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From My Seat: Liverpool (A)

By Ken Buckley   ::  05/05/2013 A lovely sunny day and a trip to Anfield. Plenty of banter as we all use our local alehouses and both sets of fans convinced their team will win. Inside the ground the atmosphere built as did the ferocity of the opposing chants.

Teams announced and we were as expected, just Gibson for Jelavic. Some of our fans, shall we say, pointed out in their own inimitable way that Suarez would be missing today. They politely pointed out how long it has been since we won there

The game commenced once Gerrard and Carragher had given permission and Liverpool were fast out of the blocks with us showing that we were expecting that and were quick to close down, creating an opening period of frenetic play with neither team having time to think let alone put a foot on the ball and build. Ahh, a typical derby, I thought and to the end I was not to be proved wrong. Liverpool got in some promising positions but they reminded me of our own team in being clueless in the final third.

We did our attacking and good joined-up stuff could be seen where it didn’t matter in the middle of the park but, time and again, a pass missed its target or got cut out due to lack of correct pace – all brought about by the pace of the whole thing. The theme was set for the rest of the match: both teams wanted to win but neither wanted to lose.

Our best chance of the half came when from a free kick when Fellaini got his foot to a Baines cross and the ball bobbed just wide of the post with keeper nowhere, from my seat I thought it was in, it was that close...

We were having the best of it now and Mirallas fired a cross across goal but alas no-one near enough to convert. Our supremacy got to Gerrard who kicked Osman into the air as our midfielder was past him. Silly Osman: he should know you must not do that to the Ref. We continued with the very good spell but it has to be said we were woeful at the intricate arts in the final third. You couldn’t howl at any of them really – they were all at it. Poor crosses, poor passes – you name it, we did it.

Liverpool started to come back into it and Jags came into his own with trademark blocks that thwarted at least three good opportunities. We did let out a great cheer... but that was for Gerrard who hit a free-kick well over. The clock was ticking and we were having the better of it but players you normally bank on to create, such as Baines, Pienaar and Mirallas, were at best with pass choice as well as crosses pretty poor. But, as the half ended, it could be said that we had weathered the storm and played well with no reward due to our own inefficiencies.

Half-time and it was all about the manager going or staying; would we sell Baines and Fellaini; would the board find money for team building – in fact, it was just like ToffeeWeb with sound!

Second half and, as expected, our hosts took off at a great pace but we held firm and started to get a foothold again but this was interrupted good style when, for whatever reason, Fellaini in the middle of the park back-heeled for no noticeable reason and gave the ball to the Brazilian winger who played a beaut of a ball to Sturridge right on goal. Howard raced out and spread himself in front of Sturridge who almost got the ball past him but a hand or a leg or something and from a prone position seemed to toe poke the ball away and race back to goal as two Everton defenders saw us to safety. Well done, Tim, I thought that was it... phew!

We were now entering that time of the game when our lads don’t seem that sure whether to carry on attacking or drop that bit deeper and consequently we were handing back the initiative to them. Fair play to our manager: I did spot him waving the lads forward and Jags and Distin took up his plea and a bit more end-to-end stuff occurred but really that should read 18-yd line to 18-yd line as both teams had still not mastered the art of troubling goalies.

The talking point of the game duly arrived as, from one of our attacks, we gained a corner. While waiting for it to take place, there was the usual wrestling going on and the Ref (no, not him: Mr Oliver) called out Big Vic and told him not to upset his Pal Carragher. When the corner did come in, Distin headed home. A roar went up only to end abruptly as the ref had blown for a foul on someone by someone. Not one Liverpool player had complained so it must have been a most excellent goal! Big Vic was incandescent and got a yellow. After their chat just before the corner, I honestly think that the ref had made his mind up that he would blow for a foul whether one took place or not. I don’t think he banked on a goal accruing.

Osman and Pienaar continued to play well in midfield but when it came to playing nearer the goal both too often went all weak and fluffed shots and passes. Mirallas was now little more than a passenger and it was no surprise when eventually he was hooked in favour of Jelavic who ran and ran with no reward and, when he did make a decisive run into the box, each time the pass went a different way to the one he was on.

