Why can't we ever just do it?

By Paul Traill 08/04/2018 29comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool

My brother Dave and his friend Sunil made the trip across the Atlantic to catch the game and though short of time before the match, it was good for us all to catch up pre and post-game.

After a fitful performance against Manchester City I was surprised to see Yannick Bolasie start the game. I had a feeling that Sam Allardyce would go with three central defenders, but he did instead go for something of a 4-5-1 with Tom Davies drafted back into the midfield at the expense of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Liverpool, after a terrific result in midweek and being in touching distance of the Champions League semi-final, understandably made changes for the game and were a little blunt in attack with Danny Ings, Dominic Solanke and Sadio Mane making up their forward line.

We began pretty well and got at them in first few minute but Liverpool soon settled and had a good handle on the game for most of the first half. Georginio Wijnaldum and Cenk Tosun both tried their luck from distance, but the big chance of the half came when Seamus Coleman failed to clear his lines and the ball fell for Solanke with a golden chance but he could only hit a powder puff effort straight at Jordan Pickford who saved. You felt that had Roberto Firmino been playing they would have found the back of the net.

Everton hit back though when the otherwise ineffective Bolasie let fly from distance and forced Loris Karius into a terrific stretching save. I thought he’d scored for a moment, as did I when James Milner hit a similar effort, albeit from a lot closer to the goal, which also produced a brilliant save from Pickford. We went into the break level but pretty dissatisfied. We didn’t feel we were getting into them enough and it was too easy for Liverpool to play around us.

For long periods of the second half it was more of the same, but our defensive line did restrict Liverpool to very few opportunities and it was probably substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who had their best opportunity when he ran at us and flashed an effort comfortably over the crossbar. It was frustrating to watch. Every time we had any chance of forming something we always seemed to make the wrong decision, the game was lifeless, Liverpool probably pretty content.

I don’t know if it was always Sam’s tactic to keep it tight and push for the winner late on as they tired, but if it was, it very nearly came off. With time ticking away in the game, he did make a couple of proactive substitutions and the introduction of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Idrissa Gana Gueye certainly helped up the tempo, get the crowd pumping and give us an attacking verve.

We really should have won. We had two killer chances to win the game late on but failed to hit the target with either. I don’t quite know how Cenk Tosun managed to nod wide of the far post with the goal gaping, or how Dominic Calvert-Lewin miskicked badly with a clean opportunity, but they did, and the wait to finally beat Liverpool goes on. With a bit more fortune the ball’s across the box from Leighton Baines or Dominic Calvert-Lewin would have fallen for Cenk or Theo also.

We had the chances but couldn’t capitalise, and why can we never do it when it comes to beating Liverpool? We always seem to fluff our lines. Whether that’s Jordan Pickford with an uncharacteristic clanger in the last minute in the cup; or Ramiro Funes Mori heading a free header wide last season; or with the game at 0-0, Seamus Coleman being denied by a wonder save by Simon Mignolet in the last few minutes a few seasons back. Whatever the circumstance, something seems to prevent us getting over the line. Players nerves? A mental block against them? Plain old bottlers?

Whatever the reason, I wish that for once we’d just do it. Missing sitters in the last few minutes of a derby against under-strength Liverpool – we won’t get many better opportunities than that!

Player ratings

Pickford: Very good. Made saves when he had to and was calm on the ball. Is probably in the driving seat for England No 1 at the World Cup. 8

Baines: Spot on defensively and stepped it up offensively as we made the late push for the winner. I get the impression he doesn’t like working with Yannick. He seems much happier with Dominick Calvert-Lewin ahead of him. 7

Jagielka: Brilliant. With his career now in its twilight he’ll be disappointed not to have won the game. You never know, he might not get another opportunity. 8

Keane: Excellent. He dominated Solanke and won probably every aerial duel. My Man of the Match. 8

Coleman: Did well and really pushed on late on to help us find the winner, and was unlucky not to help us achieve this. 7

Schneiderlin: Did well. I know that’s not a popular thing to write but I’ve got to say it as I see it, and I thought he made his fair share of interceptions and tackles and used the ball fairly well. 7

Davies: Popped around and just as he was really impacting on the game he was removed for a more defensive-minded player. Go figure! 7

Rooney: I’d rather get 30 minutes of good work from Wayne off the bench than an hour or trudging around on a sodden pitch. It wasn’t the conditions for him. Wayne at times this season has done a sterling job in the midfield, but usually against teams in the bottom half of the league. It’s a bit irrelevant now with the season almost over and only teams below below us to face, but maybe Wayne’s role is better as an impact substitute in the bigger games. It’ll be interesting to see what role he plays next season, presumably under a new manager. 5

