Everton’s comfortable derby win adds to Liverpool’s woes
With New England Sports Ventures crowned as Liverpool’s new owners, the feel good factor was supposed to return to the red half of Merseyside just in time for the derby that divides the City twice a season.
Yet the icing on the cake of a huge week in the history of Liverpool didn’t come. Instead those supporters who made the short trip across Stanley Park saw their side outclassed by bitter rivals Everton, who started the day level on points with the 18th-placed Reds.
Everton’s first goal came after the hosts had pressured Liverpool throughout the first half, with Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva heading a clearance directly to Blues youngster Seamus Coleman, who proceeded to break down the right flank and play the ball in to Tim Cahill, who happily placed it past Pepe Reina to put the home side in front after 34 minutes.
The second came soon after the break when an Everton corner was deflected out of the box and fell to Mikel Arteta, who fired a shot through the crowed penalty area and in to the back of the net to double his side’s lead.
Though the visitors pressed well and dominated the ball towards the latter stages of the second half, few chances came of it. Fernando Torres once again looked an isolated figure up front for Liverpool as the lack of creativity in the middle of the park meant the forward was afforded little support.
Defensively Liverpool looked shaky, rarely putting enough pressure on the Everton forwards and giving the opposition far too much space in and around the penalty area. Jamie Carragher seemed uncomfortable in his makeshift position as a right-back whilst Martin Skrtel put in far from his best show in the heart of the back-four, giving away a number of dangerous free-kicks around the box.
Going forward the Reds lacked width, with Maxi Rodriguez and Joe Cole once again putting in underwhelming shifts on either side of the Liverpool midfield. Lucas, who was partly at fault for the first goal, had a poor game, with Raul Meireles being the only one of the four who could take some positives from his performance, troubling Tim Howard with a collection of shots from distance throughout the game.
Skipper Steven Gerrard tried his hardest to lift team spirits and push Liverpool on to get a goal, but even he found it difficult on Sunday at Goodison Park. The shot wide by the Huyton-born midfielder in the dying minutes summed up Liverpool’s overall performance in a derby game they’ll want to forget.
Everton certainly deserved all three points. From the off David Moyes’ men pressed Liverpool and offered them little time or space when on the ball. Even towards the end of the game, when Liverpool eventually got a foothold and put a reasonable amount of pressure on the hosts, Everton’s back four put in a number of crucial challenges to stop the Reds getting anything out of the fixture.
It is, however, likely that the home side’s fantastic performance will not get the attention it deserves, with the focus instead being on Liverpool once again struggling in the League – and this time in front of new owners.
Just like in many fixtures this season Roy Hodgson will be forced defend the players, the performance and most importantly himself. The Liverpool boss said earlier in the season, in reaction to premature comments about his performance, to judge him after ten league games.
Eight have now passed, and the most decorated club in English football find themselves 19th in the league.