Liverpool 4 -0 Everton

The wait and the pain go on. By the time the Anfield derby rolls around next season, Everton will be in their longest sequence without a win on Liverpool's home turf in the history of the Merseyside derby.

The majority of that miserable sequence of six draws and, now, eight defeats came under under David Moyes's tenure, one characterised by routine failure on the grounds of the old "Sky Four" and responsible for the 3-0 drubbing meted out the Blues by the reds two years ago, a match Evertonians had hoped would be the nadir of what is now 15 years without a win in this particular fixture.

Ironically a bit of Moyes-style emphasis on a deeper-lying defence combined with the more enterprising style introduced under Martinez further forward might have stood Everton in good stead in this match and probably avoided the hammering meted out to them by a Liverpool side who struggled to earn a point against Aston Villa in their last Premier League home game.

The 4-0 scoreline by which Roberto Martinez's side was thrashed this evening was misleading and yet simultaneously illustrative of the gulf in attacking financial muscle and, by logical extension, quality that exists between these two clubs. The talk coming into this most important of derbies – it was being regarded, prematurely, by some as a playoff for the Champions League – was of the strength of Everton's defensive unit in comparison to the relative weakness of Liverpool's.

And Blues fans were no doubt buoyed by the fact that far from having to field a patched-up and untried central defensive partnership of the green John Stones and want-away veteran John Heitinga, Martinez was able to play Captain Phil Jagielka with Antolin Alcaraz, a pairing that, based on their respective displays this season, held promise but which was ruthlessly exploited tonight by Brendan Rodgers' much-vaunted strike duo of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.

Both forwards scored – indeed, Sturridge could and should have had a hat-trick in what would have been an unfathomable 5-0 victory but, mercifully, he blazed over from the penalty spot in the second half – and they could have had more; Everton, for their part – and the tireless Kevin Mirallas in particular – can count themselves unfortunate not to have earned some consolation in the second half but they can have few complaints about the result. Ultimately, having been put to the sword by almost £40m worth of goalscoring talent and then losing Romelu Lukaku to injury, perhaps for weeks it seems, the Blues were relying on a free-transfer acquisition from Rangers and a generally laboured attacking unit to achieve the impossible.

Martinez employed what was, in hindsight, a massively ill-advised high defensive line using two unfit defenders against two pacey strikers and the vision of Coutinho in the reds' midfield. Though the opening goal – a travesty in its own right, given how Gareth Barry, who had arguably his worst game for the Blues so far, lost Steven Gerrard and then crocked Lukaku when he slipped desperately trying to retrieve the situation and fell on the Belgian's ankle – came from a routine 21st-minute corner, it was the two quickfire goals that followed that effectively killed the game where Rodgers' gameplan ripped the Blues' defence to shreds.

Coutinho was able to expolit the yawning gap behind Stones who, having been drawn into the space down the Everton right, was caught badly out of position, where he picked out Sturridge's run and he unerringly beat Tim Howard in a one-on-one situation.

The warning wasn't heeded for the second goal, either. Jagielka and, in particular, Alcaraz were caught embarrassingly flat-footed as Kolo Toure knocked a ball over the top where Sturridge was able to capitalise on Howard's dash into no-man's land by hooking it over him and into the empty net.

And that – Everton's slew of half-fit players aside – really was the difference on the night, one very reminiscent of the mugging that Martinez effected on Moyes as Wigan boss in last season's FA Cup quarter final: Everton were on the ropes before they knew what had hit them and they were singularly unable to claw their way back into the match in the second half.

It wasn't for the want of trying, though, and the statistics showing Everton's 61% of possession and 18 shots to Liverpool's 20 bear out just how harsh the scoreline was on the Blues' performance as a whole. Indeed, they had started in decent enough fashion, thanks to the return of Ross Barkley and some crisp, confident passing in midfield. They more or less matched their hosts in that midfield battle but where the Blues' defence was positioned closer to the halfway line, Rodgers's defence held a deeper line and prevented Martinez's men from finding any space behind them.

There were ominous portents of what was to come early on, though, as Liverpool, looking by far the sharper side in the final third, fashioned some good chances and Tim Howard had to beat away a volley by Jordan Henderson, turn a Luis Suarez shot behind and deny Raheem Sterling superbly after the winger had been put in behind the Everton defence by Coutinho.

Mirallas was the only player in Blue who looked likely to carve out an opening that didn't rely on a shot from distance – Barkley had one 25-yard effort that fizzed just over in the first minute but otherwise found a red shirt in the way of almost every effort on goal he attempted – and it was his jinking run that set up a chance of Jagielka that Simon Mignolet had to parry to safety and the Belgian's shot that grazed the post a couple of minutes later as he skipped his way inside his marker. Had either chance gone in, it might have been a different game but Liverpool's second and third goals arrived within minutes and ended the contest 10 minutes before the halfway stage.

