Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool
Half-time: 0 - 0
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 Game 9
Saturday 17 October 1998
Goodison Park, Merseyside
|« Wimbledon (a)||Ref: Paul Durkin||Sheffield Wednesday (a) »|
|1998-99 Fixtures & Results||League Position: 13th||Premiership Results & Table|
|LINEUPS||Subs Not Used|
Myhre, Cleland, Ball, Watson, Unsworth, Collins, Ferguson,
Hutchison, Short, Grant (57 Cadamarteri), Bakayoko (68 Ward).
Unavailable: Barmby, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured). Bilic, Dunne (recovering); Dacourt, Materazzi (suspended).
|Gerrard, Madar, Farrelly.|
|Liverpool:||James, Staunton, McManaman, Fowler, Owen, Redknapp (McAteer, 45), Heggem, Berger (Riedle, 87), Ince, Bjornebye, Carragher (Kvarme, 50).||Matteo, Warner.|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|EVERTON:||Cleland, Unsworth, Hutchison.|||
|Liverpool:||Bjornebye, Ince, Fowler, Riedle.|||
|REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS|
|Richard Marland||How long since you beat the blues?|
|Steve Bickerton||More than a match for them|
|Jenny Roberts||Tommy keeps us in it|
|THE SUNDAY TIMES||
Mersey rivals battle to draw
by Joe Lovejoy
Goodison goal famine at critical level
by Guy Hodgson
Liverpool fail to put the neighbours in their place
by Kevin McCarra
Everton still carry blank expression
by Clive White
|OTHER INTERNET REPORTS|
|THE EVERTONIAN||Link to the latest Match Report||
|SOCCERNET||Link to SoccerNet Match Report|
|CARLINGNET||Link to CarlingNet Match Report|
|How long since you beat the blues?|
So how many years is that? I can get used to this. In reality, a 0-0 draw
in a very disappointing derby match, during which we rarely looked like scoring,
shouldnt be much to shout about. However, there is a real feeling that
it is incumbent upon them to beat us, and while this run continues we can
continue to taunt them with how long since you beat the blues?.
Walter Smiths first derby selection showed the not unexpected inclusion of Ibrahima Bakayoko, but also the unexpected inclusion of Tony Grant. We lined up Myhre in goal, a flat back four of Cleland, Watson, Short and Unsworth, a midfield four of Grant, Hutchison, Collins and Ball. Grant and Ball were supposed to be playing wide but both followed their natural inclinations to come inside. Bakayoko partnered Dunc up front.
Within literally seconds of the kick-off Bakayoko came within a whisker of the ultimate dream debut. First of all he won a free kick by pursuing the ball into the corner and getting fouled for his troubles, he then reached the resulting free kick with a glancing header which went just past the far post. Unfortunately this didnt foretell the course of the afternoon. The game soon developed into the usual war of attrition, with chances few and far between.
Walter and Archie had clearly done their homework as we proved to be resolute and well organised. We defended fairly deep to combat the threat of Owens pace, we also tended to squeeze in to stifle Liverpools threat through the middle. Ball and Grant were pulling in in midfield and Unsworth was almost playing as a third centre back as he prepared himself to use his pace in case someone did elude Watson or Short in the middle.
Liverpool always seemed to have space in which to operate down the flanks, but I wouldnt mind betting we were happy to give them this space. With Owen and Fowler in the middle they were hardly looking to get to the by-line to get a cross in. Squeezing them out in the middle and allowing them space on the flanks seemed an eminently sensible option.
Despite our excellent defending, Tommy was still called on to make three top-class saves. The first was from Fowler when Hutchison, of all people, put him clean through by diverting a cross field ball into his path. Fortunately, Tommy was alert and did well to save. Tommys second call into action was again to thwart Fowler; this time Heggem put Fowler through, the only time they breached us through their own efforts in 90 minutes. Tommy was again alert and pulled off any even better save to deny Fowler. His final action of the afternoon was a long range shot through a crowd of players which he pushed away at full stretch another good save.
Alas our own attacking moments werent exactly abundant. The best that I can remember was a very nicely worked free kick which gave John Collins a clear sight of goal, James could only block his shot but alas the rebound didnt fall to a Blue shirt. Half time arrived all square. We had played well defensively but didnt do too well going forward.
The second half saw no changes for us but did see an improvement in our general play. We actually managed to fashion out a couple of half chances, both falling to Dunc. The first from a tight angle would always struggle to beat James and, despite the power he put into it, James was able to parry the ball away. His second was a shot from just inside the penalty area, which went through a crowd of players, even taking a slight deflection, but despite having the beating of James just drifted past the post.
