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 Anelka (72') (0-0)  Radzinski (52')
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Liverpool v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Liverpool 35
 Everton 23
 Draws 24
 Liverpool 4
 Everton 2
 Draws 3
 Last Season:
 Liverpool 3-1 Everton


Going into this fixture, with Liverpool in free-scoring mode in recent weeks, Everton having only won one of the last 10 Premiership games, the Blues on a bad run in derby games, and the general malaise afflicting Walter Smith's squad at the moment, most of us would have gladly settled for a point.

Based on a dreadful first-half performance where Everton were so bereft of attacking ideas and desire it was embarrassing — to be fair, Liverpool weren't all that impressive either — Walter seemed to be going all out for a draw.

However, having contained the Reds fairly comfortably and taken the lead on 51 minutes with only their second shot on goal, you were left with the feeling that the Blues could well have won this Anfield derby had they just had more attacking gumption.  As it was, they were restricted by Smith's familiarly defensive - admittedly justified - mindset and held on doggedly for even honours despite Liverpool's late assault.

The manager's team selection was interesting, to say the least.  Niclas Alexandersson, Jesper Blomqvist and Paul Gascoigne failed to even make the bench, but Thomas Gravesen's rehabilitation into the first team setup was confirmed by his name on the list of substitutes.  He was joined on the bench by Tomasz Radzinski who was looking to make his first appearance of the year after a lengthy spell sidelined with injury.

Liverpool, who started with Heskey as a substitute, had the better of the early exchanges, which were scrappy, incohesive and featured plenty of aimless high balls from both teams.  Jon Arne Riise blazed an early free kick well wide and Nicolas Anelka shot into the side-netting as the home side probed, but there was little penetration by either side.

Lee Carsley had the Blues' only shot on goal of the first 45 minutes when he latched onto a through ball but his effort from a tight angle was comfortably gathered by Chris Kirkland in the Liverpool goal.  At the other end, Steve Simonsen recovered from spilling the ball in a goalmouth melee to smother the danger right on half-time.

For Everton, David Ginola showed a few good touches and moments of skill but the combination of the Blues' reluctance to commit men forward and the consequent lack of support in forward areas meant that nothing came of his flashes of artistry.  Kevin Campbell cut a lonely figure up front, still not like the player that exploded onto the Goodison Park scene three years ago.  Appearing disillusioned and slow, he held the ball up adequately, but there was none of his customary off-the-ball movement and creation of space that would have given Ginola more to work with.

With that in mind, it was no surprise that Ginola was withdrawn at the interval along with a very disappointing Tobias Linderoth as Smith made an uncharacteristically early change to his line-up.  Gravesen and Radzinski were introduced and Everton were a different team for the first 6 minutes of the second period.  Immediately improved by the space provided by the Canadian's running and the willingness of the Dane to take the ball forward, Everton started brightly.

In the 52nd minute, Pistone wide on the left played a great triangle with Gemmill before he crossed to Radzinski who fired into the far corner to give Everton a precious lead.  Whether the ball's final destination was the aim of Radzinski's first-time effort or not, it left Kirkland with no chance and the hopes of a derby upset had been kindled.

Predictably, Everton's response was to retreat and defend in numbers.  Liverpool, sensing that their opponents were content to give them the space and allow them to run at them, took up the gauntlet and in the space of 7 minutes, Michael Owen could have scored three times.  First he lifted a 12-yard shot over the bar from Heskey's cross, then his goalbound effort was deflected wide with Simonsen going the other way, and finally he powered a header from 8 yards high and wide of the woodwork to waste a gilt-edged chance.

With 19 minutes left, though, the Reds made the breakthrough, carving up a static Everton defence to deliver the ball to Anelka's feet and he made no mistake in clipping it past the advancing goalkeeper to, of course, notch his first league goal for Liverpool.

Everton's response was more defending as they tried to protect their much-reduced prize. Radzinski made the occasional burst and Gravesen was a useful outlet carrying the ball forward, but the home side retained the advantage with a succession of late corners, one of which fell to Danny Murphy, whose powerful header was palmed over acrobatically by Simonsen.

A minute later, Everton's final attempt to steal all three points culminated at the boot of Radzinski who turned and shot in a lightning instant but saw his effort turned away for a corner by the diving Kirkland.

