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COLUMNIST KEN BUCKLEY

From my seat: Liverpool (A)

By Ken Buckley :  16/01/2011 :  Comments (37) :

Another slip-up against the lesser teams.

Derby day and the return of a former player and manager hailed as a king produced enough banners and flags to bedeck a tower block. His entrance was preceded by what seemed a stage-managed performance of some sixties song which led to the stage-managed entrance of what turned out to be no king but just another manager who gullible kopites believe will return them to the promised land. I wonder who they will march against when even new owners and a king fail to restore them???

As for the game itself, well it turned out to be one of those games that lived up to the cliché ?A game of two halves?. Liverpool started as we had done in the last two matches but this time Torres got clear but fired straight at Howard. It was a warning, we did attack but were unconvincing in the final third allowing Liverpool to break and it was starting to become obvious that 4-4-2 was leaving us light in midfield, especially with Arteta showing little sign of coming out of his recent torpor, allowing the hosts to get at our back four with some regularity.

The Anfield subjects were roaring and Torres was looking in the form that makes me wish we had one like him. On the quarter hour he received a long ball and adroitly rolled Distin, cut inside and curled an effort that thankfully hit the base of the far post rebounded to Kuyt who again thankfully wellied it high and handsome.

At the other end, Baines worked well with Osman and his cross forced a corner and Arteta put in one of his better ones but it was cleared to Osman on the edge of the box but he couldn?t control his effort, Big Vic had a charge forward but was knocked off the ball, fairly said the ref, foul yelled the faithful. A high tackle on Arteta saw Heitinga sling one to Fellaini beyond the far post, he won his header and put it back across goal and Beckford missed it with his lunge.

The trouble with these attacks was that, as soon as they broke down, we were caught light in midfield and allowing them to break quickly; on the half-hour, Johnson, who was having the better of Coleman put in a deep cross which Kuyt headed goalwards and Howard blocked it back to him and then had his follow up shot cannon off him to the edge of the area where the unmarked Meireles volleyed, with power, into the net.

We were not over the shock just a minute later when Torres lashed one in that Howard instinctively palmed into the air but Maxi following up headed over. For the rest of the half, it was the home team looking dangerous and anything we put together floundered before we got even close. I found myself constantly checking my watch and hoping to get to half time without further damage. Half-time whistle and I was thankful we were not at least 3 down.

The half-time chat was one of consternation and I don?t think I have heard the word ?shite? uttered about our team in years. The consensus was something must change. Formation and attitude seemed to gain most votes.

Something worked for we started the second half like we have started the last two games. Within a minute, we were level. The king had helped us! He had swopped Agger for the ?mad Greek? and he was nowhere when a great deep corner to the back stick from Arteta was nodded in by Distin for his first Blues goal. Pandemonium from the faithful and I wondered had Cahill sneaked on at half-time? Just 5 mins later, Big Vic won a headed duel with Kelly and found Osman, leaving Kelly in a heap on the floor, Osman produced his amazing fast feet mode leaving 2 defenders blowing for tugs and playing in Beckford who got goal-side of his man and rammed it past Reina. The roar from the faithful was as good as anything the kop could produce.

We were on the up and in control and attitude and formation were playing their part. Osman evening up the numbers in mid-field and Big Vic wide. The faithful burst into song. ?You?re getting sacked in the morning? and ?going down? were memorable.

Liverpool were now looking like the side that Blackpool did the double over and we were now managing joined-up stuff and did make chances that could have sealed it... but, wouldn?t you know it, a routine cross was no more than scuffed toward goal by Kuyt but was going away from goal with Maxi chasing it, inexplicably Howard raced after it and felled Maxi, nailed on pen from my seat, but why on earth did he have to do it? From the resultant penalty Kuyt sent the keeper the wrong way and we were back all square. Oh why do we have to let these lesser teams in when we can take care of the ?big boys??

The game then deteriorated somewhat despite both sides having spells of attacking. Our best chance was probably when a superb cross from Baines looked destined for the head of Fellaini who could hardly have missed but for Big Vic getting their first and making what I could only call a defensive header, a great chance gone.

