Another 'morale victory'

By Lyndon Lloyd 04/03/2019 51comments  |  Jump to last

There have, apparently, been more 0-0 draws between Everton and Liverpool than any other league fixture (aside: my first ever Blues match on a frigid, windswept November afternoon in 1986, was one) and it’s not even close. No doubt it’s a natural consequence of the fear each side has of losing the local grudge match but there have been eight goalless derbies since the turn of the century and were it not for Jordan Pickford’s stoppage time error in the Anfield derby last December, this would have been the third in a row.

Marco Silva has tried to play down the impact that game had on Everton’s season but it undeniably proved to be a damaging result. Pickford atoned somewhat this afternoon with a vital first-half save, Michael Keane came to the rescue with a brilliant last-ditch tackle in the second period and there were also important interventions inside their own penalty area from Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne.

That told the somewhat predictable story of Liverpool’s greater attacking penetration but it was also illustrative of how an Everton side that has had it’s share of defensive collapses this season put in a doggedly determined display and helped disrupt a much-vaunted reds attack to ensure that Jürgen Klopp’s team dropped another two points in their title race with Manchester City.

If Liverpool had a twelfth man at times in the form of Martin Atkinson, who skirted serious controversy by at least keeping his red card in his pocket but was still guilty of some mystifying decisions, Everton had theirs in the form of a raucous home crowd who generated the best atmosphere the Grand Old Lady has seen in many a year. The home faithful roared their team on from start to finish in impressive fashion, their volume and intensity rising to an unsated crescendo as Everton pushed in the closing stages for what would have been a seismic winner.

This was always going to be a question of whether Everton could compensate for a lack of quality with sheer commitment and endeavour along with the Gwladys Street End willing the ball into the back of the net. Defensively, they were magnificent but, let down by poor distribution and the frustrating attacking failings that have plagued them for much of the season, they never really looked like scoring. It needed a perfectly-executed set-piece or a moment of individual but neither came, leaving Evertonians satisfied with a laudably industrious performance and damage to Liverpool’s title bid but no end to an eight-and-a-half-year wait for a derby win.

Marco Silva made just two changes to the team that had started against Cardiff on Tuesday, restoring Kurt Zouma to central defence alongside Michael Keane and deploying Bernard out wide in place of Richarlison who dropped back to the bench. Morgan Schneiderlin’s inclusion in midfield was, perhaps, understandable on one level given his performance in South Wales but Theo Walcott’s repeated selection continues to baffle and neither player would finish the match.

Walcott was hooked like clockwork with an hour gone for Richarlison having offered very little and Schneiderlin was withdrawn with 15 minutes left in favour of André Gomes, a strategy that looked more sensible with the score goalless heading into the closing stages than it had when Schneiderlin was giving the ball away, sometimes egregiously, in midfield.

He wasn’t the only one — his compatriot, Lucas Digne, squandered possession in the fourth minute but wasn’t punished and Bernard would hand the ball straight to a red shirt later in the game trying to start a counter-attack but Schneiderlin’s was almost the most costly.

Mohamed Salah had, predictably, looked the most dangerous of Liverpool’s front three in the early going and he was found with a ball over the top with a quarter of an hour gone but great covering from Coleman denied him a chance on goal. The Egyptian was found from the eventual throw-in and he tried a curling effort that Pickford safely caught before Schneiderlin let the ball get away from him in the centre circle and in a split second Salah was put in behind Everton’s back line.

Pickford did superbly to stand his ground, however, and make the stop with a strong right hand when Salah looked certain to score and Jordan Henderson’s shot from the rebound was blocked.

10 minutes before the break, Salah was again the danger man as he twisted Digne into knots by the byline and tried to drive towards the near post but Schneiderlin was there to knock it behind to safety.

For their part, Everton had only shown flashes of promise in the final third which, considering their almost embarrassing inability to play out from the back or consistently put together anything cohesive through midfield, probably wasn’t all that surprising. Their primary attacking tactic in the first half appeared to be to pump long balls forward from Pickford towards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and when they weren’t sailing out into touch Virgil van Dijk was on hand to win practically every aerial duel.

When they did manage to get forward down the channels, they almost fashioned a couple of openings, the first coming from Calvert-Lewin’s lovely of turn past Joe Matip and early cross which was cut out only as far as Gylfi Sigurdsson and his attempted centre looking for Walcott met the same fate when it was turned behind by Van Dijk.

Another great touch by Calvert-Lewin laid the ball off to Bernard but his cross was cleared for a throw-in while Walcott carved out a half-chance for himself when he expertly controlled Keane’s lofted ball forward but couldn’t get his shot anywhere near the target.

