Another big derby let-down

A defeat underpinned by poor tactics and collective underperformance that in many pundits eyes cements Everton as a top-seven side at best this season

Lyndon Lloyd 01/04/2017 76comments  |  Jump to last
Liverpool 3 - 1 Everton

So not this year, then. Another Anfield derby, the passage of another season without a victory on Liverpool’s patch and another painful post-mortem for Everton following a third successive defeat in the all-Mersey tussle. It’s so routine now, Blues fans have become numb to it, although the pain can never truly be dulled enough.

On this occasion, the form book favoured Everton but ultimately the league table was a better indicator of the likely destination of the points and on an occasion that demands that star players rise above the fray, Liverpool were simply better. Needing to be on top of their game themselves, the Blues were found badly wanting in almost all departments.

The injuries that disrupted Ronald Koeman’s back line were significant, particularly that of Seamus Coleman, but it was hard to see the Blues winning this game had the Irishman been fit because, not for the first time away from home against a top-four side, the manager got his tactics wrong and he was let down by his main enforcer, Idrissa Gueye.

Once more the Dutchman opted for a five-man defence with three centre halves and a five-man back line and, just as it was at Chelsea and Tottenham, the space in front was exposed, with Pennington’s inexperience, Gueye’s dereliction of duty and Koeman’s mystifying delay in addressing a demonstrably flawed formation important factors in the 3-1 defeat.

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The young defender was pitched into his first derby on what was his first first-team appearance of the season alongside another 20-year-old, albeit one with more Premier League minutes under his belt, in the form of Mason Holgate. With Tom Davies, 18, in midfield and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 20 up front, it was a very youthful Blues line-up but it was the failure of Koeman’s “big-game” players on the one hand and the success of Jürgen Klopp’s on the other that ultimately proved to be the significant difference.

And it only took eight minutes. While Everton, and Ross Barkley in particular, succumbed unnecessarily to the increasingly out-dated imperative to indulge in the blood-and-thunder fare of the local grudge match — the Blues’ No. 8 was fortunate to avoid a yellow card just six minutes in and then a red card later in the first half — Liverpool (Emre Can aside) largely eschewed the frenetic and played the way they often do these days under Klopp: with speed and energy going forward.

Sadio Mané evaded a limp attempt at a tackle by Gueye in the centre of the park, accelerated past Davies’s despairing lunge and then sucked three Everton defenders to one side of the box before screwing a shot across Joel Robles and into the far corner of the goal. The defending was atrocious really and it threw a harsh spotlight on both Pennington and the decision to select him in such a difficult match.

The Reds were finding feet with crisp passes while the Blues struggled to build cohesive moves and they were guilty of affording Philippe Coutinho far too much room in which to operate at times. In a move that foreshadowed Liverpool’s second goal, the Brazilian side-stepped Pennington too easily cutting in from the left side of the area but was foiled when Robles pushed his shot into the air and Phil Jagielka headed the ball off his own goal line.

Everton levelled in the 28th minute, however, with their first chance of the game. Leighton Baines’s out-swinging corner was flicked on by Jagielka at the near post, Dejan Lovren couldn’t react quickly enough to hack it clear and the ball fell invitingly to Pennington who couldn’t miss in front of goal.

The return to parity lasted just three minutes, though, and once again it was a failure to close down and to show Coutinho inside that would prove costly. The Reds’ midfielder picked the ball up in space in central midfield and with no one closing him down until Gueye threw a lazy leg at him as he danced past, he advanced into the box, tied Pennington up in knots before curling an unstoppable shot inside Robles’s left-hand post.

Liverpool’s match-winners were showing up; Everton’s were hugely disappointing and Barkley benefited from leniency from referee Anthony Taylor when he went over the ball and caught Lovren mid-shin, seeing his name go into the book rather than receiving his marching orders. Truth be told, apart from his failure to book James Milner for deliberate handball in the second half, the much-maligned official managed the game very well.

The anticipated changes from Koeman at half time never came. The manager has not been shy about replacing players or switching formations when it’s been clear they weren’t working already this season but there was no activity from the bench until the 67th minute and by then it was too late.

Everton had shown a couple of glimpses that they might get back into the game, first when Ashley Williams popped up on the end of a free kick but couldn’t get enough purchase on the ball to test Simon Mignolet and then when Barkley forced a second save from the Belgian keeper with a deflected shot. But there wasn’t enough to suggest that retaining the five-man back line or persisting with the willing but limited Calvert-Lewin up front was going to be enough to turn the tide.

Klopp, meanwhile, was forced into a change when Mané pulled up injured but his replacement effectively sealed the game with a moment that eclipsed his compatriot, Romelu Lukaku at the other end. Divock Origi was introduced in the 57th minute when it became clear that Mané couldn’t continue and within three minutes he had scored.

Pennington played Holgate into trouble against the touchline, his attempted pass back infield was picked off by Coutinho who once again breezed past the lead-footed Gueye and slipped a pass to Origi behind the back-pedalling Williams. The Belgian took aim from 20 yards and smashed a shot almost down the centre of the goal.

That was the after-the-horse-has-bolted catalyst for movement off the Everton bench but while the switch involving Enner Valencia for Pennington was an obvious one, there appeared to be precious little logic in withdrawing Davies in favour of the veteran Gareth Barry. Worse was the fact that Kevin Mirallas remained on the bench until he was finally brought on in place of Calvert-Lewin with nine minutes left.

In between, two chances for Holgate, the first a shot from the angle that Mignolet palmed away and then a free header that he miscued wide, were about all the Blues could muster until Mirallas went on an excellent mazy run in the closing stages but could hammer a shot at the end of it high over the bar.

At the other end, meanwhile, Robles had to be alert to bat a curling Trent Alexander-Arnold shot wide as Liverpool threatened to pad their lead.

That would have been harsh on a depleted Everton side but the margin and manner of the Reds’ victory were emphatic enough to render thoughts of a late push by the Blues for the top four as fanciful. Even allowing for the injuries that prompted Koeman into his ill-advised line-up, there was an unsettling gulf in ability between the two teams that sharpened the focus once more on the Dutchman’s task this summer when the transfer window re-opens.

It will also have reignited the debate over Lukaku who was, again, virtually anonymous against a top-four team and failed to register a shot in the entire 90 minutes for the third time this season. (The other two times coming against Chelsea and Manchester United.)

There is much to be said for the argument that a striker of his style can’t do anything without support and without his team-mates giving him the ball. Certainly, he was starved for service, just as he was in the Goodison derby in December. On the rare occasions he saw the ball, however, his touch was poor and his distribution just as bad; a let-down when Everton needed him to be on razor sharp, inventive and unplayable. He was anything but.

So a defeat, then, that in many pundits eyes cements Everton as a top-seven side at best this season and the only way to reopen the discussion is for the Blues to go to Old Trafford on Tuesday and win. It will take a wholesale change in attitude and approach, though, Ronald Koeman throwing off his failed safety-first defensive strategy and the collection of players responsible for another unacceptably below-par derby performance taking a long, hard look at themselves. If they don’t, their manager surely will be.

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Reader Comments (76)

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Julie Oliver
1 Posted 02/04/2017 at 08:23:30
Ronald should have known better than to include so many young and very inexperienced players into such a match.