With both sets of players getting nervier as the clock ticked down, our manager made some subs. On 70mins Vaughan replaced Beckford who was tiring but unfortunately his display resembled a headless chicken that gave away needless free kicks. Next it was Rodwell for Osman who had run himself out but it at least kept the shape without him being really able to get into the game. Final throw of the dice and Bilyaletdinov replaced Big Vic but with no improvement.

Picking a MotM I would offer Fellaini and Heitinga who both performed well even in that horrendous first half.

Overall, it was an emotion-packed derby as usual so I would not pick any player out for undue criticism as these are difficult games to play in. I did think though that first half showed that formations are all well and good as long as they are working. I thought he should have changed to 4-5-1 as soon as it was noted that we were getting over-run in the engine room. The second half showed that we had the measure of them when we were matched up.

The Pienaar saga goes on and I hope it does not turn into another ?Lescott? affair. The sooner it is sorted the better as we need a focused committed bunch to take on the Hammers because, the way the league table reads at the moment, three points would be invaluable. A Saha return from yet another injury would also be a bonus but not as much as reading in the Liverpool Daily Post of the signing of a proper striker.

Tonight I don?t know whether to be gutted we didn?t win or relieved as at half-time I would sure as hell have taken a point... Still, we took 4 points from them this season and won the games 4-2 on aggregate. See you Saturday, I wonder what the team and formation will be?

UP THE BLUES
 

Reader Comments

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Ian Smitham
1   Posted 16/01/2011 at 22:10:23

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Ken, thanks for a well balanced view, superb
Mike Oates
2   Posted 16/01/2011 at 22:41:08

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Ken - good report . It was noticeable from the outset that Liverpool's right hand side (Kuyt & Kelly ?) had the measure of Ossie and Baines and were causing us so much trouble .Moyes had to bring Vic over to the left and let Ossie move back inside and it worked.

Problem as I see it, is that if Pinnear does go and looks likely, then neither Billy or Magaye will be strong enough, mobile enough, quick footed enough to keep our left side tight, as well as work well with Baines going forward.
Terry Mcloughlin
3   Posted 16/01/2011 at 22:45:55

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Give the Yak a game he will score, play Saha in a couple of games, he will get injured. Rocket science. Osman set up the second goal, but after that, he was crap. Big Vic one moaning shit player. Was Arteta playing centre half?

Poor Coleman; with Neville behind you, you're never going to get any help of him. But he's Moyes's best ever buy?

Moyes? I've had enough, I do feel a bit sorry for him with Blue Bill in charge. But every single decent striker we have bought he's turned to shit.

Tony Doran
4   Posted 16/01/2011 at 22:38:56

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At half-time I through a tenner at us to win 9-1. for a bit it was looking good. We played shite first half and new we couldn't get no worse. Played better second half but still felt we need to replace Pienaar as there was no link-up play down the left. Arteta off the pace again he needs the help of 5 in the middle.

I watched the Shite's TV channel to see how they thought they done and they think they played well and where somehow robbed by the ref. They where lucky to get a draw and we never played well at all.

Derek Thomas
5   Posted 16/01/2011 at 22:33:36

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As you say Ken a game of 2 halves.

The problems of both teams, some similar and some not, won't go away on the strenght of one good half each.

Who cares what the RS's problems are, Ours are the worry.

After viewing the Arteta Interview I get the impression that Moyes, having been 'forced' into 442 distrusts it deep down in his soul and is only playing it coz he has to.Arteta himself skirts around the 4 in MF can get over run aspect.

Most could see that we were getting over run. But Moyes, it seems won't change and The players daren't change it.

But, much as it galls me, maybe a little credit to the opposition, Their 5 played like 6 and our 4 played like 3.

And the truth is, more by good luck than good management, we didn't go in 3 down at half time.

Howard made some good saves and one mistake, that cost us dearly.

With no pen we had everychance of nicking another and / or doing a City and playing it out.

When we did go some sort of 451 they were getting in behind us, coz Fellaini couldn't do it all on his own.

