In the right circumstances, that purgatory may hold some pleasure: the thrill of waiting, the satisfaction of enjoying a treat, the chance to bask in the glow of achievement. Not for Liverpool, though. Liverpool has waited thirty years to be back where it belongs: at the top with its priorities straight and ready to restore its former glory. Disinterest in being prepared has set in.
Liverpool Draws At Everton
But it really ought to wait. After English soccer resumed last week, Liverpool took the field for the first time in the Premier League, with the narrative arc that has provided the season’s core thrust rightfully receiving the spotlight. Win the Merseyside derby on Sunday, then defeat Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Wednesday, and you’ll be crowned champions.
But alas, that was not how things turned out. Meetings between the two Merseyside rivals, and especially those held on Everton territory, are always fierce and exhausting. After all, this game is the least disciplinary in the Premier League; they might as well advertise the large number of pink cards that have been shown in previous years.
Everton manufactured improbable pageboys, and that was before there were any fans in the stadium, before Goodison Park started baying and snarling at the unwelcome intruders in pink. There may be a sense of experimentation surrounding soccer’s new reality; a bad chance, yes, but also a chance to question our assumptions and examine our views, to observe the game in a controlled setting, and maybe gain a better understanding of how it functions.
Not yet put through its paces in a clinical setting, the innovation from Goodison Park may be: a derby isn’t just the anger in the spectators; it’s the fire and fury on the pitch, no matter where the players were born or how far they were drawn.
Clearly audible in the eerily still atmosphere of a deserted stadium: Michael Keane, polite but firm, commanded his Everton teammates by using their full names (“Seamus Coleman”); Virgil van Dijk directed where passes should be performed, working the game as if he had a remote control. Jordan Henderson screamed maniacally to spark off a pres.
In spite of the seeming lack of interest or urgency, the stillness did not dampen anyone’s commitment or diminish their sense of urgency. The scoreless draw the teams played was not a particularly exciting game by any sense of the imagination, but it did help the game feel more authentic.
No matter if there are fans in the stands or not, this appears to be the standard atmosphere for a Merseyside derby. The adherents do contribute to that, but they don’t appear to be the primary driving force. Most of the game Liverpool seemed more composed, but Everton wasn’t without threat. Carlo Ancelotti’s team would have won if the hosts hadn’t missed a late penalty that would have been the last clear chance they had.