For their part Liverpool created a little bit of danger as McmAnaman began to run at our defense, but, for the most part, we managed to crowd him out or lead him down blind alleys. Certainly any direct threat to Tommys goal was non-existent.
Without too much alarm at each either end, apart from Michael Owen hitting the turf, yet again, and looking for a penalty, full time was reached at stalemate. In all probability the correct result as neither side did enough to deserve the win.
Team 6 Defensively excellent, but struggled in midfield and attack. Never got any kind of passing game going. Our lack of width is painfully obvious.
Man of the match The peerless Dave Watson.
|More than a match for them|
I'd expected more from this game than in previous recent encounters. Yet
that in itself was a worry. Normally there's a hiatus of fear, a buzz of
excitement, an air of doom. And then we win and the world seems a glorious
It was that lack of fear that worried me. Reports of Liverpool fans expecting them to be rolled over lead me to believe that there was something of a disaster waiting in the in the wings to ambush us. Without the calm, cultured Italian at the back and the busy, incisive Frenchman in the middle we looked a bit more like the team we were last year rather than the one we are this year. And yet I remained confident. Whence did that confidence spring though, and was it misplaced?
By 15:00 today, I didn't need to worry about finding the answers as the nerves and the fear had returned, consigning the confidence to history.
A scan of the Liverpool teamsheet showed why, with plenty of international experience. Surely we couldn't survive this? There were Fowler and Owen up front England internationals both with Riedle, a German of similar pedigree on the bench.
In midfield, the international trend continued with England's Redknapp, Ince and McManaman and Berger, scorer of two goals for the Czech Republic in midweek.
At the back there was Bjornebye (Norway), Staunton (Eire), Carragher (ok, not full but an England U21 international) and Heggem, another Norwegian. And then there was David James dodgy keeper extraordinaire so maybe we did have a chance. Further internationals sat on the bench, Kvarme and McAteer amongst them.
Our own line up looked rather more lightweight. True, we had some internationals too, Myhre (Norway U21), Watson and Unsworth (England, though faintly remembered now, in both cases), Ball and Grant (England U21), Collins and Ferguson (Scotland) and newcomer Ibrahima Bakayoko from the Ivory Coast.
The rest of the team was made up with Craig Short and Alex Cleland accompanying Watson and Unsworth at the back, with Hutchison settling in midfield with Ball, Collins and Grant. Somehow it looked a mismatch. But when has that ever counted for anything?
The whistle blew and a sun-strewn Goodison Park with incongruous lashings of fine rain was treated to an early dart from Bakayoko down the right. He was upended near the edge of the box towards the corner flag at the Goodison Road side of the Park End. A free kick was awarded and with barely 50 seconds on the clock came Bakayoko's moment of glory... nearly. A glancing header floated in the high wind past James's right hand post.
Almost immediately, Liverpool pressed forward and twice Myhre denied them, first standing his ground in front of the recuperated Fowler (treated to derisory cheers throughout the game, accompanied by throaty yells of "smack'ead") and pushing his goal attempt away, and then denying the "boy genius" Owen.
Now, having seen Owen in the flesh, I'm more than ever convinced that as all round players both Branch and Cadamarteri leave him standing, but the one area he does leave everyone else standing is pace. He's lightning quick. That apart though he didn't pose much of a threat, and when he quits the game his Equity card should be a snip.He loses control and down he goes, he's pushed out wide and the ground beckons.
Then of course there's his personal cheer leader, Ince. If Owen doesn't seem to be convincing the referee, then in goes Ince, brow furrowed, loquacious in his defamation of the Everton defence. But all water off the duck's back for Mr Durkin, who in the main refereed at a standard so far above that of recent men in black at Goodison, that I was prepared to overlook most of his shortcomings.
The first half was difficult for the Blues. Defending against a wind which
threatened to blow the ball back towards the defence the moment it rose above
head height. Yet we insisted on the ball up from defence, by-passing the
midfield. It wasn't always route one to Ferguson, but long angled balls across
field looking for Ball and Grant in advanced positions regularly failed to
reach their mark.
Overall the first half belonged to the men in red, but one superb free-kick involving Grant, Unsworth and Collins so nearly paid off. Grant rolled the ball sideways to Collins as Rhino charged forward to strike the ball stopped in his path by Collins. The Liverpool wall broke, wanting to head off the rhino charge. Too late, though, as Collins pulled the ball back, turned through 180 degrees and drove the ball towards the goal. James could do no more than parry it and the ensuing melee nearly produced the reward that the invention of the manoeuvre deserved.
