The day after the lunchtime before and it still feels like one big hole in the stomach. A lunch time drink and a parlay over the goings on was sombre. It’s a hell of a long time since 1999 and yesterday we never looked like breaking that hoodoo. That hoodoo started with the international break which was just how it left Seamus. Mori did his knee in South America whilst in Ireland the goings on with McCarthy left him out plus our mew man Morgan having a poorly calf. How would we cover for that quartet?
In looking for answers I could do no more than give my take on what I saw. It started with receiving the team an hour before kick-off and noting we were blooding four young kids into the white hot heat of a derby away at Anfield. I opined that if they were to freeze it could end up a game of 11 versus 7 and we could get over run. It also highlighted how thin the squad is of experienced cover, cover that will be vital if we do manage the Europa.
I am sure by now you will have read all the reports and seen many a rerun of film clips and most will have reported that Everton were very poor and no one had even a half decent game, but why?
As that game went on I thought our youthful quartet did freeze and this left the other players a bit wary of fully trusting them which led to some almighty cock ups, miss- controls, miss- passes and non-existent teamwork. I felt sorry for the young lads and to be fair to the senior players they tried to help them with advice that from time to time you could hear, eg, Ross telling Holgate where the wing back should be as a move broke down once again Jags also did his fair share to get the lads going.
Liverpool’s goals showed the uncertainty between players as all three were quite preventable but in each case the scorer was afforded time and space to score. This was possible in my view because we had too many youngsters plus the international break leaving little time to plan things. We ended up learning on the job.
Before the end Blues fans were leaving in some numbers and I must admit the final whistle was music to my ears. I heard it said many times that we can learn from this and I am sure we can but hell there is not much time till Tuesday and the small matter of an away trip to Old Trafford plus hot on the heels of that a home game against the reigning Premier League Champions. Many pointed to our want-away world class players being unable to perform in big games and that might be true but for me it is the manager and his staff that have to look firstly at themselves and then sort out some semblance of togetherness out on the pitch.
The players need to be open and honest in answering why it was that not one of them played anything like they did against let’s say Bournemouth West Brom or Hull. Was it really big game jitters. Still we need to rely on Ronald to work some magic and cover for our injured with players that can at least make a team that works all for one – one for all rather than unsure of who is doing what and end up doing nothing.
Until the club have a chance to do significant work in the summer widow, our man Ron will need all he has got to get us to seventh and the Europa League.
They say no two games are the same so I live in hope that Tuesday night at least gets our spirit fight and joined-up football back. A win on top could send us singing up the East Lancs Road, a la Oviedo game. Or another performance like Saturday... surely not!
Keep the faith
UP THE BLUES
Reader Comments (37)
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1 Posted 02/04/2017 at 20:55:10
Sure, Koeman was dealt a poor hand in the week leading up to the Derby game and to a certain extent his choices were limited, but playing Holgate wide right of midfield, nah...
Two of the goals were a direct result of Holgate losing the ball, in fact expecting a kid who's hardly played at all this season, to come and play in an unfamiliar position is really poor management in my view.
And yet we had an experienced 'derby' campaigner in Mirallas sitting on the bench for 80 minutes, unbelievable.
Pennington too, was exposed and too much was expected of him, he in turn let Coutinho run unchallenged across the edge of our box, with the inevitable end result.
Ross had a poor game but was getting more and more frustrated by what was going on around him, hence the stupid tackles. I think it was his first poor game in around ten weeks and yet he has been crucified in the press and sadly by some of our own fans.
But I'm afraid on this occasion Ronald, the buck stops firmly with you.
2 Posted 02/04/2017 at 21:01:05
Like you, I am at a loss why we seem to freeze in these games.
3 Posted 02/04/2017 at 21:35:01
I thought the youngsters struggled, but I also thought our world beating centre forward was awful. Super Kev did more in 10 mins than Lukaku did in the whole match. Barkley wasn't great, but he tried his arse off, so that's okay by me.
Mentality and effort is the problem for me, there was 20 minutes left when Coutinho went off (what a player he is by the way) and apart from some half arsed attacks, we did nothing to change the outcome of the game.