If there was even a hope of staging a dramatic comeback and ending the Anfield derby with the same 3-3 scoreline as the reverse fixture two months ago, it died five minutes after the restart when Jagielka's attempted pass to Alcaraz was picked off by Suarez who raced the rest of the way to goal with the two less-than-fit defenders trailing in his wake before doing the inevitable and slotting under Howard to make it 4-0.

Again, it was rough on Everton who had improved markedly with the introduction of Leon Osman for Steven Pienaar who, the first few minutes aside, was pretty abysmal and were looking a good bet to make a game of it in the second half. Indeed, it was from the corner conceded by Mignolet as he denied Osman's excellent shot that Suarez scored. Barkley would have a shot pushed behind, James McCarthy was similarly denied by the 'keeper and the latter's neat footwork almost provided an opening for Naismith but the ball flew too far in front of the Scot. It just wasn't Everton's night and it was pretty sickening to watch it play out.

In the final reckoning, this wasn't a game decided by psychology, of a defeatist attitude or the conscious decision to rest players with one eye on a cup tie. This was about the cruel realities of Everton's situation that persist under the new management – so close to cracking that glass ceiling but destined to fall short without significant investment in the kind of match-winning talent that Liverpool have at their disposal. It's no accident that the £50m triumvirate of Coutinho, Sturridge and Suarez was the difference in this match against a team that has, too often, struggled for crucial goals and for comparable tempo in the final third for much of the season.

Goals win games and for all the positivity that Martinez has brought to Goodison since last summer, he hasn't put sufficient premium on the power of a lethal strike-force. Finishing the month with just Lacina Traore when he had two forwards to replace was always going to be a gamble and what this result brings into stark relief now is the choice confronting Martinez and his Chairman as the transfer deadline looms. Persist with the apparent wait-and-see approach whereby much of the powder accumulated from sales of Fellaini, Anichebe and Jelavic is kept dry until the summer; or invest now in an attempt to keep up the charge for a top-four place? The injury to Lukaku will almost certainly prompt one move before Friday but will the boat be pushed out further?

Certainly, one result does not spell the end for what has been an impressive season. It is, after all, only the third loss the Blues have suffered all season but if there were doubts that this squad could maintain the level needed to secure a place in the top four in its current form, they were surely confirmed tonight. Stick, or twist...?

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Christopher Timmins
334 Posted 29/01/2014 at 06:54:07
Lyndon a great article, not only on the game itself but on the reality that exists at this point in time between the two clubs.

There are 3 days to go before the window shuts and acquiring what is need to sustain a push for the top 4 will be difficult. Clubs with far bigger budgets than Everton would find it difficult to make the necessary signings at this stage.

Chad Schofield
349 Posted 29/01/2014 at 07:13:09
Great final analysis Lyndon. I read through all of the immediate comments on the other thread, and while there were a few gems in amongst sea of hurt, it was Bryan Oviedo's quote I saw a snippet of elsewhere that helped put things into perspective for me.

"You learn from experiences like this. You take knocks in life but the key is to be strong and to fight back."

Ok, its not Martin Luther, but given the disappoint he's facing, I think it's good to start here. We have a couple of days before the window shuts, so it will be interesting to see if we can produce a statement intent. It's easy to get stuck in hyperbole after a scoreline like that, and this is not a career defining moment for Roberto, but without further attacking options now Lukaku's out, we aren't going to set the world alight and there's a danger those who are more fickle (players, staff and fans a like - media it's a given) then undo the strides we've made this season.

Stick or twist is a very good analogy.

Mike Green
356 Posted 29/01/2014 at 07:47:34
Despite some uncomfortable reading, a really great report Lyndon, thank you.

If it was me, and the right striker was striker available, I would have no problem whatsoever about paying over the odds to get him in now.

Martinez made £4m more out of the Fellaini transfer than he had any right to and the same goes for Anichebe, so it's swings and roundabouts.

So - go for it Roberto, twist, but if you do please, please, please set the team up to give them the service they deserve.

Steve Pugh
363 Posted 29/01/2014 at 08:03:58
I hope that he doesn't panic buy now on the back of this result. I would much rather give up on a CL place this season, get the right players in over the summer and do things properly next season.

Remember, this is a season of transition so it is next season that we should be expecting to see results. No dropped points early season whilst players adjust to a new system, a better squad with more Martinez style players and a proper tilt at the title.

All built on the back of an FA cup win.

Who knows we could follow the eighties, win the FA Cup, followed by League Title, Europa League (CWC) and another FA Cup final, only this time we'll win it.

Mike Green
366 Posted 29/01/2014 at 08:19:20
Steve #363 - would it not be better therefore to start building that team now rather than waiting until the summer......?
Mark Palmer
376 Posted 29/01/2014 at 08:36:50
Great report - thanks.

I, like thousands of others have lost face and considerable money on these derbies over the years. Evertonians rarely look forward to them. But let's be realistic, we may covet what the dark side have in terms of resources but we all know we can't compete financially so let's not waste time wishing.