Although this was a precious point gained by resolute defending in one of the most passionless derbies of recent memory, offensively it was a disappointing display by an Everton team clearly lacking confidence and ingenuity going forward.  Totalling just three shots on goal all game, it makes you wonder just what might have happened if they had taken the game to the old enemy and tested their defence on a regular basis.  As it was, Smith's side went home with a point, one that could prove crucial in the relegation run-in.

Lyndon Lloyd

M A T C H    F A C T S
 Sports Match Info  
  FA Premiership 2001-02, Game 27
3:00pm  Saturday 23 February 2002
Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: David Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill)
Att: 44,371
Position: 16th
TV: Overseas
Line-ups Subs not used
Liverpool Kirkland, Xavier, Henchoz, Hyypia, Wright (55' Heskey), Murphy, Hamann, McAllister (66'Smicer), Riise, Owen, Anelka.
Arphexad, Biscan, Litmanen.
Everton: Simonsen; Clarke, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Naysmith, Gemmill, Linderoth (46' Gravesen), Carsley, Ginola (46' Radzinski); Campbell.
Gerrard, Unsworth, Pembridge.
Unavailable:  Ferguson, Hibbert, Watson (injured); Nyarko (on loan). 
Playing Strips Formations
Liverpool: Red shirts; red shorts; red socks 4-4-2
Everton: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-5-1; 4-4-2
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Liverpool:   --
Everton: Clarke (44'), Gravesen (90')  --

Premiership Scores
Middlesbro 2-1 Fulham
Arsenal 4-1 Fulham
Blackburn P-P Ipswich
Leicester 0-3 Derby
Liverpool 1-1 Everton
Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa
Sotton 0-0 Bolton
West Ham 1-0 Middlesbro
Chelsea P-P Tottenham
Leeds 0-0 Charlton
Sunderland 0-1 Newcastle

Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Man Utd 57
2 Newcastle 55
3 Arsenal 54
4 Liverpool 53
5 Chelsea 44
6 Leeds 44
7 Aston Villa 38
8 Tottenham 35
9 Fulham 35
10 Charlton 34
11 West Ham 34
12 Middlesbrough 31
13 Southampton 31
14 Sunderland 31
15 Ipswich 30
16 Everton 29
17 Bolton 29
18 Blackburn 25
19 Derby 25
20 Leicester 17
After 24 February 2002
M A T C H     R E P O R T S
Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
From The Terrace Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Squire of Beckenham Pride and Prejudice
Links to Other Media Reports
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
The Sunday Times Match Report
The Observer Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
The Times Match Report
Daily Post Match Report

Match Preview

On Wednesday we travel to Gresty Road to replay against Crewe in the 5th round of the tarnished FA Cup.

On Wednesday the Reds travel to Galatasary in the 2nd Group round of the Champions League very much in the hunt for the knock-out stages.

Therein lies the difference.  The gulf in class and ambition.  We'll receive about 250k for our game and be glad for it.  The Reds, about 1M... and it will hardly make a mark in their treasure trove.

This week we have been linked with Clinton Morrison and Bobby Zamora two kids untried in the Premiership and gambles at around 5M.  Liverpool are linked with Cisse the French wonder kid.  Proven in the French 1st Division, first choice for their U-21 side and pushing for a place in the World Champions squad... value: 30M.

Can we compete with them on Saturday?

Their first choice 11 against ours?  Fully fired up Reds with no distractions? At Anfield?  Quite frankly we wouldn't stand a chance.  However, that is not the situation we will find ourselves in.  Neither team is likely to have its 1st team out: them through choice; us through injuries (!) also they will be distracted.  This game comes sandwiched between two key contests against Galatasary which may see Pinocchio, with Houllier on the strings, resting a couple of players.

Question 1: What team will we put out?  

With the reserve game being called off against Blackburn I cannot see Pistone breaking into the back four.  He may make Crewe but I think for this game the best he could hope for would be the bench.  So the back four stays the same.

Midfield?  Now it starts getting complicated.  I imagine that Carsley will come back in which gives Smith some thinking to do (God forbid!).  Carsley and Linderoth are the two new signings.  Gemmill has been a favourite of Smith's ever since he joined.  Gravesen is definitely fit but perhaps not match-sharp.  Gazza?  Forget it if he doesn't get picked against Crewe at home with two of the above unavailable (Gravesen and Carsley), then his days must be numbered.

