The City’s All Ours: Everton 0-2 Liverpool


Andy Carroll celebrates opening the scoring in the Merseyside derby.

By Jonathan Carroll

The 216th Merseyside derby did not fail to disappoint. It was full of controversy and excitement, as expected. A penalty, a sending off and goals. This was a fairly even game up until Jack Rodwell’s harsh sending off by referee Martin Atkinson, with both teams probing and trying to find their strides.

Kenny Dalglish set out Liverpool’s stall with Dirk Kuyt replacing Jordan Henderson in a 4-4-2 with Luis Suarez partnering Andy Carroll up front. Martin Skrtel partnered Jamie Carragher in the heart of defence, a partnership the majority of Liverpool supporters seemed to favor according to a Red Letter Poll ran during last week.

The First Half:

Luis Suarez squandered a golden opportunity from a Drik Kuyt cross after Phil Jagielka failed to clear.  Everton immediately replied with former Sligo Rovers man Seamus Coleman crossing for Tim Cahill to test Pepe Reina with a fingertip save.

Then came the sending off. Jack Rodwell’s tackle gave the initial impression as being dangerous, he slid with studs showing and as he slid further angled his studs away from Suarez’s ankle. Suarez seemed to be bracing himself for what could have been a nasty challenge. Video replay confirmed it was a fair tackle, but who can blame Suarez for his reaction? At first glance, the tackle looked dangerous and unless referee’s are to be given the benefit  video replays then these game changing decisions will continue. It’s part of football.

Suarez earned a clear penalty for a rash tackle by Phil Jagielka later in the half. The usually reliable Dirk Kuyt was denied by a good save down low by Tim Howard. Charlie Adam struck the underside of the crossbar towards the end of the first half as Liverpool looked to press home their man advantage.

The Second Half:

Liverpool started much the same way as the first, slowly probing Everton for an opening. Everton, now down to 10 men, was happy to defend and try to hit Liverpool on a quick counter attack. The combination of Lucas Leiva and Charlie Adam is not improving even as they play more games together. Lucas was easily the man of the match today – industrious, possessed well and broke up Everton attacks countless times throughout the afternoon. Charlie Adam is a more attacking player and his tackling abilities leave a lot to be desired. However, he is creative and at times deadly from set pieces. The one glaring quality missing from his performances has been his lack of pace and conditioning. There just doesn’t seem to be a change of pace with Adam, often caught on the ball taking too many touches or dispossessed by someone quicker.

Compare Adam to Steven Gerrard. Whereas Gerrard may not be the best defender in the world, he is a better tackler than Charlie Adam. Gerrard also possesses that change of pace needed not just in central midfield, but in the whole of the Premier League. Gerrard understands the necessity of a simple pass and can offer the 40-yarder as well.

There was a huge difference in Liverpool’s approach when both Craig Bellamy and Gerrard were introduced after 67th minute. Almost instantly there seemed to be more of a threat going forward. Gerrard’s movement was simple and effective whereas Adam seems to labor around the field at times, especially after the 60 minute mark in every game so far.

In the buildup for the opening goal, Bellamy supplied a simple lay off for the overlapping Jose Enrique to cross, Kuyt ducked to allow Carroll to swivel and tuck home his first goal of the season as the visiting supporters went crazy in true Kopite behaviour. Later on, after collecting a nod down from Carroll, Suarez took on Sylvan Distin one on one and forced him into a poor clearance which ended with the Uruguayan finishing in comprehensive style.

Man of the Match:

Lucas Leiva has come in for much criticism during his spell at Liverpool. With hard work and perseverance he has proved the doubters wrong with a series of excellent performances as a holding midfielder. Many of the critics who take swipes at players fail to understand the different roles within a team – not all positions are the same. Seems like common sense but perhaps it’s a little too much FIFA on the console and not enough actual experience playing the game. Lucas Leiva. Immense.

Decisions going forward for Dalglish:

While Bellamy serves to add an addition of pace upfront or out wide as a substitute, and that’s a great option to have, Stewart Downing is a natural left winger and should look to increase how much he influences a game given the potential he holds. The one big decision facing Kenny Dalglish for the visit of Manchester United: will Gerrard get the nod ahead of Charlie Adam? Even playing just 21 minutes together today, Gerrard and Lucas looked more comfortable than Adam and Lucas have so far this season.

Game Highlights & Goals:

Everton

  • 24 Howard
  • 02 Hibbert (Vellios 78)
  • 03 Baines
  • 06 Jagielka
  • 15 Distin
  • 23 Coleman (Drenthe 59)
  • 17 Cahill (yellow card)
  • 21 Osman (Neville 69)
  • 25 Fellaini
  • 26 Rodwell (red card)
  • 08 Saha

Substitutes

  • 01 Mucha,
  • 18 Neville,
  • 07 Bilyaletdinov,
  • 10 Drenthe,
  • 20 Barkley,
  • 11 Stracqualursi,
  • 27 Vellios

Liverpool

  • 25 Reina
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 23 Carragher
  • 34 Kelly
  • 37 Skrtel
  • 19 Downing (Bellamy 67)
  • 21 Lucas (yellow card) (Henderson 88)
  • 26 Adam (Gerrard 67)
  • 07 Suarez
  • 09 Carroll
  • 18 Kuyt

Substitutes

  • 32 Doni,
  • 16 Coates,
  • 38 Flanagan,
  • 08 Gerrard,
  • 14 Henderson,
  • 20 Spearing,
  • 39 Bellamy
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance: 39,510
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One thought on “The City’s All Ours: Everton 0-2 Liverpool

  1. Pingback: Match of the season: North West giants clash at Anfield | The Red Letter

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