Yet More Derby Misery

By Paul Traill 19/12/2016  29 Comments  [Jump to last]
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Everton 0 - 1 Liverpool

I'd had a good day. My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in the morning on the same day my brother celebrated his birthday so when you think about happy families the derby result is kind of put into perspective. However the misery doesn't ease. I can barely remember what a Merseyside derby win feels like it's been that long but seldom will one be decided as cruelly as this one. Will we ever have a shot screw off the post and across the goal in the 94th minute for someone to tap in for a Merseyside derby winner? The one time we did spawn an injury time winner Graham Poll blew for full time when the ball crossed the goal line for Heavens-sake. Luck, and decisions, just don't go our favour in Merseyside derbies.

That said, Liverpool will feel they did enough to win the game such was Everton's inability to match them in midfield after the break and it was apt that the best player on the pitch by a country mile scored the winning goal, even if he won't get many easier. After a good go in the first half, Everton just didn't come out of the traps in the second, or even stay with Liverpool who were right on the money after the break. Whilst Divock Origi missed a great chance in the first half, our "if only" opportunity came the way of Ramiro Funes Mori, usually such a good attacking header of the ball, but he headed wide with a good chance from a corner kick. However we were in the game up until half time and right in their faces.

Whilst we have to accept defeat as the better team won, we can point to bit of misfortune in losing the scrappy James McCarthy at the break, and also in losing Maarten Stekelenburg midway through the second half. It meant we could only use one tactical substitution in the end and though I love to see young players get opportunities, I felt this was a wasted substitution from Ronald Koeman when Enner Valencia's toil was becoming quite useful in the game.

You felt for Romelu Lukaku in attack. He won countless headers but Ross Barkley and Enner Valencia weren't getting around him enough. You really struggled to see how we were going to find a route to goal and the closest we came was perhaps late on when Romelu Lukaku ran at them on his own and nearly made it through, the ball ricocheting to the grateful, and criminally under-worked throughout, Simon Mignolet.

With eight minutes of stoppage time signalled and Everton, briefly at this point, in the game, the crowd roared and we dared to dream. We won a free kick in a reasonable position to whip a good ball in. Get a good ball into the box, win your header and you just never know, but only Everton can make a mess of things like we did here. First Ross Barkley tried to slip it down the flank to Seamus Coleman but didn't get nearly enough contact on it and Seamus had to work well to control the ball and get it back to Ross for another crossing opportunity. Ross then spooned the ball up into the air so ridiculously high and out for a goal kick. Jesus just get the ball in the box Ross! I actually hold that piece of stupidity semi-responsible for Liverpool's winner. Yes, a lot happened between then and Liverpool's goal but they were on the front foot straight away when they should have been pegged back. And what goes and happens? Daniel Sturridge scuffs a shot which moved so slowly, almost seemingly in slow motion that I don't know why Joel Robles didn't just run over to it and pick it up. I was at the other end of the pitch, and would have to see it again, but I couldn't believe how slowly the ball travelled and how it wasn't stopped.

It couldn't, of course, have just bounced off the post and away. No, this is Liverpool, with endless luck. It instead went across goal and was stabbed in by the grateful Mane. It was such an Everton way to lose a game and we do this all the time. Ugly scenes marred the final few minutes. Two or three flares were thrown onto the pitch by Liverpool supporters and one fan played a bit of Keystone Cops down at the Park End. Someone else also got onto the pitch nearer us in the Lower Gwladys but I don't really know what happened there.

In the remainder of stoppage time we just couldn't get any momentum to force an equaliser and it was almost a relief to be put out of our misery on what must have been 100+ minutes. Did we have just the one shot on target (and that very easy for Mignolet) in all that time? I can moan about bad goalkeeping and Liverpool's luck but if you don't shoot, you don't score. We should try that once in a while.

So that's my Merseyside derby misery over with for another season as I can't see myself going to Anfield for more pain. I wish we could just abandon this fixture such is our pitiful record. I expect defeat every time now and just can't wait for that patronising head nod "unlucky mate" wince from my Liverpool FC supporting colleagues tomorrow.

Happy bloody Christmas.