Likely line-up?  I think he'll go with Carsley and Linderoth.  Linderoth has shown a lot of promise and certainly protects the back four well.  Carsley had an excellent first 45 mins against Arsenal and would be aggrieved not to get back in.  Gemmill didn't do enough me against Crewe.

With those two in the centre I would then try to fit Gravesen in at right mid.  Not his best place but he can play it and certainly will give more than Alexandersson did against Crewe.

Liverpool also play very narrow so Tommy could tuck in and give us the chance to fight against Liverpool's very aggressive and hard working midfield.

Complementing Tommy on the right would be Blomqvist on the left.  Blom (to his mates) is really starting to show what he has got.  Him and Naysmith down the left could be a really strong flank.  Both work exceptionally hard and both are happy to carry the ball.  Ignoring his ridiculous decision to try and chip the keeper on Sunday when presented with a clear shooting opportunity, he was one of our better players (yes, I know that's not saying much).

Upfront.... Bugger!  Against probably the best organised back line in Europe.  With Gerrard and Hamann in front of them, this is nearly impregnable.  So what will we hit it with... Campbell!  An unfit, totally lacking in confidence, touch and support; oh so not-so-super "Super Kev".  And Ginola.

Playing Rads or Dunc would be a huge fitness gamble that I do not think is worth taking.  Let's just get them fit and guarantee them for the last 10 games rather than chuck them on now and let them worsen their "strains" and "niggles".  If they aren't fit then neither will make a mark, so why bother?

Ginola will be interesting to say the least!  How will he perform: Will he benefit from the odd piece of broken play that is bound to develop?  Will he disappear and not cope with the pace?  Will his feelings towards Houllier drive him to put one over on his old nemesis who spelt the end of his international career that he held so dear?  Will Hamann close down the space he wants in front of the backline?  Will he destroy Xavier if he can isolate him on the left flank?

Ginola is the one truly enigmatic piece in our jigsaw.  He could do anything.  Biggest problem we all know is that he will have no-one to provide chances to as Campbell will be smothered.  If he does anything it will have to be on his own be that a free-kick or volley I just don't see him waltzing through a defence that has three times kept Rivaldo quiet...

Question 2: What will the Liverpool team be?

Carragher is suspended, Dudek not fit, so the defensive unit will be slightly weakened.  It appears that Xavier will come in at right-back with probably Riise or perhaps Wright at left-back.  Young Chris Kirkland will be in goal.  A chance?  Perhaps. A very good keeper with great promise. His one Liverpool game (I write prior to tonight's game against Galatasary) was the loss to Grimsby.  Despite his games for Coventry - as they got relegated and performances for the U21's, this lad is inexperienced.  Putting pressure on him is essential for us to do anything.

Problem with that is the protection that Hyppia and Henchoz will give him.  They are awesome.  With them in the United team the rest of Europe could go home.  I pray one of them doesn't play a small knock tonight would be a huge boost to our chances!

Midfield.  Hamann will play and, despite his injury concerns, I can't see Gerrard backing out of this one.  Out wide it really doesn't matter.  Barmby may be back from injury.  Murphy may play he is so irritating.  Smicer / Berger? They have a few options including advancing Riise if Wright plays at fullback.  With whoever, it will be strong, but not devastating.

Upfront?  Perm two from Anelka/Heskey/Owen.  Litmanen may play but I imagine he will come off the bench if they need anything in the last 30 mins.  Owen I can see being rested which just leaves Donkey and Anelka.  Despite Heskey's recent goals, he is not a prolific striker and Anelka has not got close to the form of his Arsenal days.  Weir and Stubbs against these two?  Who the hell knows?  Dave Watson stopped Owen often enough.  Let's play deep, deny them space behind us.... and pray!

Question 3: Can we do it?

If the following all play then I would be very worried: Hyppia, Henchoz, Gerrard, Hamann, Owen, Heskey.  That's the spine of the team that gives nothing away.  The minute a couple of them are missing they are weakened.

Midfield will be key we have to get some of the ball.  If we go in with three fighting players in Gravesen, Linderoth and Carsley at least we'll be able to compete.  If our midfield include two wide men then we will just get swamped.

An early goal for Liverpool and this game is over when did they last lose after they scored first ?

