LIVERPOOL 2-1 Everton
Liverpool progressed to the 4th round of the FA Cup after defeating Merseyside rivals Everton at Anfield.
The biggest team news was certainly that Virgil Van Dijk was to make his Liverpool debut while Mane started despite even though he’d only just arrived back in Liverpool after being in Ghana yesterday for the African Player of the Year awards. Jet-lag?
Karius was 1st choice goalkeeper, Mignolet not even substitute so Ward got a place in the squad. Danny Ings also got a place in the squad with attackers such as Salah and Coutinho out injured. Cup competitions, expect the unexpected and to see some players that barely get a Premier League substitution spot usually.
This Merseyside Derby started as it was expected to – within 7 minutes, Wayne Rooney had been given a yellow card for a rash challenge diving in on Gomez. Rooney played pretty rough for most of the game, but his manager (Sam Allardyce) would eventually substitute him off and seemed to be explaining that he’d had concerns about a red card for Wayne as he left the pitch in just the 51st minute.
The game was end to end with attacking football. Nobody defended unless they had to, it was clear both teams wanted to score and defeat their local rivals. Virgil Van Dijk would be able to display some impressive defending as Everton came rushing towards him early on though.
Mané was taking shots from early on but he kept blasting over the bar, too much power and not enough accuracy.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had a nice run after losing his marker around 30 minutes in but Sigurdsson raced back at double speed and averted disaster from happening. Liverpool would score shortly after, though.
The 35th minute saw Adam Lallana make a dangerous run into the penalty area with the ball and Holgate was practically hugging Lallana, both arms around the Liverpool attacker. The referee would make a calm and rather justified decision to award the penalty and James Milner would step up to take it. Milner was cool and collected despite the pressure of this important fixture. When the referee blew his whistle to take it, Milner shot down the middle as the Everton goalkeeper dived to his left. It was never going to be saved. GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Everton
Tension was rising at Anfield and a few minutes after the goal, Firmino was fouled. He was running along the left hand side of the pitch and was shoved so hard by both of Holgate’s hands that he ended up crashing over the billboard advertisements and going into the stands at Anfield. Once he’d picked himself up, he ran back quickly and started shouting at Holgate (in Portuguese). Fans in the area have since told what they thought they’d heard Firmino screaming in his own language (which Holgate doesn’t speak) and translated it later but apparently it was something along the lines of “Are you crazy?” followed by a single naughty swear-word I won’t repeat here.
The referee couldn’t really book Firmino for any dissent since he probably just doesn’t even understand Portuguese and may therefore not realise the things that are being said to Holgate. Referees don’t carry their Androids with them around on the pitch so no Google Translate to help them with linguistics in the heat of the game.
Unfortunately for Liverpool though, Firmino’s aggressive verbal assault (even if you couldn’t understand it) would prompt the referee to discuss whether to take any action at all with his 4th Official and then would decide to not book either of the players. Had Firmino stayed calm as he could and just acted like the referee needed to take action over the shove he’d received then Holgate may well have been the only player booked for the incident. Make no mistake about it, it was a vicious shove in the back that Firmino got, he ended up being pushed off the pitch and into the stands with the fans it was so powerful. You can’t really say it’s not a foul and had a red card been shown, it would have been justified and Holgate could never have denied his attack on Firmino. No cards were shown though. That was probably as “fair” as the referee could have made things for both sides, in his opinion. Though “fair” to Liverpool fans alone would have been at least a yellow card for the unwarranted shove in the back on Firmino.
Adam Lallana was around near the referee trying to diffuse the situation and also James Milner quickly calmed Firmino down, taking him away from Holgate in the hopes of avoiding any further conflict. Who’d have thought that the goal scored wouldn’t be the most exciting thing that happened before half time?
It wasn’t all Liverpool’s domination in the first 45 minutes but by half time, the home side had the lead they deserved. Up by 1.
The second half was more of the same. Fierce football, from end to end. No red cards shown in the game by the full time whistle but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything in the game that was deserving of a red card. We already spoke of the Holgate-Firmino incident and that alone probably should have seen some action taken. The match officials definitely don’t want to ruin the game by making too many harsh decisions though. The referee could end up with no players left on the pitch after showing his cards to anybody playing rough in a Merseyside Derby.