A 4-5-1 formation was necessary to crowd out Liverpool's midfield. Pennington shouldn't have been playing ,

Holgate should have been given a simple right-back job and told to do his best. Barry should have started instead of Calvert-Lewin to increase tenacity and experience in midfield, and to refuse space for Mane and Coutinho.

We still may have struggled, but the set-up above makes more common sense to me. We could maybe have snatched a draw at least.

Tony Cheek
2 Posted 02/04/2017 at 08:34:08
Nailed it, Lyndon, as usual. I really feel that we are cursed in these derbies. There were a couple of deflected shots that could easily have gone in, and probably would at the other end. But if we are honest then we got what we deserved.

Once more, it is so blatantly obvious that the difference between the quality of Mane or Coutinho and Barkley is frustratingly huge. Our finishing and lack of quality assists is always the difference when we play the best teams, and the way some of our players offer themselves in the derby is pitiful.

But what really wound me up was Koeman using the word 'proud' after the game. He obviously doesn't know what this game means to the club. Koeman picked a bad team, played the wrong tactics, and was slow to change the game when it was obvious we had players struggling. Disappointing!

Geoff Evans
3 Posted 02/04/2017 at 08:35:52
Not even a good try; no passion, no guile, outclassed by an average team.

When it comes to the Premier League, Everton make up the numbers. Beating teams like Hull and Bournemouth are as good as it gets...

Brian Garside
4 Posted 02/04/2017 at 08:46:00
I think that Kenny as a natural right back is the best replacement for Coleman.
Andrew Clare
5 Posted 02/04/2017 at 08:50:10
We are playing catch-up after nigh on 30 years of decline. That's why our record against our neighbours and the rest of the 6 teams above us is so poor.

We are hopefully coming out of the worst period in our history, it's just going to take time. During that time the 6 above us have eclipsed our transfer budget so it's no wonder we struggle against them.

A team with old average players and kids are not going to do any better.

Peter Murray
6 Posted 02/04/2017 at 09:00:05
Tactical naïvety, emotional immaturity, poor decision making, positional unawareness, confusion about roles, key players going missing yet again, and a general lack of positivity. Apart from that we did okay.

The performance smacked of insufficient preparation.T oo much time and energy spent on incidentals (the spat with O'Neill re McCarthy) and not enough on the approach to a potential history-changing game?

Gareth Williams
7 Posted 02/04/2017 at 09:03:26
Another poor performance at Anfield. It has come to the stage where I just expect to get beaten by Liverpool. It didn't help having some key players missing.

We have got some tough games coming up... I just hope we can hold on to the 7th spot in the table.

Paul Birmingham
8 Posted 02/04/2017 at 09:13:09
Andrew, that's a very good point.

Brian Williams
9 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:02:57
We lost. It cost us three points, exactly the same number of points as any other loss would have cost us.

Looking at the table this morning, we're on level points with Arsenal and only three behind Man Utd. I know they have games in hand but they have to win them.

We have to get yesterday out of our system and concentrate on the games that we still can do something about rather than yesterday's debacle which we can't do anything about.

Take out the frustration and pain on Man Utd on Tuesday – that's what we have to do.

Darren Hind
10 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:10:15
A fair summary, Lyndon.

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon and start attacking the selections, I didn't see too may dissenting comments before the game.

One of the drawbacks of not being able to get to a game is you have to listen to twats like Gary Neville. I was sick of hearing him say Barkley and Calvert Lewin were too advanced. They weren't. The problem was at the other end.

Once again, Williams and Jagielka were too frightened to get up the pitch. Their fear of being done for pace kills us every time we play one of the better teams. While the RedShite moved as a unit, pressing high and defending high, we were strung out like a fucking washing line.

We must have three of the worst central defenders in the Premier League. Funes Mori and the two caravan pullers who played yesterday may be okay when they can sit deep against lesser teams, but the top boys have more about them. Chelsea, Spurs and the RedShite all have players who will expose the space in front of them and go right for the jugular.

We need a clear out at the back: Robles, Stekelenburg, Williams, Jagielka and Funes Mori are just not good enough. Baines isn't getting any younger either. We couldn't even play hoofball yesterday, how many clearances were shanked?

Keep Seamus and hope for the best. Keep Holgate, but if any of the others are getting a game next season, you can kiss goodbye to any real chance of breaking into the top six.

I hope all those who have been shouting about clean sheets and a "massive improvement" now understand just how far away we are.

Christopher Timmins
11 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:11:28
You learn more from the losses than you do from the victories. Yesterday we surely learnt that:

1. Williams is not the answer at the back.

2. We need to bring in 3 defenders, not 2, this summer.

3. The world won't end if Ross and Rom are not around at the start of next season once they are replaced.

4. Our younger defenders need protection from the defensive midfielders – not forthcoming yesterday.

5. Are Galloway and Browning, who both coped quite well when both Baines and Coleman were out a couple of seasons ago, not options to be considered in the short to medium term?

6. The manager and owner have had almost a year to assess the situation; decisive action is needed during the summer.

Paul Kennedy
12 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:15:16
Very dissapointed... not really surprised. It would have been nice to see a bit more effort from our world class player! Underlines that we are a work in progress.

A lot could be forgiven with a good positive performance on Tuesday. Our frailties were very obvious. As long as we attain better class players for next season, then I will except we have moved on from last season.

Shane Corcoran
13 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:17:11
Darren, I agree with your assessments of our players, although too many changes at once are unlikely to help.

However, I disagree with your call on Neville's calls. There was indeed issues at the back but I do agree that Calvert-Lewin and Barkley weren't narrow enough when we didn't have the ball. The ball into Liverpool's midfield was too easy.

George McKane
14 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:27:58
I agree with a lot of the above but, for me personally, I need to find something from defeat. But, when the odds are against you, as they were yesterday, even before kick-off, I firmly believe fortune favours the brave.

Liverpool, we know, have tremendous attacking options. Surely we all know as well that they are very very poor at the back, as they were yesterday on the few occasions they were even slightly threatened. Then, was it too much to dream that we should have attacked them from the start?

I really thought Lookman would start yesterday and I could see him tearing their poor defenders apart or at least throwing some confusion int here.

Too many of their poor defenders had easy days yesterday; Lovren, who had just come back from injury, was not threatened at all by Lukaku (I've had enough of him – see my post on other thread). Milner strolled around like a training session, and Lucas... my goodness... incredibly average.

Give the new ground and all that is attached to it to the "Administrators" – get the "football" men in to getting it right on the pitch.

I wonder if Koeman has made his mind up about this season and (I hope) is seriously planning and ready to make big changes for next season.
Time for change... big change... big thinking... big decisions... big hearts... big beliefs.

Dave Ganley
15 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:28:09
I have to echo what Darren said, not many disagreed with selection before the game. As to having 5 in midfield to combat the RS, Lucas Can and Winjaldum is hardly a midfield to strike fear into a team. We should have been able to cope with these easily.

We froze, again, pure and simple. We backed off Coutinho as though he had the plague. Gave him far too much space with the ball to do as he wished. He must have thought it was Christmas.

For me, Neville and Redknapp were talking sense. Barkley and Calvert-Lewin weren't helping back and Barkley and Lukaku just don't do enough if anything to change the course of a game when needed. Not top drawer I'm afraid.

Completely different playing West Bromwich at home to playing a proper game against one of the top 6 away. Be interesting to see who is the suitor for Lukaku in the summer after that showing.

Andy Meighan
16 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:51:29
After the Chelsea and Spurs games away, the manager hasn't learned anything. The way he set that side up yesterday was criminal and it was absolute madness to throw the boy Pennington in. Yes, we had injuries... but so did they. Let's not forget, our injured players played at Spurs and to a lesser degree Chelsea and we were still outclassed as we were yesterday.

The garbage he spoke after the game yesterday was an insult to every one of those fans who paid good money to watch that shite. I thought he was meant to be straight talking; I didn't see much evidence of that yesterday. It may as well been Martinez talking after the game.

Personally I don't think he's any better or worse than the Spaniard or Moyes and I'm dreading the summer transfer window. Because to me he hasn't got an eye for a player. We need a midfield schemer, a top keeper, two full-backs, two centre-halves and two strikers to replace Pele... er, sorry... I meant Lukaku – that's going to take some spending and some cute acumen.

I can't wait to see who he gets in. Oh, I see Man Utd struggled yesterday. Don't worry, boys... the remedy club, Everton will cure that for you on Tuesday. Expect more of the same... I do.

Chris Watts
17 Posted 02/04/2017 at 10:59:33
I know people are frustrated but to suggest Hingis would have been better if Barry have played, as some on here seem to be saying in hindsight is plain wrong. We've been overrun in midfield every time he plays and it would have been no different yesterday. Many of us on here were happy he was going for it by selecting the kids and an attacking line up.

However I did want Lookman rather than Calvert-Lewin and its mystifying why Lookman doesn't get a look in. Calvert-Lewin to me doesn't add anything; I can't see what Koeman sees in him.

Maybe we hyped Pennington up too much as he also didn't look up to it; however, it's his first game of the season. Maybe just rusty?

In hindsight, Holgate should have played right-back. Lookman for Calvert-Lewin. Pennington replaced by who? Mirallas maybe. Shows how much we missed Schneiderlin already.

Lewis Pykett
18 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:01:39
Here we go again, we lose a game and Koeman's a twat with no knowledge and every player should be ashamed.

We're building a team and at the moment they aren't a top 4 or maybe 6 side. Close but not there yet!

We're doing better than anyone in 2017 and still people are unhappy!

Bill Gienapp
19 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:16:36
I dunno... Koeman should certainly shoulder the blame for not bothering to change anything at halftime, but wasn't this exactly the tactical approach everyone was calling for all week?

The consensus seemed to be that going with a back four with Williams and Jagielka, with Barry in midfield, would have been nothing short of suicide against Liverpool's pace. Probably would have made more sense, in retrospect, to make Holgate the third centre-back and deploy Lennon as right wingback Are you Everton supporters or trolls? Odd that he didn't even make the bench, over Kone no less.

In the end though, I feel like the match came down to the fact that Mane and Coutinho conjured moments of individual brilliance and Barkley and Lukaku didn't. I don't really buy into the general criticism of Lukaku, but those griping that he basically padded his goal tally with a meaningless brace in extra time against Hull but was a complete non-factor in a crucial match against our hated arch-rival do have a bit of a point.

Anthony Murphy
20 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:33:37
We've played against some utter shit Liverpool sides since our last win there and this current side are no world beaters, so for me it's not about personnel but about what goes on in their heads before and during the game.

We show them too much respect and seem to always be slower in the mind. We need to sign a decent sports psychologist as well as a goalie, centre-back(s) and Number 10 in the summer!

Kunal Desai
21 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:34:31
The club needs to change it's policy a buy players from decent European clubs. Buying players from the likes of Swansea, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Sheffield Utd etc are not players with a big game mentality and have not endured of playing and winning in high-profile games.

We need big-name signings from top clubs around the world. Otherwise, same time next season, it will be the same shite we are spouting. Get world class quality in this side. End of.

Derek Thomas
22 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:41:24
George @14; I'd always like to go forward too. The past RedShite results have shown them vulnerable to some teams who sit back a bit... or sometimes sit back quite a lot, then entice them in. A bit like Ali Foreman rope-a-dope..

Swansea (and others) did exactly this; Spurs went toe to toe and lost.

Koeman, I think, had half an eye on this and put out, through no fault of his own, in terms of personnel, a half-arsed team. I think he sent them out to make the best of what they had... hoping it all came right on the night, as it where.

This resulted in us playing a half-arsed system that was neither rope-a-dope, catch them on the break, nor all-out in-their-faces attack.

Not only was it a half-arsed system – we didn't play the good half of it well anyway.

Who was actually right-back? Did we have a back 5? Or did Pennington (who took his goal well; it'll be a nice memory of his time at Everton, shame is I don't think have he'll too many to go with it... hope I'm wrong for his sake...) and Holgate take turns in fucking it up – well, why not? Everybody from Koeman down did.

It's said Barkley won't tackle, the truth is he can't tackle... and you don't see him head much either. The only bit of Koeman's pep-talk that had effect was the bit where he told Barkley to get stuck in. He took that and ran with it, pushed the envelope? More like stuck a stamp on it and sent it round the world.

This resulted in Barkley being everywhere – except where he should've been – in midfield with Davies and Gana.

Calvert-Lewin did nowt – except go neck and neck with Lukaku on who will get his shirt least sweaty.

Lukaku: bottles the big games or starved of service? We have a chicken-and-egg thing. The whole Club bottles big games this season and, for 95% of the last 20-30 years, has bottled them. This results in Lukaku looking shite – not that he helps himself in the on-field and off-field perception stakes.

Oh and Baines, Jagielka and Williams should be pensioned off, like Hibbo, Osman, Gibson et al were.

Any way, George, I meant just to give you a short comment in basic agreement – turned into a rant. That's derbies and Everton for you.

George McKane
23 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:46:03
Much appreciated, Derek... great comments.

Keep it cool, keep it cosmic and always keep Blue.

John Daley
24 Posted 02/04/2017 at 11:49:40
Does that mean you were happy with the side he went with, Darren?

I didn't read any of the comments immediately prior to the game, but I'm surprised if people didn't have serious doubts about the team Koeman was sending out as soon as they clapped eyes on it.

Starting four kids, one of whom hadn't had so much as a sniff all season and another with about an hour and a half under his belt, and spreading them throughout each third of the pitch, in a game against our local rival, at a ground we haven't won at since Noel Edmonds and his squawking pink schnook were told to pack up their evil House Party and piss off, 'sharpish'?

I'm all for putting faith in youth, but there's 'faith' and then there's just throwing them into a fiery pit and crossing your fingers that they somehow make it out miraculously unburnt, like that 'Mother Of Dragons' sort from Game of Thrones.

Regardless, it wasn't just Koeman's initial selection that was misjudged, but also his baffling persistence with it when it became pretty apparent early doors that he'd played straight into the dastardly hands of the gum-diseased Hans Gruber.

Leaving things exactly as they were when clearly onto a loser? He may as well have gone full fucking 'Die Hard' and sent his men out for the second-half with a "Ho, Ho, Ho" note slapped on their shirts.

