Marcel Brands and Marco Silva were successful in not only pruning a bloated squad but also in then adding genuine quality to the Everton team. It means that the manager has some tough decisions to make when everybody is fit.
A cursory look at the starting XI from last season’s Anfield derby in comparison with the team sheet for Saturday’s game against Cardiff reveals just how much Everton’s squad has changed in just a short amount of time.
Just three of the 14 players who played a part in January’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool — Jordan Pickford, Idrissa Gueye and Gylfi Sigurdsson — are likely to be in the line-up for the 232nd Merseyside derby on Sunday and only three more — Phil Jagielka, Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin — are likely to be in the matchday squad.
Four of them — Ashley Williams, Cuco Martina, Wayne Rooney and Aaron Lennon — have been offloaded, either on loan or in permanent deals and for another three — Jonjoe Kenny, Mason Holgate and Oumar Niasse — there probably won’t be room on the substitute’s bench.
It’s a measure of how effective Marcel Brands and Marco Silva were in not only pruning a bloated squad over the summer but also in then adding genuine quality to the team. It also means that the manager has some tough decisions to make when, as is the case at the moment, everybody is fit.
In some areas, there is just no argument. So impressive and consistent has Idrissa Gueye been in his customary, tigerish role as the chief disruptor in the middle of the park that he is an early contender for player of the season. André Gomes, meanwhile, has stepped into the role previously occupied by Tom Davies or Morgan Schneiderlin with incredible poise and command; to the point where he is already living up to predictions that he could be Everton’s next Mikel Arteta and fans are wondering what would need to be done to sign the Portuguese permanently as soon as possible.
The result has been that Davies, a player who played 42 times in all competitions last season, hasn’t appeared in a Premier League fixture in two months; Morgan Schneiderlin, who featured 40 times last term, has only started give games so far; and James McCarthy hasn’t been able to get near the team to complete his recovery from a double leg fracture.
Other parts of the team aren’t so cut-and-dried, however, and while keeping the same team from week to week, where possible, has been a convenient “out” for Silva in terms of some tough choices so far, it doesn’t make it any easier on those players champing at the bit for game time.
Three into two won’t go
Central defence is a particularly vexing case in point. In Michael Keane, Everton have a player who has undergone a remarkable transformation in fortunes. On the back of a worryingly shaky first season following what looked back then to have been an exorbitant £25m (rising to £30m) move from Burnley and a 2018 pre-season during which he hardly covered himself in glory, there were many Evertonians who felt that the 25-year-old was in danger of being surplus to requirements with the arrival of Kurt Zouma and Yerry Mina.
Fast forward a few weeks and Keane has gone from being regarded as a liability, a weak link and being behind the aforementioned new signings and Mason Holgate in the pecking order under the new regime to being another leading candidate for player of the year even at this early stage of the campaign.
That he struggled through last season with a potentially career-threatening infection in his foot and was forced to play in outsized boots to accommodate the padding around the injury goes a long way to explaining why his form was such a concern. Combine that with the fact that he was playing in a struggling team and is it any wonder that the wisdom of his acquisition was being questioned by Blues fans and his World Cup prospects evaporated as Gareth Southgate turned to other options. It is testament to his talents as a player and mental strength that he looks every inch a £30m player these days.
Zouma may have arrived almost literally at the last minute but he has proved to be a very astute and valuable loan signing who provided almost flawless cover while Mina recovered from successive foot injuries before finally making his debut in the goalless draw at Chelsea two weeks ago.
That game came at an inopportune time for the Frenchman. He had cemented his place in Everton’s starting XI at the expense of Holgate who had struggled to find his feet early in the campaign and earned a recall to the French international side as recognition of his excellent form in the heart of the Blues’ defence.
He had kept the fit-again Mina on the bench for two games but was forced to step aside when the team travelled to Stamford Bridge as he was ineligible to play. Now, given how well the Colombian played in that match and again against Cardiff last Saturday, Zouma has been relegated to the role of deputy and late substitute.
All three centre-halves have exhibited a similar level of performance so far but given that Everton have invested heavily in Keane and Mina and that Zouma officially belongs to another club until (and if) circumstances change next summer, it is perhaps understandable that the former two get the nod while everyone is fit and healthy and Silva is using a flat back four.
The latter case may not always be, of course. Silva has used a three-man central defence before and hasn’t ruled out deploying it again. Indeed, he has thrown an extra centre half on at the end in recent games to shore up a result but it doesn’t look likely that he will opt for that formation from the start in many games. Because while it does free up the fullbacks to be more attacking, it does so at the expense of one of his more natural attackers and the four-man offensive unit has proved to be an effective weapon in many matches this season.