Bolasie: Similarly to Wayne, when you need discipline from the flanks, as so in the last two fixtures, I’d much rather get an hour or so out of Calvert-Lewin and then 20-30 minutes of Yannick Bolasie as an impact substitute. That said, Dominic did have a great impact on the game, but we could have done with more of that throughout. Dave’s first words when he met us after the game on the island were “Bolasie is shit”. He nearly scored a screamer I know, but it was a very ill-disciplined performance and you know you’ve done badly when the crowd ironically cheer you off the pitch. 4

Walcott: Very disciplined, the opposite of Yannick pretty much, and then nearly impacted the game late on. A good shift. 7

Tosun: Hopelessly isolated for a lot of the game but the boy has heart and can make something out of nothing. He got the better of Dejan Lovren on a number of occasions and as we pushed late on and he had some support, his impact on the game naturally improved. He should have then won the game for us and he knows it. He’ll be ruing that missed chance. What an opportunity to put the hoodoo to bed. 7

Gueye (for Rooney): Added –some much needed zeal into the midfield which helped get us onto the front foot finally. 7

Calvert-Lewin (for Bolasie): Got straight into the game and brought Baines into the match. He got stuck in and like Cenk, will be gutted not to have scored the winner. 7

Baningime (for Davies): Beni didn’t do anything particularly wrong, but I thought Tom was impacting the game pretty well at that point. The ball he put in to release Baines was delicious. And just as he was ticking, he was substituted. To rate Beni - I assume he was brought on for fresh legs and energy but he didn’t quite impact on the game. That said, his time on the pitch coincided with our big chances in the game so maybe it was a good tactical change. 6

Reader Comments (29)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 08/04/2018 at 16:34:31
It's a psychological hold Liverpool have over us now. They practically said to us yesterday with their team selection, “If you are going to win a derby, make it this one, it's not top of our agenda and we'll mince you again next season.”

The fact they didn't have Salah, Firmino benched, Oxlade-Chamberlain benched no Robertson, no Lallana, no Emre Can and Clyne and Ings making first starts all season, yet we still couldn't take the gift being handed to us.

Allardyce had the perfect opportunity to show us he has got some attacking mindset by setting the stall out early and seeing if Liverpool were really wanting to be there by pressing them high getting close to them and getting support to Tosun who was so isolated in the first 60 minutes you could have called a search party to go and rescue him.

When the chances did come, they were spurned quite woefully, especially the Calvert-Lewin one, the lad just never ever seems to hit a ball cleanly.

Those two chances show the difference between top quality and having a 25-goal striker like Kane, Aguero, Salah, Lukaku etc or a player that is regularly parted on the back for effort but no end product.

Sadly it's no matter now, another glorious chances wasted to beat that lot, and end 8 years of pain, just how many more will we pass up?

Christy Ring
2 Posted 08/04/2018 at 17:21:13
We didn't win yesterday's game because of Sam's tactics and the team he started with. Rooney is too slow for midfield, and how he didn't see that after the Man City game is abysmal. Bolasie is picked every week, and hasn't played well since he returned from injury.

We had 9 men until Gueye and Calvert-Lewin replaced them, and we looked a different team, with a lot more energy, and Wallcott started running at Klavan, which should have been the game plan from the off.

Kunal Desai
3 Posted 08/04/2018 at 18:03:00
Just sums up how far we are behind the top six teams. We have drifted further away in recent years. The lack of quality is evident all over the pitch.

This is a very difficult summer for the club to get many things correct both on and off the pitch and I'm not entirely sure we will see many of these expected improvements. Hope I'm proved wrong.

Danny Broderick
4 Posted 08/04/2018 at 18:10:54
We were too deep for 70 minutes of this match. The changes helped to correct this. Bolasie was awful, and so was Rooney unfortunately. If Rooney is playing midfield, he needs legs around him, like Gueye and Davies. Put him in there with Schneiderlin and we have all seen the results.

If we had only shown more ambition throughout, we would have won. I think Allardyce has put the final nail in his own coffin here. A win might have won over a lot of fans. Our tactics for 60/70 minutes were ridiculous – I have never seen us play so deep in a derby ever. I felt sorry for Tosun.

If Tosun or Calvert-Lewin had scored late on, it would have papered over some cracks, but I think Sam's time is up now. He'll have to go this summer.

