#Away Logo Liverpool 3 - 2 Everton
Half-time: 2 - 1
Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1998-99 – Game 31
Saturday 3 April 1999
Anfield, Liverpool
Att: 44,852
« Manchester United (a) Ref: David Elleray Sheffield Wednesday (h) »
1998-99 Fixtures & Results League Position: 17th Premiership Results & Table
Liverpool: Fowler (pen:15', 21'), Berger 82'
EVERTON: Dacourt (1'), Jeffers (84') CampbellGemmill
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
Liverpool: James, Heggem (Gerrard, 71), Song, Staunton, Matteo, McManaman, Redknapp, Ince, Berger, Fowler (Riedle, 85), Owen. Thompson, Bjornebye, Friedel.
EVERTON: Myhre; Short, Watson, Materazzi (46' Weir), Ball; Gemmill, Dacourt, Unsworth, Barmby (75' Jeffers); Campbell, Branch (68' Cadamarteri).
Unavailable: Hutchison (suspended); Bakayoko, Bilic, Collins, Cleland, Dunne, Farrelly, Williamson, Phelan, Parkinson (injured); Gerrard (on loan).
Simonsen, Grant.

   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
EVERTON: Gemmill (3'), Barmby (12'), Campbell (69').

Steve Bickerton SB-T
Richard Marland RM-T
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Fowler antics are 'nothing' to Houllier
by Derick Allsop
THE SUNDAY TIMES Fowler sours Mersey thriller
by David Walsh
Fowler steps out of line again
by Peter Drury
THE INDEPENDENT Houllier defence is the real joke
by Derick Allsop
THE TIMES Everton left with nothing but concern
by Kevin McCarra
THE EVERTONIAN Link to the latest Match Report

THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

Steve Bickerton
If Steve went to the match, you should see a report here soon...

Richard Marland
If Richard got to the game, his report should be here on Sunday or Monday

 Fowler antics are 'nothing' to Houllier
Derick Allsop, Electronic Telegraph
ROBBIE FOWLER faces a further run-in with the Football Association after his controversial celebration of a goal during Liverpool's derby victory over Everton yesterday.

After scoring with a 15th- minute penalty to make the score 1-1, Fowler fell on all fours and sniffed the goal-line in a gesture most onlookers presumed was intended to mock the taunts of Everton supporters over his alleged social habits.

As Fowler is due to appear before the FA on Friday to explain his recent contretemps with Chelsea's Graeme Le Saux, it was scarcely the brightest way to prepare for the hearing.

Gerard Houllier, the Liverpool manager, insisted afterwards that the gesture had nothing to do with drugs, but was merely a joke used by French club Metz and introduced to Liverpool players by Rigobert Song, who played for Metz last season.

"It was really nothing," said Houllier. "Rigobert said they did this at Metz and the players were doing it in training. Robbie was just pretending to eat the grass. I spoke to Robbie about it and also to the referee, and he said he would not be putting it in his report.

"You can say it was inadvisable in the circumstances but when your heart is going at 180 these things happen. It was certainly not a response to the Everton fans."

Fowler's antics raised the temperature of what was already a hectic derby. Having fallen behind to a goal scored after 41 seconds by Olivier Dacourt, Liverpool went in front and survived a nervous finale to record their first win over their Merseyside neighbours in 10 meetings.

There was a minute's silence, impeccably observed, before the start to mark the 10th anniversary later this month of the Hillsborough disaster but the noise levels were soon rising.

Everton, giving debuts to new signings Kevin Campbell and Scot Gemmill, had the best possible start. Steve Staunton headed out a long throw but the ball fell to Dacourt some 30 yards out, who marked his derby debut with a ferocious volley that skimmed off Staunton's head and soared over David James into the top corner.

The tackling was ferocious. Gemmill was booked for clattering into Fowler, and Michael Ball and Paul Ince were lucky not to follow after two clashes in as many minutes.

Then Nicky Barmby was cautioned for sending Jamie Redknapp spinning into the air after 14 minutes. But a minute later Liverpool were level from the spot after Marco Materazzi had tripped Ince.

Fowler drilled home the penalty, and then caused uproar with his celebration. Everton fans had taken great delight over the past couple of years in goading Fowler. It came to a head last season when Fowler made a public denial of drug-taking allegations.

This latest incident caused uproar behind the goal and police had to move in to quell furious Everton fans.

