|Venue: Anfield, Liverpool||Premiership||Sunday 20 March 2005; 4:05pm|
Baros (sent off: 77')
|Half Time: 2-0
|Attendance: 44,224||(Fixture 30)||Referee: Rob Styles|
James Beattie returned from a three-match suspension to a place on the bench but Mikel Arteta was not fit to play, so Yobo moved into midfield.
Liverpool dominated the early possession, winning three corners inside the first five minutes. And the ominous contrasts were visible from the start, with Gerrard diving in at every opportunity while Everton were slow to the ball and unable to retain possession.
Everton settled more over the next ten minutes and finally created something resembling an attack in the 18th minute. But Carsley's delivery of a wide free-kick was shamefully over-hit, with Dudek criminally untested.
Warnock was forced off for the home side, with Nunez replacing him. Hibbert caught Garcia's shin right on the edge of the area and Styles had no option but to award a threatening free-kick 19 yards from goal. Everton's fierce protestations of a dive were futile as Gerrard slotted it home easily off a few Everton heels to give the kopites the lead. Sadly for Everton, it was fully deserved based on the balance of play.
Then a ridiculous sequence of football from Everton, with Pistone twice hoofing the ball forward aimlessly; on the second clearance Morrientes fired in a fantastic shot that Martyn, back-pedalling, could only push it onto the bar, allowing Garcia to head home the rebound with ease. The half was turning into target practice for Liverpool, with 10 goal attempts to Everton's none.
Hamman then overstretched challenging Carsley and was forced off, to be replaced by Biscan after Weir got the first card for a challenge on Garcia. Yobo then went in the book for shirt-tugging as the atmosphere intensified. Morrientes went off injured and Liverpool were forced into a third substitution before half-time; then Garcia crumbled under pressure from Osman.
Osman was the third Everton name in the book during a frenetic period up to half time. On 47 mins, Cahill won a key free-kick on the edge of the area, but Carsley's valiant effort curled a foot wide with Dudek transfixed.
Beattie came on for the second half, an appropriate response from David Moyes to the half-time scoreline, replacing Yobo. But as Everton rallied, Stubbs stood on the ball, allowing Baros to run at Martyn. Only Hibbert was superb, scampering across to swipe the ball off Baros's foot. Fantastic defending. Bent then gave way to Ferguson, the last option, with little more than half-an-hour to pull off a miracle. Based on Everton's first corner (on 58 mins), which was an absolute joke, it was never going to happen.
Beattie had been completely ineffective since coming on ? had he even had a touch? ? and was trying to get the same balls as Ferguson! Biscan got away with a solid elbow in Carsley's face as Everton struggled to do anything worthwhile with their limited possession in the oppressive cauldron of a packed Anfield.
Baros again got away one-on-one with Martyn who went down early but stretched out a leg and deflected the ball wide with the last stud on his boot! Everton were once again on the rack after 15 minutes approaching parity that yielded only Everton's second goal attempt after all of 71 minutes, Cahill firing weakly at Dudek.
On 77 mins, Baros dived in on with an utterly atrocious studded Exocet at Stubbs's knee and was instantly dismissed by Rob Styles, reducing Liverpool to 10 men (9? with Garcia struggling). And with 9 mins left, Ferguson finally got on the end of a decent ball, laying one off for Tim Cahill, who's superb first-time half-volley from 16 yards out flew inside Dudek's post. On came Watson in place of Pistone for the last 5 mins or so...
Hibbert was the fourth Everton player booked for a poor block on Smicer while time ticked away, as Everton had finally started playing some proper football. But it was all too little, too late as time finally ran out. No doubt there will be plaudits for Everton's second-half fight-back, but the lesson here is simple: Everton's season will amount for nothing if they don't start playing a lot more half-decent football a lot earlier in thes vital games.
Hard to refute any claim that the bubble has finally burst, Everton having now lost four of their last five games. But they continue to cling tenaciously to fourth place in the Premiership...
The Merseyside derby has always been a massive game. It may have gone through a spell a few years back where it was shunned by Sky for live coverage, but for the people of the city of Liverpool it has always been one of the biggest — if not the biggest — fixtures on the calendar, perhaps more so for Evertonians who have had precious little else to shout about since the inception of the Premier League.
