Everton 1 Liverpool 1: Three talking points
Three talking points as Liverpool draw with Everton at Goodison Park
Mignolet shows off his strong-suit
The Liverpool goalkeeper has never convinced The Kop that is the right man between the sticks. Although Simon Mignolet has already managed to navigate his way through a turbulent spell in 2014, the Belgium international is still prone to the odd reckless moment. But Mignolet’s tendency to drop the odd clanger often masks over his undoubted qualities. The Liverpool goalkeeper is one of the best shot stoppers in the Premier League behind the likes of David De Gea and Joe Hart. The 27-year-old had to be at his instinctive best to deny Steven Naismith from close range in the first half before he dived at full-stretch to push James McCarthy’s powerful drive wide. When required to stand tall against Everton powerhouse Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian made a strong save. The problem for Liverpool is that there are too many inconsistent performers in their back four or five, including the goalkeeper. When Mignolet has a good day, Emre Can has a bad one. Or, if Martin Skrtel is particularly authoritative, Mamadou Sakho is cumbersome. On Sunday, it was Can who made the mistake which led to Lukaku’s equaliser.
Is Ings in for good?
Aside from Daniel Sturridge’s brilliant brace against Aston Villa, Danny Ings is the form striker in the Liverpool ranks at the moment. Christian Benteke’s injury has proven a source of inspiration from Brendan Rodgers, who partnered Ings with Sturridge in the absence of £32.5m man. The pair complement each other with the summer signing’s guile working well alongside Sturridge’s touch of class. Crucially, though, Ings is a goal poacher, too. He scored in a 1-1 draw with Norwich City before netting against Carlisle United in the League Cup. An influential performance in a 3-2 win against Villa was followed by a goal in the Merseyside derby. He is fast becoming a Dirk Kuyt-like performer for Liverpool. His form will leave Rodgers with a selection headache when Benteke has made a full recovery. Liverpool look more like a Rodgers side with Ings in the starting line-up, whereas with Benteke leading the line, creative players like Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana are often bypassed.
Rodgers in purgatory
While a point from a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park is a respectable result for Liverpool, the stalemate leaves Rodgers in managerial purgatory. Dick Advocaat won the race to be the first manager sacked this season, whilst Jose Mourinho challenged the Chelsea board to terminate his contract after a 3-1 loss to Southampton on Saturday. The focus on other Premier League managers has come as welcome reprieve for Rodgers, but what were described as must-win (against Aston Villa) and must-not-lose (against Everton) games haven’t really put forward a strong case for sticking with Rodgers or a managerial change. Liverpool’s gremlins returned with sloppy defending costing the Reds three points, while the visitors intermittently threatened up front. The international break buys the Northern Irishman time, but a run of fixtures away at Tottenham and Chelsea, plus a home game against Southampton, could give decide Rodgers’s long-term fate.