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Everton 0-0 Liverpool: Tame WSL Merseyside derby ends in draw

Everton and Liverpool in action

Everton and Liverpool played out a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby in an uneventful afternoon at Goodison Park.

The visitors arrived in good form, knowing a point would be enough to jump above Manchester United into fourth place in the table, while Everton were seeking a first victory this month.

The Reds had triumphed just once in seven WSL meetings with Everton but there was confidence in the build-up that they could make up for their defeat at Anfield earlier this season.

But a stop-start game, hampered by an injury crisis at Everton and a lack of quality shown by Liverpool, made for a dull encounter in which neither side really imposed themselves.

The 9,457 watching at Goodison Park had little to cheer about until Everton's Lucy Hope struck a fierce effort on to the crossbar in the second half and team-mate Justine Vanhaevermaet tested goalkeeper Rachael Laws with a fizzing long-range effort.

Asked about the attendance and whether Everton had hoped for a bigger crowd, manager Brian Sorensen said: "I'm happy for everybody who showed up, I hope they had a really good time. Of course we want to grow the game as much as we can.

"I don't have an answer as to why there wasn't more because it's Sunday, 1pm, there should be. I saw a lot of families in the stands. But I was just happy there was a good crowd and they created a good atmosphere."

Everton's Emma Bissell had fired into the side-netting in the first half, before Jasmine Matthews' effort was brilliantly blocked by Vanhaevermaet at the other end.

Liverpool rarely tested goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan, although striker Sophie Roman Haug attempted a chip from long range in the first half which almost caught her out and midfielder Ceri Holland made a dangerous dart towards goal in stoppage-time.

Sorensen's Everton had brief periods of pressure later on but did not record a shot on target until the 79th minute in a largely forgettable Merseyside derby.

Missed opportunity for Reds against injury-stricken Everton

This was a real opportunity for Liverpool to stamp their authority on Everton in a rivalry that has often gone the Blues' way in the WSL - but they did not take it.

Memories of Everton fans celebrating in the Kop at Anfield following their 1-0 win back in October were still fresh in the minds of the players this week but Matt Beard's side failed to capitalise against a home side badly weakened by injuries.

It was a credit to Everton then, that they were able to stifle Liverpool's momentum and did not allow their neighbours to gain any control at Goodison Park.

From the first minute, it was a scrappy encounter, with both sides lacking intensity and fluidity and Everton only applying pressure later in the second half.

The hosts looked more likely to score though, which will give Sorensen's side a boost as they try to navigate the final stages of the season and look to rebuild in the summer.

Liverpool, whose successful campaign is shown in their jump up to fourth place, will be hugely disappointed not to have got something more from the game and they will finish yet another season having failed to upset their biggest rivals.