If we can compete, stay with them into the last 30 mins, then who knows...  The bench could possibly have Gazza, Pistone, Dunc, and Rads that is quality, make no mistake.

Dreams of a late cross from Ginola arrowing to the back post with Dunc pummelling Kirkland and the ball into the net will obviously not go away unfortunately, believe me that it is likely to be only a dream.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum?  Nil Satis Nisi A Draw, thank you very much!


Pride and Prejudice (and Pissheads)

by the Squire of Beckenham

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn? (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)) 

Im halfway up the lower tier in the Anfield Road end, to the right of the goal.  Behind me, a clutch of the most knowledgeable supporters in the game is on song with a full-throated rendition of that vile Heskey song, following on from a version of the new Li-ver-pool chant (Meeer-der-errrrs).  Some tanked-up wobbly-head is exhorting our players to ####in twat dees paki bastards.... 

Later, I inform the police and stewards of his presence and they do precisely nothing.  In front of me and to just the right, a guy is looking to the upper tier and swearing his head off, having just been hit on the head by half of a Sayers Meat & Potato pie.  Hes lucky though; later on, somebody is hit with something rather more robust than pastry goods an act that finally galvanises the police and stewards into taking some action. 

Yes, its the friendly banter of the Merseyside Derby you know, the one where we all sit side by side and gently rib each other during the game, but we all enjoy a pint and a cosy chat afterwards.  Or so the chaps at Sky Sports would have you believe...

Now, before you come down on me for trying to sound like one of The (Self-)Righteous Brothers, hear me out; for most of us, thats exactly what its like.  The Echo for once did something positive, with an article bringing together Satis? founder Phil Pellow and Liverpools fan of the year Dave Daley, followed up the next day by another one about the plans to send a joint supporters team to the Anti-Racism World Cup in Italy. 

This, together with the pre-match RAOTL v ToffeeWeb game (an honourable 3-3 draw in dreadful conditions) shows that the nastiness that has crept in in recent years is largely confined to a coterie of intellectually stunted cretins, consumed with irrational hatred for all things red (or blue).  Singly, you dismiss them as sad-sacks; together, their filth besmirches everybody. 

Or, as Sir Thomas Browne put it far more eloquently in his work of 1643, Religio Medici:

 If there be any among those common objects of hatred that I do condemn and laugh at, it is that great enemy of reason, virtue, and religion, the multitude; that numerous piece of monstrosity which, taken asunder, seem men, and the reasonable creatures of God, but, confused together, make but one great beast, and a monstrosity more prodigious than Hydra. 

Its not just Evertons problem.  Its not Liverpool FCs.  Its not societys problem, but society suffers the consequences.  Were all at fault for allowing it to happen.  

There, self-righteousness over now to the footy.  

After a week of pleading, begging and hatching some bizarre contingency plans involving a voucher from the LFC v Leicester match, I managed to secure myself a ticket at a couple of hours notice.  A pre-game meet in The Netley was a strangely subdued affair, partly because the game was taking place on the other side of the park but mainly because we all feared a malleting of Rushian proportions.  

Our inability to score against Crewe, a side that leaked ten goals in the games immediately before and after our FA Cup meeting, had fostered a sense of the inevitable about what we were about to witness.  A bracing walk across the park allowed me to make some post-match plans in my head: flee back to SE London maybe, then weld myself into a lead box for six weeks in order to let the abuse die down. 

On the way, Id stopped at the club shop sorry, Megastore to buy a wooly hat to keep my ears from dropping off and couldnt find one to fit.  I asked the lady behind the counter if any adult sizes were available, and to my surprise she said, Yeah and then amazed me by asking What colour?  

Er RED?  I replied.  She didnt get it.  

Id been tipped off about the likely make-up of the side, but I confess to being surprised at our starting up with Pistone (back from injury); Blomqvist and Alexanderssen nowhere; and Gravesen in, having made up his spat with Walter Smith just in time for the World Cup run-in.  At least it gives him something to play for. 

Unsurprisingly, Ginola was playing up front with Campbell; such is the dearth of striking options in our squad that The Gifted One was to reprise his roving role with Campbell again ploughing a lone furrow.  However, back on the bench from yet another enforced layoff was one T Radzinski.  Opinion was rife as to what part, if any, hed play in the game (10 minutes at the end with us 3-0 down, I felt). 

