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 FA Premiership (23); Anfield, Liverpool; Saturday 31 January 2004; 3:00pm
   
 
 
Attendance: 44,056
Halftime: 0-0

Facts
Reports



Referee: Steve Bennett
 

Match Critique

This match will probably win the plaudits as a wonderful classic derby that had everything, but in truth it was dreadful stuff at times from Everton.  The second-half statistics say it all: just 27% of the possession against 73% conceded to Liverpool with some of the most abject football displayed by the likes of Gravesen, Radzinski, and yes even Rooney.

Theres something called the first touch in football, but David Moyes cannot be giving his players any guidance or training in this vital area.  Time and again, promising situations were spurned by the most horrendous first touch imaginable.  There was only one occasion when the first touch of a player in a blue shirt impressed: a long looping ball came in to Nyarko and it was instantly on his toe without even a bounce.  The rest of the time, it was like watching pinball.

Possession.  Football is all about possession and how a team goes about using it.  At least without lumper Unsworth, the deep hopeful balls to the towering Ferguson were less prevalent than one would expect, but even they almost always bounced off the Big Yin in a random pattern that presented a creditable impression of nuclear collisions in a cloud chamber.

Possession going forward on the break?  Dont even go there!  Evertons forward movement completely lacked confidence, such that wonderful opportunities to run at the fragile Liverpool defence were given up in the must frustrating way, with Gravesen dithering, fumbling, and most heinous of all playing the ball backwards, giving the Liverpool defence even more time to shape up their defensive blockade.

Evertonians will point to referee Bennett and claim as ever We wuz robbed", but in truth the claims were marginal at best, and were evened out by remarkable generosity to Everton in corresponding circumstances.  Everton fans were livid when Radzinski appeared to be clipped from behind by Hyppia as he was running on to a golden chance, but Bennett was dead right when he judged the contact minimal at best, as Radzinski lightly skipped in front of the big man and then collapsed as he ran over Hyppias leading leg.  It was never a free kick, let alone a red card for tackling the last man: there was absolutely no intent from Hyppia.

Gerrard had a ball clip his hand in the area, but so did Stubbs and Gravesen: these dubious calls are best not given in the interest of the game.  Amazingly, Ferguson once wrestled Hyppia to the ground in the Everton area, and got away Scot-free (pun intended).  Despite a number of verbal dressings down from Steve Bennett, his name surprisingly stayed out of the notebook.

And when Everton are given free-kicks, their utilization of them as chances to score is at best unimaginative.  Why are we so utterly incapable of scoring from these?  Yes sometimes once in a hundred years a Stubbs piledriver will get through, but this one was hit so straight and true that it was no problem at all for Dudek.  Wheres the guile and skill we see from so many other Premiership players who can bend these like Beckham?

Everton need to play football in order to win games like this: that is something they palpably failed to do.  Compare the corners from that idiot Gravesen.  One near the end was ballooned goonishly over the entire assembly waiting in the penalty area, bouncing near the other corner flag and going out for a throw-in!  Utterly atrocious from a professional footballer.  Contrast that with Gerrard, whose fantastic corners were world-class fearsome low-trajectory in-swingers delivered with tremendous pace directly on to the heads of the incoming strikers.  Watch and learn, Gravesen, you complete waste of space (Oh, sorry... "Best in Europe"...).

How Everton survived some of the Liverpool attacks was equally amazing.  For the last 20 minutes, it was total abrogation of attacking intent by the Everton team, who seemed to be almost deliberately surrendering the ball to the Red Horde, such was the lack of confidence, commitment and, yes passion going forward.

There was only one Everton player who emerged from this typically frenetic scrap with any credit, and that was Nigel Martyn.  Time and again he was called upon to do his job as the last line of defence, and he was immense.  Superb full-length saves; point-blank blocks from lightening headers; critical tip-overs after advancing well to narrow the angle; and a remarkable change of direction to block away a deflected shot that was an almost certain goal.

Perhaps the most critical of these saves came mid-way through a pulsating/frustrating first half, when Gerrard had rounded the static Everton defence and fired in, only for Martyn to deflect the shot onto his post and away.  And, on the one occasion when he was beaten, there was Tony Hibbert positioned perfectly for one of those wicked Liverpool corners to head crucially off the line.

Liverpool had the better chances and spurned them too.  But what do we care about them?  We must care more about the half-chances that again went begging for Everton, not as many as in recent games, but equally criminal in their profligacy perhaps more so given the final scoreline.  Radzinski, his touch pathetic when running onto a bouncing ball in front of Dudek; Rooney waltzing through the Liverpool defence only to poke a glorious one horrendously off-target. And Ferguson, unmarked in front of goal, unable to give enough direction to a glancing header that would have won the game for us. 

