Liverpool v Everton

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FA Carling Premiership 96/97 - Game 13
Wednesday 20 November 1996; Anfield, Liverpool

(postponed from 20 October 1996)

Result: Liverpool (1) 1 - Everton (0) 1
Fowler 30; Speed 82

Liverpool: James, McAteer, Wright, McManaman (Collymore, 17), Fowler, Barnes, Redknapp, Ruddock, Thomas, Bjornebye, Matteo.
Subs Not Used: Babb, Warner, Berger, Kennedy. Booked: Thomas, Fowler.

Everton: Southall; Barrett, Watson, Unsworth, Hinchcliffe; Grant, Parkinson, Speed;  Barmby; Kancheskis (46 Ferguson), Stuart.
Booked: Ferguson.
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Short, Branch, Allen. Unavailable: Ebbrell (injured).

Ref: Stephen Lodge Att: 40,751 League Position: 7th Results and League Table

Previous Match: Everton v Southampton -- Next Match: Leicester City v Everton

- Summary

SoccerNet: Gary Speed's fourth goal in five days earned Everton a well deserved draw at Anfield and prevented Merseyside rivals Liverpool from going top of the Premiership. The Anfield side were under the cosh early on after Everton threatened to give them a hammering but went ahead after 30 minutes with a superb header from Robbie Fowler.

Liverpool were forced to chase the visitors in the early stages and after only 17 minutes looked in serious trouble when they lost Steve McManaman with a hamstring problem. That gave troubled £8.5million striker Stan Collymore a chance to get into the action much earlier than he had expected -- and he had an almost immediate effect.

He angered Everton manager Joe Royle and everyone else connected with the visitors with a challenge on Earl Barrett out near the corner flag. He crossed high and when Neville Southall palmed the ball out Jason McAteer put it into an empty net, but referee Stephen Lodge indicated that the ball had gone out of play first and gave Everton a goal kick.

Gary Speed prevented Liverpool from taking the lead, scooping a header from Mark Wright off the line just inside the post following a Stig Bjornebye corner. Collymore was involved again when he moved on to the ball and passed square to Jamie Redknapp. The recalled England midfield man drove powerfully with his right foot and Neville Southall leapt to turn the ball aside for a corner.

It was from that kick on the right by Bjornebye that Liverpool went ahead. Dave Watson headed the ball away from the goalmouth but straight back to Bjornebye. He played it to Redknapp who hit it across the area. Fowler rose and powered a header past Southall. It was the 11th goal of the season for the 21-year-old striker, his ninth in eight appearances since his recovery from an ankle problem, and his fourth against Everton.

Liverpool's frustration showed early in the encounter, with Michael Thomas booked after only four minutes for a foul on Everton's £5.75m signing Nick Barmby. Liverpool had great difficulty at times getting anywhere near the ball and after a strong attack it was Fowler who was back in his own penalty area to block Andy Hinchcliffe's shot.

Liverpool manager Roy Evans kicked off with the same 11 for the third consecutive match after shaking them up a week earlier by dropping Phil Babb and Patrik Berger and giving Neil Ruddock and Jamie Redknapp their first starts of the season. It was reward for the men who beat Charlton 4-1 and Leeds 2-0.

Both Evans and Royle insisted that everything else would be forgotten but the matter of local honour. At the start it looked as if Everton had more chance of achieving their objective and extend their impressive run in recent years against the old enemy. They had won two and drawn two of the four meetings since Royle took charge two years ago.

But Liverpool picked themselves up and in spells had Everton hanging on. Tony Grant had Everton's first shot on target -- comfortably held by David James -- after 43 minutes. In the last few seconds of the half McAteer rose to meet a cross from Bjornebye but headed wide. Ferguson was sent on at the start of the second half for his first Everton appearance since September 21.

Everton deservedly drew level eight minutes from the end when Speed met an inswinging free kick from near the right touchline by Hinchcliffe and headed just inside the far post. It was a memorable moment for Speed, who joined the club he supported as a boy in a £3.75million deal from Leeds in the summer and scored the first hat-trick of his career in Saturday's demolition of Southampton.