Thomas Lennon
25 Posted 02/04/2017 at 12:04:44
Anthony Clare (#5) – in a nutshell.

Take note of how many times Spurs have won at Arsenal since starting to seriously invest in their squad (or beforehand). It isn't going to happen soon, but it will happen.

Tom Bowers
26 Posted 02/04/2017 at 12:33:15
When your not good enough, then you lose games like these. We all hoped when Martinez came that things would look up and it seemed that way for a short while but he had his shortcomings and Koeman came with the same expectancy but most of us knew it wouldn't come overnight if ever at all.

The first half of the season was a ''getting to know you process'' and then they went on a half decent run until the Spurs and Liverpool games. We can make excuses all we like and blame certain players.

I believe the Liverpool game would have been different had we had Seamus and Morgan as those two have been playing tremendously well making the defensive side of things looking more competent despite the aging, Jags, Williams and Baines.

Obviously replacements are needed and it remains to be seen if the current squad has those replacements or if Koeman has targets in the market for next season. Always the biggest disappointment to lose derby games and 2 in one season is a little hard to take but every dog has it's day so we live in hope that it won't be soon.

One additional note, Ross should have been red-carded for what he did as that is the kind of tackle which is becoming all too common in today's game.

Paul Conway
27 Posted 02/04/2017 at 12:37:31
I don't want to be a gloom merchant, but after that gutless demoralising performance, we are in serious danger of losing that ' coveted ' 7th spot. Morale in the camp could be so low, it could knock us into free fall. There are improving teams behind us, West Brom, Leicester, Southampton.

Let's face it, we simply do not have the quality or strength in depth to mix it with the top Clubs. And we are fooling ourselves, if we think we can reduce the deficit of points between us.

We had a good run of form, a!belt against teams who had not quite found their form. Our main objective now should be to hang onto 7th, spot by tooth and nail, until we reach the Transfer Window/s, whereby, not only do we need to hold onto our best players, who are few, but find an additional 6 or 7 top players who could walk into top teams.

That would give us cover on the bench and withstand injuries. Failing to do this, we will continue to amble Zombie-like from mediocrity to abysmal.

Matthew Williams
28 Posted 02/04/2017 at 12:46:44
I fully expect the same on Tuesday night... sigh.

When Lukaku has played poorly, has he ever been subbed?!

Paul Tran
29 Posted 02/04/2017 at 12:50:16
I completely agree, Darren. I didn't see the game on Sky, but today's Sunday Times nailed it, talking about the difference between 'young' 23-year-old Barkley and 24-year-old Coutinho's game intelligence. Even Souness gets it right, "I'd be losing my temper with him every five minutes. He passes when he should run with it and he runs with it when he should pass it."

The only thing I would have done differently would have been putting Holgate in the back three where he belongs. I'm hoping we can get both Keane and Maigure (or another better one) in the summer. I'd also have a look at Robertson from Hull, who Martinez should have bought when he played up here – he watched him enough.

It's hard to win a tough game when your defence is scared of its own lack of pace and your creative midfielder has a brain freeze.

Summer shopping list:

2 centre backs
Proper midfielder with an eye for a pass and goal
Quality striker
Left back

Walsh is going to earn his money this summer. And hopefully Moshiri will spend his.

John G Davies
30 Posted 02/04/2017 at 13:01:39
A good report, as usual Lyndon, although I saw our formation as 3-4-3.

I am a big fan of Koeman, he got it wrong yesterday.
I posted several times during the week how we would come unstuck with a back 3. What happened is exactly what I thought would happen.

He compounded that by playing only two in central midfield causing us to be constantly outnumbered in the area where Liverpool's main attacking threat comes from.

In my opinion, he went with a side that was too attack minded. Going with three high up the pitch was always going to leave us short in the most important area of the pitch when playing against them. After the first goal, he should have dropped Ross in to form a three. It obviously wasn't working.

Teams who have had success an Anfield thus season played a narrow back four and packed the space in front of the back four.

Bad day at the office for Ron.

David Murphy
31 Posted 02/04/2017 at 13:12:32
I agree with all of the comments, a pretty inept, woeful display.

I can't understand, however, the talk about Coutinho and Barkley. Coutinho has been pretty shite until yesterday but Barkley has been on form. To me, it seemed he was the only one having a go at trying to make something happen, but in the end had a mare.

Paul Swan
32 Posted 02/04/2017 at 13:15:10
Most of the comments made here are almost identical to those from the first derby at Goodison. The manager gets it wrong (again), players bottle it (again), and big time Charlie up front does not turn up (again).

It is sickening how Koeman and his team roll over and give in when facing the better teams. Man City aside, the performances in most games since the turn of the year have been patchy but anytime we face teams with a decent manager, Koeman is found wanting.

If we are going to push on, we need major upgrades in many areas of the team but the mentality of the team also needs to be questioned.

Lukaku is a goal poacher but never a game changer, this is why the real top clubs won't be in for him at the stupid price levels being bandied around and his anonymity and shite attitude surely demoralise the team leading to the sort of capitulation we see in every big game.

It has been said many times – we don't have a leader anywhere in the team, or apparently in the management, if he is 'proud' of that performance.

John Keating
33 Posted 02/04/2017 at 13:24:36
That result has got lots to do with a lot of things but, over the years, it doesn't matter who the players are, what the selection or tactics are or who the manager is. We have got a serious, real serious mental issue at Anfield.

For whatever reason, when it comes to the RS, we seem to be beaten before the whistle goes. We could be top of the league and the RS bottom and we would still get beat – there is just something wrong mentally.

Joe Royle and Howard Kendall seemed to be able to get it sorted but, as for the rest, it's just the same old shit.

Colin Hughes
34 Posted 02/04/2017 at 13:49:07
John #33 you are correct in saying there is just something mentally wrong when we play them and it's not just recently. You only have to look back into history to see that.

For instance 1970 we won the league with ease yet managed to still lose 3-0 at home to them, our only home defeat of that season.

Fast forward to 1987, which was our last title winning year, yet we still managed to lose to them three times in the said calendar year, once in the league cup and twice in the league.

Look at all the latter stage cup matches we have had against them, we have lost two fa cup finals to them, one league cup final and four FA Cup semi finals beginning in 1950 which was long before they were an established top club and I haven't even mentioned that awful Super Cup final defeat of 1986!

You would have thought we would have outperformed them and fluked at least one of those big matches, but no – it has been incessant failure against them largely since World War 2.

Darren Hind
35 Posted 02/04/2017 at 14:23:28
Not with the benefit of Hindsight, John @24, but that would be all it is.

I sympathised with his situation, I believe Schneiderlin would have been central to his plans and losing him would have put a proper spanner in the works.

I did what we all do before the game and wrote my own selections, but I was worried about them too.

My team would have included Jagielka and Williams too, simply because we don't have enough recognised experience at the back, I keep hoping we will get one big fuck-off swansong from them, but it's not going to happen, is it?

Just off the top, that's Hazzard, Mane, Coutinho and Harry Kane, all gone straight to the heart of our defence and going through like piss through snow.

Doesn't really matter who you pick elsewhere. If the opposition know they easily have the beating of your center-backs,. you've had it.