We gave up. It was 3-1, 20 mins left and we played like it was 6-1. Does that come from the manager? I don't know. It was a poor capitulation AGAIN. Back to work to listen to those loveable dirty reds... great.
4 Posted 02/04/2017 at 21:43:45
Sadly, for me anyway, Ross is not a quality player; he plays football like he is on the playground, Courtinho put him to shame, and that's from a player who had just returned from South America a day earlier!
We have all wanted Ross to succeed but after watching the derby he's miles away,we need to buy a foreign playmaker who has the quality and vision most British players don't have. A young Arteta would do!
5 Posted 02/04/2017 at 21:53:02
Spot on, Ken, in your analysis that the management have to take a look at themselves. Considering he's played the game at the very highest level with Barca and a very good Dutch national side, he was sadly found wanting yesterday as regards his tactics and team selection.
Yes, his hand was forced with the injuries but come on we are not the only side to suffer this, are we?
No, I'm afraid this sort of result will continue to happen if Koeman keeps persisting with the same tired formation away from home And really though Man Utd are no great shakes, I personally don't think they'll have to do much to beat us on Tuesday. Unfortunately another graveyard where we let ourselves down. Anyway, nice one, Ken, and looking forward to the next one.
6 Posted 02/04/2017 at 22:10:42
The senior players that we still had available just didn't perform. Ross may have had a bad game for the first time for a few weeks but the bad games he has had have been against good teams. Liverpool and Spurs gave a harsh lesson. Lukaku the same. The experienced defenders should be ashamed also.
We are just not good enough. It's okay doing it against Bournemouth or West Bromwich Albion but a totally different test against the better sides and we consistently fail miserably. For some reason, we have an okay record against Man City but, for the most part, we are just not good enough.
If we don't get quality in, and the likes of Ross and Rom don't step up to the plate and actually start to influence games that matter, then we are only going to be the best of the rest. I look at Coutinho compared to Ross and there is just no comparison. Coutinho is head and shoulders ahead. He is only a year older.
This wasn't a vintage RS side. The midfield of Lucas, Can and Winjaldum hardly strikes fear into anybody but they just bossed it. They had injuries too. They even had the gall to take Coutinho off with 20 mins to go, safe in the knowledge the game was won.
We have an awful mentality when it comes to games that matter. Doesn't matter whether it's the RS or semi-finals... two of them last season... or Chelsea or Spurs or anyone who's any good really. Our players go missing.
I'm not sure that any suitors for our superstar Rom will be enthralled looking at yesterday and in fact a lot of our important games. Chelsea game aside in the cup last season, I can't remember when he influences important games.
We can all make a case for him and Ross with stats but they just don't seem to be able to step up and dominate important games. I'm not just picking on them, many others had poor games but you look to your better players for inspiration and there was none forthcoming. Where were the runs from Ross that Coutinho was capable of doing seemingly at will? Where was the driving runs from Rom that Mane appeared also to do at will until forced off injured?
We can make excuses for players until we are blue in the face but the bottom line is we just aren't good enough, mentally as well as physically, to compete with the better sides on a regular basis.
7 Posted 02/04/2017 at 22:18:04
I am not a fan of 3 at the back. To make it work, you need outstanding wing-backs. It's such a difficult position to play. Holgate was badly exposed all game. The midfield was overrun. It was just horrible.
I just hope he ditches the 3 at the back against Man Utd. It's one thing playing that system with Baines and Coleman as wing backs. We have no-one else who can play wing back.
I wonder if our superstar striker will turn up on Tuesday?
8 Posted 02/04/2017 at 22:47:22
You plus Michael and Lyndon have just about covered all that went wrong yet one aspect not mentioned was Koeman's silly complaint about the antics of the RS support staff.
Instead of criticising the RS coaching panel for its vocal shenanigans, Koeman would do well to ponder its effect upon their players, the referee and even our own players.
From as far back as Shankly and Ron Moran, their bench of subs and coaches have been extremely active and vocal in support of their team.
