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COLUMNIST PAUL TRAILL

Match Report - You just can't beat it!

By Paul Traill :  18/10/2010 :  Comments (21) :
We were simply mystified by the plan not only to close the Wallasey tunnel on the same day as the derby but also to schedule a load of engineering work on the MerseyRail Wirral Line. Good thing we?d set off early then as we got held up by bus replacement services en route to Goodison Park.

Quite a few of us congregated in The Brick for this one including Jay, an Australian Liverpool fan who?s moved over to the area, sampling his first taste of a Merseyside derby? in the Lower Gwladys.

We were boosted in the pub by the news that Jagielka had been declared fit and so started at centre back alongside Distin. This meant Heitinga could play in midfield rather than Neville. ?That?s a much better team? admitted Jay. The surprise news for Liverpool was the omission from the squad of Glen Johnson?meaning Jamie Carragher slotted in at right back with Kyrgiakos and Skrtel partnering in central defence.

We took to our seats just as the Z-Cars rang out. The atmosphere was rocking. As expected there were a few pro-Hicks & Gillette USA banners in the Gwladys Street, whilst the lad sat next to Jay even sported a Donald Duck beak! Howard Webb was the referee. Liverpool won the toss and so we attacked the Park End in the first half.

As expected the match began at a very high tempo with Osman in particular setting the tone and not giving Carragher a second of peace. Everton seemed committed and sharp into the tackle with Liverpool struggling to adapt to the pace of the game? Torres anonymous in attack. With a lot of tackles flying in it was just as well Webb let a few things go in the game and wasn?t so whistle happy? or card happy for that matter.

Whilst Everton appeared in comfortable control of the game Reina was not really tested much in the opening quarter? Everton?s best opportunities were only really half chances and were both blasted over the crossbar from Distin and Jagielka respectively.

Everton continued to toil and got their reward when Coleman got away down the right hand side and cut the ball back into the box. Skrtel got a deflection on the ball and it broke nicely for Cahill who finished beautifully, catching the ball nicely on the half volley and into the net past Reina. Cahill sparred with the corner flag. Liverpool players looked around at each other dejectedly.

In a strange way this spurred Liverpool on slightly and they put together their best passage of play albeit with no end product? Torres heading tamely at goal? Howard tipping over comfortably. At the other end the best chance of note came when Osman drove powerfully at goal though straight at Reina, and Yakubu also forced a save out of the Spanish keeper at some point. Half time? a worryingly comfortable 1-0 lead.

It was nice to see ?super? Kevin Campbell receiving such a great reception from the crowd at half time? we all still fondly recall his winner at Anfield back in 1999 of course. Everton had to change things at the break with the busy Osman coming off injured to be replaced by Bilyaletdinov on the left hand side.

Liverpool started the second half quite strongly and had us under a bit of pressure. This didn?t last to long however as Everton won a corner. Baines delivery was cleared by Kyrgiakos and collected by Arteta. Our little Spaniard cushioned the ball and unleashed it back at goal, and past Reina in the crowded box. Goodison Park went wild.

With a long, long time to go in the game it appeared risky for Everton to sit back and let Liverpool attack, but this they did and I suppose you?d have to say it seemed the right idea. For all their huffing and puffing Liverpool just didn?t do enough to repair any of the damage. Howard was comfortably equal to anything they managed to get on target?everything else was wayward. Torres felt he had a penalty shout following a minor collision with Jagielka, though substitute Beckford felt he had a decent shout himself? neither of which were given.

Beckford could actually have really wrapped things up with a chance on the break, though could only clip over the crossbar with a reasonable opportunity. Gary was praying he wouldn?t score as he stood to win £70 with his 2-0 Cahill first goal bet? his prayers were answered and the full time whistle granted him his win. As we left the ground Jay placed a tenner in my hand? I?d forgotten about a £10 bet I?d had with him also. Kudos to Howard Webb by the way. I thought he had an exceptional game as the referee.

So what next for Liverpool? They?re apparently sorted off the pitch now but oh my, what a mess they have on it. 19th in the league and really struggling all over the pitch. Hodgson has a hell of a job to do there.

So what next for Everton? Hopefully this means we?re well and truly over our slump and can get ourselves back near the top. Spurs away next and we?ll only be 2 points behind Spurs should we win next Saturday? it could be quite a game at The Lane.

We all met back in The Brick after the game for a quick pint before heading into town for a few drinks, finally abandoning the train and getting the bus home instead. A great day at the game?a great win for the blues?I?d forgotten what that derby day feel-good factor felt like.