So, the game duly kicked off and, er, it was a little strange because, instead of the usual dour defence, we actually elected to try to play a little football.  Instead of the dogs of war stuff, passing abounded.  

Ginola was all over the place looking for possession; if only wed had a little more in the way of movement up front then thered have been chances a-plenty.  However, the lack of this movement forced him (and others) to hold onto the ball rather longer than they should have, and the move would break down. 

Liverpool played tightly and seemed intent on retaining possession and sucking our midfield in, so that jet-heeled Welsh lad up front could make a run and give them an outlet.  However, this can lead to a rather (dare I say it?) one-dimensional approach, particularly if you midfield is a little reticent to lend and support.  

They missed having Gerrard in there, both in terms of the creativity he provides and also his pure physical presence.  Still, the early chances went Liverpools way: a chip by Riise, made trickier by the gusting wind, was well dealt with by Simo, who also managed to rush out and stop Anelka on one of the very few occasions that Weir found himself flat-footed. 

Weir had a superb first half; its said that Liverpool passed on signing him because he was too slow, but he was well up to anything that the Reds had to offer.  Peter Clarke, too, was having a solid game; I gave him some stick after the Arsenal game when Henry gave him a bit of a lesson, but hes learned from it and hes looking better and better.  

Half time came, and it has to be said that we really didnt feel as if wed been threatened; we knew that Liverpool would fly at us in the first 20 minutes of the second half, and if we could only hold on for that, and maybe sneak one from a set-piece and then Walter shocked the hell out of us all and put Radz on for the second half, taking Ginola's place, with Gravesen taking the place of Linderoth! 

Linderoth had had a pretty anonymous first half, but Ginola hadnt done at all badly given that he was also up against the impressive (gulp) Xavier.  However, put someone up front whos nippy, and the space appears as the other sides defence have to drop back in order not to get caught out.  This allows the midfield more time to operate and gives your other striker more space and time.  Simple isnt it? 

What inspired this piece of logic on Walters part is anybodys guess but we didnt care 10 minutes later, as Naysmith and Pistone combined on the left.  As the ball was played in, up popped The Radz and scuffed, sorry buried the ball into the net off a post.  0-1; pandemonium at the Anny Road end 

And deathly silence elsewhere.  I dont know why; I would have expected the Liverpool fans to have reacted in kind and try to out-chant us, but they seemed more interested in looking away.  I dont know if this is why you hear a lot of Liverpools supporters bemoaning the daytripper whos just interested in a nice day out and a bit of entertainment, with a little trip to the club shop thrown in.  They rail against the lack of passion, and I could see why. 

When I left the ground and caught snatches of conversation, there were a bewildering array of accents to be heard; no, Im not suggesting that Liverpool have less fans in the city, its just a effect of their past successes.  The fanbase spreads far and wide, and while this is undoubtedly good for your revenue streams it doesnt do a lot for the atmosphere if a fair proportion of your attendance is itinerant.  There again, I suppose by the same token it disenfranchises the insular fuckwads that we are unfortunate enough to be burdened with.  

Another goal for us at this point would have killed the game stone dead; however, the Everton that we all know and love appeared after the restart, as we sat back and invited the ever-increasing pressure.  Simos handling during this period was flawless and he made a couple of great stops; but a goal from the amount of pressure that Liverpool applied was as sure as the sunrise, and it came with about 20 minutes left as a cross from Heskey was dummied by Owen and Anelka nipped in front of Simo to slot home in front of The Kop. 1-1, and at last the home crowd found its voice.  In spades. 

The pressure continued, but our defence held firm; frantic instructions from the sidelines from Phil Thompson were met with a chorus of Sit Down, Pinocchio at every occasion, and we could even have snatched it with five minutes left as a shot on the turn from Radzinski was matched by a flying save by Kirkland to his right. 

So, an honourable draw (despite the best efforts of the corrupt bastard referee  I bet you cant guess which particular baldy headmaster Im talking about, can you?), and a walk to The Canon on Townsend Lane to meet up with the foremost Red Arl Arse, Will Melia, and a bunch of other Reds.  

Chunks of the conversation centred on derring-do on recent European away trips (a bit lop-sided that conversation, Im afraid), and continued in a very pissy fashion until a Fat Lady sang Elvis on the Karaoke (it was a bloke actually, but its neater if I lie about it).  

Just the way it should be.

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