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Venue: Goodison Park
Premier League
Wednesday 1 December 2021; 8:15pm
1 4
Gray 38'
Half Time: 1 - 2 
Henderson 9'
Salah 19', 64'
Jota 79'
Attendance: 39,122
Fixture 14
Referee: Paul Tierney

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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  Digne booked
  Allan booked
  Townsend booked (Delph 73')
  Gray booked (Tosun 84')
  Rondon (Gordon 59')
  Subs not used
Holgate (suspended)
  Calvert-Lewin (injured)
  Davies (injured)
  Mina (injured)
  Nkounkou (loan)
  Broadhead (loan)
  Gibson (loan)
  Virginia (loan)
  Kean (loan)

  Van Dijk booked
  Robertson booked
  Henderson (Oxlade-Chamberlain 83')
  Alcantara booked (Milner 75')
  Jota (Minamino 88')
  Subs not used

Match Stats

Shots on target

Premier League Scores
Leeds 1-0 C Palace
Newcaste 1-1 Norwich
Aston Villa 1-2 Man City
Everton 1-4 Liverpool
Southampton 2-2 Leicester
Watford 1-2 Chelsea
West Ham 1-1 Brighton
Wolves 0-0 Burnley
Man United 3-2 Arsenal
Tottenham 2-0 Brentford

1 Liverpool 34
2 Chelsea 33
3 Manchester City 32
4 West Ham United 27
5 Arsenal 23
6 Tottenham Hotspur 22
7 Manchester United 21
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20
10 Leicester City 19
11 Crystal Palace 16
12 Brentford 16
13 Aston Villa 16
14 Southampton 16
15 Everton 15
16 Leeds United 15
17 Watford 13
18 Burnley 10
19 Newcastle United 10
20 Norwich City 10

Match Report

When Rafael Benitez was appointed, this was the nightmare scenario; Liverpool victorious at Goodison Park, their fans boisterously goading the home fans by chanting the name of their former manager from the away section in the Lower Bullens. Just like the distasteful Sam Allardyce interlude, it was wholly avoidable, one more ignominy that Evertonians have had to bear as Farhad Moshiri flounders in his attempts to find the formula to unpick this Gordian Knot of a football club.

Few Blues fans might have imagined things would be quite as bad as this, though, and the heavily lopsided scoreline was only part of it. This was Everton’s eighth match without a win and a club that was in the top four in mid-September has slumped to 14th on the back of its worst run of results for 22 years and sits just five points above a relegation zone that feels almost magnetic at this point.

No one who witnessed the performance at Brentford on Sunday and familiar with Liverpool’s form was giving Everton much of a chance in this first derby of the season and so it proved as Jürgen Klopp’s men ruthlessly underscored the massive gulf in class between these two teams. The two clubs exist on different planes now and by the final whistle, that had been glaringly illustrated.

And yet, despite Benitez’s suicidal strategy in trying to counter one of the best midfield trios and “false nines” in the world with a two-man midfield of his own and the fact that the team had been routinely carved open on the way to a 2-0 deficit, Everton were actually in with a shout of perhaps grabbing a point from this derby before Seamus Coleman’s horrendous error put the contest beyond reach with 25 minutes to go. You sense, though, that even had the Toffees’ spell of pressure during the middle of the second half yielded an equaliser, Liverpool would still have produced an answer without the need for the home captain to gift them a gilt-edged chance on goal. As “expected losses” go, this one probably takes the cake.

Farhad Moshiri, he who reputedly made that controversial remark a couple of seasons ago, was absent from this evening’s debacle while Bill Kenwright, Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Marcel Brands looked on glumly from the Directors Box and then, at the final whistle, faced the ire of many of those fans who had stayed to the bitter end rather than join the ranks of those who had long since seen enough — some of them as early as the 20th minute.

Chants of “sack the board” might have felt a world away when Moshiri and his billions took control of Everton almost six years promising the world but those words rang out from the stands tonight indicating the fact that a tired and frustrated set of supporters has run out of patience with the dysfunction, lack of progress, the insult that Benitez’s hiring added to ongoing injury and genuine fear of what comes next.

The team news an hour before kick-off was greeted by familiar groans as the Spaniard persisted with Salomon Rondon up front and left Fabian Delph on the bench in favour of a 4–4-2 formation with the returning Richarlison playing off the Venezuelan striker and Demarai Gray deployed on the other flank to Andros Townsend.

To his credit, while the ball continues to evade him in the penalty area, Rondon put in a committed display as did, in truth, the rest of the Everton team. They just couldn’t live with Klopp’s side lined up in Benitez’s chosen formation and had they been four or five goals down by the half-hour mark, it wouldn’t have been a surprise.

Joel Matip missed the target with a completely free header off Liverpool's first corner of the game in the second minute and Mohamed Salah volleyed over after Townsend had gifted the ball to Diogo Jota in the third, while Jordan Pickford had to make an impressive save in the eighth minute to deny the Egyptian after Sadio Mané had picked him out with a low cross from the left.

Everton were being sliced open by Liverpool's passing and incisive running and when Klopp's men attacked again down the left through Andrew Robertson, the Scot cut the ball back to the top of the penalty area where Jordan Henderson arrived untracked to bend a left-footed effort around the goalkeeper.

The home side had a couple of flurries that saw dangerous balls flash across the box, one of them cleared behind by Matip before Gray could pounce while at the other end Trent Alexander-Arnold tested Pickford with an accurate drive that the England international palmed away to safety.

Pickford was left stranded a minute later, though, when Liverpool cleared a corner from their own box and counter-attacked quickly, with Henderson sending Salah away into space where he proved to be as deadly as always with an unerring finish inside the far post.

2-0 almost became a humiliating 3-0 when another corner from the Liverpool right bounced off the unwitting Michael Keane and bounced a foot wide and Pickford had to be alert once more to beat away an effort from Mané as the Toffees continued to be overrun.

A lifeline arrived, however, through Gray. Richarlison collected a pass and turned smartly to release the winger who had taken up an excellent position between the last two defenders and, taking a perfectly-weighted through-ball in stride, he tucked it under the advancing Alisson Becker to halve Everton's deficit.

Abdoulaye Doucouré had a chance to level things right on the stroke of half-time when Lucas Digne got to the byline and crossed but the midfielder's shot from the angle was blocked near the goal line.

Doucouré would have Everton's first chance of the second half but couldn't get enough power on his header to trouble Alisson while Ben Godfrey had to make an excellent last-ditch tackle to deny Mané as the Blues were easily carved open once more.

Despite the obvious disparity in quality, Everton were still very much in the game at 2-1 and were doing their best to force Liverpool back when Rondon had to come off with a hamstring injury.

He was replaced by Anthony Gordon who wasted no time getting stuck in and adding his own tenacity to the mix but after Townsend had seen a direct free-kick deflect off the defensive wall and the resulting corner fell short and was cleared, Coleman's blunder under pressure from Salah handed Liverpool a killer third goal. The Irishman failed to control a bouncing pass from Gray and was robbed, with Salah racing away before slipping the ball past Pickford and just inside the post.

That knocked the remaining fight out of Everton and though Delph was somewhat curiously introduced with 17 minutes left and Cenk Tosun was thrown on later for a rare run-out, there was time in between for the visitors to score a painful fourth. Jota eased his way past the flat-footed Allan and drilled a shot into the roof of Pickford's net to round things off another miserable derby defeat for Everton.

The aftermath has been characterised by an outpouring of frustration from a fanbase becoming increasingly fearful of how bad this season could get for a club with a worryingly thin squad overseen by a manager that doesn’t seem able to get the best out of the players at his disposal even as, one by one, they return from injury.

In addition to wanting accountability and communication from the top, there are calls now for Benitez to be sacked with Everton sinking down the table with a return of just two points from the last 24 on offer. Given the paucity of options available over the summer when Moshiri scrambled to replace Carlo Ancelotti, you would imagine the Board will try and stave that decision off for as long as possible but the longer the losses pile up and the greater the threat of relegation becomes, the more you have to believe Benitez’s position must become untenable.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

A cold and windy night in Goodison Park but Everton go into the Goodison derby needing to turn up the heat a little on their local rivals... but they failed on the night pretty poorly to match their predatory goalscorers.

With a lot more than usual riding on this one, Everton fans had been looking for a reaction after the dismal showing at Brentford. Both the players and Rafa Benitez came in for a roasting at the end of that disaster, but the mood of the crowd was supportive, at least at the start, but it seemed to be all over after 20 minutes.

That means starting without Iwobi, whose contributions have been next to nothing... although Iwobi scored the last Everton goal — exactly a month ago — the only goal Everton scored in the entire month of November!

Rafa Benitez is still without Calvert-Lewin, Mina, and Davies while Gomes is not fit enough yet, but Richarlison is back since missing the Brentford debacle with a one-match suspension after accumulating 5 yellow cards in 8 games. Holgate serves out his 3-match suspension.

But, much to the annoyance of many Evertonians, Rondon starts, with Delph, Iwobi and Gordon on the bench, where Simms and Onyango are not included (they're playing tonite in Southport for David Unsworth's Under-23s).

The game got underway beneath the Goodison lights with Liverpool kicking off. Mne got through but Coleman covering and Pickford advancing couldn't decide and gave up a stupid corner that Matip headed wide.

A dreadful giveaway by Townsend let Jota in to cross and Salah incredibly tried to score with his foot instead of heading in. Everton in absolute rags from the start. They tried to shape an attack but it was farcical, ending in a handball.