Our best striker is out of form, now crocked and is a loanee anyway. Roberto has a rebuilding plan that doesn't include knee-jerk reactions to a mediocre run of form and a crushing defeat to Liverpool. The gulf between the teams was not the financial worth of our players - we just didn't play well enough, we made mistakes and Roberto's plan either didn't work or was not carried out. Everyone will learn from this.
Peter Jones
384 Posted 29/01/2014 at 08:45:34
I may be naive myself here but I don't understand the blame attached to Stones for the second goal. Surely he was only doing what Coleman has done all season and look to get into attacking positions. Martinez' plan has been for the central midfielders to cover the fullbacks. In this instance Barry gave the ball away under pressure and McCarthy in the centre was ball-watching while Sturridge waltzed past him unseen. Stones was stitched up.
Dave Lynch
385 Posted 29/01/2014 at 08:55:17
Attacking football is changing in the prem.
Gone are the days of the lampost up front, the likes of City, Liverpool and the Arse play with pace and power and tear through defences.

Traore is no more than a lampost with no pace, go and buy speed merchants with an eye for goal for fucks sake.

Rick Tarleton
394 Posted 29/01/2014 at 09:09:06
61% possession! But every pass was across the line of Liverpool players, it was like watching Swansea at their worst. Liverpool had pace, it's not just speed of leg, which they had in abundance, but speed of execution. To play like Barcelona you do need a Messi and an Iniesta so that the patterns become productive, not merely an aesthetic exercise. We need the resources to buy a striker who has pace and strength, especially if Lukaku is out for some time.
Milos Milenkovic
410 Posted 29/01/2014 at 09:23:06
I may be in the minority but I remain very positive about our team and our season. We went there to play football and we tried that for 90 minutes. Unfortunately, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Pienaar and Barkley were not match fit and we've paid heavy price. In particular Jagielka who was directly responsible for 3 goals.

Still, I think we played much better last night than we did a week ago at West Brom. We are in extremely difficult period with so many injured player, but Martinez impressed with his approach, no complaining, winning attitude and passing football. In history of football you will not find many (if any) games where team lost 4-0, but had 61% possession and 18 shots on goal. I respect that and results will come good as a result of such philosophy.

Oh yes, one more thing, when you look at our squad, we have a lot of star players: Coleman, Baines, Oviedo, Jagielka, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku, Deulofeu, with very good goalkeeper, very promising Stones... that is a big pleasure and they will not throw away everything they've done so far.
James Martin
411 Posted 29/01/2014 at 09:30:21
Unfortunately our two respective ways of playing mean that they’ll always have the edge on us. We want to get on the ball and dominate play. Works well against top teams who want to do the same like Arsenal or United, their are gaps and the game is played in the middle of the park with both teams in formation. Liverpool whoever they play sit deep with all bar two men back wait for the mistake and play the long ball forward. We couldn’t resist camping out on the edge of their area pushing both our full backs up and splitting the cbs - suicidal really.

For all the revisionism on here Moyes used to do the same. I think he finally clocked on towards the end and would just devolve the match into a goofing contest to give neither team a platform to work from. It’s no coincidence that the sides who do well against Liverpool are Villa and Pulis’s Stoke, defensive teams who don’t have the ball in midfield long enough to get caught on the break.

If we continue down this road with Martinez we all have to accept that playing teams like Liverpool (and probably Villa)- teams who do t really play in midfield- will be difficult . First year for a while though we can’t just blame one of Moyes Osman or Hibbert. Maybe someone will actually have a look at the tactics for once.

Jim Lloyd
412 Posted 29/01/2014 at 09:20:49
Good report Lyndon and good analysis. I didn't see the match and wouldn't listen to Merseyside, so you've given a me a truer picture than any of the press rags.The only thing I find a difference in is the view that it was the most important Derby in years.

They have such a lead over us in finances and talent already there, that we would have been hard pressed to beat them even if all our players had been fully fit.

I think that the worst thing is that it had to happen at their place that the wheels fell off somewhat in defence but in my view we've seen some really scary passages in defence over the weeks and last night we paid for it.

It would probably have made a difference for us if Gerry and Dizzy had been fit and playing but this just shows us how tiny our squad is, when injuries hit.

No matter how hard we try (and there has been a good improvement in the style of football we play) we cannot turn overnight into C/L condenders. I thought we would be doing well to finish in the top eight and I still think so, with perhaps a good chance of finishing in sixth.

Until Roberto can bring in more more quality players in, we are unlikely to get much higher.

I can't see much chance of us getting in any top quality players in January, so it looks like we'll have to make do until the Summer. Regardless of the results we have had so far, I can only say that of the matches that I have seen this season, Everton have produced somne excellent football, which I think will get more consistent, if we can bring in more quality players; and that looks like it's only going to be on the drip

Maybe this match will shoe RM that there are different tactics that he can try but, to me, more focus needs to come on why we cannot compete in spending power with at least eight clubs, probably more, in the Premiership.

