Alex Iwobi returned to Everton’s lineup for the first time in four months as the Toffees held city rivals, Liverpool, to a goalless draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
Iwobi, still feeling his way to full fitness after a long layoff last year was on for 88 minutes in what was a low-tempo encounter.
The draw edges Liverpool closer to a first Premier League title in three decades with the Reds now 23 points clear at the top and needing just 5 more points to clinch become champions.
While Jurgen Klopp’s men had more of the ball, Everton had the clearest chances with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies going close with the latter’s effort rebounding off the post late on.
Klopp rested Mo Salah for Takumi Minamino and while the Japanese forward tried his best, he didn’t quite have the Egyptian’s incisive play and goal threat with a Joel Matip header which went wide the closest the Reds came to a goal in a drab first half.
Liverpool dominated possession in the second half but it was Everton who looked the likelier to score on the counter.
In the 236th Merseyside derby between these two sworn rivals, Everton were keen not to lose while Liverpool looked three months rusty, resulting in just a few chances created in the opening 45 minutes.
Brazilian forward Richarlison fired over when well-placed on the hour mark and the hosts nearly had the ball in the net twenty minutes later.
Calvert-Lewin’s shot was saved by Allison and Davies’ follow up struck the foot of the post as Everton nearly snatched the win.
In the end, both sides settled for the draw with Liverpool content to extend their lead over Manchester City to 23 points and safe in the knowledge that the title is within reach.
Everton, meanwhile, remain in the bottom-half in 12th-place.