VIEW FROM THE BLUE
Marouane Fellaini, the linchpin in the recent revival of Everton's fortunes, was forced out of the action on a stretcher following an X-rated challenge with Kyrgiakos that saw the Greek sent off and Steven Pienaar, who on another day with a more hard-line referee might have been red carded himself for catching Javier Mascherano with his studs, picked up a one-game ban with a second yellow for going in late on Steven Gerrard.
While there will no doubt be accusations thrown all over the place in the post-match reckoning, few players emerged with much credit from what was an especially ugly Merseyside derby. Referee Martin Atkinson, a far cry from the drill-sergeant assertiveness of a Howard Webb, was mostly to blame for not clamping down on some nasty challenges in the early going: Jamie Carragher's barely-disguised assault on Pienaar in the first minute shook the South African so badly that he barely seemed to recover; Tim Cahill retaliated on Lucas six minutes later; and Mascherano somehow escaped a nailed-on yellow card for clearly catching Fellaini late.
Fellaini himself appeared to boot the ball in the face of the prostrate Dirk Kuyt but it wasn't until Pienaar's clash with Mascherano and Carragher's act of retaliation in scything him down on the half hour that the first bookings were handed out.
In between, there was precious little football being played. Everton had the greater share of possession in the first ten minutes but appeared all too happy to just pump the ball foward hoping to play the percentages. Tim Cahill was putting in plenty of effort but apart from a speculative effort from 20 yards that bounced well wide, there wasn't much end product. His partnership with the leaden-footed Louis Saha, if that's what it could be called, was non-existent for the most part, and with everything being so narrow, chances were at a premium.
At least in the first half, there was one player in Blue who at least seemed prepared to rise above the pitched battle that was going on around him and that was derby debutant, Landon Donovan, and when his smart run after 20 minutes took him to the edge of the "D", he sold the referee beautifully by artfully going down under Kuyt's minimal contact and presented Leighton Baines with a chance from a direct free kick. The fullback cleared the wall but his impressive shot was palmed over the bar by Reina.
At the other end, the home side were being contained for the most part but Daniel Agger had a chance from a corner that he volleyed narrowly over and David Ngog lashed a shot wide under the attentions of Leon Osman.
On the evidence of the first half hour, the chances that Atkinson would be employing his red card looked high and when Kyrgiakos and Fellaini came together in a 50-50 clash of studs, ankles and shins, the occasion for the first dismissal arrived. The defender's boots were both clearly off the ground but when Fellaini planted his own studs on Kyrgiakos' shin and his ankle visibly buckled, both players ended up writhing in agony and the crowd no doubt expected it would be red cards all round.
Presumably feeling that Fellaini was taking defensive measures against Kyrgiakos, it was the Greek whom Atkinson sent off while the Belgian spent seven minutes on the touchline having his ankle strapped before he was forced to concede that he would be playing no further part in the game.
Somewhat predictably, the referee spent the rest of the first half and a good percentage of the second compensating for having reduced Liverpool to ten men and the Red hordes began profiting from a number of questionable decisions, not least the award to Steven Gerrard of a free kick on the edge of the box when the midfielder had clearly dived past Cahill's challenge. Thankfully, the Liverpool captain's free kick bounced off the top of the crossbar and Cahill was presented with the chance for revenge in stoppage time but he put his diving header inches over the bar.
From the carnage of the first half the players emerged from the half-time interval with visibly calmer heads and Everton began to show signs that they would now take advantage of the extra man by controlling the pattern of play. That they did for periods of the second half but there was a frustrating lack of any kind of penetration. Pienaar was largely anonymous — in any case, he was fouled almost every time he touched the ball but rarely awarded a free kick — and while Baines and Donovan were making the odd forays down the flanks, the Blues just weren't playing with enough width.
And though Sylvain Distin was looking occasionally shaky, the Blues were relatively comfortable, with Liverpool only really threatening at set-pieces, situations where they were causing more problems than were Everton at the other end. And so it was that the decisive moment in a game that would probably otherwise have ended 0-0 arrived 10 minutes after half time.
