Everton v Liverpool

Sir John Moores Centenary Trophy, Sunday, 28 July 1996; Goodison Park, Merseyside

Result: Everton 0 - Liverpool 0

Everton: Southall; Hinchcliffe, Unsworth, Watson, Hottiger; Grant (45 Rideout), Parkinson, Ebbrell, Speed; Ferguson, Stuart. Booked: #N/A Subs Not Used: #N/A

Liverpool: #N/A

Ref: Stephen Lodge


Previous Match: Everton v Borussia Mönchengladbach - Next Match: Aberdeen v Everton

A Friendly Derby?

Guy McEvoy: Regardless of the wisdom of having a 'friendly derby' (isn't that an oxymoron?) in the close season, the previous day's general crapiness of both teams meant that this was what we were stuck with.

Everton's starting eleven only had one personnel change from the Borussia game, with Parkinson starting in the place of Branch. This meant that there was a slight reshuffle of positions, Stuart took the Ferguson support role up front and Grant shifted across the field to play wide on the right.

Straight from kick-off, the side seemed to gel and within 5 minutes we had a clear opportunity. Ferguson connected with a long ball forward, nodding it to Stuart who was able to complete the one-two in a fluent move that came within a whisker of opening the account.

The early domination was (unusually) sustained and a ream of chances soon followed. A Hinchcliffe corner found the head of Speed but just went over; Stuart and Grant also had efforts that threatened.

An unfamiliar-looking Liverpool (no Redknapp, Fowler or McManaman) were struggling to contain us. Their only fast break was easily dealt with by a foray from Nev a long way outside his area.

The Blue midfield was now in full control, nothing was allowed through the middle which stifled Liverpool whilst we prodded at them from the wings.

It was one of these 'prods' that brought about the best effort of the afternoon. A slightly over-hit Hinchcliffe cross was aimed at Gary Speed who was two yards back from the penalty spot. He executed the sweetest, highest acrobatic overhead kick I've seen. The ball hammered the crossbar and ricocheted downwards but, in the absence of a Russian linesman, Liverpool were able to clear. This was excellent stuff.

Inspired, Parkinson now went for glory with a thumping 30-yard drive which needed a deflection from Rudduck to keep it out. And so the attrition continued.

Liverpool's only other real chance of the half came after the confident Unsworth had a little over-enthusiastically brought down his man. The resulting free-kick by Collymore hit the target but Southall was more than equal to it.

We had several corners towards the end of the half and Liverpool's defence were unable to deal adequately with any of them. Dunc's head came close twice in succession and Speed also managed to connect with another volley, this time it went wide. It looks like Andy's got his eye back in.

The 0-0 half-time score failed to reflect Everton's overall dominance. But despite the score we had seen much to bring encouragement.

Almost inevitably, much like yesterday, Everton again seemed to be suffering from the second half jitters and played much less convincingly after the break. Grant had been replaced by Rideout. In the shuffle, Rideout played the role Stuart had been doing in the first half (though he didn't play as well there as Stuart had). Stuart moved across to play where Grant had been (though didn't play as well there as Grant had). I felt a bit for Stuart. He suffers from his versatility, he was clearly playing in his most effective role prior to the break but because of this versatility the manager feels comfortable playing him somewhere where he isn't going to shine in quite the same way.

With some of the sharpness of Everton removed, Liverpool started to get a few chances. The most dangerous being one that Southall managed first only to push wide onto the post and he will have been very relieved to see bounce back into his arms.

As the game developed into a frustrating pattern of mid-field skirmishes, tempers began to fray. The most serious incident when Parkinson and Barnes squared up to each other after a tussle that had seen Barnes clearly aim an elbow into Joe's chest. However, even with this tension, it never felt anything like a proper derby. Indeed, the five or six dozen German fans who were waiting for the Mönchengladbach match probably created as much noise as either set of Merseyside fans.

The final whistle came and on reflection I think Liverpool have more to worry about than we have to be pleased about with the days play. However, again, we can take some encouragement from the performance of Speed. He links well with Hinchcliffe and the way he was getting into scoring positions I think we may well see him with every chance of equalling Andrei's tally for the season.

Grant may have to make room for Kanchelskis in the First team proper. Still, early days yet and pre-season efforts are often deceptive (remember Oldham last year?). Still got a few games to try things out and maybe Joe will have some surprises up his sleeve yet.