Is it something he would consider at Anfield this
summer Sunday? It’s unlikely — it’s hardly the occasion for too much experimentation — but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. It would add an extra defensive component to deal with one of the most deadly forward lines in the league and also, perhaps, provide a reason for taking one of his less-than-consistent wide players out of the side or, at least, from the starting line-up.
In search of the right blend
It’s fair to say that each of Everton’s signings this year, from Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott to the six additions acquired over the summer, have had a positive impact on the side, albeit to varying degrees. Of the new attacking players, Tosun has clearly found it hardest to hold down a starting berth, with Richarlison proving more effective in a central role.
Bernard and Walcott, meanwhile, have been preferred down the flanks but with neither operating at their peak at the moment, it creates a window of opportunity that Ademola Lookman looks more and more likely to climb through with each passing week exciting cameo.
The young England midfielder has come a long way from the sullen demeanour he displayed after the transfer window closed and the kibosh was put on his desired permanent move to Red Bull Leipzig. From barely looking like he was interested in playing during pre-season, Lookman now has the look of a player fully committed to taking any chances that come his way and he is pushing hard for his first Premier League start.
Whether that is in place of Walcott or Bernard is up for debate but there is a growing feeling among the fanbase that one of the two could do with a spell on the bench where they could swap roles with Lookman to become the impact substitute.
Walcott’s move from Arsenal to Goodison presented the 29-year-old with an chance to finally shed the image he had cultivated in his years in North London of a man who was always falling tantalisingly short of fulfilling his rich potential. In new surroundings and now under a dynamic, ambitious young coach in Silva, the hope was that the former Southampton prodigy could find the consistency lacking in his game but it appears that it continues to elude him.
That’s not to say that he hasn’t weighed in with some important contributions, of course. Two goals early in the season and a key role in the sending off of Bournemouth’s Adam Smith in August were evidence of a player getting his first full season at his new club off to a flyer but Walcott has become progressively less reliable in the final third, his key role in Sigurdsson’s goal against Cardiff notwithstanding. He was found wanting against his old club when he probably should have scored in a one-on-one situation with Petr Cech and his heavy touch let him down at Chelsea in what was a rare chance for the Blues to score in a key away game.
Meanwhile, after making a scintillating start to his Everton career, Bernard has shown signs that he will need a lot longer than at first thought to get to grips with the transition from Ukraine’s Premier League to England. His composure to set up the third goal against Fulham having only been on the field a few minutes, and then his brilliant skills to carve out a goal for his compatriot Richarilson on his first League start vindicated those who felt that of all of Silva’s summer signings, he was the most exciting.
If there has been concern around the diminutive Brazilian from some quarters in the weeks since it’s that he has, perhaps, lost some of that early confidence, his distribution has been iffy at times and he has generally been erratic. Substituted initially for fitness reasons — he hadn’t played since March when he arrived on a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk in August — Bernard largely has been withdrawn by his manager more because of diminished effectiveness in recent weeks, although he was improving as the game against Cardiff wore on and was probably unfortunate to make way.
The knocks on Bernard are possibly overdone. Only Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne have a higher percentage of key passes per game than him so far this season and, as his role in the lovely breakaway goal against Brighton showed, he can make vital contributions over the course of a game even if he still lacks consistency. Silva clearly agrees and, by starting him week in, week out, he is allowing the winger to gradually find his feet and get much-needed game time and experience under his belt.
Lookman coming into the side for one of Walcott or Bernard feels like it’s inevitable at this time but whether the manager elects to take that decision for a game as important as the derby on Sunday is another matter. (The home game with Newcastle would seem to be a much more obvious test case.) In a contest in which Everton will be more reliant on counter-attacking than is the case at home, there is an argument for retaining Walcott in the XI for his pace and experience.
Bringing him in for Bernard would seem to be a more like-for-like change but the Brazilian might be better suited to the pressing game and the need for tracking back than Lookman, whose defensive weaknesses were an issue for Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce.
These are, by Silva’s own admission, nice problems to have and if he can find the right attacking blend and draw the requisite consistency from all his attacking players, there is no question that Everton will be in a far better position to challenge for a top-six place over the second half of the season.