Tim Howard allowed himself to be too distracted with keeping Kuyt away from him that he lost concentration on an inswinging corner that the Dutchman duly nodded home with the American 'keeper flapping embarrassingly at thin air. It was an incredibly soft goal and it pumped the home side with all the fire they needed to see out the rest of the game.
That Everton made it so easy for them was maddening. Though Mikel Arteta, who'd come on place of Fellaini, was enjoying the freedom of the middle of Anfield, stringing sideways passes across midfield, he wasn't able to make an awful lot happen. The Reds were pulling men behind the ball and with little width and embarrassingly few ideas, the Blues' attacks consistently foundered on their defence. Worse, their set-piece deliveries consistently let them down.
Again it was Donovan who showed the occasional spark of life and after an hour he skipped to byline having brilliantly rounded Insua but his chip to he back post was headed behind at the back post and the resulting corner came to nothing.
As is so often the case, time ticked on towards 70 minutes and the Blues looking nowhere near to scoring, activity from the bench was conspicuous by its absence but Moyes finally made some attacking changes with 18 minutes left when Yakubu and Victor Anichebe came on for the disappointing Saha and the ineffective Osman.
Tempers flared again late on when Pienaar was again flattened in a challenge without any action by the referee and Gerrard blatantly followed through on his prone body with both legs. That prompted a furious reaction from the nearest Everton players and Anichebe got into a shoving match with Agger as players descended in anger on the dispicable midfielder. Anichebe and Gerrard were booked and the Liverpool man survived to see Pienaar pick up a second yellow for barging into him after the ball had gone, reducing both teams to ten men and depriving the Blues of Pienaar for one match.
Liverpool by this point had laid down the challenge for the Blues to break them down in the final quarter of an hour but nothing they tried — from hoofed balls from the back by Heitinga and Distin, to faltering moves down the right where Neville was offering little threat, to occasional attempts to walk the ball through the red wall — worked.
Indeed, it took a moment of magic from Yakubu, who did more in 20 minutes than Saha had done for 70, to force Reina into his only real save of the second half with one minute left on the clock. Out of nowhere, the Nigerian whipped a snapshot toward the top corner that the 'keeper palmed away for another fruitless corner.
David Moyes made much in the build-up to what was a keenly anticipated derby of his belief that his Everton side are top-four quality and, having, more than matched Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in recent weeks, there was conviction among Evertonians that we could finally put the Anfield hoodoo to rest.
Sadly, despite the having the advantage of an extra man for almost an hour, the Blues came up well, well short of their manager's estimations, once again casting doubt on both their ability and that of their manager to consistently challenge the top four. The ineptitude with which they tried to break down what was a very ordinary Liverpool team — the goal aside, Howard probably only had one save to make all game — will have many worried about the remainder of this month with tough games to come, perhaps all of them without Fellaini.
You could again point to the weak links in the side — Distin was uncertain, Osman unproductive, Saha seemingly disinterested, Neville merely a body at right back — but, ultimately, they mistook fight for naked aggression in the first half and descended to Liverpool's level, emerging with very little credit from either a disciplinary or footballing point of view.
Derby bragging rights again go the horrible reds but the Blues might be counting the cost of this defeat in more ways than just three dropped points, certainly in terms of personnel but perhaps also in terms of morale. The visit of Chelsea in midweek offers an opportunity to quickly address any knock to confidence but the manager's talk of top-four quality may remain a little misplaced, at least until his strongest team is available.
Howard 6, Neville 6, Heitinga 7*, Distin 6, Baines 6, Fellaini 6, Osman 6, Pienaar 6, Donovan 7, Cahill 6, Saha 6; Subs: Anichebe 6, Arteta 6, Yakubu 7
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1 Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:04:36
Indeed, perhaps the wisest words I have ever heard from a man in a blue shirt came from the now villified Nick Barmby: "Keep your mouth shut and do the talking on the pitch". And that is precisley what we needed to do in this game.
In some respects the club feel the need to assure the fans we are "up for it", but some of the posturing from players and management alike has been cringeworthy. The fans know it matters, show how much it matters to you on the pitch and on the pitch alone.
