It had been reported by The Mail in the lead up to the weekend that James McCarthy was almost certain to miss the Merseyside derby.
Fortunately for Everton, the claims were wrong, with the midfielder playing a crucial role in keeping an in-form Liverpool team to a goalless draw.
McCarthy played all 90 minutes, and won more tackles (6) than he has done in any Premier League game he has played this season.
|Match||Won Tackles||Mins Played|
|James McCarthy||Everton vs Liverpool||6||90|
|James McCarthy||Liverpool vs Everton||5||90|
|James McCarthy||Leicester vs Everton||3||90|
|James McCarthy||Everton vs Swansea||3||90|
|James McCarthy||Sunderland vs Everton||3||90|
It is perhaps no coincidence that the 24-year-old's second highest tackling display of 2014/15 came in the previous Merseyside derby, when he won five.
He has been affected by injuries this season, this was the first game he had played since the turn of the year, but has still made 14 Premier League appearances.
The competitive nature of the derby matches brings out the best in his own game, and Everton need to see more of that between now and the end of the season if he can stay fit.
While booked in the draw, he also made five clearances and still completed 92.3 per cent of his passes, more than any other Everton midfielder or attacker.