EVERTON 0 – 0 LIVERPOOL
So, Liverpool got their fourth goalless draw of the season. Before this game, Liverpool had been involved in games where nobody conceded or scored against Hull at the end of October and Sunderland at the start of December, both Premier League fixtures where we got just 1 point without even putting the ball in the opponents net. There was also a FA Cup Fourth Round game against Bolton which had to go to a replay at their ground after no goals were scored at Anfield. I can’t say I am delighted with the single point Liverpool got for drawing this game, we officially are the best team on Merseyside and even the Blues know that, we should be winning this fixture.
Unfortunately, Everton often “play for a draw” instead of a win, they use a lot of defensive football (nothing as bad as Chelsea’s parked bus tactics BUT still quite frustrating for fans because they’re stopping you from seeing any goals) and usually just try to keep the ball in midfield, put a lot of tackles in and make sure Liverpool don’t play any very dangerous balls through the middle to our strikers. They don’t get many chances to score with those tactics but the only thing they want is to “steal two points from Liverpool” while claiming a point for themselves from a team they know they probably aren’t going to beat. They were lucky enough to score a very late goal at Anfield earlier this season which also got them a draw in which both teams scored once. They’ve officially “stolen four points” from Liverpool this season. That probably means more to them than winning, they still celebrate it like a victory. “OH WOW, WE DIDN’T GET BEAT… AND STOLE SOME POINTS FROM LIVERPOOL”. That’s about the best Everton fans can hope for, really. Sad, isn’t it?
Liverpool’s squad was quite a strong one. We’ve seen the return of Daniel Sturridge recently, but only as substitute – Brendan Rodgers still isn’t prepared to give Daniel 90 minutes despite the fact that he’s scored at least once since his recovery to full fitness. Lucas Leiva would be a starter and Steven Gerrard would be the captain, right from the start. Surprisingly, Jordan Ibe was given a starting place and I am very happy to see him in action, especially right from the first whistle. He really did great (I’ll talk more about that in a minute).
The first half was not boring, there was good attacking football from Liverpool but nothing from Everton, they just stuck to the midfield mostly and it was way into the second half (87 minutes) before Everton took their first shot on target! They also played quite “dirty” football, kicked and pushed us about, playing a physical game that earned them four yellow cards. Lucas had to be replaced by Joe Allen within quarter of an hour as he had been hurt in a challenge. Yeah, as I said earlier – they weren’t playing to win the game.
The Liverpool manager would choose a 3-4-3 formation we have seen before. Three at the back (Can, Skrtel and Sakho), four midfielders (Lucas, Henderson, Moreno and Jordon Ibe) and then the three forwards (Gerrard was playing in a very attacking role with Coutinho and Sterling).
Watching Jordon Ibe was exciting, every time he got the ball, you feel the attacking presence he has. He really causes problems for defences, you don’t know if he’s going to run past you and shoot himself or if he’s going to provide an assist for his teammates and cross the ball right over your head. Either way, he’s dangerous!
Just before the half hour point, Ibe would win the ball in midfield, make a dangerous run past the Everton defence around him and then strike a beautiful ball that would smash the center of the left goalpost, rebounding away. If it had just hit the inside right part of the post, it would have deflected into the net and most likely been the only and winning goal of the game. It was Liverpool’s closest chance of scoring in this game. Had Ibe scored, he would have been the newest hero of Merseyside (for the Reds at least, the Blues would start hating him more than most other players).
I really feel sorry for the guy that he had not scored, not just because we didn’t get a goal but because it would have raised his profile, gotten him more attention and fame than any other squad member if he had been the “player who scored the only goal of the Merseyside derby”. It could take the level of love for him from Reds fans to a whole new level. He hasn’t truly felt the full love available from us just yet, that’s reserved for players who score for the first team against our biggest rivals and it’s not always the amount of goals that counts, it’s WHO we’re playing too – you don’t need to score 30 goals a season to get big love. If it’s against one of our major rivals, we’ll really love you a lot for scoring against them.
That’s why Robbie Fowler is known as “God” to the Liverpool fans… he scored in Merseyside derbies and other important fixtures against more of our rival teams, too. Once you’ve got every Liverpool fan in the world loving you, playing and scoring for the club will only get better as an experience you will never forget or want to leave behind. Ask any Kop Legend (Liverpool player) that has scored against one of our rivals at Anfield… they’ll tell you it was unforgettable.
