Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin claimed that Everton were “unfortunate” not to beat Liverpool in a “bizarre” Merseyside derby.
Liverpool are on course for a first league title of the Premier League era, but their first obstacle en route to getting over the line was their local rivals. And Everton disrupted the momentum Liverpool had built up before the break, claiming a 0-0 draw.
The Toffees came close to winning the game with a double chance that saw Calvert-Lewin denied by Alisson Becker after an instinctive backheel. The ball fell to Tom Davies, who hit the post.
It was the biggest chance of the game, so both sides had to settle for a point.
After the game, Calvert-Lewin told Sky Sports that his missed chance was one example of how Everton were “unlucky”, after a strong performance by his teammates at the back.
“Yeah, it was just instinct at the end there, I think,” he said. “I just flicked it and I saw the keeper save it, so it was unlucky.
“We had a few chances, but it wasn’t our day today.
“Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. And unfortunately today it didn’t.
“I thought we defended very well. I thought Mase [Mason Holgate] and Keano [Michael Keane] were very good at the back today.
“We were resolute and just unfortunate that we couldn’t nick one.”
Returning to competitive action for the first time in three months, Calvert-Lewin admitted that it was tough to get back into the rhythm of top flight football.
“Obviously it wasn’t as sharp as you’d expect when we had the rhythm of the games before,” he added. “It’s been a long time out and I feel like players are a little bit rusty and myself – my timing’s a little bit off, like with my challenges and my duels and things like that.
“But it’s stuff you can’t really replicate and it comes with games.
“So, we take the point, but I thought there was a big chance for us there today.”
Everton caused problems for Liverpool with a flexible formation, which Calvert-Lewin confirmed the thinking behind.
“It was, yeah. We changed it up when we had the ball to help us maintain possession. And I thought when we did keep the ball, we kept it well and we created things.
“But I think we probably should have just backed ourselves a little bit more in the battle.
“I thought we got up in their faces quite well. They’ve got good quality in their side so we knew we couldn’t give them too much time on the ball.
“Fitness levels, we’ve been working hard in training – I thought we were good today.”
Despite falling short of the win, the 23-year-old was content that the draw was the fair result – giving them a platform to build from as they make a late push for the European places in the comnig weeks.
“I think so on the day,” he said. “We limited them to a few chances, likewise, they did us as well.
“I thought perhaps we maybe had the better chance towards the end of the game. So we were unlucky. But I think if we have to, a draw is a draw and we move.”
Attitude ‘had to come from within’
With no fans present to spur his side on, Calvert-Lewin admitted that Everton had to look within themselves to find inspiration behind closed doors.
The former England Under-21 striker pointed out that not much changes for them as professionals, though.
“It was strange, I can’t lie to you. Obviously with no atmosphere, you’re playing with no fans. It was a little bit bizarre with a game of this magnitude.
“Usually the place is bouncing, so it was hard to get used to at first. But we play football for a living, so it’s all about concentration and focus.
“The only thing that changes is sometimes you get that little uplift from the fans when they’re all roaring. So I think that had to come from within today, which I think it did.
“Like I say, we were unlucky not to nick it.”