Liverpool were attacking and Osman gave away a free kick not too far from goal and as it arced in Agger headed what many thought was a goal but to our relief it was the wrong side of the net that he hit. The clock ticking down and we were having a last go but twice Pienaar had us groaning after initial great work his final ball woeful on two occasions you could see the lad beating himself up: he knew, he knew.

Both teams were tired and at the last knockings passes were going anywhere except where they should from both sets of players. As the whistle went it really had been a typical derby. It will not be one that is remembered – that is for sure.

MotM – Distin or Jags for me.

Somehow I am always glad when these games are over as the build-up usually outdoes the game every time and bragging rights seems to matter more than points.

West Ham next and if we win that and then at Chelsea and Spurs lose three on the trot we are in Europe.... What do you mean ‘dream on’!?!

See you there for a pie and a pint.

UP THE BLUES

Reader Comments

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Ray Robinson
512 Posted 05/05/2013 at 22:06:18
Ken, great report as ever. Not for the first time, we have had the better of a game away from home but, as you say, the pace of the pass means that we don't break quickly enough. We have got to learn how to counter-attack with pace if we are ever to challenge for the top 4. One-paced players in midfield such as Osman, Gibson, Fellaini and Pienaar, great players that they all can be, doesn't help. Oh for the pace of Villa (yes Villa!). Changing our slow build-up is the biggest challenge that faces Moyes, if he stays.

At least the defence looks solid again - Jags and Distin were absolutely superb and must have proved beyond doubt that they are the best central pairing.

One final point, I had the misfortune to be surrounded by Blues who were as intent on abusing the opposition as supporting their team. I really thought that the chants of "Murderers" and "The Baby's not your's" etc were a thing of the past. I'm just too old for this sort of "banter" I guess.

James Flynn
542 Posted 06/05/2013 at 01:25:16
Over these last 8-10 games or so, does the EPL have a better central defending duo than Jags and Distin?
Chris Jones [Burton]
543 Posted 06/05/2013 at 01:39:10
No.
Paul Ferry
555 Posted 06/05/2013 at 03:31:22
No
Spragg Johnson
557 Posted 06/05/2013 at 05:27:11
No ... Both are quality. Johnny H must be sick of warming the bench. Cash in on him and have Duffy as CB back up.
Ajay Gopal
558 Posted 06/05/2013 at 05:43:22
I gave Anichebe (yes!) as my MoTM, because he looked like he really cared (apart from Jags, Distin & Howard). All the others seemed to be half interested. He also held up the ball very well in spite of being battered from behind (!) by Agger. He didn't go to ground easily (except for 1 embarassing dive when he was shifted out wide by Moyes after Jelavic was introduced). All in all, a very flat performance by Everton, which is surprising given that we still had a chance for Europe.
Ben Dyke
602 Posted 06/05/2013 at 09:34:23
Enjoyable report again Ken, thanks. What a strange season. Terrible losses, unbeaten against Reds, highest points total apart from Champs League season, feeling vulnerable at back for most of first half of season and more adventurous up top but goals conceded is actually good and goals scored not (Jelavic?), beat Man U but lose to Norwich, convert some draws and we were so Close to top four, but sometimes we felt so far away from a champs league team, Moyes in/out saga, liking him but wanting him to leave now. All so strange.

Overall this game summed season up. We didn't deserve to lose often this season but you can't honestly say we have that something like Spurs, Chelsea or Arsenal have that puts them in Champs league.

Bob Parrington
603 Posted 06/05/2013 at 09:57:24
Ray #512. Couldn't agree more about the pace of our build-up. It's not been so slow all of the season but has for much of it. We've tended to score and win when we've decided to transition quickly.