Barbara Heaton
5 Posted 08/04/2018 at 19:29:08
It is for our young supporters that the ongoing problems will impact on Everton. We have now not won a trophy for nearly 23 years and haven't beaten Liverpool for a number of years. Our expectations have been lowered and this season has been poor. If you wanted as a young supporter to see your team winning trophies, playing exciting attacking football and feeling positive about the future we need our owners to give us hope.

Anyone over 65 has seen in previous years exceptional football, trophies and a football club that in historical terms was a club you were always proud of. We may not return soon to those magical times but our loyal fans and especially our young supporters need actions that will give hope that we will win against Liverpool next season and actually win a trophy again.

I think Joe Royle never lost to Liverpool and won the last trophy? With raised expectations, this could be achieved in Season 18-19?


Joe McMahon
6 Posted 08/04/2018 at 19:50:49
Barbara - also a lot of the younger supporters these days want a team with household (PS4 and XBox Fifa) names. Sadly we are lacking there too. Maybe things may change when we eventually move into a new stadium, but sadly the new stadium will be at least 18 years after Kings Dock fell through.
Steve Hogan
7 Posted 08/04/2018 at 20:07:19
The close season will be absolutely MASSIVE for this football club. I can't believe the current manager is so thick that he honestly still believes he will be manager of Everton Football Club in August.

Moshiri now needs to stamp his own footprint firmly in place and get rid of the 'old guard'. One of them,Elstone, look's like he's going of his own accord, the other Blue Bill, will probably prove more difficult to get rid of.

No more sentiments Farhad, show your ruthless streak and begin the long process to put this club back on the map.

Andy Crooks
8 Posted 08/04/2018 at 21:44:25
Paul, where was your usual pre match bulid up? Your reports give supporters like me a sense of being there. I guess having your brother over has, understandably, limited your time.
What did Dave and Sunil make of it? Ask them to share their thoughts.
Ian Riley
9 Posted 08/04/2018 at 23:18:29
Hunger and desire first. Quality is a factor but we have lacked quality in the past and given more of a fight. When I hear people say "go for it". We don't have the belief or quality to do that. If we had gone for it and lost yesterday the manager would still have been in for it. This is not a alladyce issue but a twenty year problem.

The season is nearly over and with so much expectation at the start we are back to square one. Realistically we are where we should be. Top four talk was crap. Younger manager with a five year plan? Problem is patience with younger players will be required.

John Raftery
10 Posted 08/04/2018 at 23:38:08
Paul - I agree with your comments and marking for Scheiderlin. After improving in the second half against City he had his best game for twelve months. It will take many more such performances for him to achieve redemption in the eyes of our fans. I remain very doubtful that he and Gueye will ever be an effective midfield duo. One thing for certain is that Schneiderlin and Rooney will never form an effective partnership against the top sides.
Andy McNabb
11 Posted 09/04/2018 at 05:00:10
Thanks Paul - really appreciate your reports and particularly as I watched most of this one and could compare my reflections with yours. Since Foxtel lost the rights to the Premier League over here, we have seen so much less football and so this was a rare 'treat' as the early match was broadcast on SBS.

I should have heeded the warning signs when my wife went to bed early. She is sport mad and will watch everything form the Open to the Superbikes. We would never miss the chance to watch Everton and yet, incredibly, I found myself channel-hopping after half an hour. I questioned how I could find more pleasure in watching 'New Tricks', having supported this Club for 55 years and the answer was, I was bored. When the camera panned in on Kenny Dalglish giving a huge yawn, I realised that I shared his level of interest. The commentary team described it as 'Derby-Lite' - good grief, I was even hoping for a Stevie G type character to turn up and inject some life into the game.

'Soulless' is all I can use to describe what I saw. I read somewhere on TW that we were once again grateful for any scraps we could pick up and Liverpool were happy to emerge without any injuries. It was a good training run-out for them. The 'Derby' as it once was, has ceased to exist.

They say it is always darkest before the dawn and whilst we are nowhere near the relegation dangers I have witnessed, I almost wish we were involved in a scrap to survive the Premier League. Maybe then we would see some sort of fight and not the pathetic whimper of an end to a season we are enduring. Surely this level of apathy is way more dangerous than flirting with relegation?

In the post-match analysis, after watching footage of Everton's 10 man defence inside the penalty area, one of the pundits made the observation that whilst Pep would never defend like Sam, the catastrophe financial consequences of falling out of the Premier League makes these sort of tactics more and more inevitable.

I desperately do not want to feel like this but I cannot wait for this season to end and after having the life sucked out of me, I'm not sure, come August that I will feel much different.

