Cahill 34, Arteta 50
Sunday morning and a bright day with the papers full of Mr Henry speaking in the most positive, complementary and favourable terms about our club.
Just how much of this was Henry’s own words, or those of domestic writers who understand the “Liverpool legend” a bit more, we don’t know. However, the visit to Anfield must have been “awe inspiring” enough to convince My Henry to turn up yesterday after stating that he would wait until the next home match. Perhaps he saw who we were due to play and thought “sod this I’ll go to Goodison instead”, no Mr Allardyce I’m not going to apologise. However, what Mr Henry saw yesterday couldn’t have filled him up with an optimism to match his Sunday red top “quotes”.
HRH made three changes from the Blackpool game. Kuyt, Johnson and Agger were injured. Konchesky, Maxi, and Lucas took their places. Torres despite, injury rumours, started.
The opening act was typically scrappy derby fare. Both sides had chances, Distin for them and then Torres, with a back header for us, that Howard had to tip over. However, as is often the case, the occasion dominated leading to a nervousness and over enthusiasm which, for all the referee’s consideration of the occasion, eventually and inevitably resulted in Maxi, Cahill, Meireles seeing yellow. Just before the half hour Reina foiled the best chance of the game, a cross shot from Yakubu. However, it came…. Coleman was allowed by Konchesky and Lucas to advance into our area and get to the by line and cut back to an untracked Cahill who thrashed it into the roof of the net from the edge of the six yard area. Reina had no chance.
We tried to get back into the game but made heavy whether of it allowing ourselves to be dispossessed too much. When we did have possession our passes were poor and overall Everton seemed to have more desire and were certainly winning the midfield battle leaving Torres stranded. Joe Cole, out on the left, was ineffectual when he did get possession his final ball was wayward. Gerrard did, slowly, begin to make his mark by dropping off which gave faint signs of encouragement for the second half but in the first, despite a fair deal of possession, Howard was not troubled.
The second half started well with Maxi firing right down Howard’s throat. However things went from indifferent to poor. Despite Kyrgiakos dealing with a corner, we failed to close down Arteta in the edge of our area who fired home again through a melly of players thus giving Reina no chance. Yakubu offside? Yes, what a silly rule?
After that we probed and probed had a few long shots, from Meireles and Cole and again had the lions share of possession. Although some will follow HRH’s line after the game and make a positive out of this, it’s no good if you don’t make the most of it and again it was same old story, utterly toothless in attack leaving the massed ranked and well organised Everton defence with an easy job, even though they were pinned back for much of the second half. HRH bought on Ngog and then Babel to try and address this and although both had efforts on goal, and Torres forced a decent save from Howard, I think we could have played until Monday morning and still not found the back of the net.
It was an uninspiring, distant, empty performance. At times we seemed to be going through the motions as if waiting for something to happen, but what though? It was sad, a big let down and an unbefitting reward, not to mention tribute, for those who had seen their, passion, hard work and persistence finally pay dividends in London during the week.
It made me tired just watching it. Hopefully our season will wake up soon? Collectively and individually we need a dam good shake!
Everton: Howard, Baines, Heitinga (Hibbert 72), Jagielka, Distin, Neville, Coleman, Arteta (Beckford 74 yellow card), Cahill, Osman (Bilyaletdinov 46), Yakubu Substitutes Mucha, Hibbert, Shkodran Mustafi, Bilyaletdinov, Beckford, Magaye Gueye, Baxter
Liverpool: Reina, Konchesky, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Skrtel, Raul Meireles, Gerrard, Cole (Babel 79), Maxi (Jovanovic 84), Lucas (Ngog 71), Torres Substitutes: Jones, Aurelio, Kelly, Spearing, Jovanovic, Babel, Ngog