Jay Wood
36 Posted 02/04/2017 at 14:47:18
I'm not going to castigate Koeman for his starting XI. The injuries since the Hull game forced Koeman's hand to a degree. No-one can accuse him of being conservative in his selection yesterday. It was bold. Unfortunately, it was a tad too bold and it didn't come off.

There have been plenty of posters all season and on the eve of the game saying Barry should not be a starter. Similarly, plenty have constantly been calling to give youth a chance. A good few during the week called on Koeman to be bold, play 2 up top and pack the side with local lads. They got their wish.

On the eve of the game, I commented he could well be tempted to play Barry from the off to have a tried and trusted wise old head on the pitch in the heat of the derby battle.

Before kick-off, I respected and admired his selection in 'going large' on youth. As it proved, the Pennington, Holgate and Calvert-Lewin axis down the right proved an inexperienced and vulnerable alignment.

Pennington, together with his fleeting appearances last season, does not look ready for this level (and I wonder if he ever will be).

Holgate had some very bad moments yesterday, but he also had some very good ones. There is a cockiness and confidence I like about this lad, over and above the skills I believe he has.

Calvert-Lewin was totally ineffective, but evidently – given how quickly Koeman promoted him to a starting position on his return from injury and in preference to Mirallas and Valencia – the manager sees something in him.

Still, I'm not going to get on the youngsters' case too much. There were more senior players whose performances left more to be desired than 4 rookies playing in their first derby together.

Plenty also wanted us to go 'gung-ho' and have a go at them. I was not convinced by this strategy as Liverpool have shown they prefer teams to come on to them, then play through them. They struggle more against teams that sit deep then hit them on the break. That is at present our best strategy. It worked like a dream in our best result of the season to date, the 4-0 tanking of Man City.

That said, like many, I was disappointed Koeman didn't make changes to the strategy, formation and players at the interval. I felt he could have gone with a flat back four, withdrawn Pennington, played Holgate at right back and reinforced midfield with the wise old head of Barry.

There was probably a case to replace Calvert-Lewin with either Mirallas and Valencia at the same time and have more width across the pitch and make the side more compact.

As it was, we were actually starting to get a toe hold in the game for the first time with Barkley (when he could stay on his feet) starting to have some influence and impact around their area.

That was blown out of the water on the hour mark when a succession of poor plays by Pennington, Holgate, Gueye, Williams and Robles – half the team – contrived to gift them a 3rd goal.

Only then did Koeman make changes, and one of them came in the 80th minute when the hapless Calvert-Lewin was taken out of his misery and the much livelier Mirallas came on.

Both manager and players will have learnt a lot from yesterday's game. As good a run as we have been on, the squad still lacks near psychopathic mean bastards who just hate to lose.

Until and unless that is addressed, Everton will remain a 'best of the rest' team who will never genuinely challenge for the title, let alone a top 4 finish, and our miserable, disgraceful, pathetic recent record against the pinkies will continue to shame us.

Tuesday night's selection and tactics are going to be interesting.

Dave Long
37 Posted 02/04/2017 at 14:57:09

What Carragher says in the last 30 seconds of this interview probably indicates a large part of the problem.

Peter Cummings
39 Posted 02/04/2017 at 15:21:44
The only way we will get anything at Old Trafford on Tuesday, except for a total overhaul of selection and tactics, is if Man Utd fail to turn up, like we did at Anfield, against WBA they totally dominated for the whole 90 minutes yet couldn't break down the typical Pullis system of defence in depth and brilliant 'keeping.

Even if we try to use the same tactics and 'park the bus', our current 'defence' will be destroyed by their speed and real talent in passing and creativity.

Lukaku, if he's not benched, needs to show why he thinks he's still good enough for Champions League football after yet another insult of a performance, as did most of the team, yesterday.

John Daley
40 Posted 02/04/2017 at 15:43:43
That's fair enough Darren.

I can't really disagree with the fact we have a defence that can be gone through "like piss through snow"... particularly when the manager makes the task even easier by unzipping the midfield and leaving it wide open for a load of cocks to push through at will.

nb: I'm (kind of) hoping the capital 'H' in "Hindsight" was a typo, rather than intentional...

...but if it wasn't, I have to ask:

Did you name your house 'Hindquarters'? 

Mike Murphy
41 Posted 02/04/2017 at 15:53:34
Koeman and his senior players should have a long hard look at themselves. Do they really give a shite about our beloved Everton FC? Or are they just there for their massive wages.

Koeman was hiding behind Ireland and O'Neill the whole week... get on with your job, Ronald, which is Everton – controlling your players, like Barkley's stupid tackles, Lukaku not breaking sweat.

I heard Mark Lawrenson say on the radio yesterday that he knew the Everton team Friday night; says he was talking to a friend of Baines – so what's going on there, Bainsey???

Sort out your own house first, Ronald.

Anthony Hanlon
42 Posted 02/04/2017 at 15:53:35
Everton should agree to Lukaku and his agents figure of a £60-65 million buy-out clause (the club want £80m) then sit back and watch the offers NOT come in....
Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 02/04/2017 at 16:02:21
Lyndon, I don't often disagree with you this strongly, but I think you're far off target with two of your shots.

First, the heavy blame on Gueye is profoundly misplaced IMO. Idrissa was alone back there as a defensive mid – Davies was trying to push forward and did not help. Gueye couldn't be everywhere, but I didn't see anything "lazy" about him and there's no shame in being beaten off the dribble by Coutinho, who is as class on the ball as anyone in the Premier league.

Second, the "precious little logic in withdrawing Davies in favour of the veteran Gareth Barry" became glaringly obvious to me from the first moment Barry was on the field. His passing significantly changed the picture for us immediately. Davies, meanwhile, had been totally ineffective.

Obviously we had players who didn't perform very well, but this one is all on Koeman IMO. Giving Pennington his season debut at Anfield of all places was idiocy, especially in a back 3, which Pennington has never played. He was in hopelessly over his head, but I don't blame him, I blame Ron for putting him in a position where failure was inevitable.

Playing Holgate in the attacking wing role was a mistake… he can be good overlapping in space as a right-back, but he lacks the necessary midfielder's skill set under pressure and around the box. His passing was awful and he was caught out too many times. He should have been right-back in a 4-man backline, which would have been the obvious choice.

As has been said by others, starting four of the kids was too many. They were overwhelmed by the occasion and there was no steadying hand there to guide them, especially with Barkley out of control and Rom largely AWOL.

John (#24) is correct that perhaps Koeman's biggest failing was not making his substitutions at halftime when it had become obvious that we were courting disaster with the existing lineup. Barry, Valencia and Mirallas all came on too late, at 3-1 instead of 2-1. It's on Ron.

Paul Tran (#29), somewhat agree with your shopping list except I'd put goalkeeper at the very bottom of the list... I'm satisfied with Joel and I haven't anyone we could afford who is better... and I believe Galloway should be given a chance at left-back before we go shopping for one. (Off-topic, hoping to meet you when I come up to Scotland after the Leicester game – let me know how I can get in touch!)

Christopher (#11), I have the same questions regarding Browning and Galloway, and I'd add Callum Connolly to the list based on how well he is doing on loan at Wigan. I'd also like to see Holgate be given a real shot at centre-back before we start buying centre-backs in threes. I think he will do very well.