Everton’s first effort on goal eventually arrived seven minutes after the interval when Walcott intercepted a terrible Fabinho pass and fed the ball to Coleman whose attempted cross was blocked behind. Calvert-Lewin met the resulting corner and guided a downward header looking for the far side of goal but Alisson Becker was equal to it, springing to his right to catch it in mid air.

Back at the other end, Trent Alexander-Arnold tested Pickford with a direct free kick that the keeper saw all the way and got down to save before Matip was allowed to drive through midfield and put Salah in once more but this time he was foiled by terrific covering work by Keane. The defender had initially been caught behind Georginio Wijnaldum but covered the ground between he and Salah and slid the ball behind with a perfectly-timed lunge.

Silva’s side continued to live dangerously, however, and when three players collapsed around Sigurdsson in the Liverpool half, the reds again transitioned quickly to attack but Sadio Mané’s header back across the six-yard box failed to find a red jersey. Van Dijk did better from a similar position following a short corner, picking Fabinho out with his header but the midfielder’s first touch in front of goal was a poor one and Digne nicked it off him before he could pull the trigger.

By this stage, Richarlison had entered the fray and diverted a tame header goal-wards from a deep Digne cross and he almost served up a goal for Bernard in the 73rd minute. Scampering down the right flank, he whipped in a low cross but it was inches off the toe of his countryman who had arrived at the edge of the six-yard box.

Tosun then replaced the tiring Calvert-Lewin and the Turk had a scuffed snapshot comfortably gathered by Alisson before Matip bounced a decent chance wide with a header from a corner and Digne was tripped by Alexander-Arnold right on the edge of the visitors’ box. Unfortunately, the Frenchman’s set piece sailed over everybody and harmlessly out of play.

There was a sense of hope and belief in those final few minutes that Everton had the upper hand and that if there was to be a winner it would be the Blues but they just couldn’t fashion a clear opening.

Given everything that has transpired since the calamity in Anfield in December, this was a hugely creditable and well-received result for Everton as thy became only the third team to stop Liverpool this season.. While it’s true that Klopp’s attacking unit was not firing on all cylinders after seemingly getting back in their groove in midweek with a 5-0 hammering of Watford, it was due in no small part to the tenacity with which Silva’s men went about their business — pressing from the front and defending strongly at the back.

Going forward, however, where Silva’s seeming inability to instil a fluid and effective passing game persists, they were hugely disappointing and that meant that Liverpool’s goalkeeper was barely tested in the 90 minutes. As we start to look beyond the end of the season, it’s clear that some deeper, fundamental issues around quality, creativity and attacking penetration need to be addressed.

In terms of spirit and attitude, though, the players couldn’t be faulted and that will count for plenty as the management team continues to try reverse that awful form of the last few months.

Reader Comments (51)

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Tony Everan
1 Posted 04/03/2019 at 06:57:41
We matched Liverpool in terms of spirit and desire and we got a well deserved point. All credit to the lads for putting in a shift, and to Marco who [at last] found a way to fully motivate the players. Can we see that every week please?

Lyndon, in summing up, you mention attacking penetration. I feel that with Lukaku or another top class striker in the team yesterday one of our half chances would have been converted. It is the biggest issue for us. That is not an aside against Calvert-Lewin, who played his heart out, but for the moment we need more. If Brands can secure a top class striker we can move on to the next level; without it that won't happen.

We need to sign Zouma if it's possible and likely need to replace Gana with quality. I'm sure Marco would like Doucore. That would secure the spine of the team. The club should be in no doubt as to the importance of it.

Those three bits of business would see us make healthy progress next season.

Thomas Lennon
2 Posted 04/03/2019 at 07:19:45
We won't move to the next level while the right hand side is a weakness (in top six terms), in defence and especially attack. Walcott hasn't improved, Coleman for all his heart is fading.

Great defensive display here, we will need that to be the default in future.

Terry Farrell
3 Posted 04/03/2019 at 07:46:39
Thomas, were we watching the same game? Seamus was brilliant at both ends of the pitch! Lung-busting runs and crucial interception on Mane. He has got his mojo back and he was great against Cardiff too. Back him to the hilt. I love the guy.
Christopher Timmins
4 Posted 04/03/2019 at 07:51:38
A good couple of days for the club. We are still short going forward but apart from one or two lapses we restricted them to very few clear cut opportunities.

We have 9 games to play and how they pan out will determine what happens in the summer.