Phil Walling
12 Posted 09/04/2018 at 05:32:57
Generous to the last with your player ratings, Paul, but you do need to get real !

Shave a point off every one of them and you'd be nearer to the truth. Or is it that our sad bunch do manage to look like footballers when seen in the flesh rather than via tv ?

Paul Traill
13 Posted 09/04/2018 at 07:18:12
Andy #8 - Dave and Sunil enjoyed the atmosphere and last 20 minutes if nothing else. Sunil is still chuckling about the "ladyboy" chants directed at Firminho. They enjoyed themselves, just a shame we couldn't get the win for them.
Jer Kiernan
14 Posted 09/04/2018 at 10:57:44
I cant help but feel this was the perfect result, had we won it would be more down to Liverpool barely caring about the result as with other things on their mind the Derby for them was an after thought, They are light years ahead of us

As it turns out this dinosaur still could not bring himself to play anything resembling an attacking gameplan and resorted to the rugby league-esque fodder we are now accustomed to

I will forgo this Derby as I would prefer to win on merit against their strongest team but more important my biggest fear was this dud pulling a derby win out of the lucky bag and the Everton Fans and Board "making nice"

Had Unsworth stayed in charge I have not doubt we would have survived and would have been worth watching at least, I will not be watching next year if this guy is in the dugout,

Thanks for your help Sam now bye bye

Nicholas Ryan
15 Posted 09/04/2018 at 11:57:18
Were my eyes deceiving me, or did Schneiderlin actually DO stuff?!
Tony Abrahams
16 Posted 09/04/2018 at 12:00:10
They made five changes, but it looked like we only had nine players, until Rooney, and Bolasie went off?

The thing that changed once we made the subs, was our energy levels, and although people rave about Liverpool's front three, the greatest thing that they posses as a team, is the one thing Everton really lack, and that is real energy?

You don't always have to be the best if you work the hardest, but the harder you do work, then the more chance you have of being the best!

Please Let's get a positive intelligent manager, into our club, and then it won't be long, before we can get over the mental block, which comes when we play against Liverpool.

Tosun, acted like a little kid getting crowded by glory, when his chance arose, and Lewin reacted in a similar way. This will only be rectified with real belief, and expectation, becomes sometimes a game of football, can be won or lost in the mind? and it's also the main reason, why we have got to get the next managerial decision right.

William Cartwright
17 Posted 09/04/2018 at 14:13:30
When Roberto and Ronald left it was (I understand) without a parting dismissal siscussion from Moshiri. Perhaps he just feels embarrassed, or totally pissed that he has to remove such managerial dross and part with seriously big chuncks of money in doing so that he feels justified in delegating the goodbye chat to others?

Anyway, I believe that Allardyce will be gone sooner or later and we can then move on.

Brands + Fonesca, or Brands + Silva or Brands + Howe will be good enough for me. The root and branch clear out will follow but I expect Allardyce to be joined by Walsh and Shakespeare, and a big player exodus as well. I also have a sneaky feeling that Klassen is not done with Everton just yet. A progressive astute, energetic manager could turn his carer around.

I see no future for Robles, Martina, Williams, Jags or Baines. Schneiderlin and Funes Mori could still surprise us and Holgate may at last be be used centrally in his best position with Kenny to pick up from where he left off. Rooney, Bolaisie,and Niasse, may struggle. Gueye should be OK as will Davies, and McCarthy will be assessed upon his return. I would like to see Tosun, joined by his Turkish playmaker buddy, together with Siggy, Walcott, Calvert-Lewin, Vlasic and Onyekuru as the attacking sextet. All being well we should be light years ahead from the most awful season I can remember.


Alan Bodell
18 Posted 09/04/2018 at 14:45:14
Four things out of the game for me, good to see a big mark up on Keane and Shneiderlin performances, they need to on what they gave us to now then Seamus is back, (thank the lord) and finally Rooney has to realise he is no midfield general and has to accept a bit part in our future (throwing a mini hissy for his hooking ?, best decision i've seen yet from the fat man)
Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 09/04/2018 at 14:58:06
Paul, excellent summary. I've never imagined I would ever write these words... but I agree with Phil Walling. Your ratings are generous, particularly given an overall team performance so dismal that the NBC commentators were openly ridiculing Everton's lack of energy. That said, your comments on the individual players are spot on, particularly with regards to Keane's positives and Rooney's negatives.

Nicholas #15, yes, he did... but far too late in this lost season for him to ever salvage his image with the fans.

Christy #2, dead on target. The subs really electrified the side and should have been brought on at halftime. But as Jim pointed out, DCL just didn't have the quality to finish that last chance.