2 Posted 06/02/2010 at 18:55:52
Liverpool were clearly there for the taking, but rolled their sleeves up and outfought us, literally.
Carragher’s challenge on Pienaar going unpunished in the opening minutes was quite unbelievable, especially in light of the modern movement to penalise for intent, as well as the actual foul itself. What a nasty, smug, contemptuous Gobshite he is.
That, sadly, set the tone for the game.
And how Kuyt got ahead of Neville and Howard to grab the goal, is almost as baffling as how the ball reached him in the first place.
So much optimism, expectation and opportunity just thrown away through lack of guile and fight.
It wouldn’t be as bad if we were a bad side. But we are better than this.
That was a very good Everton team out there today.
Fellaini wasn’t missed, because Liverpool failed to apply any pressure around our penalty area, as one might have expected them to do.
Yet instead of realising this and turning it to our advantage - with an allegedly ball-playing midfield of Arteta, Cahill, Donovan, Osman and Pienaar - we never looked like going anywhere. Not once in the second half did I think ’we’ve got them here...’
And so it proved.
I used to think were were just habitually unlucky against Liverpool, but they simply wanted it more than we did today. And unsurprisingly, they got it.
3 Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:05:02
4 Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:18:30
Arteta - couple of seasons ago was "lazy", "shit", "useless". Turns out he had a groin injury with which he could barely run with. Yet Moyes insisted on playing him...
Fellaini - hmmm, this season a lot of similar comments to the above have been banded about. "waste of money" can be added to the list. Seems he had a debilitating and painful tooth infection which resulted in weight loss as well as significant pain. Yet he was still played!
Osman - I’ve critiqued him. Tony Marsh has critiqued him (loudly and in volume), hell everyone has critiqued him over the last couple of seasons. Yet he was reported as having a knee problem and had ankle surgery this season. Since his comeback I think he has looked sharp. Maybe not as glaring as the above, but questions raised about playing unfit players?
Hibbert - Not evn going to list his points of detraction, apart from saying he got really slaughtered for the cup final. Again he was not fully fit - management played him.
Billy - currently being slaughtered. Jury is indeed out, but do we need to perhaps consider what may be going on ’behind the scenes’?
So back to Saha, I’ve seen him play in a much more fearless style this season, is he carrying a knock and are we being unduly harsh?
5 Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:54:29
6 Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:50:55
Just like to add that this was a day when we needed the dogs of war and big Dunc but instead we got the midget gems without any bite and as for Howard on the corner...It was obvious he was going to bottle it before the corner even came in.
A lost opportunity with calamitous consequences as you say.
Time to give Neville a rest,make Heitiga captain and get Rodwell reaquainted with the first team methinks.
7 Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:07:57
On the captaincy, I agree that Heitinga is looking good to take on the role. Did anyone else see the number of times Moyes was briefing him on the touchline, and with Heitinga himself appearing to make his own suggestions for how we should be organised ?
God, how I hate losing to the other half ...
8 Posted 06/02/2010 at 19:52:20
From the Southport bar to the playing fields,
YOU FUCKING CHEAT.
9 Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:24:46
Strikers can play 4411 and Tim Cahill is never far away - as seen when he goes missing if switched to midfield.
10 Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:56:30
11 Posted 06/02/2010 at 20:44:46
Does he feel the pain?
I DONT THINK SO.
12 Posted 06/02/2010 at 22:24:59
"nothing but the timid will do"
I’m in the process of writing of writing to Moyes.
13 Posted 06/02/2010 at 22:57:48
"How Kuyt got ahead of Neville to Grab the goal"
Captain Marvel iron phil decidied he would "mark" Kuyt be standing on the opposite side of the goal..
Hey Phil... ever heard the saying "Get Goal side"?
Utterly fucking useless
14 Posted 06/02/2010 at 23:28:55
I agree that Pienaar was targeted throughout but he still looked far more effective than Saha, Osman and co. We looked generally Ok at the back with the odd exception and sometimes we appeared to be defending too deep.
