Everton did little to hide their true intentions against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon. Frank Lampard’s side made it abundantly clear that they had no interest in playing football. They were there to ruin Liverpool’s party and they were willing to do it in the most brutal way possible.
The way Everton fell back deep to defend with every player behind the ball brought back memories of that classic Jose Mourinho display when he was in charge of Chelsea at Anfield in the 2013-14 season.
Once again Liverpool struggled to collect tangible opportunities in the first half. A lukewarm display in midfield and attack ensured Everton had comfortable control of the game, albeit not possession. But the main difference this time around was that, unlike Brendan Rodgers eight years ago, Jürgen Klopp had a Divock Origi to call on.
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Origi completely disrupted Everton’s rhythm and his deceptive runs into the penalty area caused Lampard’s side a host of problems and opened up space for Liverpool to take advantage. Liverpool will be pleased with the way they have overcome Everton’s hurdle, but they will also be aware that Origi will not be there to call on them in the future.
The Belgian forward is expected to leave Anfield this summer for new pastures, leaving Liverpool with a new dilemma about how to beat the opposition with low-block defences, even if Everton itself is far from guaranteed to be on the club’s list. stand. from opponents next year.
Klopp and his coaching staff may have already solved the problem.
One of the biggest problems in the first half against Everton was the connection between midfield and attack. Thiago and Fabinho sank deep to gain possession, while Naby Keita roamed between them, but none of the three managed to break the lines. Even Thiago’s luscious passing skills and gravity-defying through balls were hard to execute against such a solid wall.
Liverpool lacked a Philippe Coutinho-type player who could connect attack and midfield and who had the ability to break through in the penalty area. And this summer Liverpool could be on the cusp of signing just that type of player to Fábio Carvalho, who has been ‘confirmed’ by many sources as the club’s first signing this summer.
Carvalho is a midfielder who exemplifies breaking the penalty area and who could have been a great tool in breaking Everton’s tenacious defensive wall. In the championship this season, only Aleksander Mitrovic has, according to Wyscout, on average more hits in the opponent’s penalty area than Carvalho (5.14) per 90 minutes. All of Carvalho’s goals came from the box and the vast majority of his shots (77 per cent) also came from the box.
In addition, according to The Athletic, Carvalho has the average of most expected open play assists in the championship (0.32) from players who have played more than 900 minutes this season, highlighting his ability to create opportunities for his teammates. .
From his ability to break through in the penalty area to high productivity in the final third, Carvalho is the type of midfielder Liverpool are missing at the moment, and in the absence of Divock Origi he could be Klopp’s biggest key to low in the future. -blocks to unlock.