Competition among the players can only help in that regard, as could a key signing or two in January to bolster that front line, but in the interim the challenge is to cultivate the best environment for the obvious quality that exists in this Blues team to become a consistently dangerous team going forward against the best teams in the division
The upcoming games at Liverpool and Manchester City and against Tottenham at home will be a stern examination of just how far Silva has been able to do that. He has some selection dilemmas to work through but ultimately it’ll come down to whether the players can perform when the time comes.
Reader Comments (74)
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1 Posted 27/11/2018 at 08:22:33
2 Posted 27/11/2018 at 08:41:57
Whoever plays, I hope they spend the week preparing knowing Liverpool are focused on their must-win game against PSG tomorrow.
3 Posted 27/11/2018 at 09:28:57
For me, Richarlison should replace either Walcott or Bernard. Neither are playing particularly well just now and the one dropped should be the one Silva feels will do a poorer job supporting the full-back when the RS have the ball.
I would bring in Calvert-Lewin up front to give more of a physical presence and occupy their central defence.
4 Posted 27/11/2018 at 09:46:34
5 Posted 27/11/2018 at 10:21:27
6 Posted 27/11/2018 at 10:22:39
I think one of the reasons for the diminished effectiveness of Walcott and Bernard is that, while Richarlison is a very strong direct runner at opposing defences, he is not a centre-forward who readily brings his wide attackers into the play. If I were to make a change on Sunday, it would be to move Richarlison back to the left with Calvert-Lewin or Tosun coming into the middle.
I suspect, however, Silva will leave the team unchanged for Sunday – thus obeying the ‘don't change a winning team' mantra. The Newcastle game three days later is more likely to see him change the front three with Lookman and one of the centre-forwards returning.
With eight games to play in just over four weeks Silva will need to ring a few changes when injuries, fatigue and suspensions kick in.
7 Posted 27/11/2018 at 11:07:31
Nice dilemmas for the manager to have with good replacements in nearly every area of the team at the moment.
8 Posted 27/11/2018 at 11:15:01
I don't think he will change the front three, even though Bernard and Walcott have been below what we know they are capable of.
Bernard has been inconsisitent and I have expected a bit more from him, but there is a case that it is early days. He has a streetfighter strain in his blood that will come out in the derby. I think he could, against expectations, have a very good game.
Walcott has been inconsistent too, and quite a bit below what he can do on top form. He needs to sharpen his knives for the derby; Silva has to feed him some raw meat this week. I don't want to see a meek and passive Walcott on Sunday, if that side of him turns up I won't forgive him.
These two players can offer more, and if they turn up for the show we can really hurt Liverpool.
Richarlison will stay central I think, whilst Calvert-Lewin offers more physicality. I think Richarlison is still marginally the best choice for it as he has a bit more skill and cleverness and is more predatory. Calvert-Lewin coming in would mean Bernard dropping to the bench.
9 Posted 27/11/2018 at 12:12:44
Bernard should be an impact sub for the time being, but I also agree that this is not a game to bring in Lookman. I'm in the camp of playing Calvert-Lewin as centre-forward (please god, don't let Tosun play), and have Richarilson on the left.
Richarilson's running should provide more cover for Digne, as Alexander-Arnold will be a handful, and Walcott should have the experience to be well tasked to helping Coleman deal with Robertson. Those Liverpool full-backs are both full of pace and attacking threat.
Lookman and Bernard can provide wonderful options off the bench to really put it to Liverpool later in the game, with tired legs (especially after they've already had a tough mid-week game in Paris).
10 Posted 27/11/2018 at 12:43:43
11 Posted 27/11/2018 at 13:09:48
As loyal an Evertonian as Baines, Jagielka and Davis to name a few are/were, I never got the impression that they were up for the derby. Certainly having this inferiority complex ingrained by Moyes and others solidified this mindset.
Not sure if this optimism is well founded, especially at Anfield, but I haven't felt this good since my first Anfield derby back in 1972 when some no-name called Cormack scored for them and then Emelyn Hughes scored 2 in the return at Goodison for the dark side. Oh well.
Long time ago but anyone else remember those games?
12 Posted 27/11/2018 at 14:02:37
For the derby, he's probably pondering whether to play 3 at the back to counter their front 3. I'm not a fan of it but, as a one-off way to neutralise the RS, so be it. Let's face it – you stop the front 3, you stop the RS.
I'd drop Walcott and ask Bernard to play off Richarlison.
13 Posted 27/11/2018 at 14:52:19
I expect the change to start against Newcastle, but that's just my own opinion, the same opinion that thinks it's also going to make us stronger, more competitive, and also harder to play against in the long run.
