Tuesday night hurt. It hurt so much I had to force myself not to think about Everton for a couple of days. But recently i’ve been able to go over it in my head, and formed what i think is a reasonable analysis of the game. Hopefully it will be of interest to other blues, so here goes.

  1. Fire In The Belly

    Their game plan was there to see from the off. They came at us like a pack of wolves and hounded us off the ball. I was shocked by the veracity if it just watching the game on tv, so god knows what it must have been like for players, especially those who haven’t played in a derby before. They showed heart and it scared us i think, becuase we had no counter. I don’t mean that in a footballing sense, because i think we could out pass them all day long. However, we were lacking mentally I think. What we needed was someone (preferably the captain) to show an example.

    To show grit and steel and determination to win the ball, to show them we weren’t going to be pushed around. To go at them as hard as they came at us. You all know the kind of player i mean, and unfortunately he is personified in their bloody captain. Now I’m not saying Jags isn’t a good captain, but I feel like we were lacking someone vocal, someone who would really lead by example. We didn’t have this and so they put us on the back foot until their first goal.

  2. First Goal Wins The Game

    Their pressing and aggression finally paid off with Gerrard’s goal. This for me is the most significant point in the whole game for two reasons. Firstly, it allows Brendan to change his game plan, from aggression to dissipation. As we all knew, after the opening exchanges, our midfield began to take a hold of possession. They were depleted in the centre of the park where as we were at full strength. They couldn’t live with us so they sat back and soaked it up. They were able to do this because they knew we had to come out and play once we had conceded. Martinez is a great believer in always playing our game, whoever the opposition. He will go out and attack the game under any circumstances. Rogers knew this, and he encouraged it once we had conceded. They sat back, and we pushed up. Another way of looking at it is, they drew us out. Rogers knew his midfield could not live with ours, but he also knew our makeshift back four could not deal with his front three. Rarely have i seen such a display of counter attacking football, much as it pains me to admit it.

    The second reason that their first goal is pivotal is the loss of Lukaku. I think Mirallas demonstrated best why we needed the big belgian on the field. Mirallas was one of our stand out performers by far. Besides Osman i don’t remember seeing another player in a blue shirt who showed as much grit and determination (never mind prowess) to get the ball forward and get at their defence. But time and again despite amazing skill Mirallas’ attempts met with a brick wall. I think what Lukaku would have offered is a bloody great battering ram to pick up the ball in the final third and charge like a rampaging bull at their back line.

    Much has been made of our passing skill this season, and i’ll admit that it is beautiful to watch and i love seeing it. It’s also been pointed out on this site and elsewhere, that many of our goals have actually come from long balls to Lukaku, who knocks it down and moves on. We simply did not have this option on Tuesday. Naismith is ok but he is not world class. He certainly can’t bring the ball down and lay it off the way Lukaku can. What might have helped us on Tuesday was the option to go long. To move the ball quickly up field rather than taking 10 wonderfully executed short passes. In essence, we needed to mix it up and we had no outlet to do so.

  3. High Line and High Risk

    As has been alluded to above, we were undone by excellent counter attacking play. Martinez opted for a high defensive line and it proved to be our downfall. I can see the advantage in that it compresses the space in which the game is played, it gives our midfielders greater passing options in order to work the ball around the opposing team. It is also painfully obvious now that it takes a certain type of defender to do this. Primarily, we lacked the pace in our back 4 to play this system properly. Admittedly, they were up against one of the most potent attacks in the league, and boy where they fast on the break. Stones is a young lad and had clearly been encouraged to play in the mould of Coleman and race down the wing at any opportunity. Unfortunately, and unlike Coleman, he did not possess the pace to get back in to position when it really counted. Jags and Alcaraz both seemed off the pace too, whether that is a lack of fitness or just a general lack of pace i do not know, but we were certainly made to pay for it on the night. It is easy for me with the benefit of retrospect to say our line was too high and it was obvious all the way through the game. Baines i think was ok defensively, however he just doesn’t seem the player he was last season. That though is for a different thread.

