By Merseyside correspondent Coral Barry
The virtually Scouser-less Merseyside derby lacks fire, Liverpool defensive errors are utterly predictable and other things we learned from Everton 1 Liverpool 1.
Merseyside derbies are less frenzied without scousers
The Merseyside derby has always been a contest of sizzle and fire, but something has been lost as less and less home-grown players compete for the local bragging rights. Liverpool did not have a city native in their line-up for the first time in 29 years, while Everton’s Ross Barkley was the only scouser for the hosts at kick-off. Of course, youngster Jordan Rossiter was on the Liverpool bench, but it will be another few years before he features regularly in the starting eleven. It is telling that Barkley was the player who kicked off the only real flashpoint of the match as the on-field passion struggled to mirror the frenzy in the stands.
Coutinho is no Suarez
In every game that Liverpool have struggled – and there are many – eyes turn to Philippe Coutinho for a rescue job. The little Brazilian is a dazzling playmaker but he is no Luis Suarez. He scores some stunners and his ability to spot and execute a pass is almost unrivalled in the Premier League, but he is is never going to drag an average team to feats of sustained brilliance, as Suarez did. With Daniel Sturridge so quiet today, Coutinho was left isolated on the field.
Rodgers’ fate remains the same
A draw at Goodison Park would be a good result for past managers, but this performance will do nothing to save Rodgers. The Northern Irishman’s side could have destroyed Everton five-nil, but FSG would still look to sack him. This Liverpool team is going in only one direction under Rodgers and, after 14 months of treading water, a meagre point was too little, months too late for the manager.
Liverpool individual errors are institutionalised
Liverpool have a habit of conceding immediately after scoring. Instead of calmness and decisiveness, individual errors have become institutionalized in Liverpool’s defence. Emre Can’s clearance landed straight at the feet for the lethal Romelu Lukaku to gleefully convert for the equaliser. Against Sion in mid-week, Jordan Ibe was miles out of position in the lead up to the comeback goal. Against Norwich, Simon Mignolet was inexplicably on the floor when Russell Martin lobbed the ball home from a corner. It was only against Aston Villa that Liverpool’s suicidal defending hasn’t cost them much needed points. Defending a lead is a foreign concept to this Liverpool side.
Mignolet is a Jekyll and Hyde character
Making crucial saves one moment and then a nervous wreck with the ball at his feet the next, Simon Mignolet’s split personality is infuriating to watch. The goalkeeper rejuvenated his Liverpool life in 2015, but old habits die hard for the Belgian. He may have more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the league and be a fine saver of shots, but the jury is still out on whether he can ever be a reliable Anfield No1. His weaknesses are numerous – weak in the air, awkward technically and haphazard decision-making. Which is the real Mignolet? Jekyll or Hyde?