Player ratings:

Stekelenburg: People questioned his distribution but one stray kick aside, he seemed to find Romelu Lukaku most often with his kicks, it was what happened from there which went wrong. Nobody got around Lukaku to feed off his headers. Maarten made a great save in the second half and taking him off was a substitution we really could have done without having to make. 7

Baines: My man of the match. Our skipper for the evening produced a classy display, especially defensively. 8

Funes Mori: He had an excellent first half but for a while was all at sea in the second though did recover and looked to have contributed towards keeping them out. He wasn't our worst centre back of the evening. 6

Williams: He seems so lethargic at times and doesn't even get the basics right. A really loose display for me and he certainly has some way to go to win me over in an Everton shirt. Plus, I've just seen the goal again, what the hell is he doing ball watching when Mane scores? Talk about switching off. 4

Coleman: Full of effort. Perhaps needed more quality in his delivery when he had opportunities, especially in the first half, but you couldn't doubt his effort. 7

Gueye: Was always sharp into the tackle but he can't tackle everybody and we seemed to get sucked out of position so much, so often in the second half and it seemed quit easy for Liverpool to work through the middle of our pitch. Losing James McCarthy was perhaps as much of a loss to Idrissa Gueye as it was to anybody else in the team. 6

McCarthy: Though you would expect Gareth Barry to be a good replacement, the loss of McCarthy may have been crucial towards Liverpool's dominance in the second half. They got through us in the middle far too often and I wonder, particularly if his first half efforts are anything to go by, if they would have been able to do this had James McCarthy been available. We can only hope his injury isn't serious, because his last two performances against Arsenal and in the first half against Liverpool have both been much improved. 7

Lennon: Probably one of our better players. In the second half he didn't get forward as much as he would have liked but he had to be disciplined defensively, and that he was. Couldn't his scuffed first half effort has spooned off the post and across goal for Lukaku to tap in? 7

Valencia: Lacked quality in the first half but was growing into the game in the second and was maybe our best hope of creating something for Lukaku...and then he was substituted. 6

Barkley: Certainly the biggest disappointment of the evening. He never got going at all and it was a shame all our substitutions were used up as he was something of a dead weight as the game wore on, particularly once he was booked. He did flicker into life briefly in the second half but he couldn't sustain it and I'm still shocked by that utterly ridiculous free kick in injury time. A really disappointing display. 4

Lukaku: If I was him and I had his quality, I'd be very angry coming off that field. OK, Romelu doesn't often look up for the pass when he has the ball but how isolated do you want your striker to be? Talk about living off scraps! As the home team our lack of creativity was a real disgrace and Romelu should be furious with his teammates. 7

Substitutes:

Barry (for McCarthy): To be fair to Gareth it must have been a tough game to be introduced to at the break but he never got up to the tempo. It wasn't for lack of trying but he just couldn't live with them, not in the way that James McCarthy could. 5

Robles (for Stekelenburg): He made one good save, perhaps one you'd expect him to save but a good save nonetheless. As for the goal. Well at the time I thought it was his fault but now having seen it again I'm not so sure how much he could have done really. It was scuffed so badly and it's Williams who needs to hang his head there for not tracking his man and anticipating the danger. It was pretty unlucky the goal really. The ball even hit the base of the post. How does a ball hit the base of the post and squirm that way across the goal rather than straight back out? It defies science, though these Reds often do. 7

Calvert-Lewin (for Valencia): Not really the right game to throw him into. Surely Kevin Mirallas was the better option, if indeed, a substitution was required at all at that point. If you're going to give this lad a go, then start him up front at Leicester City on Boxing Day alongside Romelu, not throw him into the blood and thunder of the derby with 20 minutes to go. 5


Reader Comments (29)

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Andrew Presly
1 Posted 20/12/2016 at 01:34:14
It's so boring but the keeper should be 3 yards off his line not 6/7.

Mick Davies
2 Posted 20/12/2016 at 01:37:55
There is something grotesquely strange about the derby games in my lifetime; the first one I really remember (wasn't there, think it was Maine Rd) was the Semi-Final where we were leading, then Labone had to go off at half time, and the inevitable happened.

I was in the Anny Rd I think it was '75, and the very last minute, the ball comes over and finds probably the Everton player in our post war history 99% of us would pick to be one on one with Clemence, but, for some inexplicable reason, Latchford looks to the linesman in shock at not being flagged offside, then tamely taps the ball into the red goalie's grateful arms.

Then it's the Alan handball at Wembley, followed by us losing the worlds greatest keeper and being pipped to the double by 'them'. Since then there's been Gerrards attempt to amputate Gary Naysmith's leg without even a free kick to us; Kuyt leaving Neville for dead, Lescott being given a Judo lesson by Carragher, Rodwell sent off for glaring at Suarez, and then tonight, with our whole game ruined by McCarthy having to go off, and a scuffed shot defying the laws of Physics and bouncing straight back to a Red Shite for a tap in.

I really do believe that Shankly, Paisley etc all made a pact with Satan, and swung the rules of probability in their favour: surely to fuck they've had at least 90% of the luck and decisions over the last 40 years? Surely it must be our turn soon...
David Chait
3 Posted 20/12/2016 at 05:17:34
Good write up, Paul, and I agree with what you are saying.

James going off (and I'm his biggest critic) was a turning point. Yes he can't make a forward pass but our midfield has looked much more solid with him and Gueye able to keep pace with the play. I'm afraid Barry is looking again, like his 2nd season, way past the pace of the Premier League.

It is crying out for Davies to be given a go with a BIG "if only" about Besic.

Barkley has proved countless times he is no Number 10 and this season I'm starting to get on his back too. He was deplorable last night. When is the real Ross Barkley going to stand up? My feeling is when he is given the Number 8 role, but no manager seems to trust him.

Im expecting Koeman to want to make some major changes come January, which will be a pity for Davies and Walsh...

Andy McNabb
4 Posted 20/12/2016 at 05:17:48
Thanks, Paul. Always look forward to your reports.

I've said before that Foxtel in Australia losing the rights to the EPL has actually been a blessing this season. Instead I got to watch Liverpool TV and Coutinho wandering around some park in Liverpool with his wife and dogs. Probably better viewing than the match itself.

It's just horrible. So sorry for those of you who were present at the match.

It doesn't seem to matter about the venue, form, different managers, the number of scallies or foreign players on either team. It is all immaterial. The result is always the same.

Dick Fearon
5 Posted 20/12/2016 at 05:50:52

Paul, Thank you for your fine report.

Andy (4) I am in the same boat as you and mad as hell over Optus obtaining TV rights in Oz. At 4am here in West Oz my ear was glued to commentary by a couple of biased ex RS players. At the same time I was keeping tabs on the ToffeeWeb live forum which I might add was no less biased than the other mob.

As the game wore on I increasingly had that too familiar depressing sense of inevitable defeat and so it came about.

That long list of derby defeats are not the result of pacts with the devil, bad luck or poor refereeing and to use such things as some do is rubbish and a cop out.

George McKane
6 Posted 20/12/2016 at 08:18:10
Baines MotM? Wow – I thought he was absolutely dreadful for the whole of the 2nd half... I didn't even notice where he was playing – it certainly wasn't left back. He kept wandering into the middle, leaving Lennon exposed on the left, and they played down there for most of that half.

I cannot understand how Milner was never attacked by (well) anyone.

Personally , I've had enough of several players who need shipping out for different and varying reasons; it would not bother me if 8 or 9 players were sold today.

Grim, grim night... made grimmer by the behaviour of their fans. It was it mentioned on TV – invasions, fan stopping the game and flares. Mmmm.

Either Koeman is not up to the job or he is biding his time until he can clear out and bring in... only time will tell – but it's a difficult wait.

Mark Andersson
7 Posted 20/12/2016 at 08:19:51
Another blue down under here. I got shut of Foxtel and have no intention of subscribing to rip-off Optus.

I went to bed hoping but not really believing in getting that elusive win against THEM. I woke up early, first thing on my mind was shall I give my missus a knowing cuddle, I might just get lucky... Well, I did, so that took the sting out of the usual headline on TW.

In my lifetime as a blue, I am grateful that I witnessed the great sides of the Kendall area. I even knew we would beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final with Big Joe's Dogs of War team. But for the same gut instinct I can't see me living long enough to ever see us back up there and not under the shadow of Liverpool.

Peter Laing
9 Posted 20/12/2016 at 09:56:07
Koeman needs to begin with strengthening the spine of the side and then go from there. We need a new keeper, centre-half and two midfielders. Personally I would be looking to bring in Joe Hart, Virgil Van Dyk, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Morgan Schneiderlin. Listen to offers for all other players in the squad barring Coleman, Gueye and the young kids.
Colin Hughes
10 Posted 20/12/2016 at 10:02:33
It's fair to say that the Merseyside derby is the most predictable one on the planet.