  4. 4. On Another Day

    Lets imagine a scenario in which the game played out differently. (Wouldn’t that be nice.) Let’s imagine that rather than conceding the first goal, we had scored it instead. All of a sudden, the roles are reversed. Liverpool then have to come at us hard, and we play on the break. Lets imagine Lukaku is on the field, and along with Mirallas (and personally i reckon) McGeady, we have the pace to punish them they way the punished us. Now i don’t think we would have scored four, as we are not quite as potent as them in attack, however, i firmly believe we wouldn’t have conceded four either. During the first 20 mins or so of the game, they swarmed round our box, but we lived with it. Yes Howard had to make some saves, but i never felt like we couldn’t defend against them. The problem came when they counter attacked. When they came at us and we were all in position, they couldn’t get through.

  5. 5. Final Thought.

    So, Martinez has had his arse handed to him on a plate, and our players have suffered the ignominy of a battering at Anfield. What does it mean for the future? Well, lest we forget, both teams are still in the FA Cup. I am confident that we can get to the Semi’s and i imagine they will too. What are the chances of meeting them again? Reasonably high knowing our luck. However, perhaps Martinez will have learned enough about both sets of players to knock them out of the cup. Just think of the satisfaction that would bring....

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Reader Comments (27)

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Linda Morrison
1 Posted 30/01/2014 at 19:03:52
Adam I agree too many players injured. But all will be well at Spurs apparently they are all fit!
Steavey Buckley
2 Posted 30/01/2014 at 19:48:20
Everton were just poor defensively.
Frank Wade
3 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:11:31
Good summary Adam. I would add that the absence of Distin was sorely felt, especially his pace in recovery.

Your point on advantage of having a vocal captain is interesting, agreed and well made. I seem to remember our previous captain being constantly castigated on TW for his 'pointing and shouting'. Not sure how much is heard on a pitch in a derby atmosphere anyway. Isn't it funny when you see a manager on the touchline whistling in a vain attempt to get the attention of a player in the din.

Andy Crooks
4 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:35:23
Interesting post,Adam.Your assertion that RM will play his game"whatever"if true, would in my view, be a fundamental flaw.
John Zapa
5 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:36:46
One manager got his tactics and selection spot on, the other was clueless, inflexible and did not react to the realities on the field. Even the post match press conference he continued in the same vain.
I worry of the long term damage he will do to the club given a few more transfer windows.
Frank Wade
6 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:47:17
Another factor to consider was the early head injury to Pienaar. He looked off the pace afterwards and not himself, possibly suffering from a concussion resulting in his withdrawal for Osman at half time.
Anthony Washington
8 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:52:01
A well thought out article which I agree with, no doubt the shite deserved to win but they did not outplay us and when you're giving out gifts to one of the best strike forces in the Premier League, they are not going to miss out.

As usual some of the reaction to the shite winning has been completely over the top as proved by the biased article penned by the awful David Maddock in today's Mirror.

Gavin McGarvey
9 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:48:30
Good post. Like Moyes, Martinez is a little inflexible IMO. That being said, at least they are not constantly chopping and changing players and tactics. Also there are a lot of positives in Martinez's philosophy. I like the fact that his team is relentless in driving forward, and also his determination to control the middle of the park.

We must remember that he's a young manager and still learning, hopefully he'll improve. I can't imagine he was too happy after Tuesday's game, and like a few of our players, he'll have been looking at his decisions again carefully on Wednesday morning.

Raymond Fox
10 Posted 30/01/2014 at 20:49:12
Well Adam I think your summary is flawed, some of it is correct, but not the start for me.
My recollection of the start was that for the first 10-15 whatever minutes we started well, Ross fired a powerful left footed shot 6" over the bar from just outside the box with the goalie beaten if it was a shade lower it was a goal, Mirallas skimmed their right post etc. Ross then fired another just over.
Then Liverpool did exert some pressure and scored from the corner on 21mins, in many ways again it could be classed as a poor defended goal with Barry supposedly marking Gerrard and to compound the agony crocked Lukaku, double wammy.

