Everton 3- Liverpool 0
Posted by Sports Snob on September 9, 2006
It seems kinda inauspicious that the first time I contribute to this blog has to be after a Liverpool defeat. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll win someday…
Anyway, to the game. Everton scored three goals against their city rivals for the first time in 40-odd years, to win the 175th Merseyside derby 3-0. This is painful to write as a Liverpool fan, but we all have to start writing reviews somewhere.
The game started fairly well for Everton, who seemed to have the edge over Liverpool in the first tem minutes. I’m only saying this because that’s what my dad said on the phone when I called him from an auto on the way home from work. I hate it when ANYthing interferes with football, especially work. In any case, I managed to get home during the 22nd minute, so I’ll start from there. The first half was fairly even, possession-wise, with a long ball game being played by both teams. Bit of a shame really, considering Liverpool are such a good passing side, but then I would say that now, wouldn’t I?
The first Everton goal came in the 25th minute, when Mikel Arteta swung a ball in from the right, with Lee Carsley heading on towards the far post. The Liverpool defense had forgotten where they were supposed to be, and somehow the ball popped up right in front of goal, with two Everton players waiting to pounce, not a Liverpool defender to be seen. Tim Cahill scored, swept the ball between Reina’s legs into the back of the net. 1-0. The build-up to the goal was excellent, and I didn’t really grudge them their goal. Ridiculous defending, certainly, but worse was to come.
Not before the Reds equalized almost instantly when Luis Garcia’s cross, via Tim Howard’s gloves, was stabbed towards goal by Steven Gerrard. It was a difficult chance though, and Gerrard saw his effort go off the outside of the near post for a goal kick.
Everton scored again in the 36th minute through Andy Johnson. Shock-horror defending by Hyypia and Carragher, with the latter practically laying it on a plate for Andy Johnson to strike a very composed finish past the helpless Jose Reina. Poor sod.
I’ve been told to cut this down a little, so I’ll only mention a couple more incidents (truth is, I can’t really remember everything else I was so depressed, but it’s nice to blame the ed!)
The Second Half
The second half started much as the first had finished, with Andy Johnson breaking free briefly, only to be halted by the Liverpool defense. To be fair to Liverpool, they did play well, creating several chances over the course of the game. Their finishing let them down, however, and I believe this is something which needs to be addressed by Rafa Benitez. Who is, officially, a genius, in spite of this blot on his copybook. (I love this guy!)
Momo Sissoko, the Mali International, had a bit of a stormer. True, he did make a couple of mistakes, but to be honest with you, he looked frightening. I lost count of the number of times he made inch-perfect, AGGRESSIVE tackles, which invariably left his opponent on the deck, and him with the ball. One to watch out for, methinks.
Midway thorough the second half, a well worked Liverpool move resulted in Steven Gerrard breaking free down the right. His shot from an acute angle cannoned off the inside of the post, with Tim Howard, the Everton goalkeeper, well beaten. Almost tantalizingly, it rolled right across the face of goal, but no one in a Red shirt was there to put it away. Dirk Kuyt, who had come on for Peter Crouch earlier, did manage to get a shot in from an equally acute angle, which appeared to bounce off Tony Hibbert’s trailing left arm. To be fair to him, I didn’t really think it was a penalty the first time I saw it, although replays proved me wrong. No penalty, however, from our erstwhile international referee, Graham Poll. Bit of a shame, really, because it turned out to be pivotal.
There was more bad news for Liverpool when John-Arne Riise was stretchered off, after a badly mistimed tackle on. His left ankle twisted almost backward, and it was no surprise that he stayed down. Poor Sod, seriously. He’d spent, I dunno, twenty minutes (max) on the pitch after being out for two weeks with an injury. A big blow, and exacerbated by the referee booking him as the stretcher passed him, AND Liverpool being down to ten men, having made all their substitutions.
They put up a bit of a fight though, and deserved to pull at least one back, attacking repeatedly in the last ten minutes. Everton’s back four stood firm though, and kept everything Liverpool threw at them at bay. And they scored an almost farcical third goal.
The third goal:
Andy Johnson got a good shot in from around twenty yards out, which Pepe Reina was only able to palm straight up in the air. The ball’s trajectory took it over his head and towards goal. Under pressure from the speedy little tyke that is Andy Johnson, he pushed the ball away from goal. Unfortunately, Johnson’s head got in the way, and the ball thumped into the roof of the net – a bald head really is the ultimate weapon. (Just ask Marco Materazzi!)
3-0, then. The scoreline did flatter Everton to an extent, but Liverpool really didn’t do enough to get anything out of this game. Here’s to PSV Eindhoven away midweek. Crikey.
Man of the Match: Andy Johnson. Lee Carsley did have a good game, but Johnson continued his incredible run of form with two priceless goals in a derby match.
(Oasisboy is a great guy and recommends you download the live version of Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter)