Everton duo Nathan Patterson and Jordan Pickford were lauded by Premier League icon Alan Shearer as they helped stop Liverpool’s onslaught during Saturday’s goalless Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
Shearer, the Premier League’s all-time record scorer with 260 goals, named the Blues duo to his Team of the Week despite Frank Lampard’s side still being winless in the league this season.
Pickford, England’s No.1, was named the BT Sport Man of the Match on Saturday afternoon for his heroics, as he made crucial saves from Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah, and additional stops to deny substitute Roberto Firmino during the second half, leaving Jurgen Klopp and his side bemoaning their lack of attacking edge.
Everton, who could have easily lost the game without Pickford in goal, walked off the Goodison Park pitch regretting squandered chances in front of goal, as debutant Neal Maupay had a wonderful opportunity to win the Blues’ first home victory over their city rivals since October 2010.
Explaining his reasonings for selecting the two Evertonians in his Team of the Week, Shearer said; “He [Pickford] made several superb saves to frustrate Liverpool.”
On Patterson, he added: “Immense all game in everything he did, both when defending and going forward.”
It seemed like a maturation performance from the Scotsman, who was signed from Rangers in January after garnering interest from clubs all across Europe.
Forced to deal with the deception of Luis Diaz, probably the Reds’ finest player this season, the 20-year-old was dominant in his duels throughout afternoon and fought relentlessly in attack and defence to ensure Anthony Gordon had constant assistance on the right side to concern the Liverpool defence.
Everton are presently 16th in the Premier League and travel to high-flying Arsenal this weekend.
While the points on the board do not provide a complete picture of Everton’s ongoing progress, there has been enough to suggest that the evolution this season under Frank Lampard is heading in the correct path.
The Blues have four draws of various difficulty in their six league games this season, but with the transfer window finally closed, the squad now has some stability.
The summer additions have certainly demonstrated that Director of Football Kevin Thelwell and Lampard are not necessarily changing the club’s DNA, but rather leveraging it to solidify the spine of the side.
And, more importantly, tapping into what made the Blues good for long periods during the David Moyes era – making Everton a club that are difficult to play against.