A 0 - 0 half-time score was probably a reflection of the effort in the Everton side rather than the quality. Despite his strong showing in last week's Mini-Derby, Grant was well off the pace for this game. Hutchison and Collins competed well in midfield with Ball somehow absent fort the most part. That left Ince and Redknapp able to run midfield with having easy outlets in McManaman and Berger.
How Redknapp didn't get into the referee's notebook though, I'll never know. Tackles the like of which have seen both Dacourt and Materazzi booked this season were ignored by the referee. He was consistent in this approach though as similar efforts from Hutchison also went unpunished.
The resumption saw a change in Everton's approach. Whether this was due a half-time roasting from Walter Smith, the chance to play with the wind at their backs, or the fact that Redknapp failed to appear for the second half, I'm not sure. Nevertheless, having been the busier of the two keepers in the first half, Myhre didn't have a shot to worry about in the second. Liverpool's forwards were kept on a tight rein what chances they did have being snatched and wide of the mark. James, however, still had a contribution or two to make.
Throughout the game, Ferguson had had little joy from Staunton, who seemed to be enjoying the battle. This was probably helped by Paul Durkin's habit of blowing up against Ferguson every time he challenged for the ball. The referee ignored pleas for a penalty twice, first for handball from Staunton and then when he had both hands around Ferguson's waist stopping him from getting onto a flick into the box.
Ferguson did, however, have two useful chances. The first, an excellent drive from a very narrow angle, saw James get down quickly to his right to stop the ball from finding the gap between him and the post. The second was a scuffed effort which went for a corner as it bounced fortuitously off Staunton, as it was bound for the hoardings behind the goal. The effort was born of frustration, I think, as Ball was probably better placed to have received a pass from his captain and delivered a telling ball back into the middle.
Eventually the pace of the game told on Grant and Cadamarteri was launched into a right hand side of midfield role, playing in a slightly advanced position. That this would give us extra bite was no doubt the idea behind the move, but it wasn't given much chance to develop as a tiring Bakayoko soon left the field to good applause, to be replaced by the returning Mitch Ward.
Cadamarteri moved to a more central forward position to partner Ferguson, Ward slotting into the right side of midfield. The biggest (sarcastic) ovation of the day, however, was reserved for Kvarme, who returned to the scene of his misery from last season, replacing the limping Carragher. Expectations were high that Cadamarteri might once again turn him inside out. It wasn't to be.
Bookings were eventually the order of the day, with Cleland, Unsworth and Bjornebye having visited the book in the first half, Ince, Berger, Riedle and Hutchison were the recipients of yellows in the second.
The game eventually fizzled out into a 0 - 0 draw, in truth not a bad reflection of the whole game. The good news derived from this performance as far as I was concerned was that despite my early misgiving, we were more than a match for our "friends" from across the park, international experience notwithstanding.
With Bakayoko making a good fist of his first game, learning early on that he won't be allowed time on the ball and showing that he has the skill and the appetite to run at defences; with Materazzi and Dacourt to return next week, after suspensions; with Grant getting back to match fitness;with Barmby to return along with Branch; with Bilic on the mend; with youngsters like Milligan, Dunne, Jevons and Jeffers in the wings; with all of these things the future looks better than it has done for a long time.
My man of the match, for tireless effort and not a small degree of skill, Don Hutchison
|Tommy keeps us in it|
As the rain poured down on my way to the ground, I feared for the gaps in
our midfield and defence left by the catastrophic absences of Olivier Dacourt
and Marco Materazzi. The skies had brightened a little to a hazy blue once
we arrived, but a powerful breeze billowed through Goodison. The mascot,
who was helping Myhre to warm up, was shivering, so Ferguson stopped, and
gave him his jacket!
Our Paddock had been infiltrated by a contingent of Koppites, but the presence of my name on the scoreboard (a part of my birthday present) proved consolation indeed!
The One-2-Oners re-appeared in the centre circle, much to my disgust. Everton is about tradition, not an unbearably tacky, commercialized dancing troupe. "We Will Rock You" was followed by some Scottish music, with a lone piper marching out onto the pitch. Finally, the gentle notes of Z-Cars graced our ears, and out marched our Blue boys.