Vinny Garstrokes
5 Posted 04/03/2019 at 08:56:16
And a lovely performance by the ballboy with Klopp - Ha ha!
Brian Denton
6 Posted 04/03/2019 at 08:57:42
Should this be 'Another Moral Victory'? Genuinely confused – 'morale' isn't an adjective.
Brian Harrison
7 Posted 04/03/2019 at 09:39:03
Well, Marco Silva must wonder where have these fans been all season, as he said after the match the fans were incredible. He went on to say if we only get 60% of that backing in future we will be well on the way to winning games.

Inside the ground you could tell that the fans were really up for the game 15 minutes before kick off. I get fed up of reading about how amazing the Liverpool fans are at European night games, and what an incredible atmosphere they generate. Well our fans on certain night games have been unbelievable but sadly because we haven't been in the Champions League for decades and decades we haven't been showcased like they have.

Even red supporting journalists commented on the terrific atmosphere. So while quite rightly we criticize the team for average performances maybe we also need to look at ourselves as well. Seems strange how our away support can be so fantastic yet we very rarely produce the atmosphere we did yesterday at Goodison.

I know fans will say well its up to the players to get the fans going, but does that mean that we should at least not start each game by creating a positive atmosphere. Rather than waiting to see what performance we get before backing the team.

Surely if yesterday taught us anything it was that we might lack the ability the top 6 teams have but, with fantastic support, we can help eradicate the skill difference. You could see the lift the players got from the crowd yesterday, and with backing like that it makes you pull out that extra couple of % that makes all the difference.

Eddie Dunn
8 Posted 04/03/2019 at 09:40:59
I was very impressed with Seamus, from his concentration in the tunnel to his efforts at both ends. I think he lacks that confidence of old, but it is probably because he doubts that he can go past and get away from his opponent like he used to.

However he had a super game and does look the real deal once more. Perhaps playing less games is the key for him, giving him a chance to recover, as Kenny establishes himself as the successor on that right-hand side.

Andrew Keatley
9 Posted 04/03/2019 at 10:14:46
Brian (6) - I think it's a spot of word-play.
John Raftery
10 Posted 04/03/2019 at 10:35:52
Following his excellent return to the team at Cardiff, Seamus had a very good game yesterday. He has benefited from being rested.

Brian (7) I agree with you regarding the atmosphere. Even the people with walking sticks were getting involved yesterday. I think a few things contributed besides the obvious point that it was our biggest home game of the season.

People were inside the stadium earlier than usual perhaps owing to the pouring rain outside. The air raid siren was a good idea. It seemed to wake up the normally docile audience who then responded louder than they usually do to the opening bars of Z-Cars. It also helped that Z-Cars was played for longer than the usual 20 seconds.

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 04/03/2019 at 12:59:34
I'm very satisfied with that draw yesterday mainly because it stopped them going top at Goodison and, regardless of what those Red knobs say, it's rivalry and had the boot been on the other foot they'd be the same as us.

I'm pleased with the application and work ethic from yesterday but at the same time I'm annoyed why I don't see it more often and I'm highly doubtful I'll even see it at Newcastle because I know Everton, lol.

We obviously need better quality going forward but what's on offer at the moment is limited and that's why against the better sides we struggle to really lay a glove on them going forward.

That area is an issue for Brands and Silva this summer, however, and they need to solve that.

Anyway that's a worry for another day but I'm desperately wanting to see us carry on the high intensity and pressing that we seen yesterday; application is crucial in every game.

For now, though, I'll gloat in knowing those arseholes across the park were 7 points clear at one stage and crowing; apparently now they are happy playing catch-up... hahaha.

Denis Richardson
12 Posted 04/03/2019 at 13:01:16
A creditable performance from the team in terms of effort but that was somewhat to be expected playing your close neighbours at home, who are in the middle of a title charge. Nice to stop them in their tracks (although the Man City - Man Utd game at Old Trafford will be key) but, at the end of the day, we're celebrating a goalless draw at home because we were expecting to be beaten.

As mentioned by others, let's see that same level of commitment away to Newcastle and at home to Chelsea. Cardiff away and the RS at home are two extremes that don't allow any predictions. We're currently 10th and unless something drastic happens (either way) I can't see us being too far from that position come May.

Mike Doyle
13 Posted 04/03/2019 at 13:14:14
Congrats to the team on a big effort yesterday – particularly the second half.

However, and consistent with most of our performances against the top 5 this season, at no point did we really look like scoring.

Chris Corn
14 Posted 04/03/2019 at 13:22:30
Jim Bennings, I'll agree with you. It was a decent performance and despite what people are saying, Allison had saves to make and Bernard was a shoelace away from scoring.