So what do you want Roberto to do, we cant sit back, we have to score to get back on terms at least, they like you say defended well, sat back and soaked up the pressure.
Coutino then hit a great through ball which Sturridge ran onto bingo 2-0.

Were 2 behind now what do you want us to do now, sit back and keep them to only 2?
We had to try and get a goal so it was ditto 3-0, time to go home!
Ditto again 4-0 end of.

Lets face it, their 11 were better then our 11, add to the fact they got the first goal, so we were always chasing the game after that.
It was how the game unfolded, allied to their stronger squad who on the night outplayed us.
What different was RM supposed to do?

Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say well done to the opposition you played better than us.
Put Goofy and Sturridge in our side and the result might have been different.

David Hallwood
11 Posted 30/01/2014 at 21:38:17
I agree with Steavey Buckley(#278) it was a mixture of piss poor defending and great finishing. 1st goal Gerrard lost his man in the box and scored from a corner with a man on the line. 2nd goal IMHO Barry & McCarthy went AWOL an left a gaping hole in the middle 3rd goal was a ball down the middle that a pair of Sunday League CBs should have been able to deal with. And the 4th was Jags' error.

Much have been made about playing a high line against such good strikers, but we've been doing it all season and it's been successful including against the RS at home (yes I know it was a draw but we really should've won). The success of our formation is down to the holding mids; they are the glue that holds the team together, sadly both of them played poorly. Lets hope that was their bad game and its business as usual vs Villa.

Dick Brady
12 Posted 30/01/2014 at 22:31:26
Big Players win big games. That's where this game was won and lost.

Who are Liverpool's big players? Suarez, Sturridge & Gerrard. And each of them came up with goals.

Who are Everton's big players? Do we have big players?

I think we have a great team of players who together can become bigger then the sum of their parts. But I don't think we have big players and that's why we continue to lose big games.

Big players win big games.

Dave Williams
14 Posted 30/01/2014 at 22:37:45
I assume John is joking with his closing sentence?
Roberto is in his first season and has done very well but we have to accept a few blips just like the RS had to last year when Rogers was fresh to the job.To really get his team right he needs two centre halves who are comfortable on the ball(Stones is one)and Ross to play CM as the creative player leaving Kev to play off the main striker.We have a way to go before Roberto has his perfect team but we are well on the way.
Dick Fearon
15 Posted 30/01/2014 at 22:51:08
Hopefully we are not in for another decade of a manager on an endless learning curve.
A few bubbles were pricked in the derby and the inflexable mind set of Martinez was one of them.
Adam L highlighted some of our faults but there is no doubting Rodgers handed Roberto a few tactical and motivational lessons.

I am concerned that other managers have seen just how easily our much vaunted passing game can come unstuck. All that is needed is pack their back line and bypass the midfield with long balls into our deserted half of the pitch. This is compounded when our keeper is hesitant to come off his line.
Jags can expect to be bombarded with long balls to deal with.
Unless that is rectified

Tommy Davis
16 Posted 30/01/2014 at 22:20:20
I think it was a very good assessment Adam, the only thing I would add to it, from my perspective, was the lack of personnel RM had choose from?!? I cannot believe that all four of the returning players in question, Jags, Alcaraz, Barks & Peanuts, were all fully fit, but what choices did he have??

On the bench we had McGeady (Not match fit), Ossie (Most would not have started him, but debatable) , Naismith Clearly not Prem standards, but tries hard), Hibbert (Just coming back from a long time injury), Garbutt (Just called recalled from his loan after Bryan Oviedo's injury as cover), Gueye (what is there to say really, I don't believe he can make it in the Prem) & Robles (Deputy for Tim Howard)

Out of the six outfield players on the bench, only Ossie at this moment in time, possibly should/could have started instead of Peanuts, but it was at the back where we needed a solid partnership & not having Distin was a huge blow, but playing Jags & Alka Seltzer, who both clearly did not appear to be match fit after their respective injuries, was NOT the answer?!?

