Brendan Rodgers seeing Liverpool improvements after Everton draw

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool were unfortunate to come away with only a point from their 1-1 draw with Everton in Sunday's Merseyside derby as he vowed his side are slowly but surely improving.

After a promising first 45 minutes, Danny Ings handed them the advantage four minutes before the break after lacklustre marking left him in space at a corner and he gratefully headed in his third goal in four games.

But Everton produced an excellent response as Romelu Lukaku pounced upon a poor clearance in the Liverpool box before drilling low past compatriot Simon Mignolet to restore parity at the interval.

Neither side could find the third goal of the game at Goodison Park as each side came away with a point to show for their efforts and Rodgers said they were the "much better" team in the first half.

He added that they had a "couple of opportunities" before "deservingly" hitting the front through Ings and suggested they could have been "one or two more in front" just before half time.

On Lukaku's goal, he acknowledged that it was "disappointing" one to concede and a said "little bit of luck" went against them as the Belgian equalised.

He said that Emre Can made "good contact" on Gerard Deulofeu's cross and said "probably nine times out of 10" that it would have gone out for a throw-in, but it hit Martin Skrtel and deflected off of Mamadou Sakho to fall for Lukaku, who he say took the shot well.

The Northern Irishman admitted that they had to show their "defensive quality" after Everton came out looking to get at them. He said his side were "very good" defensively and looked "a threat on the counter-attack" - explaining that he was pleased with the overall performance, with the players having "worked very well."

Rodgers' side had to dig in and defend deep late into the second half and were fortunate not to see Martin Atkinson dish out a second yellow to midfielder Joe Allen, who escaped punishment for a cynical foul after having been booked earlier on in the game.

He confirmed that he "didn't want" Lucas to get sent off but admitted, with the intensity of the rivalry, "sometimes it can happen" and said he wanted to avoid finishing the match with just 10 men.

He added that the Reds were "playing well" and had "good players on the bench to bring on" as he replaced the Brazilian with Joe Allen, before switching Danny Ings for Adam Lallana later in the game.

Reds slowly improving with each game, says boss

The result meant that Liverpool have only won one of their last six games in all competitions, a penalty shoot-out victory over Carlisle United aside, but Rodgers believes his side are slowly making improvements.

The Reds boss said they had began to look like a "cohesive unit" at the start of the season after losing their defensive solidity and their mentality late on in the previous campaign.

But despite keeping clean sheets and looking cohesive at the back, he said they "weren't the attacking threat" they wanted to be and said that they are "coming together more as a unit" since those back-to-back opening wins.

Rodgers added that they are "becoming better" with each game after they "lacked creativity" - but stated that they need to find the balance to be "more offensive" whilst staying balanced tactically at the back.

The manager insisted that they will have "made enough improvements" to meet the levels they expect by the end of the season, given the "tough fixture list" so early on in the season.

He pinpointed the Manchester United loss as a game where they were "disappointing" but said elsewhere they have "looked solid and looked a threat" and vowed that if they can cut out their mistakes at the back, they can progress and make improvements over time.