Richarlison actually gave Robinson something to think about when he came on. The link-up between him and Coleman was good to see and we finished the game stronger.

We need to finish the season with that level of energy and a bit more quality. However, I am more glass half full after that.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
15 Posted 04/03/2019 at 13:29:33
"It also helped that Z Cars was played for longer than the usual twenty seconds."

I seem to remember that England played either Ireland or Wales in Dublin or Cardiff. Sorry, it one of them but can't remember which. England were red hot favourites, sweeping all before them.

The National Anthem of the home team was played TWICE. The players were up for it, the fans were really up for it and the England players had to stand there while 60,000 blasted out a song of the home team with all the passion they could muster. England Lost.

Z Cars – One Minute minimum each time. This is our field. This is our home. This is Goodison. You had better know it. We are coming for you.

John Keating
16 Posted 04/03/2019 at 13:51:09
Lyndon I must say I agree with your post.

After getting back last night I watched the tape of the game and it did more or less confirm what I actually saw.

I read a few comments from Michaels post which seemed to contradict him and imply that we had played really well. I must admit I hadn't seen that but thought I might be wrong. After watching the tape then I don't think I was that far off.

Defensively we were better and that plus the RS inability on a few chances to make us pay got us a clean sheet.

I thought Gana played really well. Keane had a good game and Calvert-Lewin playing up top without support was excellent, this lad could save us a fortune in transfer fees.

Some things I missed like Pickfords horrendous inability or reluctance to command the 6-yard box. This needs sorted and I cannot believe that any coach would tell the goalie to stay on his line. The free kick we had at the end was worse than I thought. Terrible.

Crowd noise seemed far louder than that on the tape. Good support just like the old days.

I thought the ball boy incident was class.

John Boon
17 Posted 04/03/2019 at 14:11:41
Toffee Web comments seem to be generally positive, as they should be after a decent performance. People also appear to be angry at the post-game comments by pundits and also the inordinate amount of coverage given to Liverpool management and players.

To get some satisfaction fans only need to read the comments from around the country on the BBC football site. The RS are attacked from all angles for their arrogance and the fact that we are actually the true representatives of Liverpool as a city. While I never get too much satisfaction being the underdog, we don't have to go too far back to remember when Man City were viewed as "Noisy Neighbours" by the, always arrogant, Alex Ferguson. Their time did come and they are rightfully given appreciation.

In actual fact, Man Utd are disliked by the general public just as Liverpool are. Have faith Lads out time will also come. I just hope that I am around to see it.

Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 04/03/2019 at 14:50:42
The media has massive control, but nobody has more control than the referee. I think the clock was on 30 minutes, before the home team got a decision off Atkinson although I'm sure he over-ruled the linesman to give us a throw-in just to show us he's not really that biased against Everton.

I hate this ref and I'm sure Everton suffer because of his standing in the game with regards to his fellow referees.

Maybe It's paranoia because it doesn't sound logical but I could honestly stop watching football because I don't ever feel like it's a level playing field when we have Atkinson refereeing any Everton game. Or is it really just me?

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 04/03/2019 at 15:16:57
Tony ( 18), no, it's not just you, 28 minutes were on the clock before we were given our first decision for a foul, I looked at the clock in the ground to time it, his bias was that obvious, Liverpool ‘s centre back is a great player but he was all over Calvert-Lewin without Atkinson blowing up and the non-foul he awarded against Colman in the second half was pathetic, booking Walcott so early in the game for a definite foul, but not a booking offence, Gana ( I think) was pulled back by his shirt in the first half, a booking offence? not according to this one red-eyed official.

You can go back through the years and see his stance on Everton one of them sending off of Rodwell on the evidence of Suarez's unmerciful screams, Rodwell never touched him and the red card was rescinded the following week, but too late to save us from a 2-0 defeat.

John Keating
20 Posted 04/03/2019 at 15:17:50
Tony, I don't think it's you at all. Thee are some referees that cannot be excused with their attitudes to certain teams. Clattenberg is the obvious recent one for us. Atkinson has definitely taken over the mantle when refereeing us. After his disgraceful exhibition in the Rodwell derby what possessed them to give him another derby game?

I said prior to kick off that if we score it would have to be one of our players picking the ball up in our half and going the full length because, if that bastard could pull us back for absolutely anything, he would.

It took Clattenburg ages to ref us again after Moyes's comments – the same should apply to Atkinson, only forever.