Fowler gave Liverpool the lead six minutes later. Steve McManaman stretched Thomas Myhre to a fingertip save with an angled volley, then flicked on the subsequent corner, delivered by Patrik Berger, for Fowler to head in at the far post from inside the six-yard box. This time there was no attempt to taunt the fans.

A Staunton foul on Michael Branch after 28 minutes almost produced an Everton equaliser. Materazzi's free-kick, a swerving effort from 25 yards, crashed against James's right-hand post. Then Michael Owen almost made it three after Berger had driven through three strong tackles and his pass had bounced into his path. Owen was forced wide, but the snap shot forced Myhre into desperate action.

Berger's volley eight minutes from time, which seemingly stifled the last flickering life in Everton's game, was worthy of any stage but the sheer determination of the visitors' late rally lifted the spirits of everyone not committed to the Liverpool cause.

Francis Jeffers reduced Liverpool's advantage with six minutes left and Danny Cadamarteri would have snatched an improbable equaliser had Steven Gerrard not swept his shot off the line with David James stranded. Gerrard, a second-half substitute, made another goal-line clearance in the pandemonium of that closing act.

When at last referee David Elleray signalled the end, Houllier leapt from the dug-out and punched the air with two fists in near delirium. It meant that much.

"We badly needed the win for the fans," said Houllier. "It was a reward for them. We were more shaky in the last 10 minutes than in the rest of the match, which was silly. But I hope this will boost our confidence."

His opposite number, Walter Smith, expressed himself content with the performances of debutants Gemmill and Campbell, but rued his team's continued struggle for points. This defeat compounds an already serious plight for the club.

Smith said: "I felt we should have got something out of it. The referee was quick enough to give them a penalty in the first half. And I felt it was a definite spot-kick when Danny Cadamarteri was pulled back in the box. We could have had another one too.

"The result was frustrating and the goals we conceded came from two corners and a penalty. That was very disappointing."

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

 Fowler sours Mersey thriller
by David Walsh, The Sunday Times
ON FRIDAY, Robbie Fowler will appear before the Football Association after his part in the infamous Graeme Le Saux incident at Stamford Bridge five weeks ago. On the same day, Fowler will celebrate his 24th birthday. Or maybe he will choose not to. Yesterday the Liverpool striker celebrated scoring against Everton and it will be a surprise if his display has not added to his troubles.

Having scored a 15th-minute penalty, Fowler did a little party piece which incensed the Everton supporters. Getting down on his hands and knees, Fowler moved slowly across the byline with his face close to the white markings. Most of those familiar with local animosities interpreted his actions as a silly simulation of snorting cocaine, his way of responding to rival fans' unfounded accusations that he has abused drugs.

Gerard Houllier, Liverpool's French manager, afterwards supported his player, claiming Fowler had been joking. Houllier said: "Sometimes they dance at the corner flag, sometimes they show their legs. This was a joke between Robbie and Rigobert [Song]." The Liverpool manager claimed that Fowler was imitating a celebratory prank favoured by the Metz team that new teammate Song used to play for.

That was not how it looked. Fowler's little performance was acted out not for Song but for Everton supporters, and once he rose from the ground, he then stood up in front of them and twice punched the air provocatively. Eventually Paul Ince, of all people, arrived and dragged him away.

As well as his Friday date with the FA, Fowler may also have to answer an incitement charge after this latest incident. Yesterday an FA spokesman said a video of Fowler's celebration would be reviewed.

Houllier pointed out that referee David Elleray did not include Fowler's behaviour in his report and that inside the Liverpool dressing room it was seen as a joke. Few were buying Houllier's story and, in vain, one waits for strong leadership and a reiteration of old values from within Anfield.

Fowler's nonsense apart, it was a thundering derby. Liverpool signalled their intentions before the start, promising a performance to warm their patient and long-suffering fans. At 43,000, Liverpool have the second highest average in the Premiership, but their richly talented players have not delivered this season. Yesterday was a matter of local and professional pride.

That Everton needed the points more mattered not a jot to the home team. Liverpool played with the energy and desire that once used to be the routine at Anfield. They zipped their passes forward, Fowler and Michael Owen darted every which way, Patrik Berger and Steve McManaman threatened out wide, and from the beginning Everton knew it would be a tough afternoon.

Yet French midfielder Olivier Dacourt had them a goal up inside a minute, a finely struck volley that cannoned off Song's head and looped over a bemused David James. Liverpool's response was impressive as they immediately rolled forward in waves and forced Everton back, and after 15 minutes they were deservedly level.