Vaughan for the tiring? Beckford, I think that should have been for Vic, if it was to be a straight swap, Beckford could have kept going for another 15 bouyed up by his goal just to see if the double pace could get a 3rd.

Given the nature of Derby Games do we see it as the typical all over the place like mad womens shit draw.

Or is it yet another of those incredible draws snatched from the jaws of victory.
Chandra Kumar
6   Posted 16/01/2011 at 23:04:44

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Super report. Great analysis. If Moyes isn't talking to you on a regular basis, he should. Scary first half. Totally agree with you (and everyone else) that we need a more accomplished striker. There were several situations when Beckford had the ball and a chance to go for it, but just didn't have the confidence to do it.

I'm totally surrounded by reds in the office over in KL as you would imagine. 2-2 is Ok I guess, but my line this morning will be this: LIverpool will never beat Everton again. Never!
Andy Peers
7   Posted 16/01/2011 at 22:59:47

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Mike Oates at # 2, How do you know Gueye is not strong enough, mobile enough or quick footed enough to keep our left side tight? Whenever I have seen him play, he was all of those things... we just don't see him enough.

Don't tell me you trust Moyes's insight about Gueye because he was the guy that picked Osman and Anichebe today and got rid of a Striker that would have caused them all kinds of problems like last time (Yak). All you people that think Beckford is out of his depth just remember he scored against The Shite ? something Bob Latchford did not do in 8 seasons with Everton.

Derek Thomas
8   Posted 17/01/2011 at 01:47:33

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Andy Peers #7 I've only seen Gueye once, Vs Brisbane, which was probabley his longest run out. Brisbane seemed on a par or maybe slightly better then Scunthorpe and we all raved how Saha played Vs them.

I will confess to not being Vics biggest fan but The bit I saw of Gueye he looked a bit keener and less of a diver/sulk.

We have never (mostly) had problems creating a fair number of chances. and Beckford might miss some but the more he plays the better his percentages will be. He can even manage 3 games on the run unlike Le Sicknote, who, if I remember went off Vs Scunny uninjured.

But Moyes has to be dragged kicking and screaming by circumstance to take a chance, especially with a none defender. He just doesn't seem to 'do' forwards.
Steve Carter
9   Posted 17/01/2011 at 02:16:45

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Had Cahill actually sneaked on at halftime, or preferably started, Ken, we would won. His absence was the difference between the sides for mine. We were pretty gormless in the first half, and I'll bet Moyes's words at half time were to the effect of, 'You're all replaceable you know - Tim's back soon'. Things would have been difference with Tim goading their centre halves, and you can bet he would have got his head on those crosses and corners that just zinged across without encounter or were free headed out by them.
Martin Mason
10   Posted 17/01/2011 at 03:13:29

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I wonder if we'll now see Phil Jagielka go to Arsenal for 15 MM? I hate to say it but it could be on the cards and may be good business.
Dermot Ryan
11   Posted 17/01/2011 at 04:25:07

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So they're cack. They're even worse cack without Stevie Me. But we're not all that great either. Sorry but we have a bunch a players who would never make my fantasy football squad and a load of players who certainly wouldn't make it based on their current form. So those who I think have real quality or passion and I think would walk into my realistic "great" Everton squad of today (not the squad of 85 but an exciting football team built on scarce resources): Baines, Felli, Distin, Coleman (and sadly the soon to depart Peanuts), Howard (even with his flubs). Players who should be there but just aren't performing with any sort of consistency: Arteta, Jags, Heitenga. And then there's the cack: Neville, Osman, Anichebe. Sorry, but even when they play well I wish we had quality players instead of them. The jury is out on the following: Beckford, Vaughan, Bily, and Rodwell. I feel like they are being badly served by our manager's tactics. Either they are being played out of position. Or our attacking build up is not playing to the strengths of pacy runners like Beckford and Vaughan (who are also unbelievably wasteful). Watching Torres and how Liverpool played to him brought that home. He just hangs out right on the shoulders of our defenders and people keep trying to feed him through balls for him to run onto. We so rarely attack that way. Or else those players are also cack.