Then we go a goal down early, after Barry slipped & unfortunately fell on top of Lukaku, injuring the only fit striker we had, yet again RM had very few options available to him!! I have read various posts asking for Johnny H & Vellios to have played, but even had they been on the bench, does anyone really, truly think they would have made a difference?!? Johnny H from 18 months ago, most certainly would have done & in hindsight, he probably could not have done much worse than the pair of center backs 'playing' that night!?!

Bottom line, we got hammered, but I honestly believe we could have beaten them with a full squad to pick from, but we will never know, what I do know is that we are in trouble, in trying to field a strong starting eleven against Villa this coming weekend! I firmly believe RM has very little in funds (sound familiar), but what can he do.................wait till the present squad gets fit again?!? It would appear to be the case, as he himself said, unless Johnny H leaves, no one else is coming in.........oh dear, not good Bill K, you'd better ask yer cronies to dip in their pockets mate, or this season could end up being a disaster?!?

Patrick Murphy
17 Posted 31/01/2014 at 00:02:59
Did we lose a Cup Final, did we lose a CL Qualifier or did we just lose face? I'm not against posters running the rule over the team, the manager or the club, but I don't remember reading an in depth analysis of how the team won at Old Trafford or how we out passed Arsenal at the Emirates. I wouldn't have welcomed that either as to judge the team on one isolated match is hardly a basis to judge the team and its performance as a whole.

I'll admit I only read a few lines of the OP as I am trying to draw a veil over the whole episode of Tuesday evening. If we judged how well or otherwise the team was doing on just one game, the match at Anfield would be the last one I would personally choose in any season, never mind this one. If that particular fixture was the basis for how our club and team was to be judged we would have had a different manager every season for the last 15 years.

Si Cooper
18 Posted 31/01/2014 at 00:08:29
Raymond (#347) - very different recollection to me concerning the opening exchanges. Though we had a couple of openings, Tim Howard was much the busier of the keepers. At times they had us backed all the way into our own area and were taking shots or trying to slip balls through legs to their players making runs into our area. None of it was particularly effective but I was shocked at the ease with which they bottled up our defence and central midfield.

I disagree with the OP in that I don't think we were secondary in aggression (it was never that sort of a match), just in urgency and alertness. They just moved the ball more quickly and with far more effectiveness than we did for large parts of the game. We made them even more effective by ceding possession cheaply and committing to attacks too quickly.

John Zapa (#318) - seemed to me that the manager summed up his mistakes pretty well after the game - wrong tactical / personnel choices based on misguided trust that the players had enough in the tank to take on the RS in a wide open game. Not surprised he didn't go into a lengthy dissection of the game, not the time or the place for that.

Robbie Muldoon
19 Posted 31/01/2014 at 00:25:41
It's hard to see it now but that hiding might end up doing us a favour. Everybody involved will be determined to avoid anything like that again. A lot of players in a blue shirt fairly new to the Merseyside derby and the manager was naive in expecting to be able to be ourselves in that game. Everybody knows you can't.

Steven Gerrard spoke of how his red card and loss in the Campbell Anfield win drives him to avoid losing these games, well our manager at the least has experienced a derby he will never want to repeat.

Man City did United 6-1 at OT and a year later United won the league. This result can help spur us on, we are a good side already going in the right direction.

Mark Taylor
20 Posted 31/01/2014 at 00:33:09
Basically it was 3). Or to be more precise, our defence was non existent, the two CB's a country mile off the pace, Stones out of his depth and/or too far up the field and Baines in very subdued mood.

Otherwise, we played OK given half the team is out.

Simon Temme
21 Posted 31/01/2014 at 02:42:17
We recieved a classic counter attack mauling.

