Liverpool vs Everton certainly didn’t disappoint in the tension department.
The Toffees made no secret of their intentions to make the game incredibly tough for their hosts, flicking through the Jose Mourinho playbook in order to try and snatch a result at Anfield.
From Anthony Gordon getting booked for diving to Jordan Pickford almost certainly time-wasting, there were more than a few incidents that had Liverpool fans tearing their hair out.
Everton frustrate Liverpool
And one of the central themes surrounded Richarlison going to ground through the first-half with many fans eventually getting the impression that it was a ploy designed to slow down the game.
Besides, by the time that the Everton forward once again hit the turf as the interval neared, the referee was taking things with a pinch of salt and allowed the game to continue.
Such was the frustration with Richarlison falling to the floor yet again that the atmosphere at Anfield became incredibly tense with the protests of Everton players falling on deaf ears.
Tension spills over
Even Jamie Carragher, who was on co-commentary duties for Sky Sports, was getting fed up and declared that the 24-year-old should simply get to his feet.
However, it wasn’t until Abdoulaye Doucouré decided to go on a very unsubtle mission to foul Fabinho that play actually came to a standstill – and that’s when things spilled over at last.
In dramatic scenes that you can watch down below, the foul seemed to remove the cap from a bottle of cola that had been shook up for days in causing the derby tensions to spill over at last.
Pickford stirs up the crowd
As you can see in the video, Pickford was more than happy to get amongst the action and quickly made a beeline from his penalty area to the ensuing melee of red and blue jerseys.
However, that was just the tip of the iceberg in what proved to be a busy 45 minutes of s***housery from the England number one who simply never looked to be in a rush.
Pickford continually pumped the brakes on the speed of play whenever he got the opportunity, even leaning into his villain role near the end of the half with a cheeky wink and grin to the crowd.
Jordan Pickford enjoyed that half…— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 24, 2022
A grin and a wink to the Liverpool supporters after Everton frustrate the hosts for the opening 45! 👀 pic.twitter.com/HgUpVle09y
An effective strategy
As unpopular as Everton’s whole approach might be, there’s no denying that it was effective for the visitors as they managed to keep the league’s top goalscorers at bay for 45 minutes.
The simple fact of the matter is that a team further down the table isn’t going to outplay or outrun Jurgen Klopp’s men, so you’ve got to think outside of the box to stand any hope at all.
And while only time will tell whether Everton can see their s***housery over the line with a clean sheet, it’s pretty clear that it succeeded in ruffling Liverpool’s feathers across the opening half.