Here are some damning facts: We have not won in 13 league and cup derbies now. We haven't won at Anfield since 1999. We haven't won the second derby in a season since 1988 when Wayne Clarke scored in a 1-0 win at Goodison and we have not scored 4 against them in 90 minutes (the 4-4 in 1991 was after extra time) since the 1960s.

So anybody who thinks we can win the next derby later this season needs to book a good psychiatrist.

Paul Birmingham
11 Posted 20/12/2016 at 10:27:12
Fair point, Colin, and I think the patience and purgatory all Evertonians have endured since the last time we won the Championship along with the permafrost we show in every Derby in recent times especially at their place, does make me think if there is some curse on us? No complaints about losing as they wanted it, unlike the sluggish, passionless crap we saw in the second half.

I think Ross, needs to find himself and may be a loan deal, could be his last means of showing he has a future at EFC, but it seems the next transfer and next summer is key. Another season written off, and the Derby has sadly become just another default right off.

Never known so many pissed off people, uncanny how the club can so consistently kick you in the tenth year after year. I'm not expecting much and in terms of any positives like a new ground, I'll be taking it with a big pinch of salt.

We live in hope, and life is passing us by, when will we next win a trophy?

John Raftery
12 Posted 20/12/2016 at 11:15:03
Pretty accurate report, Paul. Your thoughts about the Barkley free kick mirrored my own. It was just about our only opportunity to get the ball into the box in the final minutes and he wasted it.

I thought Coleman was our man of the match. Baines did not do a lot wrong but he needed to get closer to Sturridge to prevent the shot.

As regards the general performance, a lot of us said we would not be able to maintain the early effort. That proved to be the case. The longer the first half went, the more our energy levels dropped and, with the injury to McCarthy, the second half was fairly predictable.

Dave Pritchard
13 Posted 20/12/2016 at 11:27:35
It is all about opinion, Paul, but only a 6 for Gueye? I thought he was easily our best player.
Xavier Spencer
14 Posted 20/12/2016 at 12:23:39
Coleman and Gueye both worthy of higher marks. Barry well off the pace. Ross? Continues to infuriate and disappoint.

We need seven or eight players, we are that far behind Liverpool and the other top six teams. But let's give Koeman some time and by that I mean three years.

There were people calling for his head last night! We all know he inherited a bag of shite when Bobby left and there is much work to be done. Roll on the transfer window.

Peter Roberts
15 Posted 20/12/2016 at 12:34:09
Baines 8?! He allowed Sturridge to scamper across to fire off a shot.

Gueye 6?! Man of the Match by a mile!!!

Lukaku 7? 45% pass completion. Don't talk about isolation – talk about the numerous times he gave the ball away. He put us under so much pressure, it was a joke. He worked harder and was good in the air that's it.

Valencia, intercepted and tackled at a level similar to Gana Gueye. Missed him when he went off the pitch. Calvert-Lewin was a poor sub.

Steavey Buckley
16 Posted 20/12/2016 at 12:43:01
How Baines was named Everton's man of the match fails to explain the importance of Lennon playing as a second left back for most of the match. Both players rarely got forward because of coping with Clyne. Liverpool's new twinkled toed 'Bobby dazzler.'

Sean Patton
18 Posted 20/12/2016 at 12:55:19
Congratulations on the new family arrival, Paul, if you have any influence spare the young 'un the pain of following Everton.

Quite frankly, that shower do not deserve to have fans – they should play in front of an empty stadium after the pitiful predictable pathetic display last night.

To go 6 years and counting without beating them is ridiculous and downright embarrassing... you would think it was the '70s again.

Raymond Fox
19 Posted 20/12/2016 at 13:06:41
Same old story, we are a good team but not quite good enough. We are also on a very poor run, down to 9th place now with the Arsenal win our only bright light recently.

I also don't attach blame to Robles – he came out to narrow the angle made himself big expecting a screamer of a shot only for the scuffed shot to wrong foot him slightly and followed a line where any goalie would struggle to reach.