In comparison, our lot have been so quiet, one could think ‘sticking up' for our team would be sinful or at least ungentlemanly.
For decades, the likes of Shankly, Dalglish and now Klopp plus their support staff have demonstrated volatility toward the flow of the game. It goes from screaming abuse and shaking fists at opposing players to en masse leaping to their feet in attempts to influence referees.
I have no objection to that kind of behaviour; to me it shows a passionate interest in the progress of the game. It also raises the blood of their own supporters which in turn translates to their players.
It has been many a long year since one of our managers or their assistants have rampaged around the technical area but, more importantly, should any of our players look to the coach for signs of support, they would be sadly disappointed.
9 Posted 02/04/2017 at 23:11:30
11 Posted 02/04/2017 at 23:45:14
Regarding the passion & the Liverpool bench etc, This might sound strange but I think that we need to approach these games with less "passion".
For the last decade or more, we seem to have lost the plot in derby games. We get wound up and our normal game goes out the window. I believe that Liverpool know that and have been exploiting it for years, whether it be on the pitch (remember that Carragher tackle on Pienaar in the 1st minute of a derby a few years ago) or from the sidelines.
We should be approaching these games as we would most other Premier League games, maybe more as if we are playing Man Utd or Man City etc. Yes, we need to be aggressive... but it should be more controlled and determined.
12 Posted 03/04/2017 at 00:52:26
Ken, thanks as usual for a fine report.
13 Posted 03/04/2017 at 01:22:11
With so many experienced players out through injury, it would be charitable to say the manager was forced into the team selection but that would be untrue.
Why was Mirallas left on the bench? Surely his experience should have made him a guaranteed starter? Lennon could probably done a better job at right wing back, and Valencia would possibly have given us more strength up front than Calvert-Lewin.
That's three international players he had the opportunity to select, but who he chose to ignore. Not to mention Gareth Barry, instead he put out a severely weakened team, almost as if he was capitulating before a ball had been kicked. I was dumbfounded by the team selection and could only see one possible result once the teams were announced.
This was by far Koeman's worst cock-up this season which has undone much of the good work that had taken place since the home defeat to the same opposition. What the hell was he thinking of?
As for superstar (?) Lukaku, he again proved his inability to influence a big game, his contribution being abysmal. I doubt many Champions League teams will be falling over themselves to sign him if he gives us a similar repeat performance on Tuesday. True, he had little support, but it's in such situations that truly great strikers get stuck in and at least try to make things happen themselves.
Rom just looked as if he couldn't care less, not a team player at all. Valencia would have done better in his position I think. Why is he seemingly undroppable? He needs bringing down a peg or two but is Koeman man enough to do it?
14 Posted 03/04/2017 at 01:25:12
15 Posted 03/04/2017 at 02:15:59
Exactly. Big difference between controlled and uncontrolled aggression. Like Skywalker controlled, loses a hand blows up Death Star. Darth Vader uncontrolled, all limbs cut off, turned into robot, electrocuted by his boss.
16 Posted 03/04/2017 at 02:26:50
At least both my bro, bored with beating us and now have greater aspirations. We have been gracious enough to not even mention it. Truth be told, I think they are been left behind. It is the biggest game of our season but even with an average side, I think most Kopites would rather beat Man Utd these days.
17 Posted 03/04/2017 at 04:07:55
18 Posted 03/04/2017 at 05:34:55
Personally, I thought Gana Gueye actually did okay as he played his normal game. It was pretty hard for him though to cover up for the deficiencies of all those around him.
19 Posted 03/04/2017 at 05:59:14
Gana again lost his man for the second goal in much the same way as he lost Kane at Tottenham and the midfield didn't seem to want to help out Barkley going forward. A winger may have given us more options and stretched their defence wider.
Lukaku didn't play as well as he has done recently as target man and it is true that he wasn't often involved but then the service wasn't the best either; another creative midfielder is a must.
Can't help but wonder though what we might have been saying if Mignolet hadn't flapped and contacted Holgate's shot and he'd put that header on target. Also, if Koeman had made earlier changes particularly with Calvert-Lewin.