They attacked again, though, Gray crossing deep with numbers in the Liverpool area but it could not be controlled by Townsend. Liverpool went up the other end and won another corner, cleared. But Liverpool reformed and Salah had a snapshot that Pickford saved low to his right.

Everton tried to break forward but it was easily intercepted and just a few passes later, the last one was into the net by Henderson. Not even 10 minutes gone.

Richarlison as fouled but nothing came of Townsend's set-piece but they worked it back and claimed a free-kick that was not given. Everton attacked again, Gray crossing in and Richarlison launching himself at a very low percentage chance, missing it completely.

Shootng practice for Liverpool, TAA forcing a great save but the short corner was pushed away, back to Alisson. His clearance was picked up by Townsend who was clearly tripped by Roberston but Townsend was shockingly booked for simulation. Unbelievable referee bias.

Richaerlison got in a good cross that forced Everton's first corner with Gray lurking but it was cleared away and Liverpool were back up the other end again in no time. But Everton won the ball back and mounted something approaching a decent attack but Keane lost the ball, Liverpoool broke, Salah scored and it was 2-0 already with not 20 minutes gone. It could not have been a worse start by Rafa's Blues.

Another Liverpool corner and Keane headed just wide, avoiding an own goal. Another Liverpool corner headed behind by Rondon. Yet another corner, put behind by a red shirt.

Coleman was next to gift the ball to Liverpool in midfield, but the Blues recovered and Richarlison played in Gray who should have shot but tried to be too clever and any chance was gone. More shooting practice for the Reds, Pickford saving from Mane as another ball appeared on the pitch.

Gray got forward but his cross was clear, then Townsend was fouled but Gray's ball in was easily defended by the Reds. Allan was next to be fouled, Gray again hitting it deep and Liverpool repelling it easily. Coleman was having an absolute mare against the Liverpool players. Allan tackled Jota, winning the ball, but Jota went down in a heap feeling his trailing leg, earning a yellow card for Allan, who was absolutely livid.

Liverpool were content to pass the ball into the net but Richarlison produced a breath ball to Gray who suddenly got through and played it under Alisson and it bobbled into the Liverpool net

Everton had some better possession until the ball was launched out of play. Gray got through again and was tripped by Fabhimo but Tireney again said it was a dive and booked the Everton man.

Liverpool mounted a dangerous attack and Mane's header had to be well cleared by Godfrey. But they then won a corner in the dying minutes of the half that was hoofed away before Salah was offside.

Rondon started a decent move with Digne crossing in and it fell deep to Doucoure but his shot was easily blocked just before the whistle blew on a very lively half, with Everton finally showing a bit of life but ominously getting 4 yellow cards after being blown away in the first 20 minutes.

Everton resumed after the break and Rondon pressurized Robertson, and Rondon stumbled forward, the ball crossed to Doucoure who headed into Alisson's hands.

Liverpool attacked at pace but Everton got back in numbers and Godfrey threw himself to block Mane's shot. Everton's defence were tested again after the ball had gone out of play but not flagged, but they held firm.

Gray whipped in an excellent cross that was headed behind for a corner. The crowd went mad when Jota was given a soft free-kick in a dangerous central position. Van Dijk eventually kicked it into the wall before it was put wide.

Gray git forward but couldn't get past Matip. A ball over the top was taken well by Richarlison but then wildly wellied over the Gwladys Street Stand. Rondon tried to walk off grimacing but then tried to run off a hamstring problem before Gordon finally replaced him.

Coleman gave away a corner really poorly when he should have cleared, headed behind by Keane, as he did with the next header. Pickford had to punch the next one away.

Gordon was fouled by Robertson, looked the same as the other two but now the Liverpool player was shown the yellow card. Townsend fired it off the top of the wall. Townsend's corner could not beat the first man and it broke back to Coleman who totally fucked up and Salah said thank you as he ran off to finish. Absolutely hopeless from the Everton captain there.

Henderson crossed in dangerously and Godfrey almost took out Pickford to hook it behind. Delp replaced Townsend... damage limitation now as the spark for the Blues seems to have faded. Richarlison couldn't get around Van Dijk to get the ball across to Gordon in space.

Then Jota made it look ridiculously easy. spinning Allan, around and lashed the ball into the roof of the net for an unstoppable 4th goal, finally ending any remaining Blues hopes of turning this around.

Van Dijk fouled Gordon and was booked. Tosun replaced Gray. Everton played it around a bit but could not get close as the minutes ticked down to another horrible defaet for Everton under Rafa Benitez, the biggest home derby defeat for 39 years.