We whistled through the Liverpool team list to such an extent that the names were impossible to hear, and cheered ours rapturously. Ibrahima Bakayoko made his first appearance, but sadly, as the scoreline shows, did not make a goalscoring start.
Bakayoko looks physically strong. Watching him run with the ball is a delight. He is skillful and talented, and uses both his feet and his head. He was obviously not anywhere near the standard of match fitness required by a Merseyside Derby, but he has two weeks to improve before our next home game. He will forge a fearsome and prosperous partnership with Ferguson.
As kick-off arrived, Bakayoko turned and raced down the right wing towards the Park End, only to be brought down by Fowler. The free-kick near the corner flag was curled in exquisitely by Bally, and a glancing header from Bakayoko had David "Dodgy" James beaten. Had Paul Ince not been grappling with Watson's shirt, Waggy would have had a touch, and I would be writing about a 1-0 victory. Instead, he broke loose from Ince too late, and could only watch the ball fly past.
Ince gave me further reason for dislike with a further two incidents in the first half. Michael Ball had executed a nicely timed tackle in the box. Liverpool had won a throw-in, which Ince had planned to take. However, another team-mate came to take it instead, so Ince retreated, and stood next to "Ballyson." As he did so, Ince turned and spat at Ball's feet. The referee's assistant could hardly have missed it, but chose to ignore it. Ball threw his arms up in disgust.
Don Hutchison made a careless mistake, when he sent Fowler through on goal, with just Myhre to beat. Tommy parried the ball away to save us, and we were fortunate that nobody was there to capitalize.
Bjornebye clattered into Hutchison with a ferocious tackle. Paul Ince again frustrated me by grabbing the referee's elbow in protest at Bjornebye's imminent booking, and escaping punishment. In comparison to our Olivier, Ince is about as skillful and effective as a jelly baby. Dacourt will prove his superiority at Anfield later on in the season (if he's not suspended.....).
Duncan placed a long upfield ball on his forehead, and nodded down to Grant. Bjornebye once again flew in like a madman, and sent slight "Rodders" flying. That was it. His second bookable offence. He was off........ wasn't he? Apparently not. Paul Durkin deemed the foul worthy of a free kick, but not, unfortunately, of a second yellow.
The free kick soon had us all disregarding the unjust decision. We held our breath, waiting for Collins to play it, yet silently wishing Dacourt was here for a repeat performance of his Huddersfield effort. The whistle was blown, and he calmly took it around the wall, before he fired a fierce shot at James. The rebound came to Ball, who elected not to have an effort himself, but stabbed it in Bakayoko's direction. It just evaded him in the mêlée, but arrived at Short's feet. Somehow, the ball escaped him.
Liverpool followed this up with an attack. Fowler was offside in the box, which the calamitous linesman again chose to ignore, but Waggy was there to tidy up, and to make sure that his unbeaten record of this season remained intact. Ince also had appeals for a penalty disregarded, which was one of a few decisions which went our way all afternoon.
Craig Short played well, and beat Owen several times to the ball. At one stage, he was within a metre of "wonderboy" (who, incidentally, is still not worth a thousand Cadamarteri!!), and so I must give Owen credit for managing to remain on his feet.
He struck me as a particularly selfish player, with several of his shots flying over the bar, or proving to be merely routine saves for Myhre, when there were team-mates to pass to.
John Collins had recovered sufficiently to play, but like Bakayoko, did not appear to be fully fit. He managed quite well, with a few good tackles, and also retreated back to defend.
Ball dispossessed Heggem Cadamarteri-style towards the end of the first half, and began to race down the left wing. His run could not be continued, as he was shouldered away from the ball by Heggem.
Half-time arrived and departed, and we were soon involved in the furious second half. Kvarme was welcomed with a standing ovation from most of the fans. At one point, Danny almost embarrassed him, and memories of the glorious 1997 goal came flooding back.
Collins intercepted a Liverpool attack, and thus began a move which involved five players and resulted in a fierce shot from Duncan's left foot, which James struggled with. Dave Watson came up for the corner, but the ever evasive home goal was not to be.
One of Michael Ball's only errors of the game came in the box, when he stabbed the ball away in the direction of Berger. His grandmother's birthday really would have been ruined had the shot not skimmed across the top of the goal!
Craig Short began one of his trademark marvellous runs, which come at a quiet point in the game. However, Ince once again prevented it from continuing, by tripping Short. Even Alan Hansen was forced to comment on Match of the Day on how Short managed to get back so quickly to defend the counter-attack.
