Last ditch disaster for defeated Blues

By Michael Kenrick 19/12/2016  198 Comments  [Jump to last]

Gareth Barry was on the bench as Ronald Koeman made one change
Everton 0 - 1 Liverpool

Ronald Koeman makes one changes to the side that started against Arsenal, bringing Ramiro Funes Mori in to replace the suspended Phil Jagielka.

The skipper is sidelined as he serves a one-match ban for picking up two yellow cards last Tuesday while Gareth Barry remains on the bench.

The bench includes two U23 players in the form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jonjoe Kenny, as well as Mason Holgate.

The game kicked off in an electric atmosphere with the Goodison crowd in fine voice, hoping to elevate the tempoo of the Blues game, inviting them to press Liverpool high up the field, and it was gritty, scrappy stuff as a result. Coleman got in good run and not one but two fair crosses, headed away.

Lukaku was next to get down the right and put in a fine cross... only he needed to be on the other end of it, where there was no-one. Mane and Baines fought for the ball and Everton's up-and-at-em start was doing enough to put the Reds well off their stride. Barkley should have done better to release Lukaku but the big man was too close to him. But much of the early going was in Liverpool's half, which was just what the crowd wanted to see.

Some great competitive play saw Valencia win a dangerous free-kick after it seemed Barkley might have had a chance with a ball that came to him very quickly. Valencia powered the free-kick poorly into the wall. Coleman was in sharply with the tackle as the Blues needed to maintain the high-speed pressing all across the field.

Barkley tried a clever ball for Lukaku that did not come off as the Blues were perhaps a little to frenetic in building their attacks. Lukaku trapped a high ball form Stekelenburg well but seemed to be fouled'; Mike Dean, however, was letting the game 'flow' -- hardly the right word, and it favoured Liverpool who tried to mount their first attack, stopped by Gana staying close to Mane.

Barkley set Coleman off down the right but could not control the great return ball in to him. Coleman then tried a long ball down the line for Valencia to chase. There was decent period of sustained pressure until Valencia tried and failed to buy a free-kick.

The best move so far saw Lennon spin wide left and play it in low for Lukaku but Klavan had the measure of him and deflected the ball away from the Everton striker. Barkley took a shot that was drilled wide.

Valencia was altogether way too hyped up for his own good, giving the ball away and allowing Liverpool to mount a rare forward move down the Everton left, and a another with Lallana down the right, then Wijnaldum fired well over.

Liverpool were getting more of the play now after 25 minutes of Everton dominance with no real strike on goal. Baines gave away a free-kick wide left, that Milner took but Dean blew immediately for a Liverpool foul. Williams was called for a high foot on Origi.

Liverpool put together a threatening move that cut through the middle of the Everton defence but fortunately there was no shot on goal... a warning, however. Lukaku in the middle passed straight to a red shirt, and another Liverpool attack had to be halted by Funes Mori. Lukaku did the same with the next ball forward and Liverpool looked to probe with more effect. Plenty of fouls being called now in favour of the Reds.

Finally, the Blues broke out, Coleman chasing a ball down and Henderson handling the cross off his hip but outside the area and not called, However a real threat then at the other end, a low cross into Origi under pressure from Williams and screwed wide.

Coleman put in a good cross but Lukaau could not flick it past Mignolet. James McCarthy went down, clutching his hamstring and a long break followed, with Barry out and warming up. The game finally restarted and Lukaku again could not hold the ball up, Liverpool on the attack again, until Mane played in behind for a goal-kick.

Valencia's determination won Everton's first corner delivered superbly by Barkley, an outswinger, headed wide by Funes Mori. Barkley tracked Origi, pulling his shirt before he tackled the striker rather clumsily and gave away a free-kick near the corner flag. Milner's clever ball was punched away from a throw by Stekelenburg. And that was it for a rather poor game in terms of any real football, but plenty of spirit and desire shown by the Blues.

Barry replaced McCarthy as the battle resumed after the break, with Liverpool showing greater control but Gana breaks it down and plays it up to Lukaku only for him to lose it yest again under the superior pressure of Klavan. Liverpool won their first corner and Everton needed to be solid at the back, Firmino somehow got behind the Blues defence off a loped ball from the half-way line and seemed set to fire past Stekelenburg but the keeper was out fast and parried it away.

Liverpool had raised their game since the break and kept pressing with Everton unable to break or hold possession. Valencia gave the ball away at the Everton area and it needed Gana to rescue things and try to break. Barry swung in a superb cross inviting Lukaku to head home but it bounced harmlessley off the top of his head, in the vague direction of goal.

Everton looked to break, Lovren blocking Lukaku and taking a yellow card. Barkley tried to get Valencia into the Reds area,but the ball wasn't rally going Everton's way. A bit of a mix-up as Mane came in on Stekelenburg, Baines in smarty to stop the striker with a tremendous challenge while taking out his goalkeeper. After a lot of treatment, Stekelenburg insisted on playing on, with Williams taking the goalkick. However, Robles was finally brought on, with Calvert-Lewin, who had been set to come on, being sent back to the bench.

Sharp tackles were going in without Mike Dean being too concerned, and Everton looked to get forward through Valencia and Gana but Lukaku was out by the sideline and lost the ball. Barkley caught Henderson late and that led to some handbags, Coleman And Lalana setting to it. It looked pretty bad from Barkely, no doubt much to the enthusiasm of fans who want to see the young Blue putting more bite into his game. This one a little foolhardy though... possibly worth a straight red, it was very reminiscent of a typical Liverpool dirty tackle of old.

Mane fell heavily into Barry, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin came on for Enner Valencia, Koeman's final change. DCL's first touch was poor and that sets up a Liverpool attack that was thwarted. Everton then attacked but a weak header was caught by Mignolet. At the other end Liverpool came close again. Firmino tried a spectacular overhead kick that was well wayward.

Most of the play was now coming from Liverpool, as it had been all half, with Everton on the back foot. Liverpool won a corner as Sturridge and Can were readied to come on. Firmino volleyed goalward and Robles got down superbly to palm it away.

Barkley was looking to get himsekf sent off, it seemed with more silliness, but Mike Dean restrained himself. Gana then went in on Mane and got himself a yellow card as Everton seemed more desperate to stop Liverpool scoring as the game entered the final 5 mins. Liverpool kept pushing forward but Can made a right fool of himself with a shot that sliced more than 90 degrees to go out at the half-way line.

Gana tripped Mane again, and Liverpool attacked again, a corner applying more pressure into the 90th minute. Williams clearing the headed ball away from danger as 8 minutes of time were added on, with Everton hardly mounting an attack worthy of the name in a poor second half were they were forced to defend.

Everton won a soft free-kick in midfield and it was played for Barkley to cross in but he got right underneath it, a horrible mess. Lukaku somehow git free and looked to run at the Liverpool goal but three defenders crowded him out. And at the other Sturridge fired past Robles who seemed to misjudge and scrambled toward it, hit the post and it bounced back for Mane to score with ease.

Firmino seemed certain to get a second but Coleman incredibly scooped it off the line, an amazing last ditch save as the game went into the 10th minute of added time, and the first home defeat of the season, a real sickener.

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