One of the games of this past weekend was the Merseyside derby as Liverpool travelled the short distance to their neighbours Everton. This was the 221st match between the teams and will go down as one of the best. On the back of an action packed game, we took a look at the various statistics at our disposal to get a better understanding of the game.
This game saw only 51 minutes and 53 seconds of live ball action. This was actually somewhat lower than the league average which is about 59 minutes of live ball action per game. It goes without saying that the history of this fixture weighed on the minds of the players. More often than not, in these sort of high profiled games, the game can be stop start. What is surprising is that those 51 odd minutes were jam-packed with good attacking play, shots on goal and good scoring chances. There were 29 shots on goal in this game with 18 of them being on target. This is above the league average too. In line with a fiery derby game, there were also 5 yellow cards shown. This is also significantly higher than the league average.
With the above in mind, we looked at the individual teams. Everton, to their credit, shed their previous defensive nature in these games and attacked constantly. Using home advantage, they dominated proceedings, having 55% of live ball possession. It can happen that a team has the lion’s share of proceedings but not really do much with it. In this game, this was not the case. Everton, using this possession, got themselves into a position where they stood a good chance of scoring on 13 different occasions. From these situations, they managed to get 9 shots off on goal and, of course, scored 3 times.
Their build up play was also superb with them starting an attack with a good piece of play 27 times. They also put Liverpool under a lot of pressure with 39 attacks starting after Everton won the ball back from a Reds’ player. This constant pressure forced Liverpool into making a defensive mistake on 10 occasions and from here Everton used this possession to good effect with them getting into a dangerous situation 4 times.
Following good build up play, they managed to get 10 shots off on goal. Six of these shots were dangerously close to going in and one actually did go in. The three Everton goals resulted from the good scoring chances that Everton created. As we said, one was from good build up play and 2 came courtesy of crosses. Lukaku was, by far, the standout Everton player. He, alone, shot on goal 5 times.
As for Liverpool, they came into this game high on confidence with their strike force of Suárez and Sturridge having scored more goals between them (16 before yesterday’s game), than the entire Everton team (14). Whilst they did have less possession, fewer shots on goal and less attacking events than Everton, the quality of what they did manage to create was actually of better quality than that of Everton. They managed to get into better scoring chances than their hosts.
Liverpool were also particularly strong when it came to set pieces. They had almost double the number of set pieces that Everton had but, more importantly, they managed to make the most of them. Using direct crosses, they got into dangerous situations, on multiple occasions. All three of their goals came from set pieces with 2 coming from direct crosses and one from an incredible free kick.
Both managers praised the quality of their respective players after the game and there is no doubt that the fans got their money’s worth thanks to a game that remained exciting from the first whistle until the very end where both teams had chances to grab a late winner. In the end the spoils were shared in a game where neither team deserved to lose and both deserved to win!