Everton boss Royle had hinted that he could give striker Duncan Ferguson his first start for almost two months in view of the trouble he had caused the Liverpool defence in past meetings. But in the end he sent out the line-up who scored a spectacular 7-1 success against Southampton on Saturday.

It meant that £4m Ferguson was one of the Everton substitutes along with Craig Short, Paul Gerrard and two of their own products Michael Branch and Graham Allen. Babb and Berger were with Collymore, Mark Kennedy and local boy Tony Warner in a list of substitutes who cost their club £17.1m.

Thin line between Donkey and Genius

Guy McEvoy: A winter's evening, an amble through Stanley Park, the darkness meaning you couldn't even see your feet, but the sheer tide of people carried you in the right direction. Through the darkness, the strains of the "Royal Blue Jersey" echo loud, as you finally end up from park-land to inner-city facing the Shankley Gates. You enter the ground as Gerry Marsdon croans and groans his pantomime anthem over the tinny tannoy -- it's time for the away leg of the derby once again.....

The old saying goes "if it ain't broken then don't try to fix it". Wise words well heeded by Joe in keeping the magnificent Southampton-destroying team unchanged and resisting the enormous temptation (and expectation) to stick on Ferguson.

Liverpool too were unchanged from the weekend though, to me, the present team still looks an unfamiliar unit.  Having both Berger and Collymore on the Bench does make you wonder.

First Half

Watson won the first significant action of the game by winning the toss and decided to freak them out a bit by making them play to the Kop in the first half. Might well be great psychological tactics Dave, but for those of us stuck in the absolute toilets of seats in the Anfield Road End, the way the game panned out meant our view of all the meaningful action of the game was frustratingly distant.

The match quickly developed a pattern: this was pass and move stuff. The speed that men closed down meant that any slight error or momentary lapse by either team was cruelly exposed. It gave an impression of good flowing football frequently let down by foolish passes, when in fact it wasn't so much a foolish pass as superior midfield defensive play forcing the errors.

Out of such mistakes, Liverpool perhaps could lay claim to the more meaningful breaks but it was us who had the first sight of goal when Grant picked up a loose ball and looked set to drill it into the corner. Unfortunately, the ball left his foot at a 90 degree angle, and went so square it probably ended up behind him.

Liverpool also quickly had the ball in the back of the net which led to much hysteria despite the linesman's flag being raised for an eternity before the finish. Still, this episode at least allowed me to peg the bloke next to me as a red-shite infiltrator. It was the jumping up and down with glee, then the sudden look of agony as he clocked the linesman that gave him away. An experienced eye like mine can spot these subtle clues.

The first casualty of the night wasn't long in coming when MacMannaman decided he's had enough and ambled off, Collymore coming on in his place. The extra attacking option did seem to give the RS a bit more shape and as Everton found themselves more and more frustrated, so their play came slightly more erratic.

Inevitably, Liverpool took advantage of this weak spell. Redknapp was able to flick the ball into the box and that bloody Fowler was there to rub our scouting systems noses in it again with a cool header into the net. Marking? Nowhere.

I'd almost forgotten just how bad it feels to be behind in a Derby, you sit there with your head in hands, and all you can think of is what Christmas dinner is going to be like with those on the red side of the family making those innocent but crushing jibes. Worse still, what it'll be like on Boxing Day when the really ardent lot come round. Even worse still, when you get home tonight and find your answerphone overflowing with gloating messages. These are seriously upsetting thoughts.

It is quite easy with this mental burden to slip into a mild depression. Most Evertonians seemed to be suffering similar angst and so the atmosphere tended to nose-dive. Hardly the best way to egg on the team and so I guess we were grateful when the half-time whistle came and we collectively got a bit of a chance to snap out of it.

Second Half

The big, big news at half time was not that Duncan had come on, more that it was Andrei who'd gone off. It caused a major stir, with mystified kids (and much older) everywhere wondering aloud about why it wasn't Stuart who'd gone off. Personally, I thought at the time it was the bravest decision ever made by Royle.

I'd been delighted at the start of the night that he hadn't given in to the populist media-picking-the-team thing by sticking Duncan on first, and I was delighted at half time when he did the same again by not taking off Stuart. No matter what the paper valuations of players, they're only as good as their game on the day and their form at the time.

