Ever Banega produced a playmaking masterclass that Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso or Toni Kroos would have been proud of on Tuesday.
With Liverpool 3-0 up and cruising in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla’s Argentine mastermind emerged from the tunnel after the interval a man transformed. Banega ran the show from the centre of the park, touching the ball more times in the first 18 minutes of the second-half than the entire Liverpool team.
A glorious passer and a prodigiously hard-working player out of possession too, Banega made Jordan Henderson look like a Sunday league player who had won a competition to step foot on Champions League turf. By 96 minutes, Sevilla had pulled the score back to 3-3 and Banega was the toast of the town.
But Liverpool should not the only Merseyside giant rueing Banega’s superlative display. Its eight years since the former Valencia star was first linked with Everton – but the Daily Mail report that David Moyes’ side missed out on the transfer deadline day of 2009.
And with Serie A giants Inter Milan willing to sell the diminutive schemer this summer after a difficult debut season at the San Siro, Tuttomercatoweb report that Everton turned down the chance to finally bring one of Europe’s most underrated midfielders to Goodison Park this summer.
Instead, Banega returned to his former club Sevilla for a fee of just £8.1 million – a third of the price it cost Everton to bring Davy Klaassen to Goodison Park. And based on how Twitter reacted to Banega’s masterful display against Liverpool, Merseyside may be united in frustration.
That Banega is some player tho. Everything I wish Jordan Henderson was. A central player who dictates the game with actual purpose— Michael Flanagan (@flanners85) November 21, 2017
What a break..— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) November 21, 2017
Did everything right. Banega is an incredible footballer.
Any Red Devils that remember us being linked with Ever Banega?.. didn’t know that he was still class. Was outstanding yesterday.— All For United (@allforunited) November 22, 2017
Banega ran that game. And I don’t think for 1 second anyone in the #lfc set up thought-hmm we should try and stop him. Rookies— Rich (@R1chJ) November 21, 2017
Berizzo’s changes were impressive, but everything stemmed from Banega. When he decides it’s time to play, the game changes.— David Cartlidge (@davidjaca) November 21, 2017
Éver Banega was absolutely tremendous tonight.— Marcus (@MarcusBr22) November 21, 2017
Man of the match.