Player Ratings

Howard: Not a huge amount to do really but got himself behind everything when called upon. 7

Baines: You often see him getting forward a lot more than today so it was just as well he was solid defensively. 8

Distin: Awesome. Certainly one of our best players. Was comprehensively solid. 9

Jagielka: Complimented Distin nicely and was very composed throughout. 7

Neville: Solid. Not much got past him, and did just fine in midfield later on when called upon. 8

Heitinga: Really struggling to impress this season and continued that trend in this one. I got the impression he was faking injury a little to be substituted. He really needs to improve if he?s going to get a regular slot in the team this season?unless he gets his move away in January of course. 4

Arteta: Did very well before coming off injured. Scored an excellent goal and kept plugging away in the middle. 8

Osman: Was excellent before subbed with his injury. Never gave Carragher a second on the ball and caused several mis-placed passes and clearances. This really set the tone for the game and the crowd and many of his teammates seemed to buzz from this. Was a shame he had to come off. 8

Coleman: A little lost at times but kept on going. Set up the first goal also of course and certainly played his part. 7

Cahill: My man of the match. Was everywhere. Appeared injured but kept on going and of course got the important first goal. A monumental performance from our fantastic little Aussie. 9

Yakubu: Was brilliant for an hour before fading though he was living off scraps for most of the second half. He worked hard, was strong on the ball and linked up well with the midfield. Just needs a goal I reckon and he?ll be flying again. 8

Bilyaletdinov (for Osman): Whilst he offered little in terms of production he certainly filled plenty of holes defensively which was what his orders were once we were 2-0 ahead. Could have done more yes, but I was happy with his work defensively. 7

Hibbert (for Heitinga): Filled in just fine. 6

Beckford (for Arteta): Put himself about though did miss a reasonable chance I suppose. 6

Reader Comments

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Ian Kearney
1   Posted 18/10/2010 at 21:23:21

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You've clearly got a little grudge over Jonny at the moment Paul, giving him a 4 is ludicrous. I'd also knock a mark off Neville for some dreadful crossing and lack off pressure on his man when crossing. Jags deserves an 8 I think.

Sorry to be petty because other than that I really enjoyed your report.
David O'Keefe
2   Posted 18/10/2010 at 21:43:41

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Lots of errors in this match report, Paul, you must have really enjoyed this win as your recollection of it is shaky; judging from the above article.

David Hallwood
3   Posted 18/10/2010 at 21:58:56

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Agree about Cahill, and Torres should look to him, and learn something about giving your all even when injured (like a give a flying one about ladyboy). I thought your match report was on the money as it always is (except that I thought Webb had a good 1st half).
I missed it because I gave my ticket up to a friend's relative who was visiting and wanted to experience his 1st merseyside derby, and I hate them so no-brainer really so it's always good to get the match report from someone who went. TV just ain't the same
Craig Taylor
4   Posted 18/10/2010 at 22:31:19

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When Cahill was celebrating his goal Coleman tried to grab him and Cahill gave him a little push so he could finish what he was doing, but then Coleman looked to get in a right mard and gave Timmy a really shoove back.

Looked as though Coleman took it the wrong way.

Max Main
5   Posted 18/10/2010 at 23:03:09

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I did a load of match ratings but my internet cut out as I hit submit. They were almost exactly the same as these though.

Completely agree about Heitinga. He did absolutely nothing. He was completely out of position for virtually the whole match, particularly second half when he seemed to think he was a CB, hanging around on the edge of the area, giving Liverpool's (thankfully shite) players time and space to pick out passes. As soon as Heitinga went off Neville got up in their faces and pushed them back.

I've got a grudge over Heitinga at the moment because he's shite.
Ian Kearney
6   Posted 18/10/2010 at 23:22:10

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I dont agree at all with that Max, I thought his positioning was a big improvement on his previous outings in this position, he is still a centre halve playing out of position, and with a lack of confidence, but 4 out of ten is a joke, and you wont find a single rating system in todays or yesterdays media to back it up.
James Stewart
7   Posted 18/10/2010 at 23:30:23

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Very strange markings.
Gary Sedgwick
8   Posted 19/10/2010 at 01:55:09

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I criticized the Yak last time. This time he was my MOtM closely followed by Distin. The Yak was immense and his attitude first class - chasing all over the park, harrying opponents - I hope this is the first gme for the new Yak. Distin was solid - good defending, good ball delivery (take note Jags who still attempts to play long defense splitting balls which don't come off, balls others will refer to as hoofball) and overall good positioning.

And what's with this Rodriguez fella playing for them? When I saw MAXI written on something thin and red I thought he was an advertising hoarding for a new brand of tampons but then I thought nah, tampons serve a purpose and actually stop something.
Matthew Mackey
9   Posted 19/10/2010 at 09:16:58

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".......Liverpool won the toss and so we attacked the Park End in the first half. ......."