Ince got to a McManaman cross just before Marco Materazzi. Nudging the ball past the Italian, Ince then went down in the ensuing collision and Elleray made a straightforward decision. Fowler struck the penalty confidently to make it 1-1.

If the Merseyside gods were displeased with Fowler's response to scoring, they had a poor way of showing it. Six minutes later the striker scored again, getting an important touch after McManaman flicked on Berger's corner. This time the celebration was measured and mature. Liverpool threatened to move clear of their hard-pressed rivals. But whatever their other problems, there is nothing wrong with Everton's spirit.

Dacourt offered splendid leadership in the midfield and they were unlucky not to be level when Materazzi's thumping free kick hit a post. Everton finished the half strongest, Dacourt pushing a header into Nick Barmby's path, but James did well to block the shot.

The first half had buzzed, the second was even better. Everton patiently sought an equaliser, but as they went forward, they were vulnerable to Liverpool's counter-attacks. Eight minutes from time Berger put Liverpool two goals clear with a fine left-foot shot.

That would have killed off most teams. Not Everton. By now Francis Jeffers was on the pitch and the young striker did well to latch onto David Unsworth's long clearance and get the goal that put his team back into it. Everton now scented a result and swarmed towards the Liverpool goal. Danny Cadamarteri, another substitute, was denied legitimate claims for a penalty and, four minutes from time, was even more unlucky. James came but failed to reach an Everton through-ball, which ricocheted away to Cadamarteri, who seemed to have a clear shot at goal. He struck it powerfully but there was teenager Steven Gerrard to make a goal-line clearance.

The performance had been terrific and the match absorbing. Without Fowler's nonsense, it would have been a splendid afternoon.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 Fowler steps out of line again
by Peter Drury, The Independent on Sunday
THE SKY was blue; increasingly, during a climax of captivating desperation so was the air in the vicinity of the Everton bench. But, ultimately, the latest pride and pre-eminence on Merseyside was wrapped with red ribbons, applied and knotted principally by Robbie Fowler – a genuine scouser at his cheeky and irreverent best and worst.

Liverpool's nine-match win-less sequence in this most parochial passion play is ended, but Fowler's disciplinary problems may not be. His two goals gratified a raucous Kop; but his reaction to the first of those goals – at best – betrayed an apparent insensitivity which his critics find so often in his demeanour.

Fowler's contentious moment occurred after 15 furious minutes. Paul Ince had gone to ground in a challenge with Marco Materazzi. The referee David Elleray, who had already shown two yellow cards in an impossibly frenetic opening, awarded a penalty. Fowler scored, celebrated uncompromisingly in front of the Everton supporters, then got down on his hands and knees and seemingly applied his nose to the white line marking the penalty area.

To all the world, it seemed that Fowler was responding to the unfounded rumours of drug-taking which have found receptive ears among Everton fans – and provided them with much ammunition for taunting the striker – by mimicking the action of snorting.

Afterwards, however, the official line was that – far from pretending to be a "smack-head" – Fowler was, at worst, being a "bonehead". His manager, Gerard Houllier, explained that "It was just a joke", dating back to the Metz career of the Cameroon international Rigobert Song. Apparently, during his time in France, Song and his colleagues were in the habit of pretending to eat grass to celebrate a goal. Song had demonstrated the idea in training; Fowler had found it amusing and given the "grass habit" a try.

Nor, according to Houllier, was anyone offended by it. He had spoken to Elleray who saw nothing untoward and would be making no report. Likewise, the police. All of which will, of course, be a source of relief to Fowler who already has a date with the FA's disciplinarians regarding the Graeme Le Saux affair this Friday, his 24th birthday.

Press photographs might yet become exhibits in any wider inquiry into the striker's taunting antics. But these should not detract from what was an absolutely belting game of football. Colourful and cacophonous, it gave the lie to any notion that during a period of underachievement on Merseyside, this very special occasion is diminished.

In fact, quite the opposite. The less relevance it has on a wider national stage, the more intimately the rivalry is felt and the more necessary victory is considered in this city. Anyway, it was relevant for Everton, very relevant. They need points now if this twice-yearly jamboree is to be enjoyed into a 38th successive season.

They began with the thrust and vigour of a team hell-bent on gleaning those points at a venue where – in the minds of their fans – they practically count double. Only 40 frantic, wild-tackling seconds had passed when the ball fell teasingly to Olivier Dacourt on the edge of the penalty area. He swung with his left foot and, having made the purest connection, benefited from the kindest deflection to leave David James helpless.