At half time, Everton actually announced a new signing for the club. The January Transfer Window is open and Everton have sealed the deal on former Besiktas forward Cenk Tosun.
Liverpool beat Besiktas 8-0 at Anfield once *giggles*. Yossi Benyaoun got a hat trick that night and both Peter Crouch and Ryan Babel got two goals each. Steven Gerrard would score one also. Luckily for Everton, Tosun wasn’t a part of that squad which got heavily defeated.
Back to the game
As mentioned briefly earlier, Rooney wasn’t to play much more of the game once the second half had begun. He’d get 5 or 6 minutes, then substituted off. Everton’s biggest threat for goalscoring was now sitting on the away team subs bench. This worked in Liverpool’s advantage, to be sure.
Liverpool ran around Anfield like crazy people. Adam Lallana was working hard and making some very speedy runs across the pitch. The Everton defenders had a hard time keeping up with him.
It looked very like Liverpool could keep control and come out of this game as 1-0 winners for a long time.
A yellow card was shown to McCarthy in the 60th minute as both teams entered the last half hour of regular play and were still kicking each other instead of the ball about the pitch.
Liverpool are still attacking, even getting some shots on target but best they can get right now is a corner. One corner was cleared by Everton then Bolasie playing it around with Lookman and eventually, it gets pushed forward to Jagielka. Phil Jagielka is a centre back, he had no business pushing far up the pitch. There he was though, collecting the ball right by the Liverpool penalty area. He doesn’t shoot though, instead pulling the ball back to Sigurdsson who is now on the edge of penalty area. A single strike as the ball comes to him and his powerful shot makes it’s way past Loris Karius, who was rooted to the spot with no save even attempted. There was players all around the box so maybe he just didn’t even see the shot or it’s possible he thought it was going over the bar or wide of the post. Goalkeepers often just let the shot fly without attempting a save if they think it’s going to miss. No matter how and why it happened, the score was now Liverpool 1-1 Everton in the 67th minute.
I’m a supporter of the Liverpool goalkeepers and won’t criticise Karius too heavily for his conceded goal. There’s been worse performances this season, this wasn’t the worst of all. The bad outweighs the good, here. No use complaining too much when he still helped our team to victory. At least we won eventually.
Liverpool had a significant amount of time to make a comeback, if they wanted 3 points instead of 1 and fans have clearly expressed their feeling about draws (now called Dreaded Draws) this season. We’d continue to attack and felt confident about our defence with Van Dijk doing his job extremely well at the back.
Klopp would change up the lineup a little as Wijnaldum replaced Lallana, Solanke and Alexander-Arnold came on for Gomez and Milner. That made our formation rather more offensive, getting that extra attacker fresh from the bench as we pushed for another goal.
The attacks kept coming. Firmino had a good chance but as soon as he got his shot towards goal, it was headed away by Jagielka. Some tight defence from the visitors but we weren’t about to give up until the final whistle of the game blew.
In the 85th minute, Liverpool got a corner. The Everton defenders were all over the box, doing their job quite well to be honest. It wasn’t easy to mark Virgil Van Dijk though
and he was running around the penalty, trying to lose his marker. He hadn’t been the only player attempting to get a touch on the ball but it’d work out well for him as a ball came sailing in and he was able to connect his head onto it, for directing it into the net. Liverpool 2-1 Everton with only 5 minutes of regular play (and about 4 minutes of extra time) left. We held tight for the win and it came, no replay needed. Everton are out of the FA Cup and Liverpool progress.
Man of the Match
One guy made his debut for a new club, scored on his debut and showed his new fans that he’s going to be a great asset to the club. Virgil Van Dijk.
Yes, his transfer fee was £75 Million and soon he’ll be proving that he really is worth this much. Some would say he’s worth it already. The more success he can help bring to the club, the easier people will take it on him when making their minds up if the club overpaid for him or not. I’m confident he’ll become a much loved Liverpool player after his help to defeat Everton, arguably our biggest local rival since 1892 (Manchester United and other big teams we know nowadays weren’t giving us any competition back in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Everton were rivals since those earliest days).
We’ve played Burnley and played Everton. OKAY, we’re about to play Man City now. That should be fun. They seem to have “run away” with the Premier League title already but we’ll do all we can to make a stand against the side that should be Premier League champions by the end of the season.
Walk on with hope in your hearts Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[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 (more than 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