Jim Bennings
422 Posted 29/01/2014 at 09:54:05
Sadly the Merseyside derby now represents something similar to what you would expect in an Arsenal v Millwall London derby.

You just know that the team with the money and better quality players will more often win. Three wins from the last 29 against Liverpool is clear proof of this.

We harp on about having a better squad than Liverpool so we are going to thrash them when the derby arrives but the reality is, and has been for the last 15 years, they have better match winners like Sturridge, Suarez, Gerrard, Coutinho and they always play the match with a burning desire to win.
They play with all the gusto and 110 mph pace that you would like to see Everton play, and nearly every time they do it we have no answers.

It was the same when we went to Anfield in March 2005, billed as the biggest derby for years due to both clubs wanting 4th..They blew us away in a frantic first 25 minutes, ok it ended 2-1 but the damage was done already.

The same thing happened when they had Gerrard sent off early on in 2006, and in 2010 when Kyrgiakos went, they just want it more and when you want it more you generally win.

Chris Leyland
424 Posted 29/01/2014 at 09:55:56
Jim I doubt very much that the match will show Roberto that there are different tactics he can try. Surely, as a professional manager, he know that already? His philosophy is geared around one set of tactics and a belief in playing a particular style and that won’t change. Just as his predecessor was accused on not having a Plan B, the reality is that neither does Roberto.

The main difference is that Roberto’s plan A has the potential to be much more attractive than Moyes Plan A ever was. Will Martinez learn from this? Well, one thing he has learnt is that honeymoons don’t last forever. Losing to your local rivals by the biggest scoreline in over 30 years will certainly take the gloss of him for a number of our supporters. The real test lies ahead. How will he get the players back up for Saturday’s game?

Brian Denton
426 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:03:43
Jim, that was my first comment to my mate after the game. They always want it more, and I can't understand that.
Jim Bennings
434 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:02:09
I don't think we can ever really say that the dust will settle on last nights hammering. We know its another shocking stat for the record books and bragging rights go to them again which is nothing new anyway.

What Martinez has got to do now is be true to his word. He stated that we would be a much stronger squad after the closure of the transfer window so I would suggest we do something now to salvage what we can of making an attempt for the top 5, forget the top 4, even before last night, I have been saying for weeks we don't look good enough in front of goal.

We can only hope this Traore can be fit soon because we win shite all in the air now that Fellaini has gone. I have said time and time again its ok playing pretty football but you need to have other options and right now we can put a cross into the box because we don't have a single damn player who is liable to score a header..When is the last time we scored a header??

Barry has had three poor games on the spin now and to me looks leggy and tired, makes you wonder if the demands of every match is catching him up... Even McCarthy has started looking sluggish lately, never got anywhere near Liverpool all night.

Pienaar maybe isn't fit okay (when is he ever these days?). Barkley needs to get back to full fitness and start doing the same as what he was before he got injured... He has to be our Gerrard in many ways, that's the ultimate goal for the lad. We need to see McGeady start on Saturday.

It won't be an easy game against Villa. They are a side we rarely beat at Goodison and they seem to thrive on playing away from home with the pace on the break and I am a little concerned that their youthful running will test our weary looking legs. Not many sides run Liverpool at Anfield but I watched them there last week and they were as good as the Redshite.

It's a dangerous game for Everton but one which nothing less than THREE points will be good enough from because at this stage of the season we usually find that whilst our rivals grown stronger we tend to grow weaker and weaker.. For fuck's sake, let's buck the trend and the least I want to see on Saturday is some urgent pressing and will to win. Too often lately Everton are starting slow and almost waiting for things to happen, its gone back to the chess games of the first few matches of the season again.

Jim Bennings
440 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:18:04
Brian,

I know I can't understand that either. The only real conclusion I came to looking back over the years it's since Steven Gerrard came on the scene.

I hate the guy but in many ways admire him too. I admire his love for them and the fact that he is so desperate not to lose, in fact he is desperate to beat us badly and unlike our players over the years, he backs up the big talk with big performances.

We just don't have anybody with Gerrard's heart anymore. Yet again I see the pictures in the paper today of Gerrard's header, and it brought back memories of Andy Carroll scoring the winner at Wembley two years ago, caught perfectly in the photograph, it's a Liverpool player out-jumping an Everton player again... Just like when Carroll out jumped Fellaini.

They just seem to know what it means to their fans more than we do nowadays and that's sad.

The only player who knew what it meant was Tim Cahill. You got the feeling that was one guy who relished Anfield and knew what it meant... Other than that we have too many guys who just cruise through it with a bruised nose.

Jim Lloyd
444 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:23:47
I don't think that's the case Chris. No general ever won war after war using the same strategy and tactics. I think we will have to wait and see but to me, Martinez is developing the team's ability to pass the ball and move.

For a number of games including the Arsenal match, we did that splendidly. Against Liverpool at our place, I thought we were the better team.