Denis Richardson
44 Posted 02/04/2017 at 16:28:48
Given the injuries, Koeman didn't have too much choice. I for one was surprised with his selection but generally okay with it.

The only issue I had was Calvert-Lewin starting ahead of Mirallas – I don't really understand why Mirallas was on the bench. Otherwise with no Coleman, Funes Mori or Schneiderlin, it was going to be tuough going at the back.

You do learn more in defeat and if one thing's been shown by yesterday's game, I think it's that on current ability, neither Calvert-Lewin nor Pennington are ready to be starting at this level. Pennington is 22 so not sure if he's ever going to be ready.

We need a quality replacement for Jagielka and we need to plan on a replacement for Baines. Add the usual creative centre-midfielder we've been missing for years and a replacement for Lukaku (I really don't see him here next season), it's going to be a big summer for Koeman and Walsh – but at least they have the whole transfer window and no international tournament this year.

I expect (hope) to see a good 5 new faces in the first team squad next season with Barry and Jagielka having started their last games for us this season.

Re Barkley, I think it's in the best interest of the club and player for him to try somewhere new. If Spurs put in a big bid, we should take it. Buy Sigurdsson as a replacement.

Mick Quirke
45 Posted 02/04/2017 at 16:35:56
He's not deluded, he's trying to build confidence.

We played decently second half and Barkley had a real go.

We had 4 lads under 20 at Anfield! Blues fans need to get some perspective. We will get a result at Old Trafford.

Dan Davies
46 Posted 02/04/2017 at 16:45:40
I agree with those calling for a new defensive unit, the whole lot. Two new central defenders needed along with cover for both left and right back. I'd stick with Robles for now but, if a top quality keeper was available, we'd be stupid not to get him.
Paul Holmes
47 Posted 02/04/2017 at 16:51:20
Once the team sheet was announced, I was pleased that OAP Barry was on the bench,with four youngsters who should be able to run and press. I thought there should be a lot of energy in the team but unfortunately the gap in quality was easy to see after 30 minutes.

We need to buy players who have enough technical ability to do the basics, like pass to one another on a football pitch that resembles a carpet! (How hard can it really be?)

The gap in class between Ross Barkley and Coutinho was massive, especially in the latter's reading of the game – Ross still thinks he's playing football in the playground (blinkered, no vision of what is happening around him).

With the loss of our international players, it was always going to be a struggle, but unfortunately the youngsters are not yet ready so time to get the chequebook out and forget about the stadium in the short term.

Paul Conway
48 Posted 02/04/2017 at 16:56:00
Darren Hind @ 35, I totally agree.

We are very limited in stoic players and including injuries, Koeman was dealt a dire hand.

I would like to think that Koeman's after-match comments were an attempt to get up the Werewolf's nose, rather than admit being outplayed, in response to his Baboon chest-beating antics and constant berating of the officials.

I can't honestly remember a more irksome manager of Liverpool. He is the embarrassing uncle who won't leave the party, spends his time trying to be kool by listening to the Cure or The Happy Mondays... Fucking embarrassment!

Darren Hind
49 Posted 02/04/2017 at 17:02:33
The capital H was for the benefit of somebody else John. He often accuses me of using "Hindsight"

Even with the benefit of hindsight, I still can't pick a winning team for yesterday.

Phil Bellis
50 Posted 02/04/2017 at 17:13:15
Denis (#44),

Apply the old thought experiment... imagine Barkley in a team that had personnel that covered for his deficiencies and he could do what he's best at.... a bit like Sheedy in the '80s.

I think he'd blossom into what he threatens to become in the right side; I hope that's Everton.

Tom Bowers
51 Posted 02/04/2017 at 17:14:19
City concede again at Arsenal from a corner.

When will these ''so-called'' coaches learn that you have to cover each goalpost?

Mike Gaynes
52 Posted 02/04/2017 at 17:20:12
Hey, Darren, another chance for us to agree on something! (Who would have guessed?)

With our injury list, I can't find a win either. But I can see a 4-2-3-1 that could have gotten us a point.

Kieran Kinsella
53 Posted 02/04/2017 at 17:25:03
Mick Quirke,

I agree about the young lads. I remember Fergie fielding a young team that got smashed by Barcelona... some time after Hansen's famous remarks.

Everyone was saying "These kids (Butt Scholes Beckham etc) are not good enough for this level; Fergie needs to buy a bunch of big names."

Phil Walling
54 Posted 02/04/2017 at 17:28:17
I think we have already seen enough of Koeman to know he is not the answer to our prayers. I guess we shall have to go through the farce of seeing him spend a shitload of money only to produce more of what we saw yesterday.

At a big club he would be in his final weeks already but here he will continue to be indulged only to prove himself as a Moyes-like tactician and a Martinez romanticizer!

Paul Smith
55 Posted 02/04/2017 at 18:05:50
Dennis, did you watch the Swansea game today? Sigurdsson is not the answer.
Darren Hind
56 Posted 02/04/2017 at 18:07:39

That's twice in... how long? Does this make us kindred spirits?

David Connor
57 Posted 02/04/2017 at 18:29:41
Until we get a squad with a winning mentality nothing will change. Yes we had to many youngsters in the team but most of our squad are mentally weak and are used to losing big games.

Massive investment needed probably £200 million. Will Moshiri give us half that amount even with the sale of Lukaku? I have my doubts.

Big clear out needed in the summer. McCarthy, Besic, Williams, Jags, Funes Mori and Robles. If Lukaku and Barkley go I for one wont be that arsed purely because they never produce the goods in the bigger games and that is a fact.

Lukaku never produces in big games and bangs on about playing Champions League. He is not a team player as the likes of Costa is and he isn't in his league and doubt if he ever will be. That man would probably kick of if he lost a game of tiddly winks.

Lukaku doesn't seem arsed half the time. Take the money if anyone is daft enough to pay £60-70 mill. £30M for Barkley. Could build a new team with that kind of cash. I'm sick of the pair of em. Get rid.

Tony Hill
58 Posted 02/04/2017 at 18:51:34
That was the third time Koeman has set up badly against teams above us this season. Yesterday was not as idiotic as the Tottenham fiasco but it's a big worry.

As a club, we spend a great deal of time talking about what we're going to achieve, and then we don't. Thirty years of chatter and waffle, and continuing.
Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 02/04/2017 at 19:04:51
You never know, Darren.
Rick Tarleton
60 Posted 02/04/2017 at 19:27:55
An excellent analysis of the game. Too many inexperienced players, poor defending and above all too little skill when it mattered. The three red goals all came from individual players who were capable of opening up a defence, especially when the defending was mediocre.

Barkley had a poor game as did Lukaku. Barkley looked as though he cared about the result, Lukaku looked as though he didn't.

Lukaku blew his last big transfer push when he proved in the Euros that in big games he doesn't exist. If you want goals against Hull, Rom's your man, against the big teams he just hopes. The reason he came 503rd out of 503 Premier League players in the OPTA statistics for movement is because essentially he's rather lazy.

Thank God I'm old enough to remember Colin Harvey master-minding a 4-0 win at Anfield. I can't see it happening again in the near future.