Kick-off: 8:15pm, Wednesday 1 December 2021 on Ammazon Prime in the UK

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Digne [Y:40'], Doucoure, Allan [Y:31'], Townsend [Y:16'] (73' Delph), Richarlison, Gray [Y:44'] (85' Tosun), Rondon (59' Gordon).
Subs not Used: Begovic, Kenny, Iwobi, Gbamin, Branthwaite, Dobbin.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk [Y:80'], Robertson [Y:63'], Henderson (83' Oxlade-Chamberlain), Fabinho, Thiago [Y:40'] (75' Milner), Salah, Jota (88' Minamino), Mane.
Subs: Konate, Tsimikas, Origi, Kelleher, Williams, Morton.

Referee: Paul Tierney
VAR: Michael Oliver

Michael Kenrick

Match Preview

Once it became clear that Rafael Benitez was Farhad Moshiri's choice to succeed Carlo Ancelotti as manager, this fixture, the first Merseyside derby of 2021-22, was the one Everton fans were dreading the most. Having already sullied the club's name with the hiring in 2018 of Sam Allardyce, the appointment of a Liverpool FC hero was always a tough ask of Evertonian patience and grace; that the Toffees go into this fixture at such a low ebb and with the reds in such good form makes the whole build-up to the game incredibly difficult to take.

Sunday's depressingly limp defeat at Brentford means that Everton begin a daunting run of five matches against Liverpool, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Leicester nervously looking over their collective shoulder at the relegation zone just six points below them. Benitez badly needed three points from West London this past weekend to both arrest a worrying six-game sequence without a win and give some hope to an increasingly concerned fanbase heading into this difficult-looking December.

Instead, the Spaniard presided over what was the Blues' fifth defeat in six matches — relegation form no matter which way you slice it — and his players were left under no illusions at the final whistle about what their committed travelling fans thought of what was another dreadful, toothless performance. It's difficult to think of worse circumstances under which to prepare for the visit of your local rivals.

Yet prepare Benitez must, hopefully with the knowledge that Abdoulaye Doucouré and Demarai Gray, two players rushed back from injury for Sunday, will be fit enough to start. Gray was particularly missed at the Brentford Community Stadium until he stepped off the bench with 20 minutes to go and did his best to fashion an equaliser for a desperately blunt Everton attack. His pace and invention combined with Richarlison's return from a one-match suspension should provide a huge lift in quality over what was on show from the likes of Salomon Rondon and Alex Iwobi.

The further addition of one or both of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina would have been a massive psychological boost as well but neither will be able to make it for Wednesday evening. Calvert-Lewin only returned to light training last week as he works his way back from a serious thigh injury and will need more time as will the Colombian.

Much will be made of how Benitez approaches an opposition team with one of the most prolific attacks in the Premier League and which has scored two or more goals in each of their last 17 games in all competitions. Given that Everton scored just once in the month of November, it feels like a harrowing mis-match — Everton have opened as 13/2 underdogs for this game, according to Sports Betting Dime and a draw is 17/4.

It's a match-up that could prompt the manager into a more defensive posture than normal, though. Benitez has been pretty stubborn about his chosen formation but he has used Andros Townsend in a more central role to protect the central midfield pairing and it could be that for this game that he drafts Fabian Delph in alongside Allan and Doucouré to simultaneously provide greater cover for the defence and give the latter license to push forward in a way that he didn't against Brentford, perhaps due to a lack of match fitness.

In that instance, Anthony Gordon might be the one from Sunday's starting XI deemed expendable, with Townsend and Gray tasked with providing the width either side of Richarlison and Rondon dropping back to the substitutes' bench. André Gomes is back in full training but is not expected to be in the starting XI but Tom Davies continues to be sidelined with a knock.

For his part, Jürgen Klopp will have the same five players missing as he did at the weekend, including defender Joe Gomez, midfielder Naby Keita, forward Roberto Firmino and longer-term absentees Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones but the depth of his squad means that he has plenty of alternatives at his disposal.

While Everton broke a 22-year hoodoo back in February by beating Liverpool at Anfield, their winless run in home derbies is itself over a decade old and there are few Evertonians expecting it to end on Wednesday evening. Indeed, most Blues are just hoping to avoid the kind of massacre that would turn Goodison Park into a seething cauldron of ire aimed not at the dark horde from across Stanley Park but the dugout and Directors Box.

This being a derby, though, strange things can happen. This Everton side showed against Tottenham that they can be spirited, determined and difficult to break down and if the fans' frustrations are channelled into turning the Grand Old Lady into a bear pit, the possibility for a competitive encounter and a positive result will always be there. But, boy, it's hard to shake the feeling that damage-limitation will be the order of the day.

Kick-off: 8:15pm, Wednesday 1 December 2021 on Ammazon Prime in the UK
Referee: Paul Tierney
VAR: Michael Oliver
Last Time: Everton 2 - 2 Liverpool

Predicted Line-up: Pickford., Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Allan, Delph, Doucouré, Townsend, Gray, Richarlison

Lyndon Lloyd

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