If any one was to blame for the goal, it was our defenders who where to slow to react, plus we had gone into our stand-off and drop-back mode which only brings us trouble.

Its very clear that we are short of 3 or 4 special players who can produce that bit of magic to win you games, sometimes ones where you don't deserve the win. Until we get those class of players we wont make the breakthrough to seriously challenge for the League title; we are in the same sort of position that we've been in for the 20 years or so, as I said before good but not good enough.

It's over to Mr Moshiri and the other owners to attract those special players and have the nerve to splash the money that will be needed to bring them to Goodison.

Not an easy task but we can live in hope.

Liam Reilly
20 Posted 20/12/2016 at 13:14:21
Coleman was MotM for me and Gana ran himself into the ground.

A lot of surgery to be done in the next two windows:

We have three center-halves and none of them look up to the job. Surely time for a new lerft-back and move Baines forward as he just doesn't stop crosses or shots well enough.

Midfield – needs to be decimated. Keep Gana, (a fit) McCarthy, and maybe Barkley (only because I think he could thrive in a side with pace).

Strikers – I can't see Lukaku here next season so we need two more.

Must give opportunities to: Davies, Walsh, Holgate and Dowell

I can't see many suitors for the outgoing lot though.

Alan McMillan
21 Posted 20/12/2016 at 13:16:09
Congratulations on your new niece. For her sake, I hope she was manufactured and not born.
Geoff Evans
22 Posted 20/12/2016 at 13:22:38
Liam: Agree with you. The problem is: Why would any player with ambition want to join a club whose best days are rooted in the distant past?
Chris Brennan
23 Posted 20/12/2016 at 14:13:52
First things first. We need a captain. Jags or Baines ain't it. Baines should have took that free kick not Valencia. Show a bit of authority in them situations.

Williams sluggish slow switches off at vital times, last night was the second time in three games (Watford) looks unfit.

Steklenburg a calamity waiting to happen as is Robles.

Funes Mori all endeavour and commitment needs someone along side him (Van Dik?) on current form McCarthy is a shoo-in.

Barry is finished if we are gonna play a high intensity pressing game. But hey lets keep on picking him so he gets the Premier League appearance record.

Ross, you are done, lad; so reactive as a player never proactive. Doesn't read the game, poor positional sense. Disappears for long periods.

Lennon & Mirallas both so inconsistent, can't string two good passes together let alone two good games.

The enigma that is Lukaku (a legend in his own front room) Lazy slow woeful first touch lack of commitment and by the looks of it a shit attitude and mardy (see Mirallas also). But he doesn't get any support every one bleats. The reason he doesn't is they're frightened to get close to him cos he couldn't trap a bag of wet cement. He traps it further than I can kick it. Get close to him he makes a bollocks of the ball to him they're out of position (see Watford again).

Good news: Gana (the new Alan Ball) and Seamus. The possibility of some youth coming through Dowell Davies Lewin given half a chance.

Finally the manager "Fraud or Genius?" only time will tell. At the moment, he is not giving off any positives. Just wish he would adopt different tactics and formations at times to get the best out of what he has got at his disposal.

Rant over. Up the Blues. Keep the faith!

Barry Pearce
24 Posted 20/12/2016 at 15:27:05
Like most things, it's all about opinions. I thought Coleman was our best player last night.

Also, Calvert-Lewin was a bad substitution; when put on, all he could do was cover at right back. He's an offensive player – no chance of that when he came on.

Jay Harris
25 Posted 20/12/2016 at 16:02:08
Great report, Paul, summing up the game very well.

I thought Gueye, Coleman and Baines were outstanding but as I said before the game it would be won or lost in midfield and, although I'm a big fan of Ross's, I thought he was very poor last night as was Lukaku.

They are both what I would call luxury players. The number of times in the second half where they were both static had to be seen to be believed. Even if they are not chasing down defenders, they should at least be on their toes but both of them had poor anticipation of the ball coming to them and Lukaku was beaten to at least 80%of the challenges by a poor Liverpool defense.

I also thought that our 12th man got a bit quieter in the second half whereas their 12th man (Mike Dean) controlled the game throughout, ensuring a subtle bias to all the decisions..

Victor Jones
26 Posted 20/12/2016 at 16:58:42
Williams was the stand out defender in a poor Swansea team. He was often their MOM. He had our ( world class ) Lukaku often in his pocket in recent seasons.