14 Posted 27/11/2018 at 14:54:53
Barring injury, I think he'll stick with the same side that has turned a corner on the basis of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Also I suppose that mini run of good results will have greatly helped confidence among the current starting XI.
Personally, I would bring in Lookman for Walcott because his cameos suggest he would be much more of a threat and that is as good as way as any to keep the full-back from charging forward. As others have said, Bernard, for all his small size, seems to have a degree of aggression about him that is better suited to a derby.
While I think the odds remain against us, we are better placed than normal given we have a developing team growing in confidence and, with a bit of luck, PSG will have run them all round the park in the Champions League game. So it's perhaps our best chance for a while.
15 Posted 27/11/2018 at 15:06:28
Interesting view, Lyndon, in respect of including Lookman this weekend. I actually think Lookman starting at home against a side we are expected to beat may weigh on him.
Personally I would put him on Sunday for a couple of reasons.
First, cast your mind back to his cameo at Anfield in the FA Cup defeat in January. He had a hand in the equalizer, and I recall a thrilling turn and run where he had the shite defence back peddling.
Secondly, he may find space behind Robertson & Alexander Arnold, who both enjoy bombing forward. I recall that we struggled to contain Wan-Bissaka of Palace down our left, and Bernard seems incapable of exploiting space as he is not a natural left-sided winger. Lookman found space in that match when he came on and delivered a brilliant cross for Calvert-Lewin's header.
16 Posted 27/11/2018 at 15:13:36
The referee for Sunday is Chris Kavanagh. We had him for the Carabao Cup game against Southampton. However, more interesting is one of the assistants is Sian Massey.
Will she be able to cope with the intensity of a Merseyside derby, particularly with that shower of shite hurling abuse at her? I'm not entirely happy with this appointment.
17 Posted 27/11/2018 at 15:33:11
Whilst Richarlison would be better on the wing, he is more of a threat than Calvert-Lewin and Tosun, maintaining the high press and keeping the opposition defence from pushing their defensive line up, Both Calvert-Lewin and Tosun where a gift to opposition defences.
Walcott takes up good positions and helps Everton to maintain their shape, though, in play, he is peripheral and struggles with the dual role that Silva expects of him. Bernard is not up to Premier League speed; I was expecting him to be more of a commanding player. Lookman is getting better all the time.
Against Liverpool, I don't expect any changes; Silva is making do with what he has – especially in the forward line. Everton still need to get a good centre-forward.
18 Posted 27/11/2018 at 15:47:27
Ajay (#11), I well remember both those matches. The first was in October 1972. Cormack scored the only goal with a header after about 80 minutes at the Anfield Road End after we had more than held our own.
By the time we played the return in March 1973, we were really struggling with the likes of Joe Harper and Rod Belfitt having been signed in a forlorn attempt by Catterick to replace Joe Royle who had suffered a back injury in late October. On a wet, muddy pitch at Goodison Park, Hughes scored two second-half goals at the Park End. The following month, Catterick stepped down to be replaced by Billy Bingham in the summer.
Bingham was happy to settle for several 0-0 draws as part of his contribution to our seven-year famine. More than 40 years later, we have suffered an even longer famine; over eight years have elapsed since we last won a derby.
I have attended every league derby since 1969-70. That is 98 games with only 16 victories for our club... 5 at Anfield.
19 Posted 27/11/2018 at 15:47:48
Bit sexist, that, Rob. Be prepared to be lambasted! Lol.
20 Posted 27/11/2018 at 15:59:45
He does that in every game he's played in. If the forwards don't finish it that's not his fault. Sunday is our biggest game of the season so far and big games require your biggest players. If I was Silva, I would name an unchanged side.
My only concern is that both Mina and Keane are not the quickest centre-backs so the Reds' nippy forwards will cause them problems. On the other hand, we have pretty quick forwards ourselves and, since the onus will be on them to attack, I'm sure we'll get opportunities to counter-attack on the break.
At least this time we'll be going into the game with a realistic chance of getting something from it instead of blindly hoping for the best.
21 Posted 27/11/2018 at 16:12:35
22 Posted 27/11/2018 at 16:22:10
Sian was at Goodson early in the season and she couldn't even get some of the throw-in decisions correct; she even waited once or twice for the referee to indicate which team got the call before she put her flag up.
I've nothing against a lady being in charge, as long as she is good enough. I shudder to think how the Liverpool crowd will intimidate her.
23 Posted 27/11/2018 at 16:31:53
I was talking to a red at work and he said Henderson is a massive loss for them. I don't think he'll change the team, although I agree with a lot of the previous posts that I'd bring Lookman in for Walcott.