So my view is that we will see how things develop. I don't expect him to change us during the course of half a season, into the complete outfit. I think he's done well so far. He reckonsd it is a work in progress and I think it's going to take a couple of years, at least, to get us on a level with the top six of the Premiership; and even that will depend on what transfer budgets he has to work with.

Brian Denton
447 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:30:10
Yes Jim, we haven't had a sore loser in a while. Alan Ball had it in spades, Roy Keane more recently. And yes, Gerrard is in that mould, especially against us!
Trevor Thompson
451 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:39:06
Spot on, Jim (#444). I looked at Liverpool when Brenda first took over from them and I could tell that the following season they’d be a much better outfit. That’s proven to be the case.

I think we’re going in the right direction and if we had the players to play Martinez’s system now, we’d make top 4. As it is we just don’t have the players and squad depth. Give him a season or two and at least a half decent transfer kitty and we’ll see a really really good Everton team. Unfortunately, as I’ve said a few times, money talks.

I do believe in Martinez (albeit I wish he had a Plan B).

Paul Kelly
454 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:41:09
Steve 363. Panic buy!

If blue bill was in charge in the 80’s and give Kendall ten bob to spend in Morgan’s on Bold St he’d still want change.

Jim Lloyd
459 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:00:01
Trevor
:)
James Martin
465 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:50:26
Discussions of Martinez’s long term vision have little to do with what happened last night. Fine if it was a tight game and Suarez banged in a 30 yarder but it could have been 7-0. It all comes down to attitude and application and just like under Moyes this group of spinless players don’t have any.

It will be business as usual on Saturday with us looking like the top 4 contenders we have been for two seasons now. We’ve finished ahead of them for two years and no one mentioned money when Moyes got beat there. The squads are evenly matched and the league positions prove this.

The difference is all about how you approach that one game. For them it’s their cup final. For us we’re beaten before the fixture list is out. In the past they were better than us but recently they’re not and recent losses there and at Goodison have not been down to the manager, or weakened teams, or even referees sometimes. It’s down to a group of players with not one Corinthian amongst them . None of them should even be talking about the school if science .

What I’d give for a Ball or Reid in this team. Just a completely different nature of player. They actually took an ounce of responsibility for our results unlike the current squad and that’s why they won stuff unlike the current squad. Let’s enjoy the cup run until a game of any sort of pressure comes round. All Moyes though wasn’t it?

Jim Lloyd
471 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:07:46
In my view the squads aren't evenly balanced. We have nothing like the depth that they have and we haven't got two forwards who are probably among the best in the Premiership.

We still have most of the players that Moyes has bought and some are top class, some are not. We've made some improvements but we are not yet on par with the clubs around the top six, regarding depth of squad.

Sean Kelly
472 Posted 29/01/2014 at 10:50:40
Gutted after last night. As unbearable as it is to lose to the Redshite at anytime last night was embarrassing on so many levels. We were torn a new one all over the park.

I have said it on this site before, we are leaderless on the park. Jagielka was responsible for two if not three of the goals. He should also have directed Stones through the game.

Only Mirallas came out with credit. I'm not making excuses but look what we were able to field last night. Two of our back four were carrying injuries, Stones was exposed on his first derby and Baines has been out of form for most of this season.

Our midfield is in need of a break. Both McCarthy and Barry are looking tired and leggy. Pienaar is not up to it anymore. He is no longer putting in good performance on a regular enough basis. Mirallas put in a shift last night. Lukaku has been shite for two months and is not performing to the levels required.

Roberto got it wrong last night with the high line. After the first goal he should have told them to drop at least ten yards back; this would have diminished the effect of their long ball over the top.

We only have to look at our bench and see that the board is also getting it wrong. Naismith, Gueye and Ossie are not fit for any team trying to get European action next year. I can't for the life of me see how we are stronger in squad terms at this time as the only two we brought in are McGeady and the telephone pole who incidentally is injured.

It's up to Billy and the board to support Roberto and show him the money now and in the summer. If they don't they will lose him to a more progressive club.

Linda Morrison
477 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:11:12
I've read all the comments and here are my thoughts.

I could not believe it when I saw the team with so many unfit players in from the start. Jagielka, Alcaraz, Barkley and Pienaar are still carrying injuries. I think Roberto made a mistake and picked the team with his heart not his head. It was madness to put so many injured players on against the best strike team in the PL.

Better to stick to what we had at Stevenage, put Barkley on the bench and see where we go. It was after all 3 points. We now have Lukaku possibly out for the season, have we all broken mirrors this year or what? And a dejected group of players.

It is over now we move on. The quote from Baby Bryan is good and he is now my top player at the club. I never thought we would make the top 4 when we lost Deulofeu and we have to accept it.

We also have to accept that we do not have the financial clout of a lot of the Premier League, like Man Utd with a debt of £68 million and continue to support the club.