This was, once again, an eminently winnable game.  Yes, a point at Anfield is creditworthy but, when you watch the paucity of play from Everton, you know that a little bit of improvement in some very basic areas of footballing skill would have surely seen us win this one in the end.  Hugely disappointing, to paraphrase Mr Walter Smith.

Michael Kenrick
 


Duncan Ferguson: Is he the "something different"?  Or the same old same-old...


Liverpool v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Overall  
 Liverpool 35
 Everton 23
 Draws 26
 Premiership  
 Liverpool 4
 Everton 2
 Draws 5
 Last Season:

Liverpool 0-0 Everton 



Premiership Scores
Saturday 31 Jan 2004
Man Utd 3-2 Southampton
Portsmouth 0-0 Wolves
Birmingham 1-1 Newcastle
Charlton 1-2 Bolton
Fulham 2-1 Tottenham
Leeds 0-3 Middlesbro
Leicester 0-5 Aston Villa
Liverpool 0-0 Everton
Sunday 1 Feb 2004
Blackburn 2-3 Chelsea
Arsenal 2-1 Man City
 

Match Facts
 Liverpool  (4-4-2)
 Red shirts, red shorts, red socks
Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks
  Dudek
Finnan
Henchoz
Hyypia
Carragher
Cheyrou
Hamann
Gerrard {c}
Kewell
Le Tallec
Owen

Subs not used: Luzi, Murphy,
Riise, Traore, Biscan


Yellow Cards: 

Red Cards:
Martyn
Hibbert
Stubbs {c}
Pistone
Naysmith
Rooney (78' Watson)
Gravesen
Nyarko (59' Carsley)
Kilbane
Radzinski (73' Jeffers)
Ferguson

Subs not used: Simonsen,
Clarke

Yellow Cards:
Gravesen (36')

Red Cards:


Unavailable:

(African Nations Cup:) Yobo
(On Loan:) [Chadwick], O'Hanlon, Osman
(Injured:) Chadwick, Weir, Wright
 
Match Reports

2003-04 Match Reports Index


Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary
EvertonFC.com Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Lyndon Lloyd Majestic Martyn earns a share....
Links to Other Media Reports
BBC Sport Match Report
4 the Game Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 55
2 Man Utd 53
3 Chelsea 49
4 Charlton 37
5 Liverpool 34
6 Newcastle 34
7 Fulham 34
8 Bolton 32
9 Birmingham 31
10 Southampton 30
11 Aston Villa 30
12 Middlesbrough 28
13 Tottenham 27
14 Everton 25
15 Man City 23
16 Blackburn 23
17 Portsmouth 23
18 Leicester 20
19 Wolves 20
20 Leeds 17
After 2 Feb 2004


Match Preview

When you are relieved by a last-minute equalizer at home to a no-mark side that has just lost its best player, you know that things are not going too well.  Never mind; just look forward to garnering some points from your next couple of games Liverpool away and United at home great!

Considering the overall positive impact that Moyes has had since his arrival, it is interesting to note that, excluding Arsenal, Everton's results against the top sides since Moyes took over have been awful!  Three games against Liverpool have given us 1 point the last meeting an excruciating 3-0 home defeat.  Three games against United have seen 3 defeats (including another 3-0 home defeat); and 4 games against Chelsea have seen 4 defeats - including 3-1 and 4-1 defeats.  A win and a draw against Arsenal looks slightly out of place.

Given that background, it is hard to be confident facing the forthcoming fixture at Anfield.  You can add to that the injuries to Ferguson (he never passes late fitness tests) and Unsworth (he never goes off injured if it's not serious) that are threatening their involvement, together with the injuries or otherwise non-availability of Weir and Yobo, and lack of match fitness of Watson I must admit to a degree of trepidation!

Despite recent hiccups away to Tottenham and Wolves, Liverpool seem to be running into some dangerous form.  Their second-half showing against Newcastle was as good as I have seen them all season; obviously the return to the starting line up of Hamann, Gerrard, Kewell and Owen means that their first 11 are a match for anyone a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge underlines this.

However, they have shown serious failings this season; most noticeably at the back where injuries and the playing of Igor Biscan has revealed cracks.  Whilst the return of the Hyppia/Henchoz axis and Jamie Carragher has seen improvement, they are still susceptible to pace through the middle and that really is where we need to hurt them.  The questionable form of Dudek also gives us some hope.

Radz hasn't been scoring freely recently but like the rest of the side his performances have been better than the results and goal output suggest.  Against Fulham he was excellent and if we could give him a run against Hyppia he would cause trouble.

Midfield, however. as always in a derby will be key; Gravesen MUST live up to Moyes's billing as one of the best in Europe.  With Nyarko alongside him, he has a quality player to grant him support.  How the rest of the midfield lines up will be very interesting as Moyes has recently just played three in midfield, bringing Kilbane in tighter and thrusting Rooney forward.

A trip to Anfield may see the front three disrupted, with the likes of Carsley (or possibly Watson) brought in on the right to help cover the very attacking middle trio for Liverpool of Cheyrou, Smicer and Kewell.  They are, however, narrow which affords a degree of comfort to Stubbs and partner (Clarke? Pistone?), who should be able to stay tight together with tucked-in fullbacks to help minimise the space that Owen has to exploit.  When Liverpool add width to this team, they will be formidable.

Staying tight and denying space is essential.  A front two has to be the way to go as three strikers will leave us open to counter-attacks.  Liverpool's attacking threats are too many and pacey to expect our reserve backline to hold them off.

Upfront for us (we will have to score), we  will be dependent on Ferguson.  If fit (latest news from the Echo actually suggests he will be) then I would think him and Radzinski most likely to start with Rooney and Jeffers held on the bench.  If unfit, then you may even see Campbell play as we need someone to hold the ball up.

It will be a scrap, as always, but we know that we are actually playing well.  Personally I think we need 90 from the Big Man and 30 from the Boy Wonder and a touch of luck!

1-1

Please!

BlueForEver

Lee Doyle

Matchday Stats

This will be the 199th meeting between Everton and Liverpool in all competitions, and the 90th at Anfield.  This will also be the 24th meeting between the sides in the Premier League, and the 12th at Anfield.  The match will also extend the series as the most played derby fixture in English League football and third most played derby fixture in Britain behind the Glasgow and Edinburgh derbies.

Everton's full record against Liverpool is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

23

6

9

8

24

27

'Old' Division One

146

48

44

54

181

203

FA Cup

20

6

5

9

24

34

League Cup

4

1

1

2

1

2

FA Charity Shield

3

1

1

1

2

2

Screen Sport Super Cup

2

0

0

2

2

7

TOTALS:

198

62

60

76

234

275

Our record at Anfield against Liverpool is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

11

2

5

4

10

13

'Old' Division One

73

21

21

31

88

116

FA Cup

3

0

3

0

3

3

League Cup

1

1

0

0

1

0

Screen Sport Super Cup

1

0

0

1

1

3

TOTALS:

89

24

29

36

103

135

The last match between the two sides was the fourth league game of this season when Liverpool won 3-0 at Goodison Park.  Everton have gone 8 derby matches without a victory which was, incidentally, the last victory at Anfield when a Kevin Campbell goal gave Everton a 1-0 victory.  This was the same match that saw Francis Jeffers, Sander Westerveld and Steven Gerrard sent off.

Everton's biggest victory at Anfield against Liverpool was 5-0 in Division One on 3 October 1914.  Our biggest defeat at Liverpool was a 6-0 reversal on 7 September 1935.  One match that does stand out in the series, and is also, the largest aggregate score, was on 11 February 1933, when the teams shared 11 goals and resulted in Liverpool winning 7-4!

The most common margin of victory at Liverpool is 2-1.  The most common draw is 0-0 with Liverpool's most common victory being 3-1.

Everton's record for 31 January is:

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

Premier League

2

0

2

0

4

4

'Old' Division One

6

3

1

2

8

6

'Old' Division Two

1

1

0

0

4

2

FA Cup

7

5

2

0

14

4

TOTALS:

16

9

5

2

30

16

This will be the first meeting between the two sides on this date.  Everton's last Premiership match on this date was in 2001 when we drew 2-2 with Middlesbrough at Goodison Park.

Milestones that can be reached in this game:

  • If Thomas Gravesen starts it will be his 100th League start for Everton, and he will become the 143rd Everton player to reach that personal milestone.


Majestic Martyn earns share of derby spoils

David Moyes promised "something different" for this, the 170th league Merseyside match-up and, while his team did finally put in a display worthy of a derby and stopped Liverpool's winning streak in its tracks, the Blues were no different in front of goal than they have been in recent weeks.  Once again they were left to count the cost of missed chances that could have earned the three points and local bragging rights that Nigel Martyn's superb display deserved.

The 37-year-old defied his years with a series of stunning saves that preserved a goalless scoreline Everton were less worthy of as the game went on.  While they defended more and more deeply in the second half, Martyn had to be at his best to keep the home side at bay exemplified in the 84th minute when, wrong-footed by a deflection to Jamie Carragher's shot off Tony Hibbert, the former Leeds 'keeper managed to stretch his foot back far enough to divert the ball up and over the bar.  It was the last of a number of crucial stops for which his manager and teammates should be grateful.

With David Unsworth sidelined by a back injury and Peter Clarke lacking experience at the top level, Alessandro Pistone was drafted into central defence alongside Alan Stubbs, flanked by Gary Naysmith and Tony Hibbert.

In the middle, Wayne Rooney was again employed on the right wing despite little success there in a starting role so far this season, accompanied by Thomas Gravesen, Alex Nyarko and Kevin Kilbane.  Nyarko was a surprise choice and by half-time it was clear that he was the weakest link but Moyes waited until the 53rd minute before replacing him with the more combative Lee Carsley.  Stranger still: Everton were even less purposeful without the Ghanaian, although by that stage the strategy had visibly shifted to protecting the point.

Up front, Tomasz Radzinski was again partnered with Duncan Ferguson but neither had particularly good games and the Big Yin will hopefully be ruing a missed header from six yards out that he really should have buried.

The game started in characteristically bright fashion but it was Liverpool who made the early running, threatening in the Blues' area a number of times before Everton found their feet and did some pressing of their own, leading to a surprisingly long throw by Gravesen that Ferguson, sandwiched between two defenders, couldn't reach and evaded Radzinski who was beaten by the high bounce.

In the seventh minute, though, Martyn was called upon to make his first acrobatic save of the afternoon, arching across his goal to push way Dietmar Hamann's impressive half-volley.

Nyarko, who was not thinking or reacting near quickly enough for a derby, had a snapshot from 30 yards that Jerzy Dudek saved comfortably before Radzinski was put through by a Sammi Hyppia error but a poor — practically non-existent — first touch meant that the chance evaporated as quickly as it had arrived.

Two minutes later came Everton's best chance of the game.  Gravesen jinked his way artfully all the way through until he was one-on-one with Dudek but the 'keeper saved well with his legs from point-blank range.  The Dane had had two options to his right but with a defender in attendance he was probably right to go for goal himself despite Rooney's protests.

At the other end Liverpool effected a series of sweeping moves that twice ended with Steven Gerrard but his first effort flew narrowly wide and his second was tipped over brilliantly by Martyn when he was clean through on goal.

In between, Radzinski's heels appeared to be clipped by Hyppia who, as the last man, was a candidate for a red card but referee Bennett was probably right not to take any action.

If the officials had missed anything untoward in that incident, they repeated the feat a few minutes later at the other when Ferguson recklessly hauled Hyppia down in the area but, again, play went on.

Eight minutes before half-time, what was arguably Liverpool's best chance came and was denied by a miraculous one-handed save by Martyn who palmed Gerrard's close-range shot onto the post and to safety.

Three minutes after that, Stubbs inexplicably left a through-ball which almost let in Le Tallec but Pistone saved him with a good clearance.

Back down the other end, Ferguson was picked out for a free header by a lovely floated cross from Rooney but the Big Yin glanced it harmlessly wide before Stubbs connected with a free kick and powered a header that was palmed over by Dudek.

Goalless at the interval but it could have been 3-2 to the Blues.

And yet another gilt-edged chance was spurned a couple of minutes into the second half.  Rooney battled his way past three defenders but his right-footed finish was poor with just Dudek to beat

From that point on, a fairly tame Stubbs free kick aside, all the promising moments belonged to the home side as the Blues retreated frustratingly into a siege mentality and set their stall out for earning a draw.

Gerrard screwed a shot inches wide of the post; Cheyrou then duplicated Duncan Ferguson's miss by nodding a free header wide from 8 yards; Owen screwed an effort across the face of the goal; and Le Tallec met a Carragher corner with a strong header that Hibbert thankfully headed off the line.

In between, Radzinski was removed for Jeffers and Watson came on for Rooney but neither made much impact given Everton's embarrassing possession statistics in the second half.

The last moment of excitement came in the 90th minute when Hibbert headed narrowly over his own bar as Liverpool pressed for the final time as the game petered out to an entertaining but ultimately disappointing goalless draw.

Moyes will no doubt have been encouraged by another impressive and committed display by Kevin Kilbane and, of course, Nigel Martyn whose current form makes him the pick of the deadline-day signings so far.

Pistone and Stubbs coped well enough at the back and Hibbert, while his distribution was again poor, made some crucial interventions where it counted in defence.  Naysmith was largely anonymous, Ferguson mostly disinterested, Radzinski unfortunately ineffective, and Gravesen again exhibited both Jekyll and Hyde, disappearing for large parts of the second half.

We have to bear in mind that, while we certainly showed we had what it takes to win the game while we were in an attacking mood, we would have taken a point before the game given our current injuries, recent form, and recent record against Liverpool.

Lyndon Lloyd

 


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