It takes the adoration of the fans to a whole new level and Ibe deserves to know what that feels like. I want him to be adored. I want him to know that he would have the whole of the Premier League’s fans fearing him and even respecting him for his talent and skills if he could make that 1 important shot on target actually go IN TO THE NET! If you can pull that off… you won’t ever want to go back to playing in the Academy or Reserves fixtures again. It just won’t be the same.
The first half ended and the manager probably just asked the team for “more of the same” because that’s pretty much what we got in the second half. Attacking football, trying to get past Everton’s solid midfield and win the ball from them in the middle of the pitch so that we could try attacking them and going past their defence for an attempt on goal.
Our defence were on good enough form to not concede any goals, of course. Though Everton played a lot of their football in midfield, Mignolet and the back 3 defenders were not untested and did well as expected when it was necessary. Emre Can is still doing a fine job in Liverpool’s defence as he continues to gather experience in his fairly new role as defender (instead of midfielder). Credit to them for doing their job well when needed.
Daniel Sturridge would eventually make an appearance although it was not a popular decision by fans as Coutinho was taken off the pitch for him. Coutinho had been “neutralized” like Gerrard had (Roberto Martinez may have also considered him a danger man who needed to be tightly marked by Everton players) for a large part of the game and perhaps the Liverpool manager wanted to take away a player who wasn’t currently creating any new threats. Sturridge however would not score in the 35 minutes of action he saw, but still played well and made some assists for other players who shot on goal and almost scored, including our captain.
Another grand effort was when late in to the game, Steven Gerrard struck a marvelous effort from a set piece which forced the Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles to save the ball in the top left corner of the goal, stopping the well placed free kick hitting the back of net with his fingertips. It wasn’t Gerrard’s only effort on goal, he also attempted an athletic bicycle kick which got blocked by Naismith, rising just above the bar from the deflection. Many of Gerrard’s efforts were blocked, he just wasn’t getting a clear sight of goal and the Everton manager Roberto Martinez may have simply instructed his players to “tightly mark the Liverpool captain and defend against all of Gerrard’s attacks”.
I felt that Gerrard deserved more from his last ever Merseyside Derby before he leaves in the summer to go off to America, for playing in the MLS with LA Galaxy. He deserved to win this. He deserved all three points and to score himself, it would have been appropriate. BUT, we’ll still try to give him a good send off and get a hold of some silverware this season as we chase the FA Cup to “win it for Stevie”.
Liverpool’s current position in the Premier League is 7th. Chelsea lead as they sit quite safely at the top of the table and look like nobody can catch them (though it’s only a 7 point gap for Man City, who will want to win the league again and will continue chasing them).
We are 10 points behind 2nd placed Manchester City, only 6 points behind 3rd placed Southampton, 4 points behind 4th placed Manchester United and 5th placed Tottenham Hotspurs (both on equal points) and just 3 points behind 6th placed Arsenal. We’ll be chasing these teams up the table until the end of the season, no doubt.
The more points we can gain as they hopefully drop some points in draws and defeats, the better. A win for Liverpool while they draw gathers two more points to close the gap with. A win for Liverpool while they lose gathers three points to close the gap with. A draw for Liverpool while the teams above us lose only gathers one single point to close the gap with but it’d still be a valuable point, especially if it took us to a new position further up the table.
We don’t want to get the same exact result they get, or the gap won’t close at all and positions wouldn’t change, they’d stay as they are and with less fixtures to play until the end of the season.
That’s the way to play “catch up”, we need the teams above us to not win and have some positive results which allow Liverpool to close the gap on them and possibly climb the table towards at least 4th place. We’ll want that position by the time the final 38th Premier League fixture is played which will allow us Champions League football next season.
Our next fixture will be a Premier League game at Anfield against Tottenham Hotspurs, one of the teams above us. A win against them could help close the gap significantly, especially if Arsenal lose on the same day. Last time we played them, we did not concede any goals and scored three of our own to get a wonderful victory. Sterling scored in less than 10 minutes, Gerrard scored a penalty in the second half and Alberto Moreno even put one in the net. I can see us winning this one and we really need the points at this stage in the season.
Anyway, that’s all folks. Walk On, with hope in your hearts. You’ll Never Walk Alone. Your Anfield Family is walking with you.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so i was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (about 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.
I’m a die hard Liverpool fan (only supported ONE club in my whole life, Liverpool) and one of the most dedicated fans you’ll ever meet.