This one, of course, is very different. Perhaps for the first time since 1987, a league derby actually means something significant. The chase for the fourth and final Champions League slot is racing into the final straight and with Everton in pole position, Liverpool will be hoping to get within striking distance of their resurgent neighbours with victory at Anfield.
David Moyes has other plans. After watching his side visibly falter since Christmas, he will be looking to execute one final push to secure that precious fourth-place berth and do something that no manager has managed in 20 years: guide an Everton team to the double over Liverpool.
It's ironic that Liverpool can render this match redundant in terms of the history books by winning the very competition they are trying to qualify for again next season. If the reds somehow win the Champions League this season, it is almost a given that they will defend that title next year even if they don't finish fourth. Everton must banish that thought from their minds as they prepare for the biggest game of their already impressive season.
Blackburn Rovers have done much to upset the apple cart in the last fortnight, unexpectedly beating the Blues at Goodison two weeks ago and stifling the reds at Anfield midweek in a dull 0-0 draw. Both teams will be looking to bounce back from those disappointing results but for Liverpool it means that the gap between themselves and Everton is seven points.
That may seem like a lot, but with nine games left to play and 27 points to play for, seven could prove to be a very small number indeed. Much depends on how much Everton are able to hold their nerve and how great a toll injuries will take between now and the end of the campaign.
James Beattie is likely to be thrown straight back into the starting line-up for Everton after three games out serving a suspension, during which time he has undergone the rigorous Moyes fitness regime and will hopefully be approaching the level of match readiness his manager expects. It means that the ever-industrious Marcus Bent will be demoted to the bench but he has been remarkably effective coming on as a substitute sinc ethe turn of the year so that may work in the Blues' favour, particularly if Beattie's sharpness has returned.
At the back, Alan Stubbs is available once more and it would not be a surprise to see him return to the side at the expense of David Weir or Joseph Yobo, although my personal feeling is that he will err on the side of Yobo's pace over Weir's experience.
Midfield is where Moyes's biggest worry lies, namely the fitness or possible lack thereof of Mikel Arteta. Having emerged as a credible replacement for the inspiration of Thomas Gravesen, the Spaniard was injured 25 minutes into the Blackburn game and was sorely missed. The derby is a frenetic and occasionally ferocious occasion but Arteta's assured demeanour and incisive passing will be needed nevertheless.
Tim Cahill and Leon Osman, two players who were strangely muted in the Blues' last outing, will also be key to Everton's chances, as will Lee Carsley in the midfield holding role as Moyes tries to choke Liverpool's creativity in the middle of the park. The strategy that worked so well for Mark Hughes on Wednesday is the same system has employed all season log since he discovered the 4-5-1 system back in August against Manchester United. Expect Everton to set their stall out not to lose and hope to nick the all-important goal in the second half.
Of course, while avoiding defeat and preventing Liverpool from gaining any ground in the table is one target, the threat posed by Charlton Athletic and Bolton Wanderers in particular can't be ignored. The Addicks stumbled in surprising fashion against West Brom but the Trotters did enough to overcome a very poor Norwich performance to leapfrog Liverpool into fifth and sit five points behind Everton after the Saturday programme.
These are important times for the club and the reward on offer could barely be greater. The prospect of Champions League football at Goodison Park was ludicrous seven months ago and yet here Everton are with fourth place in the Premiership there for the taking. All it will require is the desire and the focus for nine more games starting in the biggest of them all against the team most lilkely to take those dreams away from them.
It doesn't get much bigger than this. Come on, you Blues!
This will be the 201st meeting between Everton and Liverpool in all competitions, and the 91st at Anfield.
Everton's full record against Liverpool is:
Our record at Anfield (against Liverpool) is:
As we know, Everton once played at Anfield (although it was known as Walton Breck Road in those days) and our record at the ground including these games is:
The last match between the sides was earlier this season on 11 December when a second-half Lee Carsley strike ensured David Moyes?s first derby victory as Everton manager with a 1-0 win. The last match against Liverpool at Anfield was on 31 January 2004 when the sides drew 0-0.
There have been 4 Everton hat-tricks against Liverpool. The last was on 19 September 1931 when Bill Dean got three at Anfield in a 3-1 victory. In fact, three of the four hat-tricks have been scored at Anfield. The only Everton player to score a hat-trick at Goodison Park in a derby match was Alex ?Sandy? Young who scored 4 goals in Everton?s 5-2 victory on 1 April 1904.