John Pierce
21 Posted 04/03/2019 at 15:51:52
Still no win against a big side. Did we play well? Maybe. The effort and desire masked what I thought was a very poor game with the ball.
We put so much energy into stopping them we had nothing left to make good the pitched position we’d attained.

To credit Silva his approach was the one I agreed with. Controlled and steady, compact and simple. The defending players didn’t dally, often booting the ball out and we broke play up very well. There was no rhythm at all to this game. We held our shape, save for Digne who I thought was caught too far up field on several occasions.

Schniederlin’s critics, we’ve all been one, may have felt justified yesterday but except for Bernard we were awful with the ball, not sure he deserves the kicking he got. Let’s be real we had fleeting moments in the game with no real chances or periods of pressure. Allison was untroubled.

The result makes me question Silva even more, because were was this approach when it was going south at Christmas? It may have taken 3/4 games like this but we would have come through the bad run more quickly if he’d throttled back. The formation was the same as always, the selections issues (Walcott) were the same as always as were the subsequent subs, my puppy even knows what time he makes them!

A poor performance at Newcastle will only infuriate me more as it will look like it was the size of the game the players got up for not Marco.

Michael Lynch
22 Posted 04/03/2019 at 15:56:02
Absolutely sensational atmosphere at the match, took me back to our peak in the 80s to be honest, and kudos to the club for ramping it up before kick off with the videos and the music. I'm not a big fan of that kind of thing usually because it often seems a bit fake and forced, but it really worked yesterday.

And while I'm being uncharacteristically fulsome with the praise, hats off to Silva's game management. He picked the correct team, but he really went for positive changes in bringing on Richarlison and Gomes for the more defensive-minded Walcott and Schneiderlin. He thought he could win the match, and even though he knows his head is on the block, he took the risk, which is more than Klopp did with his like-for-like subs.

Personally, I'm happy with the result, happy with effort, very happy with the crowd, and happy that all of the new players and the manager have now seen what it can be like at Goodison if we're up for it. Fine for Silva to ask for more of that from the crowd, but the players have to do their bit too.

Christ, I enjoyed that, even if I did nearly have a heart attack.

Jer Kiernan
23 Posted 04/03/2019 at 16:03:51
Regards the ref he did everything in his power to push the game in RS favour, he is following the Sky narrative set by the RS pundits and knows if he give any dodgy calls against them he will be villified /scrutinised to the nth degree. A decision for (a Sala dive for instance) he will be left alone and Sky will "find" an ankle to make it look like a good call.

Self-preservation is a basic human instinct and these refs watch TV. This is how the media now "own" the sport and the results are almost pre written. Anybody who thinks VAR is about fair play is deluding themselves.

We restored pride yesterday and ruffled their features also to note we have had some awful performances this season but I do believe Silva has the measure of that lot.

I just hope we can keep the momentum til the end of the season and if we are going to keep Silva we need to back him, Most of his signings have worked so far.

Well done, the ball boy – he had that buffoon in his back pocket and we "nearly" saw the mask slip but I would suspect, if he had spat in the kid's face, Sky could have justified it somehow.


Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 04/03/2019 at 16:09:23
Fair points, John, but I think Liverpool have improved from the Goodison derby match around Christmas two years ago, when McCarthy was subbed at half time.

I say that because, once Everton lost McCarthy's energy, they had nothing left, whereas yesterday, I thought we did well to stay in the game but, after this, we became a lot stronger.

We had more structure, we looked much better but, other than Bernard, who you've mentioned, and maybe Sigurdsson at times, we just never had enough quality at the top end of the pitch.

These two players need runners, and although Walcott, is quick, he's not showing any desire, which is one thing little Bernard, is definitely not lacking in. The kid is slowly adapting, and once we get more quality up front, then I'm sure we're going to get a lot of pleasure out of watching him, because he looks like he's a proper little footballer to me.

John G Davies
25 Posted 04/03/2019 at 16:52:09
Me too, Tony.

No preseason for him either so he will be fitter next season.

John Pierce
26 Posted 04/03/2019 at 17:14:31
Tony, I think we did get stronger, they in turn they were more or less happy with the point, and did look a touch leggy. That's a nice way to frame it.

I've seen Bernard get better with each passing week. He obviously has a brain and is positioning himself were he can avoid too much physical contact.

He is very much a player I believe Pep would have, their physicality comes from their energy and stamina to stay out of contact.

So the real question is: Where does that leave Richarlison? They both are strongest in the same position however one is team oriented the other plays for himself too much.

Maybe the cameo yesterday suggested Silva, because of Bernard, has to play Richarlison on the right?

