Everton finally broke their winless streak over rivals Liverpool with a 2-0 win at Anfield in the Merseyside derby. Saturday’s result was a long time coming for the blue half of Merseyside, who recorded their first win at Anfield since 1999.
Richarlison opened the scoring after a slick James Rodriguez pass found him in behind the defence. They held off different spells of Liverpool pressure before a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty sealed the points late in the match. This streaky Everton side needs to build on this performance if they want to climb back in the race for the top four.
Everton Must Build On Victory In the Merseyside Derby
Inconsistencies In Everton Season
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been hot or cold all season. They will string together a good run of results to climb the table then fall back with a couple of bad performances. Coming off the back of their first victory over Liverpool in over 20 years, this Toffees side has a chance to build on that momentum. They sit five points outside the top four, but do have a game in hand over those above them. A good run of results will put this streaky Everton side right back in the discussion for a Champions League spot.
This side is still searching for the right balance between defence and attack. They have just five clean sheets for the season. Ancelotti’s squad have also allowed multiple goals in ten matches. That discrepancy is far too large for a team with hopes of European qualification.
Injuries have played a part in the imbalance, with Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne, and Seamus Coleman all missing time at one point or another this season. This has allowed for young defenders Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey to see more pitch time than expected. Each of them has shown versatility and readiness to step in that will serve the club well as the season wears on. However, more stability around mainstay Michael Keane in the backline would help the defensive issues.
Spread the Everton Wealth
In front of goal, this Everton side needs to spread the wealth a bit more. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has a third of this team’s goals through 22 matches. While having your striker leading the line in such a manner isn’t a bad thing, there is still room for the other attackers to chip in. Richarlison and Rodriguez are the only other players in attack to score multiple goals. If Alex Iwobi, Bernard or January signing Joshua King could find their shooting boots, this team would benefit greatly.
Back In Action
Injuries have affected this team throughout the campaign. Now that the backline is mostly back intact, things should improve on that end. Everton will get a huge boost when the Premier League returns to action with Allan coming back. The Brazilian midfielder will has been missed in the middle of the pitch. Despite having only played in 12 matches, he still leads this team in tackles. That goes to show just how active and influential he is when on the pitch. His return will allow the attackers more freedom, and also help provide cover for the defence.
Levels of Play
The main issue for this Everton side is playing up or down to the level of competition. They have recorded wins over Liverpool, Leicester City, and Chelsea this season. Unfortunately, this team has dropped points with poor performances against Fulham, Newcastle United, Leeds United, and Burnley. The losses to Newcastle and Fulham were both at Goodison Park, which adds to the frustration.
Ancelotti’s team is far too talented and has played too well this season to drop points to teams in the relegation battle. If Everton can clean up their performances versus teams in the bottom half of the table, catching up to those ahead of them in the race for the top four should be attainable.
Everton Need to Build Momentum From Merseyside Derby Victory
The victory for Everton over Liverpool was monumental considering how long it had been since they had won in the Merseyside Derby. Everton have matches with Southampton and West Brom before a trip to Chelsea. Securing victories against the two teams in the bottom half will raise the stakes for their trip to Stamford Bridge. They sit just three points behind the Blues. This season has seen almost every side fighting to find consistency. A string of good results can change a club’s fortunes quickly and drastically in such an up and down campaign.