William #17, yesterday proved (as did the City game) that even at 33 there is still plenty of fine footy left in the ever-classy Leighton Baines, and I expect him to be with us next season.

Sean Patton
20 Posted 09/04/2018 at 15:07:12
If people think that was a weakened team we played then check out the team we picked at Anfield thats what I call depleted.

Also I don't think the gameplan was to go for the win in the last 15 because if thats the case why did he bring on a defensive midfielder instead of another forward.

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 09/04/2018 at 15:11:40
Mike (19), yes agree about Leighton Baines, I thought he had a very good game especially when he had someone ahead of him who was interested in the game, Calvert Lewin, who played well apart from sending us home dancing, still think he will make a good player when played as a striker.
Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 09/04/2018 at 15:48:44
Dave, I wish I could agree on DCL. He has tremendous pace, good skills and an outstanding work ethic. But I have never seen even a glimpse of the goal box ruthlessness a striker requires. At 21, he still has time to develop it, but personally I don't think his future is exactly dazzling.

BTW, let's make sure we meet up for an ale when I come over in December.

Dave Speed
23 Posted 09/04/2018 at 18:27:44
I've seen a lot of comments about our record against the top six, as we regularly finished 7th. The best of the rest and all that. Take a good look at the top 8. Out of 48 possible points available, we have taken 7. 2 off the RS, 1 off Citeh and Chelski, and a rather fortuitous 3 against Leicester. Doubles against us by Manure, Arse and, FFS, Burnley. That's how far we've really fallen.
Peter Rogers
24 Posted 09/04/2018 at 23:37:12

I have just read an article by Luke O'Farrell on ESPN titled Everton look beaten by Liverpool before a Merseyside derby ball is kicked.

It makes interesting reading but the point is that Allardyce is performing one of the biggest con tricks in football history. By telling anybody who will listen how bad we are and how far away from the top teams we are, he is making himself look like our saviour. Where would we be without him - probably exactly where we are now to be honest but with better performances.

When I read in the press about my Everton being gutless and cowards, it makes me feel so pissed off. You have to win the battle before you can win the war and we set up to hide – especially against the bigger teams. We got a draw against a weakened Liverpool and the fat knob thinks he's a tactical genius, for fuck's sake, we were pathetic for 70 minutes yet again.

Sorry but it doesn't wash – we are Everton, the Dogs of War... we fight to win games, not hide. The sooner this clown's gone, the better. I for one don't believe his self-made hype. We are better than this and need a manager to guide us in the right direction – not stifle the creativity.

Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 09/04/2018 at 23:39:05
Mike. (22) we will have a discussion over Calvert-Lewin while we enjoy a pint or two in December, look forward to that.
Alan Bodell
26 Posted 10/04/2018 at 11:51:52
Peter (#24), I absolutely agree with every word but that guy from ESPN giving Seamus just a '6'... grrrr.
Dick Fearon
27 Posted 10/04/2018 at 22:33:52
The answer to Paul's query, 'Why can't we just do it?' is because we live in a nightmarish kind of dreamworld. Like a Greek tragedy the scenario was laid down many years ago and can be traced back to when a certain luvvy escaped from the boys pen and somehow wangled his way onto the board of directors.

All was done and continues to be done with the best of intentions but ends up in tears.

From the top down we have been bamboozled lied to and taken for fools. No other mob of supporters would have put up with the kind of diet we have been fed.

Prior to Moshiri we were told we were on the financial bones of our arse. At the same time some of the country's richest men were on the board and did not put in a penny of their own money.

The RS fans would not accept that kind of lickspittle while we have lapped it up. Despite all that, I sense a murmur from the faithful that says "Shape up or ship out. No longer should the club be treated as a convalescent home by another club's cast offs.

This current season is ground zero for manager and players.

Jack Convery
28 Posted 11/04/2018 at 22:22:27
I agree with Dick -- Ground Zero it is.

We are rubbish, end of... rubbish that cannot be recycled because we took it in to recycle in the first place.

Jim Wilson
29 Posted 14/04/2018 at 10:58:38
The Liverpool paranoia was started by Moyes with the inept Anfield performances when Liverpool were there for the taking and that horrendous Wembley semi-final and then the pathetic Martinez efforts.

If Rooney had been pushed forward instead of being taken off one of those 'great chances' may well have gone in. Rooney is NOT a midfield player – he is a striker and should start there.

The easy explanation as to why we can't beat Liverpool is because we have had shite managers who haven't a clue!

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