Bob Parrington
479 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:22:48
C'est la vie as the French say. Let's take the long term view of building the club back to what it was, come hell or high water! There will always be set backs. It's how we respond that is most important. In my humble view, we have the manager to do this providing he has the right kind of support from the board.
COYB
James Martin
480 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:23:40
We are Jim because we’’ve been up and around the top 6 for ages. We may not have the numbers but the quality (if not the mentality) of our first team is indisputable. Don’t confuse not having striking options with not having depth. We’’ve got full backs and widemen galore. They haven’t but have two good strikers, if they were injured they’d have depth issues too.

Over the past two seasons we’ve finished ahead of then and are near them now so how can their squad be fundamentally better? I still think we’ll finish ahead of them because their mentality when not playing us or United is shocking. Unfortunately that counts for nothing in the one off games.

Paul Kelly
483 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:34:28
James. You forgot to add RM inability to change tactics when it was obviously not working. I agree with everything else.
Phil Walling
488 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:50:47
So it's now a battle for a seventh place finish with The Barcodes.

Will the Board provide Martinez with the resources to win even this modest duel?

I doubt it.

Brian Harrison
489 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:44:33
I thought the big difference last night was the speed at which they counter attacked and their passing was a lot more incisive. There is no doubt our football on most occasions this season has been a joy to watch, but I hope RM looks at the game last night and reflects that sometimes a quick pass to a front man or behind the opponents back 4 is sometimes a better option than a slow patient build up.

I think too often we make 10 passes when 2 would have been a better option, just like the opposition did last night apart from the goal from the corner their other goals was 1 or 2 passes which found their player goal side with only the keeper to beat.

Maybe one of the reasons why Lukaku's goals have dried up of late is that our midfield seem reluctant to play the ball past their last defender for Lukaku to use his pace and strength, and prefer to play it into his feet when closely marked and close control is not one of his strengths.
Richard Reeves
491 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:12:40
Putting aside the injuries, I think most of us thought we would get the odd heavy defeat due to the way we play. I just can't believe it was against them lot but, putting aside the injuries, and that we didn't really turn up, there were a few things of concern I noticed.

1) Pienaar should've been subbed early on as everything he did was useless.

2) There was too much reliance on using the wings and not enough penetration through the middle; play always ended up left to right and vice versa with the end result being a cross from the wings or pass on the ground from the wings... too predictable.

3) If two players keep passing the ball back and forth to each other repeatedly, wasting time, then someone isn't moving into their correct position.

4) Osman did okay when he came on but — if he and Naismith are our most threatening players to come on when we are chasing a game — then we are fucked; both shouldn't be here next year.

5) We need another attacking midfielder who can thread balls through from midfield like Barkley who could challenge him for his position.

6) If we do get Lukaku next year it won't be enough, Lukaku and Kone will not be enough, we need more strikers,

7) Mirallas was one of our better players last night but he should be scoring more goals for his selfishness.
8)We haven't got enough fire power in our attacking players, Pienaar, Mirallas and Barkley are not getting enough goals in those positions, I can understand Barkley is still learning but the other two should be doing much better.

Still, all it takes is for them to loose one game and were only a point behind, there's plenty of time for that and if we could beat them to 4th then that will hurt them more than this scoreline hurts us. As much as I don't like to admit it I would of accepted that if offered at the beginning of the season.

Alex Mullan
493 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:59:05
Brian Harrison, spot on.

I also worry that last night's battering will provide the 'How to Beat Everton For Dummies' quick fix for managers facing us in the coming weeks.

Basically, sit back and lump the ball forward on the counter and your golden, in large part due to our very attacking system. It works better when Coleman is on, Stone just didn't know where he was.

Paul Olsen
500 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:17:06
Excellent report Lyndon!
Robbie Muldoon
501 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:14:52
Some harsh lessons should be taken from that last night.

Martinez has had his hand forced with injuries and I admire his philosophy, no risk no rewards. But to send out a back four in that shape against the best attacking line in the league bar Man City was naive in the extreme. It was a sign as soon as I saw John Stones and Alcaraz both on the team sheet. A central pairing playing for the first time both with fitness issues and a very inexperienced centre back playing on the right was too much risk against the aggressive, speed merchants in Liverpool's line up. That said we still would have been beaten but it definitely cost us a goal and had us all over the place.

Injuries just took their toll in the end but I thought Pienaar was absolutely woeful and I really think his time is up. So many bad performances all over the park I think only Mirallass and McCarthy can hold their heads up.

Next week get Distin back, somebody at right back, Deulofeu and Traore and McGeady involved and we'll get back to winning and keep the pace for 4th but it's a long shot now.

Mike Oates
503 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:27:21
I cant for the life of me understand Roberto's fascination with Alcaraz. He is undoubtedly an excellent "footballer" as opposed to a hoofer but he is too slow against the speed merchants he has to face (God forbid Saturday vs Agbonlahor). What is the point of having someone around who is an injury jinxed player, capable of playing only 2-3 games before he is out again.