The most common victory for Everton is 1-0 which has happened 19 times in Everton's 63 victories. Liverpool?s most common victory over Everton is 3-1, which has happened 18 times in their 76 victories. The most common draw between the sides is 0-0, which has happened 31 times in the 61 draws between the sides.
Everton's record for 20 March is:
This is the fourth meeting between the sides on this day. The first meeting was in 1935, when Liverpool won 2-1 at Anfield with Bill Dean getting Everton?s goal. 53 years later in 1988, the sides met again, this time at Goodison Park, and Wayne Clarke secured not only a 1-0 Everton victory, but also condemned Liverpool to their first defeat of the season. In 1993 the sides met for a third time on this day at Anfield with Liverpool securing the points in a 1-0 victory.
The last match Everton played on this day was last season when Wayne Rooney scored Everton?s only goal of the game at Leicester, which ended 1-1. On that day, Evertonian Brian Murphy was tragically killed after being struck by a piece of flying building debris while walking to the Walkers Stadium.
Terry Curran was born on this day in 1955 in Hemsworth, Yorkshire. Terry had played for seven clubs before Everton signed him on loan from Sheffield United in December 1982. 10 months later in September 1983, Everton signed Terry on a permanent basis for ?95,000. He played 30 times for Everton, scoring his only goal for the club against Luton Town shortly after signing on loan. Despite winning a League Championship medal in 1985, Terry was released by the club in May 1985. He joined Huddersfield Town in July 1985 and ended up playing at 16 different clubs during his 16 years in the game.
Ian Marshall was also born on this day in 1966 in Oxford. Ian joined the club as an apprentice in April 1982, and was a member of the 1984 FA Youth Cup winning side. In March 1984 he signed professional forms with the club and made 24 appearances, as well as scoring 2 goals, before he was sold to Oldham Athletic in March 1988 for ?100,000.
Val Harris was in the Northern Irish side that lost 3-2 to Wales on this day in 1909 along with Bill Lacey and Walter Scott.
Sam Chedgzoy made his first appearance for the Football League representative side on this day in 1915 against the Scottish League, and scored a goal in the Football League?s 4-1 victory, and he then made his second appearance exactly 5 years later in 1920, against the Scottish League again. However, Chedgzoy failed to get on the scoresheet despite the Football League winning 4-0.
Tom Fleetwood was also in the Football League side in the 1915 game
Alan Ball and Brian Labone were both in the Football League side that beat their Scottish League counterparts 2-0 on this day in 1968.
20th March was obviously a favourite for the Football League sides as Bob Latchford made his only representative appearance on this day in 1974 in a 5-0 victory over the Scottish League. However, Bob didn?t get on the scoresheet as he was substituted during the game.
Milestones that can be reached in this game:
? If he comes on as a substitute, Duncan Ferguson will match Danny Cadamarteri's club record of 54 substitute appearances in the league, and would also put him in joint second place with Stuart Barlow for substitute appearances in all competitions with 56 substitute appearances in total (Danny Cadamarteri is in first place on 60 substitute appearances).
In the build-up to this most hyped of derbies, Raphael Benitez claimed that his Liverpool side has more quality and creativity than Everton well it should, he's spent many, many millions to assemble it and, unfortunately, for almost all of a typically tempestuous game, Everton did little to challenge that assertion. The Blues' quest for the Champions League may still be plausible, however, their performances of late have done little but add ammunition to the detractors who view them as misfits in a competition made up of Europe's finest.
This one was little different. Just as against Blackburn Rovers in their last Premiership game, Everton looked bereft of attacking ideas. They regularly gave up possession as hopeful punts to Marcus Bent were easily cleaned up by a Liverpool rearguard enjoying the luxury of an extra man to deal with the striker's pace. And while many expected David Moyes's midfield to stifle their opponent's passing game (as Rovers did at Anfield midweek), the Everton defence was left scrambling to deal with the rampant Milan Baros on numerous occasions.
Moyes kept faith with Bent and started him ahead of James Beattie at the head of the 4-5-1 formation. Mikel Arteta was a hugely missed absentee in the midfield, his vacancy filled awkwardly by Joseph Yobo. Alan Stubbs returned to the defence alongside David Weir but both were under the kosh immediately as Liverpool forced three corners in the first five minutes and camped out in the Blues' half for much of the opening 15 minutes.
