So that’s it, everyone has said we’re not good enough and now the title is in the Mancs’ own hands. We might as well give up now eh?
Yes it was annoying to lose yet another couple of home points. The fact that it was Everton is irrelevant as the real spoils tonight last night went to an even greater enemy. However….
Rafa threw a mini surprise, although not necessarily an unpleasant one, by naming both Torres and Keane in his side. May be he thought this was the right approach against Everton’s defence which has been the main reason for their recent good run?
Although Everton are currently shorn of fire power they had the best two chances Anichebe’s a low fizzer after a few seconds and then after twenty minutes or so Cahill with a header. On both occasions Reina was tested. However the best chance of the half was ours via a through ball from Sami. Torres latched on to it, evaded two defenders and beat Howard only to see his effort hit the post. A bad miss but at least signs that Torres appears to have his pace back after injury and could at least make the Everton defence work. Everton were lucky towards the end of the half as Riera’s shot was deflected wide however, as a game it was really nothing to shout home about, a typical fractious affair with niggily tackles flying in thick and fast – a series of free kicks and stoppages occasionally interrupted by some football!
Early in the second half we had a call for a penalty with Jagielka on Torres although the blue was no where near the ball he didn’t exactly play the man either. On the Everton left Baines was getting forward regularly and put in a few decent low crosses that tested Reina. However he was forced to save his club at the other end with superb challenge on Hyypia after Howard had palmed away Gerrard’s shot. Slowly we began assert pressure Torres lifted one over the bar but there was only one man who was going to score and it was in typical style.
Straight after Everton had a penalty appeal turned down for a challenge on Anichebe by Skrtel we moved out at pace. Riera squared to Gerrard some twenty five yards out. You know the rest – a low exocet which gave Howard no chance and the perfect riposte to the predictable Everton chants.
After that Everton rallied without looking too convincing although Osman had one chance straight at Reina. However, Arteta was clumsy and thoughtlessly fouled by Benayoun in the danger area. You don’t do that when Arteta is on the opposite side a silly schoolboy error, inconsistent with what was the order of the day which was to keep our heads and see the game out. The Spaniard speared a low free kick across the box and Cahill, scandalously unmarked in the six yard area, did the rest.
So, is that it? No way. People can go on about the way we’ve playing lately, our uncanny knack of turning advantage into lost opportunity our alleged “football by numbers”, oh so cautious formularised way of playing but all is not lost. There is more to the squad than many critics would have us believe and more to come. Yes opportunities need to be taken and yes conviction/belief needs to be firm but now, more than ever, is the time put all this aside and get behind the team. Hopefully the rest will follow?
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Babel 89), Keane (Benayoun 67), Torres (Leiva Lucas 85).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Arbeloa, Mascherano.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Neville, Pienaar, Cahill, Anichebe.
Subs Not Used: Nash, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Kissock.