Jester: Honours ended even in this pre-season battle of the Merseyside giants at Goodison Park -- but Joe Royle and Roy Evans know they have a huge job ahead following their experiences in the Sir John Moores Centenary Trophy.

Both sides saw their quest for the silverware ended by defeats at the hands of FC Porto and Borussia Mönchengladbach at Anfield yesterday and were anxious to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom in this low-key event. It made for a sterile encounter, although Everton were by far the more potent side in a disappointing game played before an equally subdued crowd. Goodison Park boss Royle still has Andrei Kanchelskis to add to his hand, while England trio Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp were again left out by Anfield chief Evans.

But both managers will be anxious to bolster their squads before the Premiership kick-off, with Everton desperate to find a strike partner for Duncan Ferguson and Liverpool still on the trail of Czech ace Patrik Berger. Local prestige was the only thing at stake today, and Everton certainly seemed more ready to relish the challenge. Liverpool, who handed a first-team debut to 18-year-old youth team graduate Jamie Carragher, were forced back by a relentless blue tide and were fortunate to go in level at the break.

Ferguson, as in the penalty shootout defeat by Monchengladbach 24 hours earlier, led the line superbly and signalled his intent with a low fifth-minute 20-yard drive that forced Liverpool goalkeeper David James into the first of a series of saves. Gary Speed, settling in a treat wide on the left following his summer £3 million move to Goodison from Leeds, went closest to breaking the deadlock after 16 minutes with a spectacular overhead kick from Andy Hinchcliffe's left-wing cross that rattled the crossbar with James well beaten.

James again came to Liverpool's rescue with a reaction save with his legs moments later when Hinchcliffe's angled drive flew goalwards after taking a wicked deflection off Neil Ruddock. But the Reds keeper could do nothing about another thunderous header from Ferguson, the big Scot meeting Hinchcliffe's corner with an emphatic effort that was bound for the bottom corner before John Barnes reacted sharply to hack the ball off the line.

Indeed, such was Everton's degree of superiority it took Liverpool 32 minutes to muster an effort on goal, Stan Collymore bringing Neville Southall to his knees to save a low free kick from 25 yards. Lee Jones finally gave the Liverpool fans in the sparse crowd something to cheer seconds after the break, galloping forward to strike a low shot from just outside the area that Southall gathered at the second attempt. Then Dominic Matteo, for once getting forward from midfield, swept Collymore's 54th minute cross against Southall's right-hand post from eight yards with the home keeper rooted to the spot.

Speed, bought by Royle to bolster Everton's goal output from midfield, should have done better than volley into the turf and over when well placed. And the Welshman again went close after 75 minutes with a diving header from Hinchcliffe's cross that forced James into more action. But by then, both sides had become bogged down in a puerile midfield battle and it was a huge relief to the fans when referee Stephen Lodge ended proceedings seconds early. Jester

Lucky to Escape - I

Electronic Telegraph: Liverpool were lucky to escape unscathed from yesterday's third-place play-off after being outplayed for long periods by an Everton side inspired by the presence of fit-again striker Duncan Ferguson.

The £4 million Scot tormented Liverpool central defenders Neil Ruddock and Mark Wright with a typically abrasive show, particularly in the first half when Everton carved out a number of chances. But the home side were unable to turn their superiority into goals, making it clear manager Joe Royle must find a strike partner for Ferguson.

Royle, however, dismissed reports that the Goodison Park club have made a move for Bayern Munich's ex-Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann.

Borussia Moenchengladbach beat FC Porto 3-2 in the tournament's final.

Lucky to Escape - II

From the Independent: Yesterday, Liverpool were lucky to escape unscathed after being outplayed for long periods by an Everton side inspired by the presence of the fit-again Duncan Ferguson. The Scot tormented Ruddock and Wright, particluarly in the first half when Everton carved out a number of chances.

But the home side were unable to turn their superiority into goals, making it clear that Joe Royle must find a strike partner for Fergusson. However Joe Royle dismissed reports that Everton have mounted an ambitious bid for Bayern Munich's former Spurs forward Jurgen Klinsmann

This Match Report Compilation was prepared by Michael Kenrick for Marko Poutiainen. 29 July 1996.