Praesidium

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Everton 3-0 Liverpool

My favourite post in the build up to the derby:

The fact of the matter is this:-Everton fans are going to say they are going to win,us Liverpool supporters are going to say Liverpool are going to demolish them and the Neutrals (Most of em anyway) say that its going to be a tough game and will probably end in a hard fought draw. On a personal standpoint though I still think its going to be 4-1 to the Reds.

The thread contained a lot of argument about who from the Everton side would get into Liverpool's side. Many reds said no one, while the blues generally picked out Cahill, Arteta and Andy Johnson, plus sometimes Yobo and/or Lescott. For the record, I think such debates are complicated by the fact that Liverpool now have much more of a squad rather than a settled eleven. I'd certainly say any of those players could be in that squad - I'd welcome them ahead of the likes of Zenden and Diao at any rate.

That we clearly have a stronger squad on paper matters little when the match starts, however; and while last season we were able to record two 3-1 victories today was to be disappointing all round. We dominated the early play, but never created clear chances, with the result Everton were able to establish a 2-0 lead against the run of play - indeed I think well into the second half they'd only had those two shots on target.

Though we had many more opportunities, very few were clear openings. Gerrard did hit the post - and I think we probably should have had a penalty as someone (Hibbert? Carsley?) handled the rebound on the ground.

Sadly our squad was lacking pace (no Bellamy or Gonzales), which left us a bit short of options when we were looking to come back. The loss of Riise to what looked like another serious ankle injury just after we'd made our third substitution was a big blow - hopefully he won't be out more than a month, but if it's aggravated the injury he was just coming back from, then I fear worse.

With ten men, and not long to go, we were never likely to claw our way back; but the third goal - in which Reina tried to palm a shot over from a good way out, then had to scamper back to stop it crossing the line, and succeeded only in pushing it onto Johnson's forehead - was both comical and cruel.

As last year, we've got off to a pretty slow start, but this time I think it's been partly due to the disruption of internationals and injuries. I'm hoping we can pull ourselves together, not so much for Chelsea next weekend as the commencement of the Champions League - a group we have to come through.

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