I think that it was Cleland who sent a long, looping ball in Cadamarteri and Ferguson's direction. Kvarme, seeking revenge for the events of last October, brought Danny down outside the box, and actually sat on him until the ball went out of play. My seat in the Paddock is directly in line with where the linesman stood, so I could easily read Danny's lips when he screamed at him. From the language used, he was obviously not too pleased with the linesman's incompetence!
Michael Owen, who had really faded during the second half, appeared unable to stay on his feet any longer, and conveniently, his legs gave way in the Park End penalty area. Appropriately, this was the same spot in which Ginola also collapsed dramatically, in August. Although the petulant banging of fists on the turf was not displayed by Owen, he began screaming at the referee. Waggy simply put his hands on the lad's shoulders and told him to calm down. Despite the fact that there was no contact made, Match of the Day's "neutral" panel of Hansen and Lawrenson decided that it was a penalty.
The minutes flew by frantically until Durkin eventually blew his whistle. Fowler's treatment of the Park End people provoked more chants of "Smack'ead, Smack'ead"
Man of the Match: Definitely Tommy. He kept us in the game today. Although he does not always look secure, it seems his confidence has been boosted. We have only conceded once in the league at Goodison this season, and that was in August.
As I left the seating area, I descended the steps watching the precious mixture of green and royal blue move away from my vision. I will not see my Goodison until the 23rd of November. Instead of watching the Manchester United game, I will be forced to listen, as I return home from France, missing the match, ironically, by a handful of hours.
|Mersey rivals battle to draw|
|by Joe Lovejoy , The Sunday Times|
A FULL-LENGTH video of this red-blooded scrap should be compulsory viewing
at the next England get-together. Not for the football, which rarely rose
above the ordinary, but to remind Glenn Hoddle's increasingly effete team
what it means to compete.
Here, in ample measure, was the spirit Hoddle's players have mislaid since the World Cup. These two old rivals fought each other to a standstill in a rugged battle for local supremacy which strained every sinew.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, the relentless pace and muscular commitment left no time and space for composure or precision, and the outcome was a stalemate which leaves Everton still to score at home this season. Not even the introduction of their exotic striker from the Ivory Coast, Ibrahima Bakayoko, could break the spell.
Liverpool, too, have reason for concern. Their early promise has deserted them to such an extent that they have taken only three points from their last five League games, and their England playmaker, Jamie Redknapp, will probably miss Tuesday's Uefa Cup tie at home to Valencia after sustaining a groin injury which forced him to miss the second half.
Everton are unbeaten in the last ten derbies, stretching back more than four years, proof, if any was needed, that the form book counts for virtually next to nothing when it comes to a "domestic".
Blue belief was buttressed by the wet and windy conditions. It was a Duncan Ferguson sort of day, and Everton's towering totem loved every bruising minute. His new partner, Bakayoko, might have had a sensational start, threatening to score in the first minute with a glancing header from Michael Ball's free kick, but was caught in possession too often for Evertonian satisfaction, and clearly needs time to adjust to the rigours of the English game.
As is so often the case when a high-profile foreigner arrives, it was a young Englishman who suffered, the promising Danny Cadamarteri standing down.
Liverpool recalled Steve Staunton, who was outstanding in central defence, helping Jamie Carragher to combat Ferguson's aerial threat. Steve McManaman resumed after Achilles tendon trouble, but despite a couple of penetrative runs in the second half, nothing he did on the pitch was as interesting as the fact that Real Madrid want him, adding urgency to the contract talks with which Roy Evans hopes to tie him to Anfield this week.
Liverpool, settling well, might have been ahead after seven minutes when Fowler's clever, improvised strike was saved overhead by Myhre. James, however, kept them on terms when Everton made a terrible hash of a free-kick routine and were fortunate when the ball fell to John Collins, whose strong drive had the keeper sprawling.
As if to show that anything James could do, he could do better, Myhre quickly produced a classy reflex save to keep out a shot from Fowler, who had been put through by Heggem's pass in the inside-right channel.
It was rough and tough, as ever, with Bjornebye, booked early, lucky to stay on the field after the second of two bad tackles on Grant. Ince called, in vain, for a penalty after a shuddering challenge by Unsworth, just as Owen was to do in the second half, when he fell rather too easily under Dave Watson's challenge.
The nearest either side came to scoring in a frenetic first half was after 37 minutes, when Bjornebye's rasper from 30 yards had Myhre tumbling to the base of his left hand post.