Strength in depth: Lacking

Strength in defence: Lacking

Strength of tackling: Lacking

Belief in RM's ethos: Not lacking

The will to bounce back: Just wait and see - Not Lacking

A very strong finish to the season: Not lacking

In Roberto we trust, 4th, 6th, 7th - The school of science is back.

Anto Byrne
22 Posted 31/01/2014 at 05:15:24
How many yellow cards were handed to the shite? If we as much breathed on them they fell over screaming blue murder. Gerrard got off scott free with the most blatant of cynical fouls. As far as I'm concerned, the derbies are a given as those pricks always have the ref in their pocket.
Harold Matthews
23 Posted 31/01/2014 at 05:10:56
When you know someone can beat you for speed, you don't give rhem 30/40 yards of space to run into. Martinez laid the blame on the players for losing possession and allowing themselves to be exposed. Slightly unfair but he was looking a bit shellshocked at the time. The whole business was a nightmare for everyone but they will go through every error behind closed doors and hopefully put things right against Villa.
Conor Waters
24 Posted 31/01/2014 at 07:12:45
Adam made some interesting points in the OP, as did the rest of the posts. But lets be brutally honest and face some harsh facts. This problem goes much deeper than missing a few key players or full fitness queries over some who did play.

Put simply, we have an inbuilt inferiority complex when it comes to the RS. Particularly at Anfield. Its in our DNA to shit ourselves when we come up against them. This has been happening for 50-60 years now. Its become a mental block which has been carried on and passed down throughout generations of Everton sides.

We are the Atletico, the are the Real. Forever living in their shadow. Were called bitter blues, and we know it, because we are. All the injustices over the years have made us so, and as a result we go into every game with them expecting more injustice, inevitably a defeat.

Search your feelings, you know this to be true....


Raymond Fox
25 Posted 31/01/2014 at 09:33:24
Si 400.
I have not watched the game again but it was the impression I got, you and Adam may well be correct, but I do remember thinking early on, were doing alright here!
How long that early period was may have been shorter than the 10-15mins I put in the 1st post, who knows without watching it again, perhaps we should (too painful maybe)
I'll bet RM has watched it a few times since though!
I think the rest of my post 347, is accurate enough, that's how I saw it anyway, apart from Mirallas, Ross and Howard they were just better than us in every position.

I guess at the end of the day, I'm sorry to say money is basically at the root of the problem, were shopping at BHS while their buying at Harrods!

Frank Thomas
26 Posted 31/01/2014 at 22:31:13
The night we played Liverpool it poured down and we got caught playing short pass carpet football. We nearly had the same problem when we played Stevenage. Combine this with a 6 man compact Liverpool defence so what we really missed was Colman or another winger like McGeady playing from the start. Fast dribbling wingers in the box defeated packed defences in the 80's.

Arsenal also played their worst game of the season that night and it would be interesting to know what the weather was like for their game.

Has anyone actually looked at the remaining fixtures because I think we may end up with about 6 more points than the RS

Mike Powell
27 Posted 01/02/2014 at 09:28:26
We got beat because we were awful. No excuse, they battered us.
Rick Tarleton
28 Posted 02/02/2014 at 12:39:43
A good assessment except for the first section: "Fire in the Belly". This is the standard fallback cry for every aspect of every sport involving British teams. Yes the players have to want it, that's a given, but "Fire in the Belly" does not make up for lack of skill or in this case, dubious tactics.

We had 61% of the possession and more corners than Liverpool, but we played across them not through them and when they attacked with real pace, we had a boy out of position again and again, a half fit Jagielka, Baines too was usually in no-man's land and Distin was sorely missed. Yet we didn't change the tactics.

Colin Glassar
29 Posted 02/02/2014 at 12:54:34
They just wanted it more on the night. They knew our weaknesses and exploited them to the full, as they did in the first derby. Roberto's great advantage is that he will learn from this and I doubt this will ever happen again.

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