Abdoulaye Doucoure was lucky to not let Carlo Ancelotti down as Everton recorded a historic 2-0 win at Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday evening.
The Toffees had not won away to their Stanley Park neighbours in 22-years and were winless in more than a decade, with the Reds victorious in 11 of the previous 23 meetings across all competitions.
Goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson in either half ensured the Blues won on this occasion. After just three minutes and the Iceland international converting from the spot with seven minutes left of the second period, the Brazilian broke the deadlock.
Everton rarely dominated proceedings at Anfield and ended the match with just 29% of the possession, far below their average 47.6% share for the Premier League season, which rises to 47.7% when away from Goodison Park, per WhoScored.
Doucoure played a key role in Liverpool being able to stay on the ball for large periods of the match, with the Frenchman often wasteful in possession and frequently unable to win possession back.
Andre Gomes also endured his troubles in the Merseyside Derby and was, at times, a red card waiting to happen in the first half. The former FC Barcelona maestro was additionally pickpocketed by Thiago Alcantara 25-yards from goal early in the second period, though Roberto Firmino could only provide a weak finish to leave Jordan Pickford untested.
Gomes was eventually replaced by Sigurdsson a quarter of an hour into the second half, leaving Doucoure to carry the unwanted honour of being carried by his teammates after an often-uninspiring performance from Everton’s £20m summer capture.
Doucoure has been lauded for his efforts since joining the Blues from Watford in September, with former Toffees striker Kevin Campbell describing the £75k-per-week enforcer as “one of the most underrated players in the Premier League”.
Saturday’s outing was Doucoure’s 28th for Everton across all competitions, starting all 23 of his Premier League appearances and playing the full 90 minutes for the 18th time.
However, it returned his third-worst SofaScore match rating for the Blues at 6.3 out of 10, only at home to Manchester City on Wednesday night (6.0) and against Leeds United (6.2) in November has the 28-year-old performed worse.
Doucoure scored so lowly against Liverpool that only Gomes (5.9) was marked worse among those who started for the visitors, yet his performance was actually inferior to the Portuguese’s thanks partly to a worse pass success rating (81% to 87%).
The ex-Hornets star additionally only made one further accurate pass (21) than Gomes (20), despite featuring for 31 minutes extra. Doucoure averages an 86% success rate in the Premier League this season, the same as Gomes, who outperformed his standards at Anfield.
Both were poor in the duel, with Doucoure winning four of 13 ground contests for a 23% success rate while Gomes won just one of eight for a 12.5% success rate.
Gomes was also dribbled past thrice while Doucoure was beaten on the ground four times to see that both were lucky to not let Ancelotti down as Everton registered a rare win over the Reds.
Had Doucoure been on a yellow card instead of Gomes, it would not have been a surprise if his number was the one to have been shown for Sigurdsson’s second-half introduction.
AND in other news, Everton face a £35m asking price to land Carlo Ancelotti’s 21-year-old target…