But we looked slow and clueless going forward. We loooked even more predictable when Arteta came on. He looked controlled but there was too little movement up front for him to make anything other than corss field passes.
I watched this on Foxtel. The commentators were a nightmare.... so damn biased in favour of the RS. What a pair of W**kers!
How is it that G g g erard can dive, double foot, argue like F... with the referee.............. and always get away with it.
15 Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:05:21
Pienaar was guilty of a simply diabolical tackle on Mascherano - that of the Keane/Inge-Haaland ilk. Couple this with Fellainis, frankly, cruel style of play and the crude manner in which we went about our football, then we can have no complaints about the, supposedly, over physical Liverpool
We had a 10 minute spell after they lost Kyrgiakos in which we dominated possession - but apart from that we were completely outdone in every area of the field. The midfield overrun, the attackers completely anonymous and the defence shaky under pressure.
There simply can be no complaints from any quarter about the outcome of the game. All your doing is enforcing the whole "bitter blue" stereotype with your blind and misinformed whining
16 Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:10:35
Gerrard a cheat? Obviously, but we should’ve been down to 9 men after 35 mins.
Carragher "GBH"? Look at it again - it was rough, but it was never even a booking.
Stop making F*cking excuses for 11, ELEVEN, blues against 10, TEN, for 60 minutes, ONE HOUR.
17 Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:13:19
18 Posted 07/02/2010 at 01:29:04
I'm searching for reasons why we seem to lose consistently to Liverpool. Maybe my ’fear’ of this fixture is indicative of how the whole club approaches the clash. My two kopite brothers have always rather looked forward to the game, whilst I have always dreaded the derby.
I know this is the morning/evening for knee jerk reactions and comments from our fans but seldom have I read such contradictory comments about the game. Maybe we are all in too much pain to think straight?
What does need to be stated, is that the psychotic squeaky-voiced windmill did indeed assault Peanuts in the first minute. Someone even described it as a fair challenge! NO!
As far as Mr Gerrard is concerned, there are certain players who are given way too much lee-way by refs who appear to be intimidated by their ’stature’ in the game. Gerrard has been fortunate enough to take up the mantle left vacant by Alan Shearer, who also did as he liked on the pitch and got away with it, time after time.
19 Posted 07/02/2010 at 02:16:00
20 Posted 07/02/2010 at 04:54:15
Whatever each of us thinks about the legality or otherwise, it was a clear sign that they were going to try to kick the shit out of us from the start. We got sucked in and didn’t know how to respond without trying to do the same to them. And yeah, Peanuts and Fellaini were both guilty.
They did look like they wanted it more than us and that peed me off,
21 Posted 07/02/2010 at 05:02:42
22 Posted 07/02/2010 at 06:22:25
23 Posted 07/02/2010 at 08:43:09
Yes a good report of what was a dreadful game one of the worst games of footie I ever saw. I thought in first half was as if they let the local prisoners out for a day to play opposing gangs! it was gladiator stuff replete with a baying crowd only thing lacking was the christians and the lions! Unfortuantely the Reds were the lions and yes we descended to their disgusting level, I think Garragher and Gerrard are madmen! and the argie is a thug .
I think footie getting worse and worse I almost will stop watching it altogether but everton are a childhood passion habit been with me so many years. I can’t watch the England team now as they are such unpleasant characters I wouldn’t cross the road to watch those millionaire moronics. It’s getting real sad for football real sad, some forget it is a game a game , not for breaking someone’s bloody leg, Chis sake!!!
24 Posted 07/02/2010 at 09:27:10
Morning after. Not pissed just pissed off.
Everything I have thought or spoken, to whoever will listen, has been said in the above posts.
But I have to say, since I have probably seen the worst game of footie in my 35 years of watching EFC, Moyes was given a big, big slice of luck when the first red card was handed out.
The decision that resulted from that slice of luck was made by Moyes and bringing on Arteta was wrong. Arteta was not going to have any part in the leg breaker mayhem that was being played at Anfield.