Koeman's selections were bizarre and I'll leave it at that. We need central defenders and a front man who'll run.

Denis Richardson
62 Posted 02/04/2017 at 19:59:41
Paul (#55), no I didn't watch the Swansea game (Swansea vs Boro? Having a laugh!)

However, Sigurdsson averages double digit goals and double digit assists every season, and that in a poor Swansea side.

Barkley, for all the hype, has yet to get that consistency. And he also plays in a (supposedly) better side. To be honest I'm bored of waiting for Barkley to 'come good'. The guy's had about 4-5 seasons now and is still 'one for the future'. Coutinho is only one year older and twice the player and yet Barkley is supposedly worth more?

Cash in on Lukaku (wants away anyway) and Barkley (massively overrated IMO) and use the £100m odd to bring in quality replacements who play for the team, are hungry and not 'ones for the future'. My humble opinion anyway. Barkley has the talent but not the footballing brain to go with it.

Mark Wilson
63 Posted 02/04/2017 at 20:30:10
It still stings. Will do for a while. It really isn't the losing, well ok it is, but truthfully it's the embarrassing and shameful "performance" that makes for a feeling of real humiliation and if you come on here and state it doesn't matter, it's just three points like every other game then I have to say I simply don't understand your way. It's never going to be mine.

We have grown so good at the excuses. Some are reasonable. We were harshly done by during the international break. We were badly exposed losing Morgan, Seamus and yes, James M. But how you deal with the "excuses" is what matters most. Koeman's response to a pitiful first half was beyond unacceptable. It was an arrogant misjudgement which may have cost us any chance of a fight back. He's paid £6m a year not to get the basics wrong and his failure to significantly alter the formation and make at least two .and I was screaming for all three .substitutions is just unfathomable. Arrogance. Maybe. He's so bloody full of himself. I want him to succeed but frankly will be surprised but pleased to say I was wrong if he does yet I don't see it happening.

Much of this defeat was already an accident waiting to happen as two miserably poor transfer windows left us very short of quality cover, or just quality, in a number of positions. We needed a good second striker like Gabbiadini and without question we should have moved for a strong centre back when it was becoming clear that Williams wasn't quite the player we felt him to be. As for cover at right back? Another poor piece of judgement not to see this as a priority.

It's gone now, any outside chance of building the momentum and surprising a lot of people. We threw it away thanks to another glaringly obvious mistake by the manager at Spurs. Then yesterday's combination of poor mgt and a terrible showing by the senior players and schoolboy mistakes from, well, schoolboys I guess, or close to it. Excuses will be made for Pennington and it's harsh I know but he's got a mountain to climb after that performance, however hard it was for him in the scenario he was faced with. Yet there was Robles performing like he'd never played before. Williams putting in a dire showing that let everyone down. Gueye playing like he wanted everyone to know that his brief excellence was a total sham. And the hapless Barkley playing into the hands of everyone who has ever criticised his often terrible decision making and habit of running down every rabbit hole he can find. So Pennington shouldn't be too embarrassed.

Oh and then there is the leading scorer in the division who so many Everton fans seem to want to drive from the club. He doesn't seem to do well against the so called top clubs. The fact that the entire team, and in particular the manager, contrive to not turn up in almost any big game we play, that's just ignored and instead we fall back on his lazy look, his failure yomein a game on his own or his poor trapping of the ball. He was poor yesterday in the few moments he had the ball, got a pass that didn't sail over his head or had any Everton player within ten feet. He failed yesterday. But only at Everton can we find ways to dismiss his goal scoring record rather than look carefully at the whole team as a unit, the formation set up, the general style of play and frankly a transfer approach that leaves you wondering whether there really is the money behind the club we all hoped for ?

Nothing left but to move on and see if we can cling on to the holy grail of a seventh place finish and hope that the irritating Leicester City don't win the CL. Football remains a crazy game and a win at Utd, tho a lot less likely than another humiliation, is not impossible. Kenny at right back because, he's a right back. Williams dropped. Holgate alongside Jags. Gueye and Barry back together (sigh) and Ross and Tom given another chance to link up effectively and Kevin behind Rom. 4-5-1 and a lot of prayers. We deserve something back after another pathetic outing at Anfield.

Raymond Fox
64 Posted 02/04/2017 at 20:39:42
An impartial view was we were a 9/2 shot to win in that game. When we play a top 6 (money side) call them what you will, we still lack players of sufficient class to get more than the odd success.

If it's to change, we need to be very busy in the summer transfer market. We need a clear out of most of our squad of older players and buy 7 or 8 new ones that are a level above what we have now.

It's going to take some very serious money but it's the only way we will have a chance of being better than 7th next season, in my opinion.

Gordon Crawford
65 Posted 02/04/2017 at 20:43:42
I wish we would stop donating points to that shower in the their quest for top four; we are an embarrassment.

Yes, for years they might have had better players, but that's not all it takes to win a derby. You need heart, you need to believe in yourself and in your team mates. Sadly I don't see any of these attributes in many of our first team players.

This summer, we are going to need to a major overhaul. Need to bring in a few winners. Whether we want him or not, if Rooney had of been playing yesterday, then he would have worked his balls off.

Tony Hill
66 Posted 02/04/2017 at 20:54:29
I agree with both Mark (#63) and Raymond (#64). We certainly do need better players, but we are also horribly short of game intelligence and hardness of mind.

As others have said, the pivotal moment yesterday was after the equaliser. They had given away another shoddy set-piece goal and we needed to ram that home; not by going gung-ho but by keeping control of the tempo of the game and managing movement and space.

Instead – and this is what we do with sickening regularity – we congratulated ourselves, slackened, gave up space and invited their second goal. It's as though we practise it.

Schneiderlin might have made a difference but the absolute priority is to get someone on the pitch (and, ideally, off it – if that isn't asking too much of our manager and coaches) who can sense the way in which a game is going or likely to go, and react accordingly. We show no sign of understanding ourselves and our weaknesses at all.

Tough, clever players. Get them in. I hope Ronald, Erwin and Duncan can find the same qualities in themselves.

Andy Finigan
67 Posted 02/04/2017 at 21:23:54
The trouble is for us to spend money; due to Financial Fair Play, we need money to come in.

Unfortunately, dropping players lowers their value so the manager needs to get to the end of the season playing the players he wants money for. It may not win us games but it will reward us with better players next season.

Paul Holmes
68 Posted 02/04/2017 at 21:30:04
We are starting to see on ToffeeWeb that most of the posters agree that we need more quality players to take us into the top six. This will require a lot of money in the summer, but I am hopeful that we can get a good price for Lukaku (he is moving on) and hopefully good money for Barkley (maybe Spurs will buy him).

We have some quality players in Coleman, Gueye, Schneiderlin and maybe some of the young kids will come good... but, IMO, the rest of the team needs rebuilding after watching the derby on Saturday.

Stan Schofield
69 Posted 02/04/2017 at 23:53:56
From the evidence I have seen since last June, it is possible that Koeman is an autocrat who is also inflexible. A good manager makes good use of the resources at his disposal, rather than crying for more resources.

Whenever we lose like this because of bad tactics, there's inevitably the TW posts of 'Barkley was shite, get rid', 'Lukaku couldn't be arsed, get rid', and similar 'get rid' comments about other players.

