The Merseyside Derby traditionally speaks of many things; grit, determination, desire, controversy, pride, passion. This weekend's event, Jamie Carragher's 30th and final appearance against the team he supported as a boy, managed to provide absolutely none of those attributes.
A litany of spurned possession from both sides, Liverpool started brightly before falling back and allowing Everton to run the game. Pressure in midfield was sadly lacking and Everton were given the run of the pitch Luckily they conspired to do very little with their gift. To call the first half turgid would be leaning toward the generous.
A brighter second half performance saw Liverpool create more but convert nothing with both Gerrard and Sturridge breaking through to be foiled by Tim Howard intelligently holding his ground. Everton had a second half goal mystifyingly disallowed, the presumption being that it was the result of Victor Anichebe blocking Pepe Reina after a previous warning. A nothing decision, excessively kind to Liverpool, it sits as partly balancing the ludicrous disallowing of Luis Suarez' last minute winner at Goodison.
So the euphoria which followed last week's destruction of Newcastle has been somewhat punctured. Where the 6-0 rout at St James' Park was a nigh on perfect team performance, there were very few players who covered themselves in glory here. Gerrard was head and shoulders over anybody else on the pitch and looked for a while as though he may decide to win the game single handedly. Coutinho showed his genius in flashes, one glorious through ball almost providing the perfect ammunition for Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge, however, was ineffectual for long stretches, Enrique continued his tendency to over embroider and demand at least three touches more than necessary every time he gained possession.
The lack of options from the bench was once again both alarming and indicative of where we stand as a club at this juncture; there were no prospective game changers amongst our substitutes and obviously we missed the creativity and sheer mayhem (in a good way) that Luis Suarez can provide.
Ultimately this was a stale, uninspiring, end of season contest with very little to play for, Everton now look unlikely to gain European qualification, Liverpool equally unlikely to finish above our neighbours over the park for the second season running.
With Liverpool's season dwindling away to a whimper and the hope that this transition season will be our only transition season, today could only ever be about bragging rights but in reality who would want to brag about a game as downright dull as this.