The fact was that Stuart had again been working tirelessly, making things happen, creating openings, contributing defensively and plugging gaps thus preventing passes, whereas Andrei had done, err, nothing. He'd chased a couple of passes he got nowhere near, he'd half heartedly probed before putting the easy pass out instead of the killer cross in, and then as soon as the ball was away he'd just stood still and waited for the game to get back round to him.

So I took my mental image of a hat off to Joe for his common sense move, and decided that Joe possibly is the second coming after all. (Then I later discovered that it turns out Andrei has a bug or something and so Joe actually had the change forced on him -- but humour me anyway -- at the time I thought it was tactical genius).

Slowly but surely, Everton did begin to get back into the game and, slowly but surely, the fans did shake off their depression and get back behind the team. But not without first suffering a few more heart palpitations. Thankfully, Southall was well up for this game; otherwise, we'd all now be wearing faces longer than Jimmy Hill's.

As we weedled our way back into it, Speed showed that the line in football between genius and donkey is very thin. He latched on to a through-ball, feigned the shot which his markers took, -- hook, line, sinker and angling gazette, -- and was able to jink his way to have the whole goal as his open target. Absolutely magnificent play. Genius. He then chose to hit the ball with feeble power at the only place in the goal it wouldn't have gone in -- David James hands. Eeeeee-Orrrrrrr.

Some time later, with the clock ticking along worryingly, we got a free kick from a deepish position on the right. Andy "not his best day" Hinchcliffe hoofed it. A head rose in the distance, the ball dipped, James dived, the net shimmered.

The next thing I'm aware of is being about 3 rows further forward than I was before the free kick. I was surrounded in a bouncing sway of utter unashamedly smug joy. My view of events was so bad it wasn't until well after the game that I found out that the crucial head was Speed making amends for his earlier miss.

At this point, needless to say, the atmosphere kicked back in, and for the last few sweet minutes we even threatened to finish the buggers off. First, a corner seemed to be headed goalward but was inexplicably redirected out. Secondly, in the final minute, Duncan (in his first meaningful action) went one on one with James, and was unlucky that James guessed right and was able to save.

No matter, an away point from Anfield is a beautiful thing and I came out chuffed to bits. Chants of "You'll never beat Joe Royle" fill the streets of Liverpool, and I frankly don't know why I'm writing this now, after all, I've got some messages to leave on answer-phones.

Individual Performances

Royle Blue Report

Wayne Berger: After watching last night's game, I just have a few things to to say:-

  1. Speed: -- what a player he is becoming!  If the game hadn`t been so scrappy, he would have played even better. There were signs all over last night's game that he could become brilliant. He is a hard tackler and, now his confidence is strong, he is looking more and more skilfull. He is making so many more opportunities wherever he is, and combining well wth Barmby
  2. Unsworth: -- I can believe how much stick he still gets even though last night I thought he had a solid and very good game. Some people are complaining that he doesn't go forward enough and he just makes meaningless passes but that's how you start goal scoring movements -- by drawing the forwards out of the their half and then you give the ball forward .I thought he had a great game and the commentator said ``I DON`T THINK UNSWORTH HAS PUT A FOOT WRONG THE WHOLE MATCH`
  3. Watson: --He had an average game on his birthday but blame him for the goal because Fowler was left FREE in the 6-yard box for his header while Dave stopped marking him and pushed out a little. As Fowler put the ball in the net, Dave watched every second of it.
  4. Barmby: --  He is a great player. He is always there making goals and opportunities all over the park. He must have such a good soccer mind, the way he thinks of movements so well. The only thing is that he looks a bit shy infront of goal
  5. Grant : -- He`s coming of age. He no longer looks lightweight and is playing some creative football.

Last nights game was scrappy but there were some good signs all around. We really do need to mark Fowler out the game, though.

Speedo's Stunner

The Suggs-Meister: THEY were dancing in County Road last night after Gary Speed's header gave Everton a share of the spoils in the 155th Merseyside Derby, writes an ecstatic and still celebrating Steven "Bluenose" Baker.

Speedo's header eight minutes from time gave the Blues a point -- but it was a case of what might have been for Joe Royle's men. They outclassed Liverpool throughout and deserved to take more than a point from this pulsating encounter.