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 04/03/2019 at 18:37:05
Possibly JP, but I was gutted Lookman wasn't on the bench because I'm sure he would have made for a better sub than Tosun, who is just too slow for a game of such high intensity.

Good point about Bernard staying out of trouble but it's not how I'd use him. A player with so much skill should always be in the thick of it, imo, especially when he maybe hasn't got the legs to run the fullback, but hopefully that's a debate for another time, especially if he can keep improving the way he has been just lately.

Mike Gaynes
28 Posted 04/03/2019 at 18:43:52
Tony #24, I saw numerous quality moments from Calvert-Lewin as well. Had a couple of beautiful touches. I remain skeptical of his future as a striker but his improvement and willingness to step up are undeniable. And I too was frustrated by Lookman's exile. This kid needs to be in the side.

As to Bernard, forget it. He's a player who seeks, and thrives in, open space. He will never be in the "thick of it" which is why he's not a #10. Just enjoy him for what he is, and what he will be next season when he's fully acclimated.

Jerome Shields
29 Posted 04/03/2019 at 18:48:36
I felt Silva's team selection was right and thought this was the best initial selection to play Liverpool, although I did think that Kenny should be selected, rather than Coleman. Coleman's previous performance gave him the edge, though his lack of pace is a disadvantage going forward.

Silva needed to achieve two objectives: to protect the back four to maintain defensive shape, and maintain the high press.

Schneiderlin, Bernard and Walcott were selected on their successful previous performances with the former in mind. The forward combination of Bernard, Calvert-Lewin and Walcott was selected with the latter in mind and had the advantage of providing the necessary space for Sigurdsson.

Schneiderlin, in his first 15 minutes, did achieve this objective, settling the back four, but his loss of possession was a problem. Luckily, a resurgent Gomes came in. I now think that his injury and not playing for two years had caught up with him prior to the break, as suggested on ToffeeWeb.

Bernard was very effective in both of his roles. Walcott resorted to his usual stats and his previous outstanding performance evaporated, though he did help Everton to maintain shape. It could be that Coleman is the problem on that right flank going forward, but this is the perennial problem with Walcott, who has surprisingly not been injured as much as previously. If the coaching staff at Arsenal couldn't work him out, as sure as hell I can't.

Calvert-Lewin played well, as expected, and Richarlison was better used. Tosun as a centre-forward is prone to fluffing his lines in front of goal and he doesn't appear to have the ability of a good shot in his locker.

Silva's substitutions in the context of his objectives where correct and timely. The main weaknesses are Silva not coaching the importance of maintaining possession (this is overlooked, particularly in the case of developing younger players such as Richarlison and Lookman); a static midfield (little movement or interchanging play); and not coaching finishing.

The good news is that, though not perfect, Everton's problems are remedial and there is the bones of a good team there, with potential. . . More potential than our neighbours. As a performance, it wasn't as promising as Arsenal v Everton in October 1984, but there were similar signs, for the first time in years. I found this to be a morale-boosting performance. Hopefully Moshiri will sort out that backroom and management shower this Summer.

Sam attending his first Goodison game helped a lot. He appears not to have got home yet. Also, hopefully, it would have helped Tom's father's recovery no end.

Bobby Thomas
30 Posted 04/03/2019 at 18:59:50
As has been the case for a few years now, it's the spine of the team that's the main problem.

Midfield and up front continue to kill us. We need to take Gomes if the fee is right. He's a classy footballer. But we have got to get a genuine holder that offers consistent protection to the centre backs and, crucially, passing ability to control the tempo. That would free Gomes up and I'd like to see him higher up the pitch.

As for up front, well a proper front man that provides consistent options for his midfielders and worries center backs going in behind would go a long way to solving our attacking problems.

Sigurdssons been getting griefed but playing off our strikers every week must be a nightmare. Any hint of some consistent combination play? Much clever movement to stretch sides and create some space for him to play? Sigurdsson doesn't a great deal from our front men on a regular basis. To be fair to Calvert-Lewin that was a lot more like it from him yesterday. But what we need long term? Not for me. He's decent cover.

We had a go at addressing centre back in the summer and it looks like we will try to make Zouma permanent, which would be wise.

As for wide, well Walcott needs binning anywhere, to anyone, for £8 million. Just get him off the wage bill. £25 million on a 29-year-old never-has-been. Madness when that kind of fee gets a young player like Hirving Lozano from PSV. Tosun and Walcott at £50 million has got to be one of the worst January windows ever by a top-flight side.

Darren Hind
31 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:03:07
I said very early on in the season that Bernard looks like being one of those players who will delight and frustrate in equal measures.

