Everton vs Liverpool: Five things we learned
The first Merseyside derby of the season provided arguably the most exciting game of the new campaign to date, with Everton and Liverpool playing out a 3-3 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.
With both sides in the hunt for Champions League qualification this term, what can we take from the game?
Mirallas should have seen red
A key decision by referee Phil Dowd played its part in the game, with Kevin Mirallas escaping a red card for a horrendous studs-up challenge on Luis Suarez in the 33rd minute of the encounter.
Watching the incident back, the Belgian could have had no complaints if he had been sent off, with the challenge leaving the Liverpool man with gashes on his knee.
Had Mirallas been given his marching orders, the game could have turned out much differently.
Gerrard’s considerable influence
There was a lot of midfield talent on show between the two sides, but a familiar face showed his influence once more here.
Liverpool talisman Steven Gerrard looked his usual composed self on the ball, created chances for the visitors and played his part in the goals. At the same time, the England midfielder was a leader for his side when they found themselves getting beaten.
Gerrard will be a driving force for the Reds this term in their quest for a top-four spot.
Bright future for Ross Barkley
Another English midfielder, this time on Everton’s side, also impressed. Ross Barkley looked like a constant threat for the hosts, and his tidiness on the ball and ability to pick out passes was a refreshing sight for the home faithful.
With the World Cup on the horizon, the Everton man has a great opportunity to star for club and country, and on this showing is good enough to be in Roy Hodgson’s squad next summer.
Deulofeu needs to play more
The Spanish attacker has been used solely from the bench in the Premier League this season, as he looks to adapt to the rigours of English football.
The Barcelona loanee once more looked dangerous when brought into the fray in the second half, and was unlucky not to get a goal for his efforts.
Despite the attacking threat of Steven Pienaar and Mirallas, Deulofeu could be a key man in the final third for Everton if given a consistent run of games by Roberto Martinez.
Lukaku devastating once more
The Belgian powerhouse forward was guilty of missing some gilt-edged chances in the early exchanges, but bounced back to grab an all-important brace.
Lukaku terrorised the Liverpool defence throughout the game, and with an excellent work rate and constant threat was good value for his two goals.
Chelsea fans must be rubbing their hands in anticipation of his return to Stamford Bridge next season. Before that, Lukaku has every chance of finishing top goalscorer in the English top flight this term with Everton.
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