The home side had the first goal-bound shot when a well-worked free kick was squared to Steve Gerrard but his drive was blocked by a defender in the 14th minute. Everton wasted their first set-piece when Lee Carsley floated a free kick well over and behind the goal from wide on the right. Back down the other end, Nigel Martyn made a poor connection with a Baros cross but, thankfully, Luis Garcia lobbed harmlessly over.
In between, Liverpool lost the first of three players to injury when Steven Warnock limped off after coming off second-best in a challenge with Tim Cahill but by the 28th minute they were ahead. Tony Hibbert fouled Garcia on the edge of the area and while the fragmented wall stuttered to prevent encroaching, Gerrard placed a side-foot shot wide of Martyn — who saw it late — and the reds were ahead.
Despairingly, it was 2-0 four minutes later. Following another poor Alessandro Pistone clearance, Fernando Morientes smacked a dipping half-volley towards goal; Martyn chose to try and catch it rather than palm it over the bar and when the ball bounced off the woodwork, Garcia was on hand to plant an easy header into the empty net. Anfield was delirious and Everton's chances of getting anything from the game looked lost, even at this early stage.
Indeed, the response from the Blues was virtually non-existent. Instead, their chances were improved by the fact that Liverpool players were dropping like flies with muscle pulls and ligament strains sustained more as a result of the Anfield turf than Evertonian boots. (Three Everton names went into the book during this period but none of those challenges caused the injuries.) First, Morientes had to be withdrawn with a thigh strain; then Dietmar Hamman was substituted with an ankle injury. With over a half to play, Benitez had used all three of his substitutes; his problems intensified when Garcia pulled up with another complaint and was forced to struggle through the rest of the game with a knock.
As the first half ticked into injury time, Carsley was presented with an opportunity to halve the deficit but his free-kick from a wonderful position curled agonisingly the wrong side of the post, missing by all of a foot. Half time: 2-0 to Liverpool and still no sign of a way back for Everton.
Moyes responded by removing the ineffective Yobo and putting Beattie on up-front with Bent. Nothing really changed, however ? expect the number of high balls increased as Blue-shirted players tried to make some advantage of Beattie's height.
Instead, it was Liverpool who almost scored again as a result of a nightmare error by Stubbs who trod on the ball while trying to make a routine turn near the halfway line. As Baros steamed towards goal, Hibbert made a fantastic sliding tackle to divert the ball away for a corner.
Moyes's next move was a questionable one. While it appeared as though the best decision would have been to remove the awful Pistone and throw Ferguson on as an extra attacker, he chose to take off Bent in favour of the big Scot. The result: Everton's strategy now revolved almost exclusively around the long-ball to absolutely no effect ? until late on.
Meanwhile, Baros remained a constant threat, blasting an inch over from 20 yards in the 64th minute and forcing a miracle save from Martyn in another one-on-one situation, the Blues' 'keeper seemingly keeping the ball out with his outermost stud. The Czech striker was to make headlines for the wrong reasons, however. With 13 minutes left he went in studs-up on Stubbs's knee and, with the defender writhing in agony next to the touchline, was shown a straight red by referee Rob Styles.
Finally, Everton woke up. Sensing an opportunity to get back into the game, they launched another long pass to Ferguson's head and when the knock-down fell to Cahill, he lashed the ball past Jerzy Dudek to give hope to the visiting Blue faithful.
Unfortunately, it was too little too late. While it was criminal that the referee, who had done a good job up until then, chose to only award three minutes of added time (six would have been more accurate), Everton could have few arguments about the result because they were clearly the inferior team.
Had they played the whole 90 minutes the way they did the last 12, the result would have been far different. Instead, they once again made a mockery of their lofty aspirations and they are going to have to find some way of rediscovering the inspiration that propelled that stunning win at Aston Villa. If not, even the next fixture at West Bromwich Albion looks a daunting prospect.
Pistone doesn't deserve further mention, he was that bad; Kevin Kilbane looks a shadow of the maurauding midfielder he was in the first half the campaign and Carsley's limitations in a 4-4-2 system were again exposed. It's a shame because his contribution to our season has been immense, but with so few midfield options, Moyes has little choice but to keep him in there. It raises the old chestnut about the transfer window...
The four points that now lie between the two Mersey clubs appears a slender margin, and all the protestations from Goodison that they won't fade away like they did two years ago seem dubious at best...