Everton might have scored twice on the resumption, when two enforced changes did nothing for Liverpool's cohesion. First Redknapp and then Carragher, with a bruised hip, had to withdraw, in favour of Jason McAteer and Bjorn Kvarme. During the reorganisation that followed, Everton took the initiative, and James had to make a couple of good saves, going to right and left, to keep out shots from Ferguson.
Bakayoko retired, tired and bruised, to be replaced by Ward, presumably wondering what relationship this Merseyside rollerball had to the game he called football. Africa must have seemed a million miles away on a cold, grey Liverpudlian afternoon.
Ferguson, the man who put the blue in black and blue, relished every lump and bump, of course, and was the likeliest source of a goal.
With local pride at stake, Roy Evans did not see it quite that way. He must have been relieved to get a point, someone ventured. "You must be joking," he said. "I can't remember being under less pressure in a derby, not for a long time."
Walter Smith felt McManaman, not Ferguson, was the only player likely to make the breakthrough in the second half. "We need someone like him, capable of bringing some width to our attack," he said. "Unfortunately, there's no money to buy one." Another long, hard season in prospect, then.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Goodison goal famine at critical level|
|by Guy Hodgson, The Independent on Sunday|
In retrospect the collective groan that went round Goodison Park on 29 August
when Tottenham Hotspur scored was a mistake. Instead of berating the Almighty,
fate and Everton's defence, the crowd should have assumed the awed aspect
of someone studying a valuable stamp or antique.
But then who was to know what appeared to be a 10-a-penny event would assume the rarity of diamonds? Get a goal in a home Everton match now and the St John's Ambulance people would be rushed off their feet treating people with shock.
Everton have played 450 minutes of Premiership football at Goodison and not scored while the only opposition to locate the net there are Spurs. Suggestions that cameras should be in place for goal-line incidents are irrelevant in this desert, a painter in oils would have time to record any controversy.
And just in case anyone is wondering what to buy their deadliest enemy for Christmas, a season ticket for Goodison is unlikely to prove much better value in the near future. The Everton manager, Walter Smith, knows what the problem is, solving it is another matter.
"We have succeeded in making ourselves difficult to beat," Smith said, "but in home matches we don't have the quality in the wide positions, people who can beat men and open up defences. That's the main reason why we're not getting the breakthrough.
Would he be opening up the chequebook to purchase that quality? "No," he replied. "We haven't any money to buy again." Marvellous.
The outcome is that the best header in Britain, Duncan Ferguson, spends his working life flicking on passes from behind him instead of charging at juicy crosses hanging invitingly ahead of him. It is easy to counter and a waste.
Ibrahima Bakayoko, on his debut after a £4.5m transfer from Montpellier was close with a header after a minute and Ferguson startled a post in the second half but, that apart, Everton had all the cutting thrust of butter. As Roy Evans, the Liverpool joint manager, said, he could not remember a Merseyside derby where his defence was so comfortable.
As a consequence Liverpool, whose recent record in these tribal affairs is lamentable, should have won at Goodison for the first time in nine attempts. Robbie Fowler had two one-on-one chances ably saved by Thomas Myhre and there were also inquiring glances from the visiting bench about two possible penalties.
Still a point in the old enemy's backyard marks progress of sorts although whether it confirms Anfield's ability to claim the big prizes is debateable. Manchester United are already four points ahead with a game in hand while Aston Villa are a whopping eight points clear. Liverpool can afford few slips from now on.
Their future is also likely to be defined by Steve McManaman, whose failure to sign a new contract is edging towards the alarming stage. He is free to go in the summer under the Bosman ruling and sooner or later Liverpool will either have get him to commit himself to the club or bite the bullet and get some cash for him.
"We have been in negotiations on a weekly basis," Evans said, replying to reports that Real Madrid covet McManaman, "and we're still trying to sort it out. We're confident we will reach an agreement despite reports saying we're dragging our heels. That's a load of rubbish.
"I would like to think we'll succeed but we are not always masters of our own destiny. He is probably the most high-profile player to be affected by the Bosman ruling so we knew it was never going to be easy. It's not all about money, it's about several things."
Everton followers can only watch, be vaguely amused at their rivals' problem and then lament "what if?" since McManaman, the very type their team needs, supported the club as a boy. The alternative is to watch the shortest video in history: Great Goals at Goodison 1998-9.
|Report © The Independent|
|Liverpool fail to put the neighbours in their place|
|by Kevin McCarra, The Times|
THE final whistle was the most uplifting moment of a dismal event, but Everton,
at least, will prize the spoils. They remain undefeated in the Merseyside
derby match since March 1994. John Collins, an authority on local rivalries
after his days in Glasgow with Celtic, appreciates the prevailing psychology
in fixtures such as this.
