Another 0-0 draw, our third in five games. No doubt Jamie Carragher, as a defender, would take some professional pride from the clean sheet however, as this was his last Merseyside Derby, he would have surely liked it to be a 4-3 humdinger (what red wouldn’t) which would see him nodding in the winner in the 90th minute!
As it is both clubs look to have settled into a league positions that sees them side by side in sixth and seventh places. These positions are perhaps symptomatic of the shift in the footballing “balance of power”. Above us, in the top two spaces, are the two Mancs clubs followed by a gaggle of London glitterati. Everton might take some satisfaction from finishing above us, for the second season running, but I doubt it. Surely that will be more interested in widening the net of ambition and qualifying for Europe, a major scalp we not these days? Everton have had a solid season pragmatic effective and finishing in the position that some might regard as an overachievement. Us? Improving, inconsistent, erratic, enigmatic and, after this game, as with many others this season, no plan B. Then add the burden of the yolk of history. Seventh???? About right or and underachievement – take your pick, time to get real?
This was a bland and scrappy game, it often happens in derby’s like this. Everton should perhaps should feel a tad miffed that Distin’s goal was disallowed because Anichebe had “impeded” Reina. Moyes might have a point and, even if he didn’t, he was determined, in post match interviews, to ensure that everyone knew that he felt he had one even resorting to dredging up the age old “playing at Anfield” cliché.
“If you don’t get any decisions at Anfield it makes it difficult to win.”
Moyes then extended this to complaining about Carragher chatting too much to the referee which is quiet frankly nothing do with him. He might moan about the Distin incident but Moyes appears to have conveniently forgotten that Luis Suarez’s perfectly decent goal at Goodson, earlier this season, was disallowed for “offside”. Two wrongs clearly don’t make a right but, if nothing else, Moyes is pragmatic, swings and roundabouts David? Perhaps he might have been more philosophical had he won at Anfield during his Everton career however it’s another blank, his last one?
For us although we improved in the second half, there wasn’t enough adaptability no diversification BR again showed that when he’s good he’s very good (Newcastle) but when others see through us and give us more of a challenge he has nothing of note to offer as an alternative? Shooting boots were left at St James Park and when Everton, who are a cut above Newcastle this season, found their rhythm we had no answers of note.
Overall it was a catalogue of missed opportunities, for both sides. Henderson went close but Distin blocked his shot from Sturridge’s cross. Fellaini, under immense pressure from Carragher, prodded Baines’ fee kick past our post by a distance that was too close for comfort with Reina stranded. Gerrard had a what could have been a decent effort blocked by Jagielka’s trailing foot.
In the second half we improved a bit. Sturridge after the excellent work from the increasingly excellent Coutinho, was forced too wide by Howard in the Everton goal to make his chance count and then in the some passage of play, the Brazilian fed him again only to see him hit the side netting. Sturridge shows great promise and gets goals however there is still a rashness about his play, an occasional lack of composure, a lack of an eye for the alternative, easier option to the ambitious attempt on goal? Sturridge however, redeemed himself by nicely playing in Gerrard who beat Howard but saw his effort cleared off the line by Distin.
Finally, as if it ever needed to be said, it was nice to see The Kop display, via a card mosaic, their thanks to Everton for their support over the recent Hillsborough developments. As ever some things transcend local spats and, for that matter, football?
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard, Phillippe Coutinho, Henderson (Borini – 66′ Booked ), Downing (Skrtel – 79′ ), Lucas, Sturridge Substitutes: Jones, Coates, Skrtel, Shelvey, Assaidi, Borini, Suso
Everton: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Coleman, Gibson, Osman Booked, Pienaar, Fellaini, Mirallas, Jelavic – 75′ ), Anichebe Booked Substitutes: Mucha, Hibbert, Heitinga, Duffy, Oviedo, Jelavic, Naismith