Despite the joy of beating their Merseyside neighbours this weekend and booking another date at Wembley, what became more evident than ever after Saturday’s triumph was that Kenny Dalglish still doesn’t know his best Liverpool team.
The game itself was a slow and scrappy affair, highlighted by the first two goals – the complete breakdown in communication between Daniel Agger and Jamie Carragher gifted Nikica Jelavić Everton’s opener.
Then Sylvain Distin’s wayward backpass allowed Luis Suárez to coolly equalise before Andy Carroll silenced his critics with an 87th-minute winner for the Reds.
When it came to Liverpool’s team selection, Dalglish surprisingly excluded José Enrique from the starting line-up.
Amid Liverpool’s much lamented dealings in the transfer market this campaign, the one player who can be justified as a successful purchase is Enrique.
The other four main signings, Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Carroll and Jordan Henderson, have been in and out of team for large parts of the season.
Then players like Jay Spearing, Martin Kelly and Maxi Rodríguez have been restricted to a brief run of games.
The other big disappointment is not seeing Craig Bellamy start more, having proved himself to be Dalglish’s best signing with some brilliant performances since coming in on a free.
This season was always going to be one for experimenting and trying to jell as a team. But it seems after 33 games and with the 2012-2013 season approaching, Dalglish is in the same position he was last summer.
Juan Mata’s ‘ghost goal’ will have further-reaching consequences than simply dashing Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup hopes.
Although on paper Spurs have the kindest of Premier League run-ins with four of their five matches coming against relegation candidates, there is no worse time to be playing those sides.
They’ll go in to their next match against Queens Park Rangers a tad bitter and once ex-Spurs midfielder Adel Taarabt will be eager to prove a point to his former employers.
Newcastle United and Chelsea are both snapping at their heels and their form is at polar opposites of Spurs’ so the stage is set for another strong campaign, which has featured breathtaking football at times, to fail to fulfil its earlier promise.
There’s one way out and that’s if Harry Redknapp pulls a man management masterstoke out of his repertoire and turns the team’s delusion into fierce motivation.
It could happen and should he succeed in bringing Champions League football back to White Hart Lane, he can have the England job straight away.
But then again if Spurs are in the Champions League next season, he might not accept it.
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news