Did we? I must have been watching a different derby game then.
Larry Boner
10   Posted 19/10/2010 at 09:29:25

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Does anyone know why Roy Jones Jnr was at the game - and wearing an Everton shirt ?
I also thought Howard Webb was ---- shite.
Oliver Molloy
11   Posted 19/10/2010 at 10:47:54

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Completely agree with those who reckon the that H.Webb had a bad game.
Gerrard being the dirty player he can be when things are not going well should have at the very least been booked for his attempt to injury Arteta right in front of the ref.He went right down the side of Arteta's leg-should have been sent off..and Carragher..what about the challenge on Cahill at the sideline,another sending off he just tried to kick Cahill up in the air.< />I don't understand why this guy is supposed to be a top ref,he makes many bad decisions,and i don't like the way he gets in players faces.
Kevin Spencer
12   Posted 19/10/2010 at 15:52:00

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Howard Webb is considered one of the best referees for the same reason as Collina. Their character. They are also easy to recognise and they exude authority.

Mass psychology...
Max Main
13   Posted 19/10/2010 at 16:34:12

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Fair enough, Ian. I fear any sort of discussion/argument would prove futile. I would merely urge anyone who's interested to keep a close eye on Heitinga next time he's deployed in midfield, and note how much time on the ball opposing midfielders have in our half, and how Heitinga positions himself along side the centre backs.
Liam Wilson
14   Posted 19/10/2010 at 16:53:11

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Craig No.4.....I also noticed the Coleman/Cahill incident during the 1st goal celebration. Coleman definitely took it the wrong way. Won't be good for Coleman's self confidence. I remember Baines went through a long period of lacking in self confidence not so long ago. Lesson from this incident is that the team that celebrates together, wins together.
Andy Roberts
15   Posted 19/10/2010 at 18:36:04

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I'd love to have seen Gerrard in a fifty fifty with Pyscho Pat, think he would be shown for the shithouse he is.

With regard to Heitinga, I think he is overrated by thousands who attend Goodison, for me he is one paced, positionally unsound no matter which position he plays in, and most importantly shits out of tackles when he should take man and/or ball see Wolves for their goal, and on Sunday in the first half. He obviously rates himself highly so I say cash in and get shut.
Dan Moorhead
16   Posted 19/10/2010 at 20:35:24

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Spot on with Heitinga I thought he looked like the only player in blue not giving his all. He looked lost again and offered very little. Usually he is a least decent on the ball but he give simple balls away and chose the wrong option to often. For the first time ever I think I was glad to see Neville go into midfield. On the up side I thought the other ten players give everything.

With the ratings I think yak and jags could probably go up one.
Peter Bourke
17   Posted 20/10/2010 at 06:56:55

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Liam. Coleman did not take it the wrong way.
He was pushing him as if to say "GET IN" it looked as though he was shirty with cahill but he definately was not.
Andrew Fair
18   Posted 20/10/2010 at 10:00:00

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I loved the Coleman/Cahill pushing. That showed real passion on the side of Coleman and an attitude of "I don't care that you're Tim Cahill, I'm Seamus Coleman." He is a breath of fresh air to watch and I hope his game doesn't get changed into more of a defensive mindset.

Also agree Paul with your rating of Bily. He has had a lot of criticism on this site since Sunday but he did his job, few good clearances and blocks and broke when needed; yes, he still looks a bit frail in this league. Time will tell but I think he will come good, look at Zhirkov at Chelski, it's taken him a long time to settle and he is supposed to be the top Russian.

James Von Willis
19   Posted 20/10/2010 at 12:14:29

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Craig Taylor #4 ? "When Cahill was celebrating his goal Coleman tried to grab him and Cahill gave him a little push so he could finish what he was doing, but then Coleman looked to get in a right mard and gave Timmy a really shoove back. Looked as though Coleman took it the wrong way."

Ye whaaa ... they were both going nuts just. What a celebration it was!
:D
Nick Entwistle
20   Posted 20/10/2010 at 18:45:50

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What annoyed me about the Cahill goal was that in the build up Kyryakos (or whatever...) who had Yak behind him, pulled him down by his shirt and fell over as well to make it look like Yak had impeded him... urghhhhh, Liverpool players...
Jon Cox
21   Posted 20/10/2010 at 20:36:27

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Craig (4) Tim was wrong. The first person he should have hugged was Coleman. I know he scored but it upset me. Hey Tim, we're never to old to learn humility. Next time give him the credit for the work he put in, for your goal, that he deserved.

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