A pity really as wins in this game and against Man Utd would really have sent the "pundits" scurrying to rewrite their top six.
20 Posted 03/04/2017 at 08:41:16
It is disappointing that Koeman displays the same fault. Is it a reluctance to admit his pre-match plans were wrong or, what is worse, a failure to recognise what and when a change is needed?
Examples, if any are needed:
From the first couple of minutes, the RS had young Pennington on toast. The sub should have been used much earlier.
Holgate looked like a trainee centre-back failing as a winger. He should have taken Pennington's place in the back line.
Mirallas or Lennon ought to have replaced Calvert-Lewin at half-time.
Davies, our other derby debutant, gave as good as he got.
21 Posted 03/04/2017 at 09:45:56
Our fans did not give up and desert our team.
22 Posted 03/04/2017 at 09:50:34
In response to your viewpoint 'Ross is not a quality player', let's see then if he becomes available for transfer in the summer, how many clubs come in for him? After all, if he's not 'quality', we may have trouble getting shut of him?
23 Posted 03/04/2017 at 09:53:49
24 Posted 03/04/2017 at 10:09:38
Mirallas and Barry should have started this game. What was he thinking???
I'm not confident at all about Old Trafford. I think we will provide them with the fillip they need.
But I'll keep the faith I don't know how to do anything else.
25 Posted 03/04/2017 at 11:10:38
Koeman had a plan but it failed, only he knows what it was, coz the players looked lost.
I dreaded listening to the TV pundits, but in fairness they never rubbed salt in the wounds of yet another derby defeat. Carragher thinks we have a mentality issue whereas Souness simply thinks Liverpool have better players who want to win more. I have to agree after that match.
Not bothered about the antics of managers on the touchline, Klopp is no more an idiot than the Chelsea boss. Sky love it as do most fans... when we equalized, I heard Rom screaming as though we had won the FA cup...
Man Utd; Maureen wont be losing any sleep on Monday night. I can honestly say that, while Bill Kenwright is at the helm, then Everton will stay where we have been the last 20 years... Yes, I blame the man at the top.
26 Posted 03/04/2017 at 12:04:53
Koeman really hamstrung a decimated team playing kids against Bournemouth at home is one thing in a match where we haven't won in 18 years??
It was bold but failed and he could have changed it sooner too.
27 Posted 03/04/2017 at 12:34:48
Someone above said Gueye had a decent game? No way he was partly responsible for two of their goals. Players ran past him far too easily.
Poor Matt Pennington. An absolute fish out of water. At least with Holgate this season we've seen he has some class, even if it was missing on Saturday.
As for Ross I'm one of his biggest fans and I agree that his effort could not be faulted (except for his dreadful tackle(s)). But the best players come alive in the biggest games. Everyone is entitled to a bad day at the office, but the last time he played well against Liverpool was in his first appearance against them (the 3-3 game). He has to wake up really soon. Hard to disagree with any of the things Souness said about him post-game on Sky.
28 Posted 03/04/2017 at 13:34:30
I only heard his name once and that was when they called his name out on the team sheet! Top strikers are the ones that can go to the top away grounds and win a game single-handed. Trust me, Romelu, you're not as good as you think you are!
29 Posted 03/04/2017 at 14:12:20
The difference in quality between the squads was plain to see. We have a high quality centre forward, they have 3 high quality forwards.
Without the creative work done by Coleman we offered very little. No defending Rom, he sucked. And for me this game highlighted the weakness in his game. He can loos great against West Brom, but when the chips are really down and his team need something special he rarely delivers.
Contrast him to Kane, and the way he plays. That guy gets the ball and makes things happen; Rom needs someone else a lot of the time. Schneiderlin is a massive loss. For me he made Barkley more effective and freed Gana up.
Anyways, it's over. The press are panning the team. It wasn't a great performance, but was not a debacle. Take away the obvious emotion of it being the derby and what we really have is a depleted 7th place team coming up short against a slightly less depleted 4th placed team. Form won out, maybe the occasion too much. But, in the context of the season, this is only the second loss since Christmas.