Joe Parkinson's header was hacked off the line with two minutes to go and in the last minute a Duncan Ferguson volley was smothered by David James. But Everton will be happy to leave the devil's den with a point after Robbie Fowler's 29th minute header had put the home side ahead.

But the Blues got the least that they deserved when Speedo rose majestically to head Andy Hinchcliffe's pinpoint free-kick past a stationery James. The Blues' goal sparked off scenes of mass celebration around the ground, with several Blues running onto the pitch and at least one fan in the home end repeatedly punching the air and shouting, "YES!" and "GET IN!"

Everton, for whom Southall, Barrett, Watson, Unsworth, Hinchcliffe, Kanchelskis, Parkinson, Grant, Speed, Stuart, Barmby and Ferguson were all magnificent, deserved to win the game but as usual Liverpool's luck held and Everton had to be content with just a point.

As the players left the field the home fans boarded their coaches to Devon and Cardiff while the Everton players received a hero's reception from the massive travelling army. The Blues fans sang: "You'll never beat Joe Royle" -- a reference to the fact that Everton have not lost to their lovable rivals since Royle took charge over two years ago.

Royle said: "We outclassed them in every department and they were lucky to escape with a point."

Roy Evans said: "They outclassed us in every department and we were lucky to escape with a point."

A few more serious observations on the Derby:

I was in the paddock (in front of the Press box) and you could clearly hear the Blues singing, "Ooh-aah, Eric Cantona" to the "Go West" tune. The RS fans were going mad but then they all started shouting "Juve" when they heard United were losing. Pity 39 Juve fans in particular never got the chance to see the game...

There can be no better feeling than jumping up and down in the middle of the home end at Anfield celebrating an Everton goal while all around you the home fans are sat there looking at you. Sweet.

Parkinson had one of his worst matches ever for Everton. He made about one tackle in the first-half and he wasn't much better after the break. Good to see we CAN play well when he doesn't.

Stuart was brilliant. Even the RS fans were saying he was having a good game -- high praise indeed.

At the end the Blues were singing, "You'll never beat Joe Royle" and "Kopites are Gobsh**es" -- this was brilliant because you could hear individuals on the Kop shouting back at our fans but by the end most of their fans had boarded their coaches back to Devon and Cardiff and what have you.

I lost 20 quid at the bookies that I had on the RS to win but I don't care because I would have paid 200 quid to see that yesterday. The biggest cheer of the night from the RS fans came when they announced the United fans - sad, bitter, jealous, twisted the lot of them.

The dream Derby would have to be them winning one-nil til late on, us equalising and then Duncan scoring the winner in the last minute - IN FRONT OF THE KOP!. Ah well, maybe next year instead, eh?

The Sun's piece finishes with the lines:

"There is no question that this was another moral victory for Everton on a night when Liverpool know they should have done better. Liverpool are serious title contenders yet Everton seem to have the knack of keeping them in check. It is becoming an annoying habit for the red half of the city but, oh boy, are the Evertonians enjoying it."


Speed spoils Liverpool's Night

Ian Ross, The Guardian: For a team who clearly have the potential to win big prizes Liverpool have developed the unfortunate habit of fluffing their lines. Last night, despite a second half chasing from their neighbours, they were only eight minutes away from a victory which, although unjust, would have moved them back to the top of the Premiership.

But they relaxed, allowed the tempo of their football to dip appreciably and were eventually caught by a team which is itself making admirable progress. Had the gods been with Everton as the evening reached its shuddering climax they would have laid waste to the great enemy at Anfield for a second successive season.

Desperate and at times downright ugly parochial scrambles though they might be, Merseyside derbies are far healthier affairs than they used to be. While the gladiatorial under-currents of intense local rivalry remain, there is at least a dash of culture amid the mayhem.

The sense of occasion has not been diluted by this brush with common sense, for the sight of red and blue standing together while the boots fly skyhigh a few yards away continues to set these games apart. In between the badly channelled effort and frantic shadow-boxing there was much to applaud last night in some deft touches and intricate movement.

Resisting an obvious temptation could hardly be said to be Joe Royle's strong point but even he did not dare tamper with a side which was mesmerising in mauling Southampton last Saturday. Duncan Ferguson was left on the substitutes' bench and Everton actually play rather well without him. Like Liverpool they move the ball quickly and accurately, even if their football holds more potential than menace.