Perhaps it's the Prima donna manager who is the problem. Lukaku and Barkley perform well enough at home, when the tactics are right. Koeman's away tactics are truly shite, and he's either too stupid to realise it, too stubborn to do anything about it, or too busy having petty feuds with other millionaire prima donna managers to think about it properly.

Sometimes, managers can get in the way of an organisation working well. In fact, it happens often. It seems to happen a lot in football.

I think perhaps Moshiri and the board need to assess the situation very carefully, look at what they get for £6M/year, and perhaps consider appointing someone with less tendencies to hanging their dirty washing in public, less tendency to publicly criticise players, and more tendency to focus on decent tactics aimed at getting a truly winning mentality that aims to win each game regardless of the opposition. How about David Unsworth?

Mick Davies
70 Posted 03/04/2017 at 03:57:52
Derek @ 22, good post, and Mike @ 43, I agree with you: Robles is the best keeper we've had since Martyn, and the amount of games he's saved or won us this season gives him the right to the No 1 shirt.

As for some of the other comments on here, like 'get rid of McCarthy', well why? He is the most influential player at the club. His first full season and we had a record points total; the next season I remember he missed a game through injury and many on here were saying how much they never realised how important he was until he wasn't there.

It's no coincidence how our form nosedived while he struggled with injury, but our clueless Spaniard played on his desire to play every game (a la O'Neill) and he's never had the chance to recover properly. Just like the Goodison derby, I think he would have run the show on Saturday.

I am as angry with him as anyone here but he's younger than Gana and Schneids, meaning time is on his side, and if we're looking for a leader, then a fit McCarthy next season should be made captain.

Koeman did cock up big time, but one incident gives me optimism, and that's the spat with the meths drinking pikey: I've never seen Koeman act so passionately, and to display the same feeling as us fans gives me hope that he will simmer, then channel his anger into a positive force for the good of this club.

Martinez lacked this passion (2 x 4-0 defeats didn't stop his stupid smile), but defeat at the house of horrors looks like it put a spark into our boss.

And I also hope he now realises that a team can only carry one non-competitive luxury player at a time, and having a 'proper' squad, instead of relying on inexperienced or Zimmer-reliant players is essential, especially when competing with the top sides at the business end of the season.

Brian Wilkinson
71 Posted 03/04/2017 at 16:44:09
I know this is off topic, oh god not another Rooney, well I was in the bring Rooney back camp.

What was evident on Saturday is we have no leadership whatsoever.

If we can get Rooney for a couple of seasons, whether he's not as quick, what he does still process is a footballing brain and a never give up attitude.

He could be the Andy Gray/ Peter Reid in the side, rousing the other players, he will rollick players for hitting a pass 30 yards astray,instead of putting his thumb up.

If not Rooney then someone who can be a leader on the pitch, can give other players a kick up the backside.

I am sick of seeing players put their thumbs up to another player who has wasted a pass, it's time that team had a good look at themselves, believe in the ability and play as a team, battling for their team mates.

Tony Abrahams
72 Posted 03/04/2017 at 19:09:18
I was happy when I heard the team, except like Paul Tran says, I would have preferred Holgate playing Central, and Kenny starting on the right. I also would have played Barkley, in between Gueye and Davies, in a central three and pushed Calvert-Lewin right up-front alongside Lukaku.

I would have tried to frustrate them by defending deep, and I'm sure they would have started pushing up their fullbacks, which would have left us space to get it forward early, to get our forwards working the channels. But instead we got a team that had too many players, playing in no man's land once again.

When a team plays with 3 at the back it should enable 2 defenders to come to the ball, safe in the knowledge that they have got cover in behind, but the way we conceded the first goal, showed us that we just hadn't done enough homework to make this work because our defenders were all running away from the ball except Williams, who was just too deep,to begin with?

The reason I was happy with the team was because I think kids play without fear but, if the tactics aren't right, I suppose it just doesn't matter. Organisation and Brains win football matches, but we were sadly lacking in both!

Jack Convery
73 Posted 03/04/2017 at 21:33:36
Great article absolutely bang on.

We need men in the team.

People with mental strength – Gough, Southall, Gray, Van Den Hauwe, Reid – players of this ilk. Please note, apart from Southall, they were not world class but they had world class hearts and the RS never worried them. "They need to worry about us" – that was their motto. We need to get back to that mentality. Until we do, we may as well subtract 6 points after 10 games next season and that will tell us where we really are.

Charles Barrow
74 Posted 03/04/2017 at 21:38:09
I agree with Tony Abrahams. I think the Anfield game was a one-off disaster. It wasn't quite like the Chelsea and Spurs debacles where Koeman set up solely to defend (badly). It was too many players playing out of position and too many overawed by the occasion and too many playing with fear.

Rather than over reacting by trying to sell the whole team (or just Barkley and Lukaku who seem to get an unfair amount of criticism), let's park this one and hope Koeman has learnt his lesson.

I'm not sure whether our Ronald will learn the lessons but a win to-morrow would go some way to dulling the pain. Another Keystone Cops performance and the taxi will be waiting!

Tony Hill
75 Posted 03/04/2017 at 21:50:46
It's about winning when there is something truly at stake. We don't do it and haven't for decades (our 95 outing excluded). We are serial bottlers and it has become ingrained. That's why we were so pathetically grateful in Martinez's first season when we actually played with some swagger against the RS, Arsenal and United.

I don't think it was a one-off, Charles, I'm afraid. It was the exact opposite, it was what we always do.

I think it's going to take a remarkable character or characters to reboot this club and I don't think they've arrived yet.

Chris Corn
76 Posted 03/04/2017 at 22:07:01
Have to agree, Tony (#75). We need a calibre of player who has that winning mentality and we cannot attract that sort of player.

We will pay big money for the likes of Bolasie, Williams and Schneiderlin. No disrespect to them but they have come from lower to mid table Premier League teams and in the latter's case was not a regular under Mourinho. These are players who are not tuned in to going to big teams and expecting to win. Playing for Everton will be as good as it gets.

Those type of players are out of our league, even with the supposed new money. Like you, I can't see our choker mentality changing any time soon.

Rob Halligan
77 Posted 04/04/2017 at 09:28:00
Slightly off topic.

Following Lovren's verbals at Ross, about his challenge, I see Wijnaldum has now hit out at the Everton following some of the challenges on Saturday.

I know these are relatively new to the club, but a bit of research wouldn't go amiss before spouting off about poor challenges.

Gerrard's two-footed assault on Gary Naismith's chest. Kuyt's two-footed lunge at Phil Neville. Rat boy raking his studs down both Mirallas and Distin.

I'm sure there are others but, as they say, what goes around comes around.

I also see Sadio Mane could be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. While nowhere near as bad as Seamus, but will be a big miss in their push for a Champions League spot. During his absence due to the ACON, I don't think they won a game!! Here's hoping.

I bet they're regretting their sick song about Seamus now.

Jon Ord
78 Posted 04/04/2017 at 12:05:52
An excellent article – but I can't help feeling we, especially the players, are developing a 'Derby Day Complex' – it all takes on such significance that it becomes an impediment to performance...

They are unburdened by having no scousers in their team – it is just literally another game...

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