IMO, when you see a nutter in a pub whose looking for a fight you walk away. However, Gerrard and co managed to bring us into the pub, kick the fuck out of us, and then after scoring defend using whatever means were available - totally illegal and totally evil to their core but hey that’s Anfield.
Moyes was mugged.
25 Posted 07/02/2010 at 11:14:44
As for Moyes, if the guy could just see that Neville is an utterly miserable footballer and is a liability to the squad, maybe we could have had a more balanced attack with different results.
In saying that, it doesnt help when two of your main attacking threats turn up and give there worsts performances of season ( pienaar saha )
26 Posted 07/02/2010 at 11:10:12
Does everyone get 5 just for turning up. I can think of no other reason why Lyndon gave Osman a six?
He was absolutely cack and should not have been anywhere near Anfield let alone with a shirt on.
I have railed about this guy for years and slowly but surely more people are beginning to see the light.
I challenge anyone to name a less productive midfielder or a less physical one, or a worse tackler.
I could go on and on with his other weaknesses but lets see what his fans come up with in response to just those few.
27 Posted 07/02/2010 at 11:44:34
What a good site this is, a big step up from my days of banter on Shanklygates/WSAG.
Anyway regarding the Derby, it was a typical game, and to say that Liverpool were over physical is a bit rich. Piennar could have gone, and I’m sure you must agree that the 50/50 with Kyriakos & Fellaini, should have resulted in the same punishment for both players as they both went into the tackle with the same intent.
I agree that we were more “up for it” than you, but who’s fault is that? I think that what is really hurting you, is that you all really felt that you were going to win, but in reality I think you have to agree that to be honest, you are not as good as you think you are.
Moyes has no plan 2, and after the sending off, just didn’t have the tactical know how to deal with it, whereas Benitez did, and dealt with the situation effectively.
But, from what I have seen of the Blues this season, you are really moving in the right direction, and are not far off where you want to be.
28 Posted 07/02/2010 at 11:57:01
The shite also played their part with some bad challenges, but the reason we lost, was not because they were over physical, but because the players out there bottled it and didn’t have a clue, and Moyes never had any balls to take the game by the scruff of the kneck, and go for it when they went down to 10 men.
Benitez didn’t have to change anything tactically, because Moyes did his work for him by being negative.
29 Posted 07/02/2010 at 12:39:35
everyone saw what happened, I was sick, we have to learn play to our strengths, however, I’m still positive that ultimately our squad is improving in quality and over the next few years I think I’m going to see some good football, i don’t think my mates who are reds are as confident.
30 Posted 07/02/2010 at 12:55:05
31 Posted 07/02/2010 at 13:03:02
Kop shows lack of class,
Sections of the Everton fanbase are often, quite rightly, criticised for the chants of "Murderers" that can often be heard around the Merseyside derby, just as Liverpool fans are chastised for their chants about Munich, and Man Utd fans for their chants about Hillsbrough. Nobody should be taking pride in footballing disasters.
Today, however, a real lack of class, and probably understanding, shone through bright and clear on the Kop.
A banner was held aloft with a picture of the European Cup, and next to it, "Steaus Bucharest 1986" a clear taunt to Evertonians that the ban from Europe meant Everton were denied their place in the 1986 European Cup, which was won by the Romanian champions.
The reason Everton were denied that chance? The events at Heysel a year earlier in which 39 innocent Italian supporters lost their lives. A tragedy that should never have happened, and one which every supporter and their families dreads. Nobody should die attending a football match.
The tragedies listed above, along with the Bradford fire in 1985, and countless others in living memory, should be remembered with dignity and class, and should never be used against other sets of fans, whether it’s chanting "Murderers" or taking marker pens to Old Trafford for an FA Cup semi final and writing the numbers 5 and 8 on the seats.
However, when your own club has been caught up in such tragedy, you would expect your fans to know better than to use it as a stick to beat the opposition with, especially with such a vast experience of being involved in football related tragedies.
32 Posted 07/02/2010 at 13:31:11
If Cahill scores with that sitter moments before half time the whole complextion of the game changes, we go in 1-0 up and a man advantage.
