for Sterling in the final ten minutes you knew there would be no fairytale storyline for the Liverpool supporting front-man.

The whole game was just drab.

With Spurs and Southampton both winning the reds needed a win to keep in touch with the top four.  Following this Goodison draw that gap is now bigger.