Everton share the spoils but rue the chance to put the Reds to the sword

Another derby, another draw; honours even and bragging rights postponed for another day.

Lyndon Lloyd 04/10/2015 21comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Liverpool

Another derby, another draw; honours even and bragging rights postponed for another day. As always, the point will do but with Liverpool struggling for form and the pressure mounting on the soon-to-be-sacked Brendan Rodgers, this was another opportunity for an arguably superior Everton side to claim a first victory over the reds for five years that went begging.

As has become customary in the wake of the Blues' poor derby record, the psychological aspect of this fixture dominated the build-up to this Goodison derby all week. While the inferiority complex is gone, however and with it the mental hang-up that has paralysed Everton teams against Liverpool in the past psychology did play a role in Blues' performance today in that they allowed themselves to be dragged into a scrap when they didn't need to be.

The absence of Steven Gerrard and Liverpool's well-publicised lack of Scouse talent in their starting XI meant that this had the potential to be the least "derby-like" derby in recent memory but, feee=ding off the crowd's fevered energy, Roberto Martinez's men lapsed into a frenetic demeanour when you just felt that a more considered approach more akin to the Catalan's usual modus operandi would have served them better.

Part of it was likely down to an apparent instruction from the manager to hit Romelu Lukaku early with quick balls from the back and midfield but many of those attempts to prey on any weakness in Rodgers' back three often resulted in possession being given away and Liverpool mounting attacks of their own.

Article continues below video content

The upshot was that it was the visitors who looked the more composed of the two sides early on and who had the better of the first half hour, forcing man of the match Phil Jagielka into a number of crucial interventions at the heart of an inexperienced back four that included three players making their first starts in a derby.

Ably assisted by Gareth Barry, who had another excellent game patrolling in front of and inside his own penalty area, Everton's youthful defence repelled almost everything that was thrown at them in the first half, in the face of determination from Philippe Coutinho and James Milner to strike the first blow for the beleagured Rodgers.

It was no surprise that it was that pair who carved out the visitors' best chance of the half in the 26th minute, with Milner latching onto the Brazilian's impressive pass towards the six-yard box, only to be foiled by Howard's foot which prevented the ball from sneaking inside his near post.

That sparked some overdue activity at the other end where Everton finally benefited from a refereeing decision by Martin Atkinson in their favour when Barkley was tripped by Emre Can in a central position. A controversial appointment to begin with given his appalling history taking charge of this fixture, Atkinson was gallingly one-sided all afternoon but Barkley almost profited from the rare free kick by depositing the resulting set piece onto Steven Naismith's head. The Scot was denied by a superb one-handed save by Simon Mignolet, however, and the Belgian 'keeper was on hand three minutes later to push James McCarthy's goalbound shot past his post despite being partially unsighted by Brendan Galloway in front of him.

With Liverpool winning a succession of corners as a result of dogged Everton defending, there was always the danger that the Blues' fallability from dead-ball situations might be their undoing, and so it proved four minutes before half time. Danny Ings, hitherto a largely benign threat apart from one early shot that he flashed over the bar, dropped off Barkley as the corner was floated in and, with Howard static and rooted to his goal line, he had the simple task of nodding past the American to hand the reds the lead.

In every derby in which a goal has been scored since Everton last won, Liverpool have scored the first goal and the Blues were once again forced to chase the game. Thankfully, the equaliser was swift and it came from what was perhaps Gerard Deulofeu's only meaningful contribution during his 55 frustrated minutes on the field (if you don't count the fact that it was his profligacy in possession that required emergency action from the impressive Ramiro Funes Mori in conceding the corner that led to Ings's goal).

The Spaniard whipped a ball on from the right that confused Can into a botched clearance that bounced off Martin Skrtel and sat up invitingly for Lukaku to rifle past Mignolet and send Goodison wild and set the game up perfectly for Everton to step up a gear in the second half in an effort to go on and win.

It had become clearly during the first half that that sheer exuberance was not going to be enough to see the Blues through and while they were a bit more measured in their approach after the break, they would find chances frustratingly hard to come by. While Lukaku was running himself ragged up front and Everton looked at their best when Barkley was trying to orchestrate things in the middle, there was, unfortunatrly, a noticeable lack of quality in their approach that underscored on this occasion how sorely missed were Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines. While Tyias Browning and Galloway acquitted themselves well in defence (imperiously in the latter's case), neither could offer the guile and unpredictability that the first-choice fullbacks can often produce and it hampered the Blues' attempts to break Liverpool down.