I'm looking forward to this match... and I never look forward to playing them. The players will obviously be the difference but I think Silva will be also the difference — he's streets ahead of Klopp tactically.
Klopp has Plan A which normally works due to their front 3... but, if you nullify those (I know that's easier said than done), Klippity hasn't got a Plan B. Marco has Plans A, B and C!!
24 Posted 27/11/2018 at 16:50:41
Up front, if he was pondering a change, that might've come against Cardiff. One thing I'd think about is switching the front 3 with Bernard right, Richarlison left, and Walcott through the middle. We don't seem to do enough of that. They stay on their respective sides whether it's working or not.
25 Posted 27/11/2018 at 17:05:24
My point is, will she be able to cope with the hostility that will surely come her way should she give a few bad decisions against the RS?
As rightly pointed out by Dave (#22), she got a few throw-in decisions wrong in the Carabao Cup game against Southampton earlier in the season.
Let's hope she has the skin of a rhino to cope with any dog's abuse hurled towards her if she does give some dodgy decisions against them. I know male assistants get abuse hurled at them, so really it shouldn't be any different for Sian Massey. It's how she copes with it that concerns me.
As Lyndon says, she'll be fine. Let's hope so.
26 Posted 27/11/2018 at 17:14:55
She will be fine, as good or bad as mean who run the line.
27 Posted 27/11/2018 at 17:21:02
Incompetence and corruption know no gender boundaries.
28 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:04:49
Can you name the lino who gave the offside goal at Arsenal? If it doesn't spring immediately to mind then perhaps a rethink on the viewpoints above is necessary. Otherwise, the comments made are, to my mind, well off the mark.
Evertonians' mindset needs to shift from looking at the officials for a get out and focus on the promising side we have and forget about the ready-made excuses we like to pivot to following a defeat at Anfield.
I think we have a very decent chance. Our better performances have been away from Goodison Park with both Silva and his players more comfortable on the counter.
For me, the same team bar Lookman for Walcott. He gets more from Coleman and takes up a different space to Seamus. Walcott and Coleman, both vertical players, direct and athletic. Lookman brings a cerebral touch.
2-0 to the Toffees, Andre the Giant Gomes with the coup de grace.
29 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:05:29
I'd stick with team and formation. I can see the sense of the team building cohesion. Even though Bernard and Walcott are frustrating, I think Silva is really giving them a chance to find their best form, which takes time. I just think he should sub earlier when it's clearly not working and then exercise our choices up front. Put on Lookman and vary Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.
30 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:21:52
Could it be that being the only female assistant referee makes her easier to remember rather than anything of a "sexist" nature your post might seem to suggest, John?
31 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:25:32
32 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:26:04
33 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:36:40
If you can find a post/thread with a named assistant referee rather than the generic ‘lino' then that's fair dos.
Darren Cann perhaps or Andy Garratt? I cannot recall a debate about their individual skills before an important game? Why does Sian Massey-Ellis get a name check and not even her partner for Sunday? [I'll take my chances with that statement.]
Let's be clear: I'm not pilloring anybody, I suggested a rethink if any unconscious bias exists. Ironic since that's what many on here believe officials have towards the bigger clubs.
34 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:55:02
I'm concerned about quite a few officials, and have expressed those concerns openly in response to specific namings on ToffeeWeb. If you trawl through some recent threads, you'll find a fair amount of discussion on the topic.
A particular official being female would not prevent me from commenting in the vein being discussed, because to do otherwise would be patronising towards women (IMO).
35 Posted 27/11/2018 at 18:56:36
Perhaps, at long last, it will be the turn of our neighbours to claim 'they wuz robbed'!
36 Posted 27/11/2018 at 19:04:11
Walcott or Calvert-Lewin
37 Posted 27/11/2018 at 19:25:23
Walcott, on the other hand, is always potentially a scorer although he has been below par recently.
There is definitely a case for Lookman, who is pushing to get his chance, and Calvert-Lewin may just have the physicality to occupy the RS defence so, for that reason, I would put Calvert-Lewin up-front, Richarlison out left, and give Walcott and Lookman a half each depending on how the game is going.
I do worry about the speed of their breakaways, so Coleman and Digne may have to be less adventurous on Sunday.
38 Posted 27/11/2018 at 19:28:37
The goal deficit sequence from those games is -2, -1, and 0. Next in the sequence should be 1.