The blue touchpaper was lit; but the Reds were more visibly ignited by it. Ince cried in vain for one penalty and – before he was awarded another – Song headed wide. Then, Fowler took centre stage. His penalty was perfection and his instinct unerring when, five minutes later, Steve McManaman flicked on Patrik Berger's corner inside the box, and Fowler's head established the lead.

McManaman had won that corner, sharpening the fingertips of the Everton goalkeeper Thomas Myrhe with a crafty, dipping volley. His 19th meeting with Everton is destined, of course, to be the last and, if he brings the same energy and invention to Real's meetings with Atletico, McManaman will prosper in Madrid.

After a necessarily less eventful opening to the second half, Liverpool seemed to have settled the contest when Berger reacted with splendid alertness to Jamie Redknapp's half-cleared corner and doubled the lead with a low volley. However, Everton were still not done. A swivelling half-volley from the substitute Francis Jeffers immediately silenced the Kop's taunts of "going down".

In the ensuing panic, Liverpool were hideously close to being breached again, but Paul Gerrard scraped the ball away from his line with Campbell closing in and blocked Cadamarteri's shot with James stranded out of his box.

Furthermore, Everton had two desperate penalty claims waved away – "It's just like Celtic Park; you get nothing there either," smiled their former Rangers manager Walter Smith.

So, perhaps Everton will go down now. If they do, Liverpool will be the first to bemoan the absence of this very special fixture.

Report © The Independent

 Houllier defence is the real joke
by Derick Allsop, The Independent
It might all have made more sense had it been 1 April instead of 3 April. We could have laughed off Gerard Houllier's explanation of Robbie Fowler's little "joke" as another attempt at taking the Michel.

However, Houllier maintained he was totally serious when he revealed his scallywag of a striker was actually pretending to devour grass rather than snort the white stuff, a bit of "ceremonial" slapstick apparently imported from Metz with Rigobert Song.

Grass or any other substance, the Everton supporters in the box seats for Fowler's bizarre performance had no doubt this was a retort to their taunts about the player's alleged social activity.

In any other circumstances, brief mimicry might have been giggled off by the fair-minded as harmless fun. Are we not always lamenting the passing of the characters from our game?

Unfortunately for Fowler, his current circumstances are such that any mistimed one-liner is likely to land him in more trouble than a mistimed tackle. To make matters worse, he repeated the gag, then stood provocatively in front of the Everton compound. Disapproval on the part of the police and the Football Association alike is understandable. They will doubtless consider he crossed that white line which separates acceptable humour and bad taste.

As for Houllier, he was palpably not cut out for music hall. He cast himself as the April Fool with his babbling monologue. He must now cringe at the re-runs. His embarrassment will be withering.

The real pity about all this is that the controversy has served to obscure the positive aspects of this stirring, passionate spectacle. Fowler himself scored two of the five goals, a penalty which brought him to his hands and knees, and the far-post header which might have brought Everton to theirs. Fowler's strikes tilted the balance of the match Liverpool's way after Olivier Dacourt's deflected volley gave Everton the lead after just 40 seconds. And when it seemed the endeavour had taken its toll, Patrik Berger's volley extended Liverpool's advantage and triggered an explosive finale.

Francis Jeffers pulled one back in those closing, nerve-wrenching minutes, and Steven Gerrard performed goal-line heroics to confirm Liverpool's first derby success in 10 meetings stretching back five years.

It was pulsating, at times raw, even crude, but always compelling and unpredictable. These tribal skirmishes may no longer hold the attention of the nation, but on Merseyside they mean as much as they ever did. Witness the delirious touchline antics of the normally dignified Houllier at the final whistle. Perhaps that "ceremonial" was shipped in too.

The result was hugely important for him, of course. Local pride could scarcely take another blow and sections of the Anfield crowd have been venting their disenchantment with Houllier's stewardship.

Liverpool were far from convincing yet clung on and Houllier has bought more time. But the clock could be chiming the doom of Everton before too long. While Kevin Campbell toiled manfully to enhance his prospects of a permanent escape from Turkey, the other debutant, Scot Gemmill, seemed hypnotised by the mayhem all about him.

Dacourt's imported commitment kept Everton afloat when lesser spirits were in danger of going under. Walter Smith, the Everton manager, will need a good deal more of this esprit Dacourt if he is to ensure Everton survive another late-season tempest. They are at home to Sheffield Wednesday in a match they dare not squander. This time they have no derby ritual to lift them, only the looming spectre of relegation to the Nationwide League.

