Another derby draw and a replay that, truth be told, no one save Everton’s bank manager and the TV really wanted?
Despite the result this was a better game from our point of view. We dominated for long, long periods, kept Everton on the defensive and had plenty of possession, 70% has been mentioned. However, it is there that the positive side ends and the depressing similarities with Monday and, believe it or not, years gone by begin.
Once more our vulnerability to set pieces was exposed. I can’t remember what the figures were but apparently an astronomically high amount of our goals conceded last season were from set pieces. Sadly this appears to have come back to haunt us?
Because of injures Cahill, a midfielder, is Everton’s stand in centre forward. Perhaps our centre backs still don’t realise this! Nothing seemed to be learnt from Wednesday when Cahill managed to evade everyone’s attention and glance a header past Reina from a free kick. Yesterday he was left to roam again untracked and alone inside the six yard area as Everton prepared to take a corner. He was allowed to casually sneak up behind the defence from a position on the by line. Alonso attempts to deal with him were minimal and his header was diverted home by Lescott. The situation was not helped by the fact that Lescott was also unmarked. Srktel in an attempt to cut out the cross before it reached Cahill deserted the full back and then found himself betwixt and between as he tripped. Bad luck may be but overall bad defending.
Another old habit with turned up like and unwelcome party guest was our inability despite, dominating games, to finish sides off. I say party guest but this particular issue has been stalking us for some time now, probably since Torres was injured this season but it has re-emerged with depressing regularity for the last two.
For all our possession we simply could not punch holes through Everton’s defence. Again I don’t know the stats but the amount of shots we had on goal could probably be counted on one hand. Carragher early on after an outrageous drag back (for a centre half), Kuyt after good work by Gerrard, Torres whose tap was blocked by Jagielka. Gerrard again producing a great save from Howard shortly after our goal. Add in a long range Dossena grass cutter and that seemed to be that.
Once they scored Everton were clearly out to defend what they had, and they did so brilliantly however, for all our possession four to five chances is a poor return. The situation was given an interesting slant as Robbie Keane was completely omitted for the proceedings which no doubt will serve to stoke up the speculation again? Nonetheless while our ability to create chances appears to on the wane of late, does it make sense to leave the striker out?
Finally the last old habit, an over reliance on Steven Gerrard. Once more he dragged the side out of sh*t with a goal and seemed to be involved in everything of note involving us. His goal was typical, another drive from range after a lovely flick from Torres and poor keeping from Howard who allowed the shot to squirm underneath him.
Can we continue to rely on Gerrard? Of course not just as we cannot keep allowing sides such as Everton to get away with results like yesterdays? Let’s hope we are less generous at Goodison and, more importantly, in future games to come?
Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Dossena, Kuyt, Alonso, Mascherano, Babel (Riera 75), Gerrard, Torres. Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Hyypia, Aurelio, Benayoun, Leiva Lucas, Ngog.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Anichebe (Gosling 71), Castillo (Rodwell 76), Neville, Osman, Pienaar, Cahill. Subs Not Used: Nash, Yobo, Van der Meyde, Jacobsen, Jutkiewicz.