39 Posted 27/11/2018 at 19:35:37
To be clear about the referee's assistant, I'm not looking for excuses in case we lose this game. I'm backing Everton to win and fully expect them to have a good go at Liverpool.
I agree, the lady assistant is probably no worse than some of her male counterparts; nevertheless that doesn't make her a competent line person.
I had a go at her in the game I saw and apologised to the young lady who sits in front of me, and told her I wasn't having a go because she was a lady. The young lady told me there was no need to apologise because she agreed that the referee's assistant was crap. (Her words!)
40 Posted 27/11/2018 at 20:15:57
Richarlison was shite on Saturday — nobody was asking for him to be replaced against Cardiff. I agree that Bernard improved in the 2nd half and Walcott has to do better against Cardiff-type teams at home; his form hasn't been as bad as lots would have us believe and the rumblings seem a little unfair, imo.
It's nice to see Lookman wanting to be part of the team and working hard and his time will come over the course of a long season.
41 Posted 27/11/2018 at 20:17:08
But, is this a big game for Walcott to use his big-game experience with Lookman eager on the bench?
I have to say... I am running away for the day... or am I?
42 Posted 27/11/2018 at 20:17:54
They are all assistant referees or ‘Linos' if you prefer. There is absolutely no need to mention gender, why is gender even important? That's the point I'm making.
They stand or fall on their ability. If that truly was the case, then perhaps her partner should have been mentioned in the same breath. Using gender rather than a collective title and then criticizing, warranted or not, still looks misjudged to me.
It's just my thoughts on how I've interpreted the comments. I cannot read someone's mind and hope the comments were made in good faith. 😊
43 Posted 27/11/2018 at 20:31:18
And let's be honest — there are one or two lady ToffeeWebbers who know more about football than many of us on here.
45 Posted 27/11/2018 at 21:31:52
I see our use of the ball and press as key, similar to the Chelsea game, but we must maintain clear communication onto and on the pitch.
The officials, as ever, have their work cut out and I'm sure the officials will get the usual verbals, but they can't melt as is mainly the case when we play them.
I expect the same line up to start but with real onus on Walcott to show real guts, hunger, passion and composure to deliver. He must know he's playing for his place now and I expect Lookman to start vs The Barcodes.
Hopefully we can convert the chances we create and also have some vision and get some shots in from outside the box.
I'm hoping for Bernard to get third-time lucky on the next “sitter”. A few RS have been pretty quiet this week, and are using the PSG game as of higher importance.
Let's hope so and the Gods of football smile kindly and provide a blue victory on Sunday. That would be nice.
46 Posted 27/11/2018 at 23:02:21
But a good trick is to wait for an opportunity when the ref is looking for the big fellas pushing and pulling and get someone to stamp on Salah's foot. The old tricks still work the best.
47 Posted 27/11/2018 at 23:42:14
Don't mess with the back four or midfield for this game under any circumstances, barring a training injury.
The derby is a test of character – that is why they have had the drop on us for so long.
Based on the above, there is no way I would drop Bernard – he is a fighter who will produce at least one moment of magic during the game. He also works to the game plan.
Last week, when Pickford had caught the cross (and Harris clattered him), Bernard had already taken off up the left wing like a cut cat in anticipation of our goalie launching one for him. We need that sort of intelligence in a derby.
On the centre-back pairing, Keane is undroppable at the moment. I really like Zouma but Mina has to start also.
The only change I can see is Lookman coming on for Walcott or Bernard after 60 minutes.
I am nervous about this one – as opposed to anxious. Always a good sign.
48 Posted 27/11/2018 at 00:14:21
And all this from some 'Oh, how will she cope with reds having a go at her?' As if she hasn't heard it all before! All clearly sexist.
But, yeah, if an assistant misses an offside or some other big decision on Sunday, I'll give them stick whichever one it is, but I won't harp on about worrying if they will get upset by the stick dished out by the reds. Perhaps one of you can carry her bag for her... you know, she might not be strong enough...
49 Posted 28/11/2018 at 00:22:59
Who died and put you in charge?
Put down your pitchfork and get a life.
Always someone ready to show how perfect they are and start something that doesn't need starting.
50 Posted 28/11/2018 at 00:31:35
51 Posted 28/11/2018 at 00:58:38
I'm not saying she's a poor assistant, far from it. What I'm saying is, will she be able to take any dog's abuse thrown at her by the RS if she gives a few dodgy decisions against them? That lot will go to any lengths to make sure they get a result. You've only got to look back to last season's attack on the Man City team bus to see that.