Meanwhile, the fact that Barkley was targeted throughout as the Blues' main playmaker was compounded by Atkinson's almost shameless bias towards the visitors. The 21-year-old had become ensconsed in a spate of "handbags" in the first half in which Can was the clear aggressor but the referee took the easy way out and booked both players. And when Lucas Leiva was belatedly yellow-carded for fouling Barkley with 21 minutes to go, Atkinson bottled it when the Brazilian cynically tripped McCarthy from behind. The official would also take no action when Mamadou Sakho clattered through Lukaku in the box with minimal contact on the ball and the kind of reckless challenge that would almost certainly have resulted in a free kick had it been anywhere else on the field... and had it been any other referee.

In between, Everton had assumed the greater control of the match and, up until the last 10 minutes or so, had more or less reduced Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge to footnotes in the contest. They couldn't carve out many clear-cut openings, however, but Barkley had the best of them when he led a three-on-two counter-attack midway through the second half and elected to go it alone, curling a shot a foot the wrong side of the post with Lukaku on the shoulder of the last man.

The introduction of Lennon for Deulofeu, who had spent most of the game pinned to the right touchline and frequently run into trouble when he was given the ball, briefly threatened to open the game up in Everton's favour but a couple of decent low crosses were repelled by the reds' defence, while Lukaku forced a parrying save from Mignolet and Coutinho prompted a similar stop by Howard a couple of minutes later in front of the Park End.

By the closing minutes, fear of losing the game appeared to supercede the need to try and commit sufficient numbers forward to win the match and it petered out with honours even at the final whistle.

The disappointment at not earning the three vital points that would have lifted them into fourth place will be felt more keenly by Everton, who may have contributed to Rodgers's demise without having the satisfaction of seeing him off with a tanned backside. Having got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time, the hope was that Lukaku's goal would have spurred the Blues on to a more cohesive and purposeful second period. Ultimately, though their overall display was decent, they lacked the composure and the quality in their play and therefore had to be content with not losing the bi-annual Merseyside blood feud.

The result preserves Martinez's record of just one defeat so far this season but the nature of the performance will have Evertonians hoping for a more free-flowing and accomplished display when Manchester Unitd come to town after the international break.

Follow @EFCLyndon

Share article:

Reader Comments (21)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Andrew James
1 Posted 04/10/2015 at 23:34:11
Apparently the decision to sack him was made before the match and I think the players knew that. They worked their socks off early on almost as if trying to either put on a show for their man in the dug out or for the next man in. Either way, it annoys me that their problem became the big story yet again.

We fluffed this. Should have won it. 2 points dropped to a mediocre mid-table team at home. Their club badge and name shouldn't matter, they are a poor team and one we are well capable of beating.

That said, Martin Atkinson was very poor. That cocky German of theirs was being a dick and then Lucas should have gone.

Andy Crooks
2 Posted 05/10/2015 at 00:25:47
Lyndon, I agree that there is now a strong psychological influence on this fixture. We play with fear, lack of belief and the acceptance that a draw is a job well done.

Perhaps the Rodgers situation made a difference but I got the impression that all involved with our club would have settled for a draw right from the start. I go to watch, gung ho, full of belief and after five minutes am so sick with nerves I’m counting down the minutes to half-time. It is just mad.

We are not far from being really good. We have good players out and with some luck and belief we can get on a run that will take us into contention for a top four spot. We need confidence, purpose and utter belief that our time is here.

Mark Andersson
3 Posted 05/10/2015 at 03:03:28
There has been a shift in mentality recently. It looks to me like the fans are starting to believe that we're on the cusp of having a brighter future.

Today’s game was a glimpse into the reality of where we are at. Liverpool have been shite since the end of last season and yet we can’t take advantage.

So now they're going to get a new manager, some of the press saying Rodgers should have been sacked at the end of last season. If that’s the case, Martinez should have gone too.

We are playing better than I expected and if Rom can play like that in one game, he should be doing it in every game.

The draw was disappointing but there ware some good moments. The ref was bent; only a fool would justify some of the decisions.