"A single point is usually OK for visiting teams," the Everton midfield player said, "but, looking at the bigger picture, another game has gone by and they still have not managed to beat us." Liverpool would have merited victory if technique was the prime concern of these contests.
In a match of few chances, the clearer opportunities were theirs and they might just have had a penalty after Craig Short's faint touch on Michael Owen late in the afternoon. The forthright tone of Roy Evans, one of the Liverpool joint-managers, was really an expression of frustration. "I do not remember being under less pressure in a derby game," he said.
One could sense the undertow of irritation tugging at his mind. Everton have defended deeply and well this season, but, as Walter Smith attempts to rebuild the club, their football remains rudimentary. After five matches at home in the FA Carling Premiership, they are still to score a goal. Despite that, Liverpool could not prevail.
The difficulties against Everton are symptomatic of Liverpool's problem in winning with the regularity required of any team with pretensions to the title. For all its supposed sophistication, their style is curiously insubstantial and, for a while, they will now be without Jamie Redknapp, who has a groin strain. Robbie Fowler and Owen, the forwards, received little support from a midfield that made its passes and kept its distance.
Everton, in consequence, usually had the weight of numbers to crush any threat, although Fowler did find two chances before the interval. In each case, his finishing was indicative of a man who has not fully recovered full sharpness after long injury and Thomas Myhre saved.
For the second half, Steve McManaman was moved to the left flank by Liverpool and, flaunting a full recovery after recent concerns over his fitness, suggested briefly that he would unpeel the defence. "I kept on asking him: 'How is your Achilles? Are you not going off yet?' " Alex Cleland, the Everton full back, said.
His side's contentment is only greater than that of Liverpool because, for the moment, their ambitions are lower. Smith's initial objective was to make Everton hard to beat, but he will now move on to the next phase, which involves introducing adventure to the play.
Ibrahim Bakayoko, the Ivory Coast forward, bought from Montpellier for £4.5 million, made his debut and headed narrowly wide in the first minute. Thereafter, he lingered over possession, making vain attempts to dribble round defenders. As a newcomer, he does not deserve to be reproached.
Collins caught the eye with a clever free kick that rebounded from David James, the Liverpool goalkeeper, but, in open play, there was rarely a team-mate available to receive the ball from him.
Smith has spent in excess of £20 million and there are no more funds available. Everton will have to improve the men already on their books. At a more exalted level, the same mission lies before Liverpool.
|Report © Times Newspapers Ltd|
|Everton still carry blank expression|
|Clive White, Electronic Telegraph|
THE bagpipes were played in honour of Walter Smith's first Merseyside derby
but it might only have made Everton's Scottish manager homesick for a derby
of real passion and excitement. This one, until the last few frantic minutes,
was tepid stuff compared to its Glasgow equivalent but at least Smith did
not suffer the ignominy of being the first Everton manager to lost the fixture
in nine attempts.
It was not, though, one of Everton's more distinguished efforts, which have invariably been as the underdog. Liverpool were clearly the better team but when Jamie Redknapp failed to reappear for the second half the visitors lost much of their purpose and direction and their hopes of ending the jinx rapidly receded.
It hardly amounted to a recovery as far as their championship aspirations are concerned, it being only their third point out of a possible 15, but they can only get better their supporters will keep telling themselves. They could not even take much credit in coming away from Goodison with a clean sheet. Everton have failed to score, let alone win, at home this season and on this evidence the breakthrough could still be a while coming.
Not even the inclusion of their new signing Ibrahim Bakayoko could break the spell and the number of shots they had on target could be counted on one hand. Perhaps the nearest they got to it was in the 53rd minute when a shot by Bakayoko was blocked and Duncan Ferguson, following up, drew a fingertip save from David James. Otherwise it was all huff and puff with precious little end product from either side.
Not that anyone should have been surprised by the lack of goals. Everton's confidence going into this game was borne out of a more secure defensive unit even though Marco Materazzi was out suspended, along with Olivier Dacourt.
Evertonians have very quickly become convinced that all it took to turn them into championship challengers was a prolific striker so the debut of Bakayoko, the £4.5 million signing from Montpellier, was eagerly awaited.