Doing a game like Brighton v Leicester last Saturday is a whole lot different to doing a Merseyside derby. Of course she's heard all the comments before, and she probably just laughs it off.
All I'm saying is she will get (or might get) some horrendous verbals thrown at her if she gives decisions against them, and I hope she won't be affected by any such abuse and start giving all 50/50 decisions in their favour.
As regards the point about naming assistants. Seeing as she's the only female assistant, it's not very hard to remember her. We played Arsenal 10 weeks ago this Sunday when an assistant missed an obvious offside for one of their goals, so of course nobody can remember his name. If in 10 weeks time we are still going on about an offside goal missed by Sian Massey, then of course we will remember her.
Even the referee for Sunday, Chris Kavanagh is inexperienced, in my opinion, for this game. He has only officiated about 25 Premier League matches, and as we all know how feisty Merseyside derbies can become, he could easily lose control of the game.
Let's just hope that, come Sunday night, we are all celebrating an Everton win and not talking about the officials.
52 Posted 28/11/2018 at 00:59:28
53 Posted 28/11/2018 at 06:58:11
Walcott will play, because of his experience regarding positioning himself to maintain the team shape. Lookman is an out-and-out forward, but Silva demands that a player fulfils a dual role. Bernard is more a dual player but is better more inside than on the wing. Because of Digne's crossing ability on the right, he edges in more than Lookman as a result.
Liverpool's defence isn't that great. I have a long-term Liverpool friend and he has always had doubts about Klopp's ability in organising defence. Walcott, Bernard and Richarlison are the bigger counter-attacking threat and the Liverpool set-up will suit them.
54 Posted 28/11/2018 at 09:25:26
Just because this particular official is female does not imply that the criticism is sexist. Indeed, IMO it is consistent with an absence of a patronising attitude towards women.
Let's just hope the particular official, given the concerns expressed, doesn't fuck up. We've seen enough fuck-ups and apparent bias from officials this season.
55 Posted 28/11/2018 at 13:28:37
I did flirt with the idea of Lookman for one of the two wide lads, especially as they were both so poor at the weekend, but I think we need the poise that Bernard can bring and I genuinely believe Theo can be the match winner. Lookman on after an hour if any of the two are struggling would be my preference.
Mina over Zouma for me as Mina kept back-to-back clean sheets and offers a huge presence in the opposition's box. He also likes to play the ball around on the deck, this is something that's needed as Gomes, Sigurdsson and Richarlison want it that way.
So, for me, it's a case of we go again – but this time it's time for one of the wide men to become heroes and win the game for us. If they don't and Lookman comes in and does it after the hour mark, then they won't get their place back.
56 Posted 28/11/2018 at 19:12:06
I'm of the mindset to actually put Walcott up-front. It gets the Brazilian back to his best position; we can play Lookman or Bernard on the right and Walcott has the experience to do a good job... and pace!
Makes sense to me.
57 Posted 28/11/2018 at 23:00:29
And those questioning her ability to do the job on the basis of waiting for a referee's call – is that not teamwork (she might not have seen who the ball came off last and wanted an opinion first)?
I know it's derby week but the paranoia level seems to have ratcheted up several notches here if we're questioning the assistant, never mind the referee (who I've not heard much of which can be a good thing as he's not known for any controversy).
58 Posted 28/11/2018 at 00:05:46
Rob (#51), fair enough. I suppose my point was why debate how she'll handle the stick from the fans? If the assistant was male that point would not have been made. You're implying as she's female, she may struggle with the mass of verbal abuse, hence my comment. As I said, she's heard it all before, I doubt she'll crumble if some fat ale-house calls her a bitch.
Overall, most officials are poor though (imo).
59 Posted 28/11/2018 at 00:18:22
CYOB — there are 40,000 people who want you to win, plus a few million more in the UK who would love to see the so-called "Red Tide" subside and shrink.
60 Posted 29/11/2018 at 00:52:47
What next? Women commentating on boxing? Back to the kitchen, wench!
61 Posted 29/11/2018 at 08:13:03
I am of the same opinion as Lyndon, that Sian Massey will do a fine job.
62 Posted 29/11/2018 at 08:48:09
63 Posted 29/11/2018 at 09:01:48
64 Posted 29/11/2018 at 10:08:27
Please can I point out that the RB in Leipzig's name stands for RasenBallsport (lawn ball sports), NOT Red Bull. They were forbidden by Bundesliga rules from using Red Bull in their name as those rules prevent clubs being named after their sponsors.