An opening phase of near ceaseless effort was notable for the departure after 17 minutes of the limping McManaman, the man most likely to unpick Everton's mean defence. Liverpool are not the same without him but still Everton's job in the period following his replacement by Collymore revolved around survival. Liverpool's marginal dominance was underlined on the half-hour when Robbie Fowler rose unchallenged to meet a Rednapp cross and sent a header looping over Southall and just under the bar.

Ferguson's return to senior football after two months of injury and suspension could be delayed no longer. The big man moved from dugout to pitch at the start of the second half. Cue long balls from the heart of the Everton defence; cue Liverpool unease.

Barely fit though he was, Ferguson only had to shape to leap to force the visiting supporters onto the edge of their seats. And at a point when the Everton of old would have been contemplating running up the white flag they drew level, Gary Speed rising superbly in a crowded penalty area to glance in a Hinchcliffe free kick. Thereafter Liverpool were indebted to their goalkeeper James who saved marvellously from Ferguson as Everton's burgeoning self-confidence threatened to overwhelm the hosts.

Liverpool's progress slowed by Speed

Everton snatch late equaliser to maintain manager's impressive record in derby matches

Peter Ball, The Times: JOE ROYLE continues to have the Indian sign over Liverpool. Gary Speed's equalising header, ten minutes from time, extended Everton's unbeaten run against their great rivals to five games at Anfield last night.

In the closing moments Everton could even have won it as Duncan Ferguson twice went close, but even so Everton ended by taking the greater satisfaction after dominating much of the second half. To make the blue half of Merseyside even happier, the draw prevented Liverpool from going top of the FA Carling Premiership.

Liverpool carried into the game the belief that their failures against Everton since Royle took over as manager at Goodison Park had been caused by them being physically overpowered. They made sure that that did not happen this time. "We've got to be stronger and faster," Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager had said before the game, and they were.

The result was that for the first 20 minutes, if not longer, the game was like a throwback to those Merseyside derbies of the Seventies, all frantic pace and fierce challenges. In that environment, Liverpool's passing game was hardly seen. In fact, with Ferguson on the substitutes' bench, Everton were apparently intent on passing the ball along the ground.

If that was the idea, it was doomed to failure. They hardly created a chance in the first period, although Kanchelskis saw one speculative effort go wide and Wright got in a block tackle to deny Stuart.

Liverpool also made little initial progress, and their cause was not helped by the loss of McManaman after only 16 minutes. Collymore came on to a generous reception and moved alongside Fowler to give Liverpool a genuine forward pairing. Collymore's eagerness to take his chance was quickly apparent and he forced a couple of corners as Liverpool pressed forward.

Soon Southall was flying through the air to make a fine save from Redknapp, but he was powerless when Wright met one of Bjornebye's corners with a header, only for Speed to scrape the ball off the line.

Finally, on the half-hour, another corner by Bjornebye produced the breakthrough. It was cleared back to him by Watson. Bjornebye played it in to Redknapp, whose curling cross found Fowler free, and in his present form he was never going to miss from close range. A firm header left Southall helpless, giving Liverpool the lead and Fowler his ninth goal in the last eight games.

Everton's response, when it came, was exhilarating. It needed the introduction of Ferguson after the interval to provide them with an aggressive leader, and his presence immediately unsettled the Liverpool defence.

They did more than rely on Ferguson's physical strength, however. They at last began to play some telling football, with the intelligence of Barmby prominent as they probed for spaces between and behind the Liverpool defence. Some flowing passing movements involving Speed and Grant began to open up the rearguard.

When Speed was tripped just outside the area, Hinchcliffe's free kick flew just over, and just before the hour they could easily have claimed the equaliser. A fine passing move involving Grant and Hinchcliffe reached Speed just inside the area. He stepped inside a defender and took careful aim, but his shot flew straight at James.

With Everton pressing forward, Liverpool at last found some space to play, but they were forced to rely mainly on breaks by Collymore and Fowler, and although Collymore made one penetrating run, and gave Southall his first piece of action of the half just after the hour, James was the goalkeeper under pressure.

Speed, though, was to have the final word, meeting Hinchcliffe's free kick with a glancing header to leave James helpless.