I honestly thought the result was a fair one and playing such a SHIT side that really shows how far away we are from truly competing with Spurs. I'm sure many of you who are not lucky enough to get to watch the Toffees live had the rather discouraging experience of watching the Spurs Vs Man. U game afterwards. Obviously, the Derby was really entertaining (and I thought it WAS entertaining and not half as dirty as it has been recently. All thanks to the absence of Gerrard and Carragher). But the pace and skill on display in the Spurs game was telling. And I really hesitate bringing this up because there is nothing I hate more than wankers drooling over the "quality" of the wealthy clubs (well actually I hate turncoats bastards like Chris on that other thread even more), but I felt there was a gulf in the skills on display in the two games. But hey maybe the Shite were just making us play poorly because they are so...well.... fucking shite.

The Derby has made me come over all philosophical: I love Everton: the history, the brilliant sardonic humor and stoicism of the true fans, a certain integrity about the ground and the club (despite all the legitimate complaints), but.... we aren't quite there as a squad and as I imagine most of you recognize we don't have the resources or the vision to get us there in the near future. I only wish we had stuffed those fuckers today because I think it will be back to regular business pretty soon. Them tonking us at Anfield while the Fields of Athenry ring out. And not because I think King Kenny is the answer (he's not) and not because the club is in great shape (because it isn't). Its because I'm living in the States and that underscores how a deluded debt-ridden evil empire can continue to "thrive" long after its true glory days are over.
Eric Myles
12   Posted 17/01/2011 at 07:47:07

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I didn't rate Fellaini at all, he was making all sorts of mistakes in the first half.
I think we missed Pienaar more than Cahill, there were no Baines overlap runs on the left as he was playing behind Osman / Anichebe and staying there.
Did anyone notice the commentator bigging it up that they had 2 local lads in their side but failed to mention the 7 local lads we had?
Mike Green
13   Posted 17/01/2011 at 09:07:11

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Agree with many of your sentiments Dermot - this really does feel like the one that got away to me.

We shouldve torn them new one yesterday but it's pretty clear we just dont have the quality going forward.

It was Mikels responsibility to boos that game today and pull the strings but whether it was because he was too deep or still out of form for me he went missing again today. Fellaini on the other hand I thought was awesome.

Why we didnt use Coleman more with Johnson playing out of position I dont know - he wouldve scared the living daylights out of him.

So - personally I'm sorely disappointed with the draw and whether it was a penalty or not they still needed it to get a point, funny how Anfield seems to dish up those little life lines at the Kop end......

Ho-hum....
Liam Reilly
14   Posted 17/01/2011 at 09:49:52

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Eric #12
"didn't rate Fellaini at all, he was making all sorts of mistakes in the first half"

Errr, it's al about opinions mate, but I don't see how you can say that. I thought the big Fella was awesome yesterday and has been for much of the season. I fear a big bid for him in the summer and for me it would be a huge loss.
Eamonn Turner
15   Posted 17/01/2011 at 09:50:40

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As usual a good balanced match report Ken, that?s pretty much how I saw the game too. Loved the bit about the banner filled wankfest before the game. If the redshite fans think Dalglish is the answer to their problems then they are even more shallow than I thought.

Keep up the good work.
COYB.
Ian McPherson
16   Posted 17/01/2011 at 10:01:22

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Dermot your first 2 paragraphs are exactly what I would have written. To draw with the poorest RS team in their history is not good enough. When I seen Osman and Vics name on the team sheet, I knew this was not going to be straight forward.

We are the best team on Merseyside but still our Manager does not believe it. The line "incredible draws there" just sums up the mindset.
Howard Don
17   Posted 17/01/2011 at 10:18:26

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Excellent piece Ken, well balanced view on the game. You highlight well the problem of going all out 4-4-2 away from home ie constantly being caught on the break. The difference in the second half being Osman reinforcing the midfield resulting in Liverpool not looking at all likely to break through and a game we looked to have won, until the gift of a needless penalty. Attack, attack, attack ranters please take note, there's more than one way to win games, horses for courses etc.
Pat Kennedy
18   Posted 17/01/2011 at 11:50:38

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Fully agree with your summary Ken, I had the dubious pleasure of sitting with family RS season ticket holders in their main stand and went from agony to ecstasy in space of 10 minutes.