Make no mistake when he goes for "one for the cameras" he cost us the game and not for the first time this season.
Dixie Dean ? fuck me, Christopher Dean would have won more battles than him yesterday.
33 Posted 07/02/2010 at 14:28:51
We see officials incapable or unwilling to apply the rules with authority. The carnage at free kicks and corners is legion; the haranguing and surrounding of referees at every opportunity is a disgrace. Ms Mascherano and Carragher at Liverpool epitomise this to the nth degree whilest in no way being alone.
But the tone of the game on Saturday besmirched what is left of the deeper values of the game. Rivalry has become brutality epitomised by the baying tribalism of so much of the crowd and on the pitch by the reckless brutality of tackles such as Gerard’s calculated vengeful follow through on the prone Pienaar — elements of his game that should prevent his immense talents ever being elevated to the pantheon of the truly great footballers.
Clothe it in whatever terms you like; mask it in whatever "analysis" you like, the game was an utter and complete disgrace. All those who contributed to it either through the bile of their shouted comments or the abandonment of self-discipline and true professional standards on the pitch should be ashamed and condemned in the strongest possible terms.
It is time to take long and hard stock of what has become of the game in general and of these derby matches in particular.
34 Posted 07/02/2010 at 15:03:59
No disrepect to Phil Neville, but I think he is too old now to play at right back, who are effectively wingers in the modern game. And they knew before kick off that he would not bomb it down the line on an overlapping run. I don’t know why Coleman is not getting a proper chance in the team (whilst we still have Donovan here) based on his outstanding performances to date.
35 Posted 07/02/2010 at 15:20:37
We were much more the physical side - I saw numerous examples of us holding in the box and leaving the foot in in tackles. And all this nonsense about Carraghers "GBH" on Pienaar early on - well look at Nevilles tackle on Gerrard. Much of the same ilk only that Carragher won the ball and Neville cynically block Gerrards run.
You all need to get a sense of reality here. Apart from 10 minutes in the match we were completely outclassed in every department. The only people we can blame are our players and our manager - nobody else. The ref was on our side for the majority of the game and yet I see numerous "Blues" citing him as the reason behind our loss. I cant think of one favourable decision that went their way - maybe the Pienaar sending off but he shouldve been given his marching orders much earlier on for his shameless attack on Mascherano.
36 Posted 07/02/2010 at 15:32:12
It was all Osman’s fault.
He should have been marking Kuyt for the goal.
He should have taken some of the horrific tackles instead of Pienaar.
He should have scored with the header that Tiny Tim missed (he was offside anyay so it wouldnt have counted)
Ossie picked the team and told them to play without any heart or spirit.
He shouldnt have scored the 4 goals this season he should have missed them like some others.
Look at Birmingham’s team.They are full of no marks and has beens but they play as a team and with lots of spirit.Something we used to do.
37 Posted 08/02/2010 at 06:55:39
I believe the fact he did nothing was stupid.
What happened afterwards was that we decided to get stuck in to the ugly stuff instead of getting on with trying to win the game.... purpose and conviction! Fellaini and Pienaar were culpable. I didn’t see Neville’s tackle on pretty boy Gerrard in the same way as you did so, since I recorded it I’ll take another look.
I think most of us agree that they outwitted us but the football was crap. If we want to be regarded as top four potential we have to think, plan and respond "top four".
38 Posted 08/02/2010 at 13:12:56
39 Posted 10/02/2010 at 22:41:24
I have always hated Mark Lawrenson for his consistent inability to see anything good in what Everton do but I can understand it in a way having been a stalwart for Liverpool for so long.
But McMahon I find less excusable, an Everton fan as a boy having played for both sides of the line, I had hoped for more perspective, but nope not a chance.
After the merseyside derby, he was spot on of course that it was a crap game with both sides losing the plot at times. But then he went on to say the only good thing to come out of that 90 mins was the result and also he was disappointed in Liverpool as we all know they are capable of better football than that whereas Everton can't.
Sorry, I know pundits can have favourites but he was positively gloating over the result, Steve McMahon you ARE a twat.
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