The fear factor will be back in abundance at the next derby.

John Codling
4 Posted 05/10/2015 at 04:56:16
Pick and prod all we like but someone needs to tell Howard that he’s allowed to contest corners and come off his line.

A carbon copy of Monday night's cock up. Does no one at the club tell him?
Darryl Ritchie
5 Posted 05/10/2015 at 06:29:18
Not a great game. The second half was particularly frustrating, as we took it to’em for the most part, but all the moves broke down in the final third.

I have to say, that to a neutral observer, it was probably very entertaining. A lot of end-to-end stuff. If we could just start a match on the front foot, instead of pressing at the end, I think we would win a few more.

I think the training staff have got the fitness thing sorted out. We seem to have a lot more "legs", than the opposition, in the final 15 minutes.

What with all the youngsters playing, and doing such a fine job, when we do get our walking wounded back, we will have one hell of a squad. This weekend, Man Utd got their asses handed to them, and they’ll get their asses kicked next match, too.

Bob McEvoy
6 Posted 05/10/2015 at 09:05:11
Lyndon, I think you nailed it re the rookie back three. Just think the whole team was a tad conservative in the 2nd half to protect them.

Also, I can’t understand why Barkley is given the job of defending corners in the middle of the goal when he’s so poor in the air... mind you, Howard should have cleared Ings out.

Craig Walker
7 Posted 05/10/2015 at 09:13:03
I think it’s a positive sign that we’re all disappointed again with only getting a draw from a derby. We were the better team yesterday and finished the game stronger.

I was impressed with the back four and thought Jags was immense. When I saw the inexperienced back four, I feared the worst. The disappointing thing is that we kept Sturridge and Coutinho so quiet but still couldn’t kill them off. The RS just don’t score more than 1 goal.

I don’t blame Martinez though. I thought he made the correct substitutions. Deulofeu was hopeless yesterday. Howard doesn’t command his area enough. Good servant but wish we had a better goalkeeper. Mignolet only seems to make world class saves against us.

Baines will have a massive job to get back into the team at left-back. The defence is looking impressive with Stones, Coleman and Baines not playing yesterday. A player like Yarmolenko would have been the difference yesterday.

Rick Tarleton
8 Posted 05/10/2015 at 09:42:13
John Codling is absolutely right, while Howard's fans will say he's an outstanding shot-stopper, his attitude to crosses has always been a combination of panic and trepidation. Being a shot-stopper ought to be the minimum requirement for a keeper, the ability to command your area and your defence is what makes the top men like Southall, West and Martyn who are the three best I've seen at Everton.
Both goals yesterday ought not to have happened and as for Martin Atkinson, suffice to say he's in Clattenberg's class as a referee who always gives the benefit of the doubt to the so-called bigger teams.
Rahman Talib
9 Posted 05/10/2015 at 11:18:46
Mind you... Howard’s boo boo yesterday is nothing compared to the Gary McAllister goal.
Tony Waring
10 Posted 05/10/2015 at 12:59:05
Complaining about the referee to the FA would be a waste of time. They actually said that they couldn’t decide who Mourinho was addressing his insulting remarks to in the Carneiro incident. How pathetic is that?

As for the game, well I thought we played pretty well but with a hint of hesitation. Defence was great and Lukaku terrific in the way he took on all-comers and also scored a good goal. Why does Mignolet reserve his best form for the days when he plays against us?

Jim Hardin
11 Posted 05/10/2015 at 13:40:50
Interesting that people are claiming we were the better team. The stats from Barclay’s show that they were offensively as good or better than Everton. Howard 7 saves to their 4 saves. They out-shot us overall and had more on target. They had more corners and forced us into 8 blocks and 22 clearances. Odd that Howard is being blamed for losing two points, considering he did not once take a shot at their keeper, or fluff a header straight into the keeper (unlike their header for goal) and had no turnovers in their box.

We drew because Naismith, Deulofeu, Barkley, and McCarthy were not good enough and provided little to Lukaku on offense. Plus, Barkley got handled easily by Ings for their goal. Also, the youngsters deputized to take Baines’s and Coleman’s spots did okay defensively but fell far short of providing the threat of those two going forward.

However, given our record against Liverpool, a draw is better than a loss. It is one more point banked. Plus, it resulted in the end of the Brendan Rodges era at Liverpool.