They do however play at the Red Bull Arena and are known by the nickname of 'The Red Bulls') but there is no club known as Reb Bull Leipzig.
No such naming restrictions apply in Austria where the club's sponsors own and operate Red Bull Salzberg.
Hope you don't mind me pointing out the discrepancy but I'm sure a lot of people also think as you did about the RB part of the name.
65 Posted 29/11/2018 at 11:48:44
Calvert-Lewin has none of those attributes, at least not yet.
We seem to have a surplus of central defenders, why not give one of them the task of getting at Loveran and Van Dijk.
Some of the best strikers were converted defenders late in their careers. Fred Pickering was that type.
Just a thought like.
66 Posted 29/11/2018 at 12:51:54
67 Posted 29/11/2018 at 14:13:42
I don't think any criticisms of officials have been made based on their gender (and most officials criticised are male). However, it could be that some responses to valid criticisms are defensive responses possibly influenced by current gender political trends, and could be interpreted as patronising towards women. I think that is pointless.
68 Posted 29/11/2018 at 18:38:47
69 Posted 29/11/2018 at 19:04:17
As we defend
Coleman Mina Zouma Keane
Walcott Sigurdsson Bernard
As we go forward Coleman pushes forward as Walcott goes more central to support the front man (Richarlison) and maintain a back three with Gueye loitering ready to drop back. And as we drop back Colman comes back to create a back four along with Walcott and Bernard on the wings. The RS have been good this season at the back conceding only 5 and I think we'll need more than a single man upfront in the centre. Calvert-Lewin, Lookman and Digne to come on depending on how the match is going. Hopefully the RS are a bit rattled after yesterdays defeat.
.Mina Zouma Keane
70 Posted 29/11/2018 at 19:09:26
71 Posted 29/11/2018 at 19:10:52
With a back 4 as per Silvas last couple of sides when we attack you will see we have only the centre halves back and gueye covering like before but the fullbacks are pushed up as well as Gomes. It pulls the play across the pitch by adding width and so creates space.
5 at the back is shite. It doesnt work unless you have a beckenbauer-esque defender who can do away with the need for Gomes or Gueye by being good on the ball, a good passer, and able to bring the ball out of defence and set things in motion himself. We dont have that. In fact other than say David Luiz I dont think theres a real player like that in world football, and I would play Luiz as a centre half as I dont think hes good enough.
72 Posted 29/11/2018 at 20:25:14
I am convinced Silva is eventually going to go with 3 players in the middle of our defence, and I honesty feel this could benefit the present squad.
Surely a system is only shite if it doesn't suit the players, and I think Bernard, Lookman, or Walcott are all more suited better to attacking rather than defending, which is something this different system could bring about.
73 Posted 30/11/2018 at 10:11:51
Anyone know what Mina is like as a defending midfielder? He can pass.
74 Posted 30/11/2018 at 10:38:19
I would however keep him and Bernard for this game. Richarlison is better suited in the centre when we have less of the ball – but I agree that long-term, he's better on the left wing.
Bernard and Walcott have both played at the highest level and I think we need that mentality at Anfield. Lookman's time will come!
75 Posted 30/11/2018 at 17:29:26
1984-85 is the last time we beat them twice in the league in the one season.
I know it's hard on some of our loyal ex-players but there does often certainly seem to be an inferiority complex and lack of self-belief. However, as a few have already eluded, I get the feeling M&M have built a more solid ship already this season with pace and guile in abundance.
Our keeper and back 4 look a lot more solid than the first few months. Gueye looks like he's found his excellent tackling and spoiling form again and seems to work a lot better with Sigurdsson than Slumberland. Walcott's pace still creates panic even if he does lack a lot of finished product and misses more than he scores or sets up.
Compare that to Richarlison's pace, strength and finishing and they are very different at the moment. Saying that, though, Walcott's pace scares defenders as he runs at them and wins frees and maybe penalties or gets yellow & red cards.
I would imagine Silva will continue with the plan of letting Theo run his legs off for an hour and then bring on the trickery and fast feet of Lookman. I'd say it's only a matter of time before he scores an amazing solo-run goal — and what better place to do it than this Sunday into the Kop? He looks like a man who knows he has to start taking his chances in this team before he blows it and is shipped off to a slower league.
I am usually quite negative about the derby but I have a feeling this time that the 19-year drought is to end. They will expect themselves to simply bounce back from their midweek defeat. However, I think Silva is very clever and does his homework on teams and will have something up his sleeve. Lookman and Richarlison.
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