Report © The Independent

 Everton left with nothing but concern
by Kevin McCarra, The Times
FOR Everton supporters, the stab of indignation that they may have felt over Robbie Fowler's capering will count for less than the long ache of apprehension. Relegation is not always the consequence of ruinous performances. Despair can creep out from bad timing, marginal failures and a flow of events that smacks into a team with the force of a water cannon.

Everton might have had a point on Saturday. Danny Cadamarteri could have equalised twice in the closing stages, appearing to be pulled back by Steve Staunton on the first occasion. A little later, the Everton forward found his shot being cleared from the line by Stephen Gerrard, the Liverpool substitute.

If the more distinguished team deserves victory, however, then the Anfield side were rightful winners. Despite conceding a goal after 40sec, when a 25-yard shot by Olivier Dacourt was deflected into the net by Rigobert Song, their defender, Liverpool settled to rhythmic attacking.

The sheer purposefulness was heartening to those supporters who accuse the side of feckless diffidence. There was spring and ruggedness from Song, while, in midfield, the contribution of Paul Ince was a matter of substance rather than of melodramatic gesture.

As it happens, it was a foray by Ince that pulled Liverpool level as he burst past the turning Marco Materazzi and was knocked over. Fowler slipped the penalty into the corner of the net. The forward established a lead in the 25th minute by heading home after Steve McManaman had flicked on a corner from Patrik Berger. The Czech increased the advantage seven minutes from the end, meeting Dacourt's clearance to put a bouncing shot into the net.

Unsophisticated though Everton are, they were never wholly without hope. Even in the first half, when they flailed and failed to cope with Fowler's clever use of space behind the attack, there was occasional menace, as when Materazzi struck a free kick against the post. With five minutes remaining, Francis Jeffers, a substitute, whirled to whip a header from Campbell into the top corner.

The revival fell only just short of completion. Ambitions were none the less intensified. Liverpool aim for the Uefa Cup by seeking a high place in the FA Carling Premiership. Everton will be delighted if they can just remain in it for another year.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

 RESULTS  (Game 31)
Friday 2 April 1999
Aston Villa           0-0  West Ham United          36,813
Saturday 3 April 1999
Blackburn Rovers      0-0  Middlesbrough            27,482

Charlton Athletic     0-1  Chelsea                  20,043
                           Di Matteo 11
Derby County          3-4  Newcastle United         32,039
Burton 8, Baiano pen 22,   Speed 11,24, Ketsbaia 39,        
Wanchope 90                Solano 60              
Leeds United          3-1  Nottingham Forest        39,645
Hasselbaink 43, Harte 60,  Rogers 53              
Smith 84                                          
Liverpool             3-2  Everton                  44,852
Fowler pen:14,20,          Dacourt 1, Jeffers 84               
Berger 83                      
Sheffield Wednesday   1-2  Coventry City            28,136
Rudi 51                    McAllister pen:18, Whelan 84              
Southampton           0-0  Arsenal                  15,255

Tottenham Hotspur     0-2  Leicester City           35,415
                           Elliott 42, Cottee 66              
Wimbledon             1-1  Manchester United        26,121
Euell 5                    Beckham 44             

 LEAGUE TABLE (after 3 April 1999 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Manchester United            31   18   10    3   70   32   38   64
Arsenal                      31   16   12    3   42   13   29   60
Chelsea                      30   16   11    3   45   23   22   59
Leeds United                 31   16    9    6   52   28   24   57
West Ham United              31   13    8   10   34   39   -5   47
Aston Villa                  31   12    9   10   39   37    2   45
Derby County                 31   11   11    9   35   36   -1   44
Liverpool                    29   12    6   11   55   39   16   42
Newcastle United             31   11    8   12   42   45   -3   41
Wimbledon                    31   10   11   10   35   45  -10   41
Middlesbrough                30    9   13    8   39   40   -1   40
Tottenham Hotspur            30    9   12    9   34   36   -2   39
Leicester City               29    9   10   10   30   37   -7   37
Sheffield Wednesday          31   10    5   16   36   35    1   35
Coventry City                31    9    7   15   33   43  -10   34
Blackburn Rovers             31    7   10   14   32   42  -10   31
Everton                      31    7   10   14   25   38  -13   31
Southampton                  31    8    6   17   28   56  -28   30
Charlton Athletic            30    6   10   14   33   41   -8   28
Nottingham Forest            31    4    8   19   28   62  -34   20
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Last updated: 4 April 1999