I was also dismayed to read and have no reason to disbelieve the article, that Jags was really pushed to play by the manager, when he himself didn't think he was fit enough.

Trevor Thompson
505 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:33:32
Mike 503. I gather Alcaraz was meant to be nothing more than 3rd or 4th choice cover. I think Martinez brought him in because he is comfortable on the ball and knows how Martinez likes to play. I doubt he'll feature much next season unless we have an injury crisis.
Peter Collins
506 Posted 29/01/2014 at 11:34:08
Jim #444

So RM says it's a work in progress, and you think it will take a couple of years at least. Let's not forget that RM inherited a top 6 team packed with international players plus at least £25 million to spend.

And remember that DM took over a team that was fighting relegation, and within a few years and no money still managed to finish 4th.

So come on Roberto, it's at least top 6, no excuses please.

James Martin
512 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:34:19
There’s too much preoccupation with centrebacks’ speed. The bottom line is they shouldn’t both be on opposite flanks in the opposition half. Some of the best Italian defenders barely moved outside of a ten yard box when they played. We can’t base a game plan on having centrebacks faster than every striker in the league.

The defense primarily needs to defend which means Baines can’t go on a suicide run every single attack, Stones shouldnt be tasked with creating every attack for us. I mean what did the midfield do apart from filter it sideways for the full backs? Nothing.

A lot of the blame for our attacking woes lies with the slow conservative nature of the midfield two. You could have Messi upfront but if he’s got 7 defenders round him because you’ve taken ten minutes to get up the pitch he’s useless. People still think the answer is just to buy yet another striker. How about skmekne finally stumps up some cash for a playmaker for crying out loud who can pass forward.

Guy Hastings
517 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:40:40
As I said to my my last night, if that was us 3-0 up at half time we'd be thinking we need at least another two to make sure. I have a horrible feeling that we won't win there in the league again until Gerrard retires.
Kevin Tully
521 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:38:45
Painful doesn't even begin to describe it. There is no tactical deconstruction to analyse . It was obvious the manager & players just didn't get it right last night. We were beaten by a team who were hungrier for the win, and every tackle was won by their defenders, every shot we had was blocked.

With a fully fit squad and first choice players, I do believe we have the talent to beat them though.

I don't want to knock the lad after a bad injury - but does anyone think Lukaku is worth a reputed £25m? He's just not a good enough footballer to justify that price tag foe me.

Tommy Davis
536 Posted 29/01/2014 at 12:32:46
I keep reading we have only beaten the rs 3 times in 29 years at Anfield, I presume in the league only, (which is truly utterly abysmal) but without being pedantic & mainly cos I am clutching at straws, isn't it 4 wins in the 29 or 30 years? 1984 1-0, 1986 2-0, 1995 2-1 & 1999 1-0?? Anyway that is not my point, more for clarification, however it got me to thinking, it seems when we are able to keep a clean sheet we win, apart from the 2-1 game, when Special K scored both goals, but I started looking at our home record too & remarkably, going back to 1993, all 6 of our victories are without conceding a solitary goal, 1993 2-0, 1994 2-0, 1997 2-0, 2004 1-0, 2006 3-0 & 2010 2-0, so in beating them in those 10 games, we gave up one solitary goal, quite interesting eh?!?

There are not enough adjectives for me to describe our record against them, since they got promoted to the 1st division back in 1962, my stomach actually churns, it really is disgusting, pathetic & only when we had Joe Royle as manager, with the Big Yin leading the line, did we scare the shit out of them & they were the ones that hardly won!! Nothing can coat over, or change that abject performance last night, or the previous season either, when Gerrard scored that hat-trick, like most of us on here, I am venting, hurting, angry, yet looking for some light in this awful gloom, but as I have said previously prior to this posting, let's see how we are doing when we get most of our squad back, sadly this result will live with us for quite some time!!

Excellent report Lyndon, nailed it as usual!!

Bill Griffiths
547 Posted 29/01/2014 at 14:45:58
Linda, I agree with your thoughts entirely. However there have been posters on TW all week hoping he we should start with these players if available and if it was down to many of them they’d have even had Del Boy playing. Lunatics if you ask me.

Well he did start with them and he’s now getting slated for doing so. The guy can’t win really. If he’d left them out and we’d lost he’d have been slated for not starting them.

Bill Griffiths
549 Posted 29/01/2014 at 14:56:32
Steve (363), my thoughts entirely. Mike (366), RM has stated on previous occasions that he will not be buying in the January window as the players of the quality needed are not usually readily available.

I am sure that if any player RM was interested in came available, then I’m sure he’d try to buy him. It’s not worth buying a stop gap player for a quick fix, then not having the money available in the summer to strengthen properly.

Bill Gall
553 Posted 29/01/2014 at 14:56:08
Great post Lyndon that showed the differance between a club that is able to invest in their team and a club that is either not able or not willing to invest in their team.

As for the chairman willing to invest before the Transfer window closes, don t hold your breath as the only players available will be loan players who cant even get in their own clubs.