How about the disallowed goal by Distin. I've watched it heaps of times from all angles and haven't seen a genuine reason for disallowing it? If it had been the other way around the ref would probably have given it. Still, shit happens. A draw was as much as we deserved, I think.
COYB

Richard Dodd
610 Posted 06/05/2013 at 09:57:08
Rubbish,Ajay,they all cared and it showed! However a game finishes, I can always be sure that our lads have given of their best.They wouldn`t be in Moyes` team if they didn`t. Would you be making this ridiculous statement if the Distin `goal` had stood?
As Ken implied ,it all went tits up in the final third but that was lack of technique,not effort.
Patrick Murphy
611 Posted 06/05/2013 at 10:02:47
I've read that this our highest points total since CL qualification season from a few posters recently well I'm sorry it's not yet true we currently have 60 could achieve 66 but in 2009 we got 65 points which is our highest points tally in the PL, so 2 wins and we will beat that, but as yet not our highest and certainly not the CL season we only got 61 points.

The something that Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea have - apart from the money - is boards managers and fans who demand they win games wherever they are played especially away from home - Wigan and Villa have more away wins than Everton in the PL this season, we have taken 21 pts from our travels, Wigan have 18 and Villa have 20, that is where our over cautious approach has let us down this season and has in most seasons in the PL.


Tony J Williams
617 Posted 06/05/2013 at 10:43:57
More wins but less points...... what's your point? Certainly prefer our position to theirs
Kevin O'Regan
634 Posted 06/05/2013 at 12:01:36
Sorry to say this, but Pienaar & Fellaini need to go.

Pienaar cannot stay on his feet to do anything except win frees (not enough), too many stray passes and nothing positive. Fellaini is not interested and hasn't been for a while – he is not a leader one would expect him to be at his size... attitude is all wrong. Sorry, spring cleaning time. Those two have bags of talent but are not using it.

On the other hand, look at our limited players like Jags, Coleman and Distin – doing a fantastic job, despite obvious limitations, excellent attitudes etc. That's what makes the rest of the team wake up and try to be better.

Even Victor has had games where he excelled his own limitations. But those who have talent and are not using it, game-in, game-out, need to go... and be replaced by those who want to do the hard work of tracking back and playing for the team with whatever you can give.

Patrick Murphy
636 Posted 06/05/2013 at 12:14:47
Tony, I would have thought my point is relatively clear — our record away from home is more akin to PL strugglers than European contenders, that record doesn't reflect the ability of our players yet DM is hailed as some hero who has us punching above our weight.

And it's not just this season... it has been like that for the past 3 or 4 seasons. But hey as long as we do okay at Goodison in front of our own fans that's fine and dandy. 2 wins in the first 3 games of the PL season and a mere 2 wins in the following 15.


Harold Matthews
683 Posted 06/05/2013 at 15:29:23
Gibson is the slowest,laziest, non-tackling mid-fielder in the history of Everton FC.
Mike Powell
705 Posted 06/05/2013 at 16:32:03
That has got to be the worst Liverpool side I have seen! They were poor, they played like Stoke, just hoofin the ball up front all the time. I thought Jags was outstanding and was MotM but as usual Sky gave it to the ref... sorry, I mean Gerrard for some reason.
Willy Russell
772 Posted 06/05/2013 at 23:09:14
Anyone else spot Mirallas (just before he was subbed) and Gibson give the finger to Moysey after they were bollocked by the boss from the touchline after stupid mistakes. Definitely some dissent in the camp in my opinion. I know it was an end of season derby between 2 average sides, but I thought the lack of interest and commitment from Fellaini, Pienaar, Gibson and Mirallas was a disgrace.

Whether Moyes stays or goes I would get shut of all 4 and play only those who give a toss about playing for Everton FC - old fashioned dickhead that I am....
Ciaran Duff
790 Posted 07/05/2013 at 01:30:18
Sorry Harold, I reckon you are way off the mark. IMHO, Gibson has been fantastic since he joined the club (injuries excepted). He didn't have his best game on Sun but he is certainly not lazy. He tracked back quite a bit (eg covering Baines) and was there to take the ball from the back 4 most of the time. My guess is that the guy was not 100% fit. He missed the previous game and is due for an operation at the end of the season.

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