Let's hope he does more of the first one...

Mike Gaynes
32 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:14:22
Bobby #30, I've been a Lozano admirer for years, saw him playing in Liga MX when he was 20. Before the World Cup, I think we could have had him. Now he's well beyond us, no matter the price. Chucky's next stop will be a Champions League club in Italy or Spain.

Kevin Harnan
33 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:17:58
Liverpool players were not up for it – they were terrified. Even their manager was worried... you could see it from his false smile, and the 12th men – well done!
Steve Ferns
34 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:24:49
Spot on, Bobby T.
John Pierce
35 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:26:33
Tony, I was mystified about Lookman’s absence. I cannot see any reports saying he was injured?

To be left out that many times when IMO I see a player streets ahead of others leaves alarm bells going off in my head. My guess is Lookman won’t be here come August.

Tony Hill
36 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:29:56
Lozano was beyond us after the World Cup – if he was ever a serious possibility at all.

Tosun was a Walsh pick and most on here thought Walcott was a decent buy. They both did pretty well initially and Walcott was very good at the start of this season. God knows what happened to him.

As we all know, the real damage was done in the disastrous Koeman summer.

Jim Bennings
37 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:37:09
Walcott has had a horrible season, there's no disputing that, but I think many fans are putting far too much faith in Lookman.

From the games he's featured in, he's hardly set the world alight against poor opposition and frankly done no better (or worse) than Walcott.

I think when Walcott plays awful, as he has all season, cries for Lookman become almost misjudged on no real past evidence.

There's also a clear reason why quite a few managers now don't fancy him, maybe his attitude and application in training is abysmal?

Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 04/03/2019 at 19:54:08
Maybe you're right, Jim, maybe he doesn't want to be here, but he's given us some very good cameo's off the bench, and I would have preferred Richarlson replacing the improving Calvert-Lewin, with Lookman replacing Walcott.

Fair point about Bernard, Mike, but I think when the game is quicker, and the fullbacks are very athletic, then a little schemer like Bernard might just find a little bit more space inside.

That might not make sense to some but little touch players thrive on movement and he looks like the type of player who will always find space... so I'm going to be watching this space in the future, mate!

Keith Dempsey
39 Posted 04/03/2019 at 20:04:36
I know I'm only an armchair fan these days, but I still feel our pain and was pacing around the front room hoping we could hang on, but am I the only one who thought Gylfi played his heart out and displayed some classy touches.
John Boon
40 Posted 04/03/2019 at 20:30:54
Keith @39,

I agree about Sigurdsson. He – along with Bernard Gomes, Gana and Digne – all have the natural ball control needed at this level, and their movement and style impress the football purists. Unfortunately grit and tenacity are also essential for any player to reach full potential and this has not always been evident and certainly not consistent.

I still find it difficult to fully understand Walcott. He has speed and adequate control but he so often seems lost when he gets the ball. Without spending too much time wondering about him and Lookman, I still think Vlasic may have something to offer. He should at least be given a decent shot.

Steve Hogan
41 Posted 04/03/2019 at 20:57:47
We're Not Really Here?

Okay, apologies for pinching the Manchester City song , but I thought it appropriate at the current time, particularly as the relationship with our city neighbours from across the park seems to be deteriorating year on year.

Sunday's draw seems to bring out the most vitriolic of comments from them and this seems to have spread to the players as well. Sunday's game wasn't a classic but Everton could have nicked it in the end, as the last 20 minutes saw us grow in posture and belief.

You kind of get the feeling that the majority of reds fans would much prefer it if we didn't occupy the same city as them, and were rather peeved we didn't roll over and let them steamroller us.

However, remember Benitez and his 'only a small club' jibe a few years ago after a similar result, and most recently Klopp with his "They'll treat the game like a 'World Cup final," only proves my point.

They seem to forget that Everton and its fanbase are a major part of this city's make-up and has been since football began. Maybe they are consumed by the media coverage of their own club and forget the 40,000 that turn up every week at Goodison, despite some of the dire football served up this season.

Anyway, thank's for the pre-match pep talk, Jurgen, you done us all proud — especially our ball boys.
Kase Chow
42 Posted 04/03/2019 at 21:34:45
Tony #18,

You are right. Every time Calvert-Lewin or Walcott jumped for a header, Robertson would nudge them mid-air which is actually highly dangerous. Ref never gave anything.

The ‘foul' by Coleman near the end on Llanna was NEVER a foul. Those are just examples of decisions we didn't get which they did

But he's not just a biased ref – he's also just crap. The Walcott booking was harsh. But then he should have booked Gana and Origi but didn't. Complete muppet.