We have the players who are capable of achieving a position in the Europen cups the problem is we do not have the sqad to cover injuries.
,

Mike Gaynes
556 Posted 29/01/2014 at 15:21:43
Lyndon, many thanks for the great report. I missed the game unexpectedly, so your level of detail and description is deeply appreciated. And your perspective on the talent gap between the two sides is irrefutable.

I think I will skip seeing the replay.

Ian Tunstead
560 Posted 29/01/2014 at 15:20:43
Yes, Lukaku is worth £25m, He is 20 years old and has already proven himself to be a goal scorer in the PL over 2 seasons. When he is 25 he will be worth double.
James Martin
584 Posted 29/01/2014 at 16:05:57
Ian he has the talent to get to the top but I severely doubt his attitude. It’s like playing with ten men sometimes he’s so lazy.
Bill Gall
612 Posted 29/01/2014 at 16:58:22
Mike sorry but that high line has been played in every game before last night and it was a system that had been working against other teams. Last night the central pair did not understand who was marking who and the midfield were not closing down the supply like they usually do.
Raymond Fox
638 Posted 29/01/2014 at 17:07:32
Mike 503, why single out Alcaraz as the scapegoat, he was neither better or worse than Jags, Baines or young Stones.
If your excusing Jags because he wasn't fit, was Alcaraz fit?

It was because we all went gung ho in search of goals.
They defended in numbers hit us on the break with great through balls, while their strikers timed their runs to perfection.

Usain Bolt couldn't have caught up with them once they were put through.

James Martin
639 Posted 29/01/2014 at 17:32:18
Who is this other James Martin? Or has my name ended up on someone elses post?
Patrick Murphy
644 Posted 29/01/2014 at 17:35:44
Did the Kop really chant "Liverpool are magic, Everton are tragic" last night? Well, I can believe it – but when they come around with the charity boxes and ask for sympathy and empathy, they can do one as far as I'm concerned.

As for whoever was responsible for the throwing of missiles at our end of the ground – we don't need you... we don't want you and you can also do one. Fancy giving that odious excuse for a man a reason to put our club in a bad light.

"Liverpool striker Luis Suarez reports Everton fans throwing coins at him at Anfield. Striker informs referee that visiting supporters pelted him while he was preparing to take a corner."

Brian Denton
650 Posted 29/01/2014 at 17:49:29
Patrick, yes they did sing that. At some points I felt I was regressing to my childhood with some of their songs; that one, and 'Show Them the Way to go Home' as well as the normal dirge. Also one of those plastic supporter banners with a picture of 'Sir' Roger Hunt.

One of the saddest things is now I have to admit that their ground (which my dad always used to refer to as 'The Barn') is better than ours.

Dan Brierley
662 Posted 29/01/2014 at 17:47:27
I think there is some tactical analysis we can learn, especially when we look at Lukaku and try to understand what the issue is.

Behind Lukaku we had Barkley, Barry and McCarthy, with Pienaar and Mirallas down the channels.

Liverpool had Suarez in the centre forward position supported wide by Sturridge and Sterling, with Coutinho, Gerrard and Henderson behind them.

Whilst Barkley has pace, drive and an eye for goal, I am yet to see any vision from him with regard to picking out other players runs. Mirallas is also in exactly the same mould, and not someone I would say is looking for other players. Our central duo are both defensive players that break up play or pass the ball out wide when in possession. Leaving Pienaar, who I cannot say is consistently good at playing quality balls through the centre. Wide man link up play seems to be his forte.

When we compare this to Liverpool, only Jordan Henderson could be considered as a defensive type player, yet he has managed 6 assists this season. This is the same number as Barry, McCarthy and Barkley combined.

To summarise, our weakness seems to be moving the ball forward too slowly, letting the opposing team get behind the ball. The reason for this appears to be we have nobody able to pick out a pass coming through the centre of the park. Lukaku seems to be one of these strikers that likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender looking to make runs. But I think its clear, we don't have anybody that that actually pick him out at the moment, hence the reason he is struggling and losing motivation and engagement. It seems such a waste to have this talented finisher, yet play a style that does not use his talents.

Mick Davies
772 Posted 29/01/2014 at 21:11:32
The good news: next season, they almost certainly won't have subhuman Cilla, and we will definitely be stronger. The balance of power is shifting and last night was Gerrard's last chance to do us and he played like a man possessed.

Without Coleman alone, we were destroyed on the right, factor in the not fully fit Barkley, Pienaar Jags and Alcaraz, the early injury to Lukaku and the missing Oviedo, Delboy, Distin etc, not to mention the introduction of inferior quality in Osman and Naismith, and even Tranmere would have beaten us last night.

I really believe our luck has to change and with the kopites having (Sewer Rat aside) an average team, I still think we can gain revenge by snatching 4th place from them. Roll on Villa and get this sour taste out of the system. Remember that 5-0 under Kendall, and what followed? COYB

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