Sometimes you have to take off the blue tinted specs and accept what was overall a fair result at 2-2, but you do think about the ' if only's' .

Mike Gwyer
19   Posted 17/01/2011 at 11:26:28

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Are some of you people for real? - I mean, do you think we can turn up at Anfield and the RS will bend over and take a good thumping.

We had several first team players missing, Coleman (who I thought was poor) and Beckford have no experience of Anfield, but hey we gave them a game - over 90 mins a draw was a fare result and our 2nd half display showed we could of won, and for there were more positives for EFC.

However, when WE go to Anfield a RS penalty is always on the card's, I mean the RS will actually play to get one. It's their way.

But to think that we only need to turn up at Anfield to win a derby is mind boggling!! It was a good result and with the players we were missing it was actually a cracking result.

Terry McLavey
20   Posted 17/01/2011 at 11:57:42

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I really thought we were lucky yesterday ! I shudder to think what would have happened if gerard and carragher were on the pitch and why does Kuyt ALWAYS score against us! I know footballers are not known for there intellect, but surely they can recognise a shirt that is the same colour as the one they are wearing when they pass the ball FFS! And the amount of bobbling passes that wasted crucial seconds bringing it under control!! If they were on form we'd have got creamed!! Thankfully they wern't, but I do believe we are heading for another non season.
Andy Codling
21   Posted 17/01/2011 at 12:30:53

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Can any one confirm when Everton last had a penalty at Anfield?
Thomas Christensen
22   Posted 17/01/2011 at 13:09:51

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Well balanced report Ken.

I think we missed Saha, but Beckford we still good and possibly the option of Cahill. He would have added something and got on the end of one of those unanswered crosses Arteta, Coleman and Baines put in.

I do not think we missed Pienaar at all I thought Ossie was really good.
Micheal Lynch
23   Posted 17/01/2011 at 13:57:17

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Ossie good? I thought he was very poor. Gave Baines little help seemed lost for fitness and strenght. Poor but then his movement for the goal was excellent but only contribution in my opinion.
David Thomas
24   Posted 17/01/2011 at 14:16:40

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Andy,

I think i remember Wayne Clarke scoring a penalty in 1988 in a 1-1 draw.
Andy Codling
25   Posted 17/01/2011 at 16:15:12

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David that was the last one that I could remember as well.
Tony Hughes
26   Posted 17/01/2011 at 16:19:24

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Thomas, "ossie" really good? thought he was his usual woeful self to be honest!
Tony Hughes
27   Posted 17/01/2011 at 16:19:24

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Thomas, "ossie" really good? thought he was his usual woeful self to be honest!
Martin Mason
28   Posted 17/01/2011 at 16:57:53

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Didn't rate Fellaini at all?? I know we are all entitled to our opinion but I rated his performance yesterday as massive in every respect. I cannot believe that we won't be seeing a large offer for him soon from the very best of sides he is that good. The complete modern defensive midfielder who can also add an attacking threat.

Very unfair to Osman too people, he isn't a winger and he isn't left sided, he's a central midfielder (where he is actually good) played Moyes like out of position. His pick up, dribble and feed to Beckford for his goal was of the highest quality. Without it we would have lost. We know his limitations so please don't continuously slag him for it; he does his very best every game within those limitations and is a credit to the club. I'd take 11 of his type against overrated vipers like Pienaar. 70k plus? A reflection of the joke that soccer has now become and of what will destroy it.
Gerry Grimes
29   Posted 17/01/2011 at 17:35:23

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Worth noting the results of our last two games against the following
Man U win/draw
Man C win/win
Chelsea win/draw
Arsenal draw/loss
Spurs draw/win
Liverpool win/draw
Scary given the above we're still having a poor season
Gerry Western
30   Posted 17/01/2011 at 20:13:56

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So much for us not missing Pienaar, what we learned yesterday was that Osman is as poor wide left as he was wide right. First half was like a repeat of the FA Cup final against Chelsea with Osman going awol and drifting into a more central position. Only on this occasion it was Baines being hung out to dry as opposed to Hibbert. How on earth Moyes could sit and watch such a fiasco for a full 45 minutes is beyond me.

