You?d have to live on the moon to not know by now that our nearest and dearest neighbours are currently in full-scale turmoil. Executive civil war, dates at the high court and back biting by players and managers grips the City?s second team so tightly that their faces are turning purple. There?s a genuine red army revolution taking place across Stanley Park that almost makes one grateful that we have Blue Bill Kenwright at our helm.
With all banter and laughing at cringe-inducing video montages aside, Evertonians have not let it escape them that Liverpool are next to visit Goodison Park for what will sooner or later (if it hasn?t already) been described as a six pointer. Every derby has spice and flavour but none before have tasted like this one does in the build-up. Both clubs have laboured to come out of the traps so far this season... and both, it can be said, need to win their next game ? no matter who they play. It?s just unfortunate that they play each other.
As unpopular as this point will be, it has to be said that, when all is said and done, Liverpool need the win more than Everton do. Roy Hodgson and his merry men need more than 3 points to drag themselves out of the relegation zone; they need a symbolic statement to give to all the eyes watching them at the minute.
You don?t need me to remind you how the romantics at Anfield will coin it. They?ll dress it as the sign of the end of one failed regime and the beginning of a new age of Liverpool glory and domination. You know in your heart that they?ll paint the need for victory like some Roman war march or song from an epic saga, mention the five times and Bill Shankly somewhere and another job is well done by the boys on the Kop. The loud noise of their ?RS? masses will drown out any among them who talk of tempered optimism and realism.
If you strip away the fleshy layers of fantasy they insulate themselves with, you will undoubtedly find ? to use a tired cliché ? a wounded animal. Say what you like about Liverpool, it is no lie to suggest that they are more than capable of producing tidal waves of effort and determination when they need to ? and it is because of this that David Moyes should be wary.
On paper, Everton are better than Liverpool, of that there is no doubt, regardless of what any delusional supporter will tell you. A stronger squad prepares itself this week at Finch Farm than at Melwood. It is also beyond question, though, that Everton do not boast a player anything like Steven Gerrard. As loathsome as the would-be England captain is, he is still the kind of player that, when the bit is between his teeth, cannot only force an opposition team into ducking for cover but he inspires the lesser lights around him to go supernova. When Gerrard performs, Liverpool do. And the opposition usually wilt.
As has been Liverpool?s weakness for a decade however, if you blunt their main weapon, they have no means to attack; they are a simple if deadly beast. Everton have won derby matches in the past simply by nullifying the Liverpool talisman and it is imperative that they do so again if they look to earn another victory on the back of their win at Birmingham. The Blues have it well within their powers to stop Steven Gerrard in his tracks but only if David Moyes knows which of his tools work best for him.
Bizarrely, Phil Jagielka?s injury could actually be a blessing in disguise ? for this game at least ? as it will force the manager?s hand with his team selection, ridding him of a headache that has been costing him in games so far. Johnny Heitinga would have likely came in to midfield this Sunday to try and combat the threat posed by Gerrard had Jagielka returned from England duty unscathed... but now there is no other choice for the Scot than to play the fan favourite in the centre of defence. His natural position, a role supporter sections are crying out for him to occupy anyway.
Sylvain Distin has historically performed better with the Dutchman alongside him and could do with any advantages he can get after the season he?s endured thus far. The niggling issue of distribution from defence is remedied also by playing the World Cup Finalist at the back as he has a greater distribution than any other defender on the books.
The biggest plus this injury will bring though is the knock-on effect it will have on the Everton engine room. Marouane Fellaini is a colossus at the heart of the midfield and integral to the team?s play when he is deployed there. The need for Johnny Heitinga to play at the back will mean the big Belgian has little chance of being shoehorned up front for this game and that spells trouble for Liverpool?s number eight.
The first that the majority of Everton supporters saw of Marouane was in his last game for his previous club, Standard Liege, a game many would argue was the catalyst for the player?s arrival at Goodison Park. During that game ? though his team ultimately lost the match ? Fellaini shackled Gerrard, keeping him quiet for the majority of the match... and that is the job he is to be tasked with this weekend if Everton are to have any hope of victory.
Of course Everton have the means to hurt Liverpool, even with one or two injuries they still have more than enough to ensure victory. The derby would be a dream game for either Jermaine Beckford or Yakubu to score their long overdue goal this season. Tim Cahill too is finally back amongst the goals and always likes to net one against our tribal enemies.
What Everton don?t have with their first victory under their belt this season is the whip of desperation that is lashing at Liverpool?s back.. Everton could really do with a win this Sunday but Liverpool cannot entertain anything other than victory; not even a draw will do for them. It is this need for The Reds to come and attack which Everton must make work to their advantage. This is the weakest incarnation of Liverpool there has been for 20 years, a weak and desperate Liverpool who will know nothing short of charging headlong to try and defeat their opponents.
Everton must play with cleverness about them that the manager needs to instil; they must choose their moments carefully and strike with precision. There are on-field frailties to this team that mirror their off-field woes. David Moyes has to prove his worth as a tactician and find the sore joints in Roy Hodgson?s team.
No matter what happens to Liverpool and their ownership saga, the ingredients are there already for an enthralling match that will have both sets of supporters gnashing at each other and neutrals sat wide-eyed. There will never be a better chance for Everton to give their supporters a gift by handing them more salt to rub into Liverpudlian wounds. The objective is clear: surf the red tide and beware the red mist. Everton can and must pile more misery on Liverpool FC.
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1 Posted 13/10/2010 at 03:16:07
Quote: "Poor old Liverpool just can?t seem to get it right. Just as it looks like a new knight in shining armour may save the club with a new bid, it turns out he hasn?t always been pro-Liverpool. In fact, it is widely accepted that Lim made a large percentage of his money through promoting the brand of rivals Manchester United in Asia, and owns a series of Manchester United themed bars".