Liverpool's lead hopes are dashed by Speed

William Johnson, Electronic Telegraph: LIVERPOOL came within eight minutes of claiming the Premiership lead last night, their local rivals Everton denying them that satisfaction by snatching an equaliser through the in-form Gary Speed. Roy Evans's team had led from the 30th minute through another excellent demonstration of marskmanship by Robbie Fowler but they failed to press home their first-half advantage.

Fowler's current scoring run is remarkable. Having managed only two goals in his first eight appearances of the season, he raised his haul in the last eight since recovering from injury to an impressive nine. It needed a striker at the top of his form to break the deadlock in what was a keenly fought opening half hour. Fowler made the act of finishing look so easy as he timed his jump above Everton's covering defenders to head Jamie Redknapp's cross past a helpless Neville Southall.

The breakthrough came at the height of Liverpool pressure midway through the first half. Liverpool also went close when Redknapp, teed up by Stan Collymore, who was on as a substitute following an early thigh injury to Steve McManaman, let fly from nearly 30 yards, Southall making a typical save at full-stretch.

Everton, who had begun with the confidence expected from a team who had rattled in seven at Southampton's expense on their last outing, created little before the interval. Their best chances fell to Tony Grant, who miskicked from about 10 yards out, and Graham Stuart, who having been located on the edge of the penalty area by Speed's clever knock back, saw his low shot cannon against a red-shirted body.

Joe Royle, the Everton manager, had resisted the temptation to change a winning team to accommodate the formidable Duncan Ferguson, but he sent on the Scottish international striker for the second half in which the visitors raised their game. Speed should have put Everton on level terms when taking Andy Hinchcliffe's pass inside the area and turning his marker with aplomb only to shoot without conviction straight at David James.

The Welsh midfielder was more forceful shortly afterwards to beat James to a Hinchcliffe corner but the header drifted just wide of the far post. Another Hinchcliffe centre provided Ferguson, back in senior action after a two-month injury absence, with his first attempt on goal. He got above his equally uncompromising marker, Neil Ruddock, but his header flashed well wide.

Collymore, whose omission from the Liverpool side of late has not been injury related, almost marked his return with an excellent goal 15 minutes from the end. Again Bjornebye was the provider, Southall making an outstanding save.

Liverpool failed to heed the earlier warnings given to them by Speed and left the industrious Welshman in space again from a Hinchcliffe free kick. On this occasion the header was directed firmly past James.

Everton sensed an improbable victory and after Nicky Barmby had almost found Stuart unmarked in front of goal, Dave Watson and David Unsworth both came agonisingly close to getting a scoring touch to a Hinchcliffe corner. In the dying seconds Ferguson almost won it for Everton.

Report Copyright The Electronic Telegraph

Results and League Table

Wednesday, 20 November 1996

LIVERPOOL               1-1     EVERTON             40,751
Fowler(30)                      Speed(82)

Table after 20 November 1996

Club                   P      W    D    L      GF   GA       Pts
Newcastle United      13      9    1    3     24    14        28
Liverpool             13      8    3    2     23    12        27
Arsenal               13      7    4    2     24    11        25
Wimbledon             13      7    3    3     24    15        24
Chelsea               13      6    5    2     22    18        23
Manchester United     13      6    4    3     24    19        22
Everton               13      5    5    3     20    14        20
Tottenham Hotspur     13      6    2    5     14    11        20
Sheffield Wednesday   13      5    4    4     15    17        19
Aston Villa           13      5    3    5     16    14        18
Derby County          13      4    5    4     14    15        17
Leicester City        13      5    2    6     12    16        17
West Ham United       13      4    3    6     12    17        15
Southampton           13      3    4    6     22    24        13
Middlesbrough         13      3    4    6     18    23        13
Sunderland            13      3    4    6      9    16        13
Leeds United          13      4    1    8     11    20        13
Coventry City         13      1    7    5      7    17        10
Blackburn Rovers      13      1    5    7     11    17         8
Nottingham Forest     13      1    5    7     10    22         8

This League Table Update not provided by Lawrence "Leagueman" Breakey

This Match Report Compilation was prepared by Michael Kenrick for Marko Poutiainen. 20 Nov 1996.