30 Posted 03/04/2017 at 18:00:48
Roll on a few years and you have a whole new bunch of Stalwarts who still lose when it matters most.
Rip the arse out of this squad and start fresh with a dozen new players who couldn't give a shit for Sky's pecking order and go to away grounds and wind the buggers up.
Over to you Blue Bill.
Oh sorry, I forgot, Bill's a politician who plays the game and doesn't want success as it would cost him dough. It's been the same for 25 years. Nothing will change till he is ousted.
31 Posted 03/04/2017 at 18:10:09
Form won out? Well it did if we only take Everton's performances and results in these local tussles in recent years as a form guide, or indeed our record at those clubs above us, but if Premier League form for 2017 was the measure used, then Everton should have at least taken a point away from the other place.
The thing that has annoyed me most, about both derbies this season is that we seemed to surrender the initiative all too easily, admittedly I haven't seen Saturday's encounter so could be wrong about that game. But had Everton been belligerent and savvy in both matches and had they managed to eek out a point from each of the games, we would be a mere 3 points behind those world-beaters and not the nine points that we currently are. There's always next season! our chances. 1-2 to the mighty blues We hope.
32 Posted 03/04/2017 at 18:27:08
33 Posted 03/04/2017 at 19:24:06
Pennington won't be the first to be deceived by the quick feet of Coutinho, the Brazilian is a little genius when in this form, but what on earth were our centre-backs doing?
The first job of a centre half is to see danger as it develops. Gana was silly to go to ground so easily, but the moment he started to go down, one of our central defenders should have been charging out to meet Coutinho. They simply stood where they were and Young Pennington was exposed. Williams moved belatedly but then turned his back on the shot. I think the experienced guys could have done more and with 70 years between them, they should have done more.
I honestly believe Williams and Jagielka should not be used again. Yes, they will keep more clean sheets, but how can a youngster learn from them? Players like Pennington and Holgate would have spent their entire youth being coached to step up behind clearances, to squeeze the play. That's the way the game is played these days .
Imagine the confusion a young defender would feel when he tries to do what he's been coached to do, only to realise he can't, because the two most experienced players at the club are still sitting in. Can there be two defenders anywhere in top flight football who defend as deep as these two? Even Baines doesn't know weather to twist or stick when they play.
The third goal summed up our central defensive partnership: they couldn't have been further apart. It didn't need to be a good pass to dissect them, anything knocked through the 15 yard gap that had opened between them was always going to result in the forward being clean through.
Rant over, Ken. I agree with the rest of your report.
34 Posted 03/04/2017 at 20:52:12
35 Posted 04/04/2017 at 10:17:27
1st Gueye mistimes his tackle on Mane just inside our half then jogs back rather than giving chase;
2nd Gueye misses with his tackle on Coutinho just outside the box and again makes no attempt to keep up with him, only just making it into the box as Coutinho scores;
3rd Gueye jogs alongside Coutinho and watches him pass to Origi who scores.
Yes, Gueye has been superb this season but he could have prevented all 3 goals having missed tackles on the first 2 scorers and made no attempt to win the ball again and allowed Coutinho to run towards goal without getting a challenge in or getting in front of him, allowing him to pass for the 3rd.
So, for me, Gueye is the most culpable player on the pitch. It's not necessarily the missed tackles for the first 2 goals or the lack of tackle on the 3rd it's the fact that for all 3 he just jogged along with no effort to make up ground or win the ball again, which is his primary job.
36 Posted 04/04/2017 at 10:29:47
I hope they will take lessons from this and come back stronger. We win or lose as a team. It does seem that some of our guys are so used to losing derbies that they are almost scared to win. Still, keep the faith (we always do).
37 Posted 04/04/2017 at 14:37:38
I think he will eventually get it right but he doesn't seem to learn very quickly. That's three times he's played three centre-backs against the big teams and we have been outclassed in each of them.
Thanks for the report, Ken, your frustration is being felt by many Blues fans.
38 Posted 04/04/2017 at 14:54:54
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