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23-year-old fighting for future: Three things we learned about Everton in loss to Liverpool

By Matt Farr

Football Insider reveals three things we learned from Everton’s 1-0 Merseyside derby defeat to Liverpool.

Barkley still to impress Koeman

A lot has been said in the media lately about Ross Barkley’s future at Everton. Despite a promising start to his career with the Toffees, Barkley has struggled to establish himself under new Everton boss Ronald Koeman. He has been in-and-out of the first-team this season, suggesting that although he was a crucial player during the Roberto Martinez-era, Koeman is still unimpressed. Barkley has contributed just three goals and two assists from 17 appearances in all competitions, and has yet to return to the international setup after being dropped by former England boss Sam Allardyce. The 23-year-old has not yet made the cut under Gareth Southgate either. In the absence of Yannick Bolasie – who has been ruled out until the end of the season – Barkley has appeared in each of Everton’s games since, and the Merseyside derby was a prime opportunity for Barkley to perform on the big-stage. But it was yet another missed chance. The January transfer window is closing in fast, and with Koeman reportedly prepared to let Barkley leave the club, the midfielder is running out of opportunities to prove his worth to the Dutchman.

Everton need to turn their domination into more chances in the final-third

Overall, the game was devoid of quality. Everton had the upper-hand in the first-half, exerting their dominance and making the most of their home advantage. However, Liverpool were all over them in the second, and the Reds had several opportunities to take the lead – and eventually take it in the dying moments. But if Everton had turned their first-half display into more clear cut chances and even just one goal, it could have been a much different story. They registered a few shots on goal, but only one of their six shots was on target. Romelu Lukaku was an isolated figure, and the remainder of Everton’s attack was pretty ineffective in the second-half as they were pressed on to the back-foot. They eventually lost the game – deservedly so after their second-half display – and Koeman won’t have been happy with the overall performance from his side. After their excellent performance in the midweek victory over Arsenal, it disappointingly brought Everton crashing back down to earth.

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Everton lose yet another Merseyside derby clash

It was a lacklustre performance from both sides to be fair, but one side went home the happier because of a victory – and that was Liverpool. Sadio Mane’s injury-time goal handed the Reds a last-gasp victory, leaving Everton bereft of confidence amid another poor display. The Toffees missed the opportunity to go into seventh, but the underlying issue was Everton’s failure to win yet another Merseyside derby clash with their rivals. Everton are now without a derby win over Liverpool since their 2-0 triumph in 17 October 2010. In fact, they’ve only won four Merseyside derby ties since the turn of the century, which is an alarming statistic for Everton.

In In other Everton news, here is how fans reacted to Koeman’s decision to omit Gerard Deulofeu from the matchday squad,