He has also been outstanding for Wales...

What has happened to him now he is playing for Everton.

I really did think he would tighten up our dodgy defence..No signs of that just yet.

Your mark of four is about right.

And what can you say about Barkley? Someone now needs to make a decision on this player... We made the correct decision on selling Rodwell. And now his career is floundering. He was not the player that we all thought that he might be.

Barkley is now also floundering. Surely Koeman and Walsh can unearth a more consistent and productive midfielder than Barkley. We are going nowhere with this player.He is now bordering on useless...IMO..

Let him go and find his feet and game at another club. Let them have the headache. Of how to shoehorn him into a formation..

And I bet it is not a top club . A top club would soon expose this guys inadequacies. Again four is about right.

And you give Barry Five. That's also about right. We are not going to win much with Barry in the team. Great servant...yes. But time stands still for no man .

So your report has some of our players marked down with a spattering of fours...fives and a few sixes.. I know that football matches are not won or lost on a few statistics .. But when half our players are rightly marked average or below . Then we are not going to win many games.

And Baines our best rated player.Says it all really.

We need our attackers to be top rated. They are just not scoring goals. We concede three .our attack manages two. We concede one ..our attack scores nothing.

Yes we have problems all over the park. But it would help if we could score a few more goals. Is this pressing nonsense just an urban myth ..because I am just not seeing it.

Just hope that this bunch of players can produce something special against Leicester and Hull. Although it really is all about hope. I'm not really expecting much.

And about February we then do just about enough to secure another season in the top flight. That's our Everton... that's our team..

I suppose it could be worse today .I could be supporting those poor sods across Stanley Park. You just have to feel sorry for them

James Hughes
27 Posted 20/12/2016 at 17:04:09
Opinions are like assholes – we all have one, for what it's worth here is mine on last nights debacle.

I don't agree that Lukaku should be angry with his team-mates as, the game I saw, he hardly broke into a sweat in the second half. Terrible 1st touch and when we did get in their half gave the ball away too easily.

Williams looks like the move to a 'bigger' club has thrown him completely, either that or he is trying to keep Swansea up by playing for us.

Mr Baines a great player but needs to stop crosses and close down.

Valencia gave it a go but was playing catch-up most of the time.

Ross – a conundrum wrapped in an enigma -ARRGGHH.

Mirallas – didn't feature last night, but anyone ever calls him Super Kev again ...just had to add that, apologies, not to him tho'

As said by better people, we need a captain and leader NOW

Walsh and Koeman, you need to work some magic this transfer window.

Only positives to come out of last night is that McCarthy was almost as good as Gana. Also, Seamus appeared to be firing on all cylinders again (might just be me)

Anyway, keep the faith fellow blues.

Mike Doyle
28 Posted 20/12/2016 at 17:31:17
Should it provide a crumb of (relative) comfort ...

I just read a thread on the Grand Old Team site from a London-based blue surrounded by followers of the Sky 4 who reckons his workmates consider both the RS and us an irrelevance.

I work with a few match-going lads down here who are in their early 30s and thus not old enough to remember either of us winning the title. They take a similar view, but acknowledge that Liverpool almost "did a Leicester" when they had that forward who knew he was far to good for them (Suarez) and left to join a good team.

They do ask me which "world class match winners" we are expecting to sign in January window as the likes of Costa and Alexis Sanchez negotiate themselves into the £200k+ per week bracket?

They're not entirely dumb though. Most would have Gana in their teams. The exception being the Chelsea fans who would buy him and loan him to a German club along with the 40 or so other internationals they have out on loan ('cos that's what they do).

Geoff Williams
29 Posted 20/12/2016 at 17:37:34
Thank goodness now we all know it was Barkley's fault. What a shame Osman wasn't playing then he could have shared the blame. Ah and apparently McCarthy is brilliant after all. All those saying for the past season and half that he was rubbish and they'd give him away were only joking.
Geoff Evans
30 Posted 20/12/2016 at 19:54:23
Barkley's not got the talent to effect any game one way or another.
Jay Harris
32 Posted 20/12/2016 at 20:13:29
Geoff, you can only judge what you see. I am one of Barkley's biggest fans but he and Lukaku were very poor last night and did not impose themselves on the game at all.

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