Jay Harris
12 Posted 05/10/2015 at 14:56:01

You may be right about the stats but I prefer to judge the game with my eyes and I would say that the only player who wasn't up to par was Deulofeu.

I thought all the other players were very good with Lukaku, Barry and Jags being excellent.

My only concern is how slow we start games. We only seem to come "alive" in the second half or when we go behind.

I don't know whether it is nerves or they are being instructed to start by being tight and seeing how the game develops but I would like to see us perform for 90 minutes like we do in the second 45.

Lyndon, you didn't mention that Jags was blatantly wrestled to the ground by Skrtl and Atkinson "didn't see that".

Steve Pugh
13 Posted 05/10/2015 at 15:03:55
Jim, according to the stats at one point during the first half we’d had one shot on target. Despite Mignolet making two world class saves. The stats are manipulated in the same way as everything else.
Julian Wait
14 Posted 05/10/2015 at 16:21:02
2 points lost at home against a team there for the beating, embarrassing even. McCarthy (on Coutinho) and Barry were OK; their goal was piss poor ... so was ours to be honest, except for the finish.

We weren’t incisive at all, we didn’t get the ball wide and into danger areas, Barkley looked asleep for the first 60 to 75 minutes, and Deulofeu never got into the game, even defensively.

We’re still – as always – 3 or 4 players short of a CL qualification (and as noted previously, it may need to be top 3 for CL footy next season, based on English results in the CL and EL this year) and we’re probably 5 or more players short of being able to play both CL and PL campaigns competitively.

Still, I like the way we’re shaping up this season, we’re decent to watch, the defensive squad is starting to look decent (last year was troubling), and if we can bring some midfield youngsters through in the next 18 months, and get a new keeper, maybe we can kick on and then attract the quality #10 we really need to complement – or even replace in some games – Barkley.

"Plus ça change, plus c’est la méme chose."

Paul Jeronovich
15 Posted 05/10/2015 at 16:38:35
From talking to some Liverpool fans yesterday, they too were surprised by how well our young defence played. I know the goal was really, really poor but you have to agree, the future is bright for these lads. I never thought we would reach a stage where we had three key defenders missing through injury and the three lads who came in were great.

I would have loved a win but things are looking good in terms of squad depth and quality.


Tony Waring
16 Posted 05/10/2015 at 16:56:31
Amen to that, Steve (#13). When Sky flashed up the attempts on target showing ZERO for us we had already seen two excellent saves by Mignolet.

So much for Sky stats!

James Hughes
17 Posted 05/10/2015 at 17:02:48
Jim (#11), do you remember the stats from last season? Possession 65% but we were piss poor and had 1 shot on target and lost the game??

I would have to agree with Jay: we looked very good the majority of the time and IMO we should have won. Lucas was an obvious 2nd yellow and yes Jags was bundled over and even the commentators said they have seen them given.

With a bit more presence in the box, it would have been a different result. It was also pleasing to see the boys chirping at the ref and not just accepting a bad decision.

I would like to say I thought we all played very well and, without stating the obvious, Funes Mori was solid and Galloway was looking class.

Shane Corcoran
19 Posted 05/10/2015 at 17:23:49
Steve (#13), I’ve noticed the stats have been wrong on Sky before.

What would manipulating the stats do exactly? Could it be a mistake by any chance?

Harold Matthews
21 Posted 06/10/2015 at 08:21:07
Very disappointing, negative and forgettable match. With Naismith given the job of supporting Galloway, we had nothing up front.and their extra defenders crowded out Lukaku and Deulofeu.

When two coaches set up not to lose, the result is usually a draw.

Matthew Williams
22 Posted 06/10/2015 at 13:14:46
Yet another draw against the poorest Liverpool team in years, doesn’t bode well for the game at Anfield does it?

Our continued use of two holding midfielders will always cost us dear in terms of putting teams away. We're still going out looking not to lose instead of always playing to win, great teams always take chances and risks, unless we change our mindset we will win nowt!

Harold Matthews
23 Posted 06/10/2015 at 15:15:23
Yes, Matthew, interesting point. Between them, Man City and Crystal Palace have won eleven and lost five. All or nothing. No draws.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads

© ToffeeWeb