Life and Lim!? Maybe he would like to sell Chang Beer?
2 Posted 13/10/2010 at 03:17:55
Why the waiter paid £18 million I will never know! He's only in the England team because there isn't a decent English right back at the Sky four, City and Spurs! COYB
3 Posted 13/10/2010 at 03:18:18
In my view, it is time to be bold. For this game, I'd have Beckford and the Yak up front. A midfield of Coleman, Fellaini (holding) Arteta and Pienaar. With a back four of Hibbert Heitinga, Distin and Baines. Tim Cahill as an impact sub.
Attack and press them from the start and Beckford will show what he can do. This is the time to go for it.
4 Posted 13/10/2010 at 03:31:52
We just need to look back at the derby at Anfield last year where IMHO Everton were mugged. We were the better team then too but LP came out right from the start to turn the game into a foul fest and unfortunately we fell for it. We cannot afford to do that again. We need to have the mental & physical strength to match them but the patience to beat them.
5 Posted 13/10/2010 at 03:39:33
6 Posted 13/10/2010 at 04:01:16
I envisage a game of few clear cut chances. I hope Osman is nowhere near the final shot/backpass.
Whichever team can take one of those will be the winner.
7 Posted 13/10/2010 at 04:15:40
On the other hand, I think they have more potency in front of goal, especially if Torres is playing.
I think the game will be won or lost in MF and its time for Mikky to stand up. I hope Pienaar is fit and would like Tiny to show his nouse and aggression in this one.
Glad to see Howard Webb's in charge but that may also be a bad sign for Johnny.
8 Posted 13/10/2010 at 07:45:21
9 Posted 13/10/2010 at 08:24:50
On a plus side one of the worst for that was crocked himself last night.
10 Posted 13/10/2010 at 10:55:11
I cannot think about anything else at the minute. Booked Monday off work and hoping to still be on the lash, ripping the piss out of every RS I come across. Depending on the Wolves - West Ham result, we could leave them second from bottom if we win. Same applies if they win. Biggest derby game for years.
11 Posted 13/10/2010 at 11:58:29
12 Posted 13/10/2010 at 12:13:15
13 Posted 13/10/2010 at 12:49:18
14 Posted 13/10/2010 at 13:00:18
15 Posted 13/10/2010 at 12:52:56
This really is time for the players to stand up and be counted. To believe. To be arrogant. To be ruthless. Time in particular for Fellaini, Arteta and hopefully Coleman to dictate the game ? not Gerrard and Carragher. And time for David Moyes to be brave. We need 11 Tim Cahills this weekend, not 11 Leon Osmans.
16 Posted 13/10/2010 at 13:18:45
17 Posted 13/10/2010 at 11:38:40
I don't see why Beckford is bolder or a better option than Cahill.
Yak with Cahill behind for me. If Pienaar is injured and we want width, it would be bold to blood Gueye this weekend. Highly bold.
18 Posted 13/10/2010 at 13:21:44
You even refered to Liverpool as "the City?s second team".
I'm confused, because I want us to beat Liverpool 4 - 0 so we can go rub it in with you friends and family, supporters of the RS.
19 Posted 13/10/2010 at 14:13:52
The man does it time and time again against the big boys and yet we still get shouts like this. What does he have to do for some people?
20 Posted 13/10/2010 at 15:04:16
21 Posted 13/10/2010 at 15:24:57
You are so right. I am no Cahill worshiper, but at this moment in time he is our only realistic hope of scoring.
You know that is never going to happen, the scummy bastards will be sold by the weekend. New manager in place by Xmass and a fucking cargo ship full of money thrown at them. Meanwhile, we will still be lamenting how lucky we are to have Bill and not to have sold our arses to the highest bidder.
Oh happy days...... NOT!
22 Posted 13/10/2010 at 16:57:05
Could not agree more. Of the 5 league goals we have scored this season Cahill has scored 3 of them and played a pivotal role in the other two. He has also equalled Dixie's record for scoring goals at Anfield. Furthermore, he has scored at the big grounds for us ie Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, Emirates and Anfield.
We would be going into this game a significantly depleted team if Cahill is not in the starting 11.
23 Posted 13/10/2010 at 17:26:22
24 Posted 13/10/2010 at 17:31:34
Despite knowing we have a better team, we also know that they still hold a persistent psychological advantage over us.
It's their lifeline in games like this ? as paradoxically, our lack of it is so often our downfall.
We have got to WANT to beat them on Sunday: to be first to the ball, get a foot in that tackle and grab an extra yard on that defender.
It is so within our grasp ? but do our players realise it and if so, have they the will to win it?
25 Posted 13/10/2010 at 17:36:29
Lets hope the players are a bit more positive than you.
26 Posted 13/10/2010 at 17:42:39
No excuses, no hiding in the shadows get out there and steam roller them 6-0.
Tim Howard: wear a "New York Yankees" cap when you run on.
27 Posted 14/10/2010 at 11:38:31
Let's annilihate the fuckers.
28 Posted 14/10/2010 at 18:07:04
29 Posted 14/10/2010 at 19:00:50
Liverpool are ready for a thumping; the usual Moyes safety first shite will not do. Beckford must play. I have a strong feeling that this will be his derby if our coach isn't content with 0-0. Of course he will be.
30 Posted 15/10/2010 at 13:25:40
To the tune of heads, shoulders, knees and toes.....
There's a circus in town, in town.
George Gillett's a fucking clown, fucking clown
Tom Hicks is a scheming dosey twat,
and the Red's are going down, going down
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