The image of Seamus Coleman and Duncan Ferguson embracing at full-time at Anfield on Saturday night will go down as one of the abiding images of this Premier League season. The Irish captain was the only surviving member of the Everton squad from their last Merseyside Derby victory in 2010. It had been 1999 since the club had last beaten Liverpool on their own ground. It was a long journey.
Coleman's leadership was lauded after the game. The 32-year-old has been in and out of the starting lineup this season, but his role as Everton captain has been very much to the fore. His post-match interview was full of emotion and conveyed what the win meant to the blue half of Liverpool.
His performance on the pitch was also praised but perhaps not given as much airtime. That Everton kept Liverpool to very few chances and kept a clean sheet justified his selection. The image of his missed diving header in the first half will have been most viewer's main memory of Coleman's performance though.
Last night on Monday Night Football, Jamie Carragher, who also played in that 2010 game, analysed just exactly why Coleman's performance was so good, and how he stifled the attacking threat of Andrew Robertson. His selection, as a wing back come right sided midfielder was a stroke of genius from Carlo Ancelotti was right lauded by the Sky Sports pundit last night.
"Everton 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 get the derby right emotionally"@Carra23 looks at how Carlo Ancelotti won Everton the Merseyside Derby on Saturday with his defensive shape
📺 Watch #MNF live on Sky Sports PL now pic.twitter.com/WtBe7OnKUO
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 22, 2021
It's not the first time Coleman has put in a big shift against Everton's neighbours recently. He was awarded man of the match in the 0-0 draw between the two sides at Goodison Park in June on the Premier League's return from lockdown, marking Sadio Mané out of the game on that occasion.
Importantly for Ireland and Stephen Kenny, the performances of Coleman for Everton recently show that while he may be lacking some of the attacking spark of old, he is still the man for the big occasion. With Ireland's serious issues and centre-back and the uncertain form of Matt Doherty, surely we'll see the Ireland captain back in the team come the World Cup Qualifying campaign in March.