Jerome Shields
43 Posted 05/03/2019 at 07:59:50
Walcott, in his Arsenal days, was thought of as a good player, but he was inconsistent and prone to injury. It could be that he was a player that had to be pushed all the time and never achieved the right level of fitness. This could account for his high level of injuries prior to joining Everton. He was an unfit lazy bugger.

His injury record was a concern when he was signed. Because he is not injured so much now, it could be that Walcott is making sure he is not getting injured and not being pushed? He is a smart enough footballer to get into positions to receive balls and maintain shape, but does not appear to have the level of fitnesses required to keep up with the game.

Lookman's tracking back and tackling has not been developed enough to make him a replacement. I hope he hasn't been left as just Walcott's understudy.

Just a suggestion: He would have not got away with this standard of play at Arsenal. They couldn't believe their luck when Everton paid that overvalued fee for him. Silva should have kept Aaron Lennon. , . he had a way better attitude.

Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 05/03/2019 at 16:26:12
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but it appears to me that not signing Walcott and keeping Lennon would have more advantageous to Everton. Walcott doesn't look really interested and never looks frustrated when being subbed, rather looks relieved he is coming off.
Tony Everan
45 Posted 05/03/2019 at 16:47:25
Walcott will be allowed to go if we get a half-decent fee.

We are sniffing Leipzig's young attacker Augustin... maybe Lookman will be part of that deal.

James Hughes
46 Posted 05/03/2019 at 17:00:18
Off topic, I see the BBC are up to their usual anti-EFC bias.

They are running a vote on the best Dutch player in the Premier League. Andy van der Meyde not on the list...

Brian Williams
47 Posted 05/03/2019 at 17:03:43
Jerome #43.

I think you've hit the nail on the head regarding Walcott being careful to not get injured. I've seen him shit out of numerous 50/50 balls.

I can't work out whether he has a lack of desire, lack of courage or what but he doesn't give anywhere near 100% and CANNOT understand why he continues to be picked.

My next-seat neighbour in the Top Balcony suggested on Sunday that he has photos of Silva riding a donkey, and not in the way one would ride one on Blackpool beach... whatever that means! 😳

Don Alexander
48 Posted 05/03/2019 at 17:19:47
Regarding Walcott I thought from the time he signed for Arsenal he was way too dependant on astonishing pace and noticeably lacking in football savvy. I have to say he's done little to change my opinion down the years and his pace isn't what it used to be, albeit he's probably still quicker than 'most anyone else at FF sadly. If we get anything like the absurd fee we shelled out for him I'll be amazed.
Jerome Shields
49 Posted 05/03/2019 at 22:33:42
Maybe this suggestion is controversial but I think, if you are a player bought in during the Moshiri era, you are more likely to get played before other players. Determined on the extent of backroom involvement, is anyone going to say to Moshiri, "Why did you buy that twat?" Or have Moshiri ask "Why are you not playing or getting the best out of that player I paid millions for after I gave him that super-duper contract — as you suggested?"

Any Martinez players were more easily dropped and moved on. Even Big Sam's selections, I felt had a bit of this influence to them. When Duncan Ferguson was asked about the coaching of the forwards, he said "My hands are tied. "

I did think that, with Brands in place, things would change, though I did not like Aaron Lennon going. I think that there is an element of knowing which side your bread is buttered on about Everton, which isn't good.

Getting back to the point, as Lyndon said, Walcott flatters to deceive. What's more, he is damn good at it.

Brian #45, I know a story about a father, son and donkey, but it doesn't explain you neighbour's anecdote in the Top Balcony.

Tony Everan
50 Posted 06/03/2019 at 11:19:27
Brian #47

I know Silva has been acquainted with his fair share of 'donkeys' but our leader is surely not a practitioner of bestiality . [and happy to be filmed doing it]

Paul Cherrington
51 Posted 06/03/2019 at 12:35:51
Lookman is a decent player no doubt but he lacks a bit in hard work and the defensive nature of the game for me. This I think is why he has not played lots for previous managers and still does not get in regularly.

It is not even about pure tackling – I think that he still does not track back enough to help his full-back out and does not help the team keep the shape needed when out of possession. Hard work is so important in the Premier League – if he can improve this, he will be a really good player.

As for Walcott – I can see both sides to it in terms of why he gets picked still but also why people are not happy with him overall. He is quick which is a valuable commodity for us and does get in good positions along with doing his fair share defensively. Trouble is, he doesn't look overly bothered and wastes a lot of the chances that his own good play can sometimes bring.

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