It took the man from the Ivory Coast barely a minute to make an impression. He cleverly won a free-kick against Robbie Fowler and when Michael Ball curled in the kick, Bakayoko threw himself at the ball, glancing a header fractionally wide of the far post. What followed must have made him question his desire to play in England, as the game quickly developed into a frantic, untidy scramble that was short on quality football, even for a derby. And the strong wind could not be held entirely responsible.
Even when the football suffers, Merseyside derbies are rarely short on incident and excitement but this game for a long time was bereft of anything remotely approaching genuine excitement. In cutting out a pass, Don Hutchison inadvertently played the ball through to Robbie Fowler but Thomas Myhre comfortably parried the effort.
It took Paul Durkin, the referee, nine minutes to lose his patience with some of the tackles that were flying in, booking Stig Inge Bjornebye for a crunching tackle on Hutchison. However, if Durkin had had the courage of his convictions, he would have sent off the Norwegian seven minutes later when he clattered into Tony Grant. Instead, Durkin deemed a warning sufficient, but from the free-kick, Everton almost exacted more painful retribution. John Collins worked a dummy with Craig Short that would have been familiar to Scottish spectators before turning to fire in a shot which James spilled, but there was not a blue shirt around to pounce on it.
Liverpool gradually put together a semblance of a passing game and, with the best move of the match, forced Thomas Myhre into a save worthy of the name. Redknapp's touch and vision marked him out as a player of class even more than usual amid such dross and his crossfield pass to Vegard Heggem was typical. The Norwegian's through ball to Fowler also showed uncommon good touch but Myhre was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger.
Had Paul Ince played in the internationals against Bulgaria and Luxembourg, one might have suggested that he was suffering by association, but in the circumstances there could be no such excuse for the Liverpool captain's anonymous performance which offered little other than the usual foot-stamping tantrum when Durkin failed to see things the player's way. There was a fairly vociferous penalty appeal from Ince but no-one, least of all Durkin, paid much attention to it.
Everton, for their part, were as predictable as they were under Howard Kendall and Joe Royle before him, lumping the ball forward towards Ferguson's head and then scrambling for the crumbs that fell. Did John Collins really forsake a Monte Carlo lifestyle for this?
|Report © The Electronic Telegraph|
|FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP|
|RESULTS (Game 9)|
|Saturday 17 October 1998|
Arsenal 1 Southampton 1 38,027 Anelka 34. Howells 67. Chelsea 2 Charlton Athletic 1 34,639 Leboeuf 18:pen, Poyet 88. Youds 57. Everton 0 Liverpool 0 40,185 Manchester United 5 Wimbledon 1 55,265 Cole 18,87, Giggs 45, Euell 39. Beckham 48, Yorke 53. Middlesbrough 2 Blackburn Rovers 1 34,413 Ricard 83, Fleming 90. Sherwood 56. Newcastle United 2 Derby County 1 36,750 Dabizas 13, Glass 17. Burton 73. Nottingham Forest 1 Leeds United 1 23,911 Stone 85. Halle 53. West Ham United 0 Aston Villa 0 26,002
|Sunday 18 October 1998|
Coventry City 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0 Dublin 76.
|Monday 19 October 1998|
Leicester City 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1 20,787 Heskey 37, Izzet 86. Ferdinand 13.
|LEAGUE TABLE (after 19 October 1998 )|
Club P W D L GF GA GD Pts Aston Villa 9 6 3 0 10 2 8 21 Manchester United 8 5 2 1 18 7 11 17 Middlesbrough 9 4 3 2 14 9 5 15 Chelsea 8 4 3 1 13 9 4 15 Arsenal 9 3 5 1 10 4 6 14 Newcastle United 9 4 2 3 15 11 4 14 Liverpool 9 3 4 2 13 10 3 13 West Ham United 9 3 4 2 7 8 -1 13 Leeds United 9 2 6 1 9 6 3 12 Derby County 9 3 3 3 7 6 1 12 Leicester City 9 3 3 3 9 9 0 12 Wimbledon 9 3 3 3 13 16 -3 12 Everton 9 2 5 2 6 6 0 11 Tottenham Hotspur 9 3 2 4 10 16 -6 11 Charlton Athletic 9 2 4 3 13 12 1 10 Sheffield Wednesday 9 3 0 6 8 10 -2 9 Blackburn Rovers 9 2 2 5 9 12 -3 8 Nottingham Forest 9 2 2 5 6 11 -5 8 Coventry City 9 2 2 5 6 14 -8 8 Southampton 9 0 2 7 4 22 -18 2