They were there for the taking and we blew it. One can only hope we are not about to witness a regular starting birth for Osman wide left, if so, we really are in trouble.
Jon Cox
31   Posted 17/01/2011 at 20:16:51

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Andy (7) spot on. Mike (2) is there something about Gueye you know and we dont?

What a complete plonker Moyes is. He starts with Osman on the left and Heskey mk.2 in the centre. Jesus it was enough to nearly make me pay my tv license in protest!! But not quite.

I mean, we've all seen gueye play so why didn't he pick him? Since the time Pienaar said he was off till now WHY hasn't DM worked out a carbon copy with Gueye and Bainsey like what we've seen with Pienaar. HE'S HAD MONTHS TO DO THIS AND YET HE HASN'T.

If Moyes was a mechanic and you opened his toolbox all you would see there would be a 7/16 af spanner.

They were there for the taking and you let us down AGAIN. 2-2 your 'avin' a laugh, we should have battered them.

Oh well never mind eh? At least we're all paying more for petrol.....
Eric Myles
32   Posted 18/01/2011 at 01:41:19

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Liam #14, Martin #28.
Fellaini had a 60% pass completion in the first half, as well as losing out in headers to Kelly and being generally disappointing.
He may have improved in the second half but overall just an average display.
Martin Mason
33   Posted 18/01/2011 at 03:10:55

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Eric, pass completion rate in isolation is meaningless unless you have an acceptance criteria such as average completion rate for the team, the game or the season or othe defensive midfielders. Look at work rate, successful tackle rate and moves broken down rate. That is what a destructive central midfielder is judged on. Add then his successful flick ons from hoofballs launched at him and you'll then begin to see his value
Eric Myles
34   Posted 18/01/2011 at 10:13:38

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But when I see a blue shirt with a ball I want to see him pass it to another blue shirt so that we can move forward, not give it to the oppponents.
And yesterday Fellaini seemed to be playing farther forward than he should be for a destructive central midfielder, he should have swapped places with Arteta.
Jim Hourigan
35   Posted 18/01/2011 at 10:11:29

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When you consider the hype and the atmosphere it really cannot come as a surprise to anyone that Liverpool would try and storm the first half. Despite what some of you might think the atmosphere and tension does affect even the most seasoned professionals. I know of one ex Premier player that would puke up in the toilets before every game and all sorts of other players have similar bouts of nervous tension.

However, that does not disguise the selection and I'm sorry but despite his neat bit of trickery for the goal, Osamn was woeful. He was left standing every time Kelly broke forward and offered little or nothing to support Baines in a defensive capacity. Not a personal attack on him per se but a genuine assessment of his glaring weakness. He has no pace or strength so once the player goes past you will see him going backwards as he tries to catch up. If you don't believe me wait for the next person to go past him with pace and see if he catches him.

As for Vic I think in reality that was our only choice with the Yak missing. I also believe that the Yak is on loan to get match fit and score goals before a return next season. Moyes cannot afford to give him 5 games in the Premiership to get his match fitness back, whilst all the time not scoring. If you listen carefully to Moyes' explanation for his loan it is clear he does not see it as the pre cursor to a permanent move. What the Yak thinks about it may be different though!
Russ Quinlan
36   Posted 18/01/2011 at 11:58:41

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As Evertonian we will always agree/disagree who was our best player,etc. BUT , my god, do the RS have the ugliest playes on the planet or what ! That new guy Spearing played well for a kid but my god, he's another one who fell out of the ugly tree !! At least we have good looking players wearing the Royal Blue !!
John Andrews
37   Posted 20/01/2011 at 00:01:13

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I honestly thought that we were going to beat the shite today. But it was not to be. Such is life.

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