THE Old Lady finally rocked.
For 70 minutes Goodison Park was a nervous mess and the feeling persisted that the opening goal would be a Liverpool one. That the worst that could happen to an already miserable Everton season would happen. The vibe of the whole place was that of duty and obligation. It was very much not going to be a joy, not from the outset. The best opportunity for Everton to win a Merseyside derby since Liverpool inexplicably made Roy Hodgson manager was not something to be seized with both hands and savoured.
In a normal game like this one when the clock approach and passed the hour mark Liverpool would have kicked on, confirmed the worst fears and insecurities of the blue brethren and taken the game 0-2. But this was not a normal game. It was the game between games, what should be the main event relegated to secondary status, something to get through and come out of the other side unscathed in every sense for The Reds.
What a strange occasion. There are few things as enjoyable as the Goodison derby. Few matchdays as visceral. But this was tame. There was no whip, no snap. The kick-off time doesn’t help anyone. Derbies should rattle and fizz. They shouldn’t mooch in and out of view. For us though, the event couldn’t be less of a filler. For them, they have been left stinking of Sam Allardyce. He’s taken so much of their fun away. Everton should be the most intense thing on and off the pitch, feeding each other with their need for Kopite blood and for 70 minutes that was startlingly absent.
Liverpool eased themselves through the game like an oil tanker through a busy dock. The midfield acquitted itself well. Gini Wijnaldum getting an audition for Tuesday, Jordan Henderson passing incisively and James Milner running directly. Virgil van Dijk spent his first hour looking distinctly untroubled and Loris Karius had made a terrific save. Liverpool though didn’t play like their lives depended on it. They played like they had something else more pressing and this is not unreasonable.
The players who haven’t had much football looked short of match fitness. The players who played a very intense match on Wednesday found themselves increasingly short of gas. Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings both toiled and their performances got worse as it wore on. Under normal circumstances they would have been substituted.
All season Liverpool have changed their front three late in games but today they had to keep toiling, keep working. They worked for their teammates, they worked because Liverpool needed them to. But they didn’t work well and neither has demanded inclusion against Bournemouth, neither has given their manager a headache going forward.
The Old Lady finally rocked though. Everton began to push with intent when Liverpool began to genuinely fade. For an hour Liverpool looked like the more likely scorers but for the last 15 minutes only one side was going to win it. Goodison was roused, forgetting who was in the dugout and remembering who was on the pitch. Theo Walcott slipped at the key moment, the ball fell just passed the post and the most we could hope for was that it would continue to do that and it did.
It did indeed. There was to be no reward for Everton and, in truth, they didn’t deserve one. The intensity they ended the game with came far too late. It would suit us down to the ground for Allardyce to stay there forever, for him to be a fixture. But he surely can’t, he surely shouldn’t. The Blues are wishing the season away. The Reds are hanging onto it and drinking every last drop from this magnificent glass.
For us, we continue that journey. For them, they watch on, fearful. They’ll rock again briefly when we stop our roll but in truth they have to look inward, find the essence of what Everton as a big club actually is and put a proper plan together around it.
In the meantime, what a terrible time for being a Blue.
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Given the late chances to Everton will take a point despite a bit of disappointment in the result given the opposing team so full of bang average players who are led by a dour tactical manager, just makes me glad I am a red don’t think I would be interested watching that every week.
couldn’t agree more. We were absent in mind and passing some time on a training field where we would normally be hyped up for local war. Everton though, well, I’ve been genuinely sorry for them since they recruited the very last scrape from the bottom of a very threadbare barrel, Fat-heded Sam is the dinosaur pretender. Always feeling too big for whatever club he’s at. Never forward thinking, looking to blame players and excuse mediocrity rather than praise and motivate and progress. There must be tons of young, unknown, enthusiastic managers with the modern game in mind and a point to prove out there rather than this Ferguson cast-off, cast adrift in a tide of new management.
It must indeed be terrible to be a blue, now possibly more than ever. They see us just getting back to the top table with a young attack minded manager putting the finishing touches to a squad that could challenge for seasons to come. Then, after that, because we always come first in their thoughts, they look at their own sorry club. Led by a dinosaur of a manager with an aging costly squad playing football from the dark ages in a stadium to match. They know in their heart of hearts that the shiny new one they’ve been promised just won’t happen and they know that at some point the owner, the multi-billionaire who refuses to put any of his funds at their disposal, will cash in his chips at the moment that causes them the most difficulty. Because they are Everton. They go the game, they’re born not manufactured. They’re the Grand Old Team. And they know that it gets worse for them from here on in, much worse.
I think Allardyce fits Eveton and its supporters. As perfect a match of club and manager as Klopp is for us. That Everton are were they deserve to be with the manager they deserve makes this season all the sweeter. I despise the bitter shite.
Strange sophoric experience. I almost never enjoyed watching the derby. Unlike you guys who get to go to the game I just spent it chewing my nails in some bar somewhere else in the world. I can’t “hate” Everton or the blues in general because they really mean nothing to me (unless they are challanging us so …). Everton have one supporter in the world I live in and he’s just given up. So 95 minutes without a leg breaker works for me. The dishes got done, the food was cooked, adrenaline levels stayed low. Almost bliss.
Klopp managed the game as best he could and we came away luckily without any injuries in this average “derby” game.
The timing of these games were not Klopp’s picking and times have changed when these types of matches were entertaining to those who liked this stuff. You may need to go watch MMA or American Football for brutality and brainless sport.
Unlike most of us, Klopp has a very valuable investment to manage and there’s bigger business to acquire for the long term.
So Everton and the Fat Bastard, are a thing of the past now. Let’s not get dragged into it or suffer the type of defeat City did this weekend against a crap United side.
In hindsight United did us a small favor by reducing the City supporters attempt to “intimidate” us on Tuesday.
City can still overturn the 3-0 deficit make no mistake, so if we take the game to them from the start and score one, it might ease the pressure, instead of waiting like United until the second half.
I worry about our midfield though but like the Everton game, I trust Klopp to have some idea of what to do about it.
With regards to the forwards, I think they had an average game and not poor. Instead of an away game at Everton if they were playing at home they would probably have got more chances. Also Solanke would have looked better with Salah and Mane on either side and so would have Ings with Firminho in the middle. It seems to be a bit of a confidence issue with Solanke since he definitely get some chances in the box and Ings is pure bad luck. He can’t catch a break a bit like Lovren of 6 months ago. I’m sure they’ll come good for us even this season if they get to play with any two out of Mane, Bobby and Salah.
Liverpool are magic. Everton are tragic.