Liverpool love to make it hard for us don’t they? It’s not a Liverpool game without a roller coaster of emotions.
Wembley Way aka Anfield South
We started the game with a minute’s silence held for the 96 people who never came back from Hillsborough (will post more about this tomorrow).
The first few minutes we created the chances to get the first goal but after that we began to taper off and looked extremely nervous or anxious. This anxiety bled into our defense and led to the first goal. A mix up in clearing the ball between Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger led to Jelanovic getting free in the box to slot the ball past Brad Jones.
We never responded and it felt like this was Everton’s game to win. Our back four didn’t seem to know what system to play and the midfield was too far away from our strikers which left Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez isolated and against 4 Everton defenders. The half ended with Everton in the ascendancy and Liverpool needing the break.
The second half began and Kenny must’e fired a rocket at the players during half-time because we were much better. We wanted the ball more, our passing was more concise and we were beginning to trouble Everton’s defense. Carroll had a great chance to equalise from right by the far post after great play by Stewart Downing but he missed. Credit to Carroll, he never hid after that but kept going to try and make up for his miss. Then Everton gave us a gift. Distin tried a backpass which ended up falling right to Suarez who was then through on goal.
One on one with the keeper and he didn’t miss! (What a player!)
That goal gave us even more belief and seemed to derail Everton. We kept pushing and Carroll had another 2 opportunities to win the game but he just couldn’t get his shots on target.
Near the end of the game Gerrard won a free-kick outside the box, near the byline (Coleman should’ve been sent off for that foul as it warranted a yellow card and would’ve been his second). Craig Bellamy stepped up and delivered a great cross into the box which Carroll flicked in with the back of his head.
That’s his second winner in a matter of days and I was delighted for him. He never got down after his bad miss and he deserved his goal.
He keeps going like this and maybe we’ll start recouping that 35 million.
Maxi had a chance to get a third for Liverpool when Suarez skipped past a few defenders into the box before squaring the ball to him, but he hit the post and kept the scoreline at 2-1. (I told a friend that Liverpool would win 3-1 so my prediction almost came true).
MOTM: Luis Suarez. When he concentrated in the 2nd half he was unplayable and he kept the Everton defenders on their heels. Special mention for Andy Carroll. Now if these two could just click and take it up a gear we’ll finally have a great partnership.
And yes, this really was my reaction to the scoreline tonight. A smile and then shock that we scored 3 goals.
Okay so I have to admit I caved and watched the game live on ESPN and I’m glad I did. A home win by 3 goals? First time this season (in the league) I think.
I have to say (apart from the late flurry of Everton cards) this was probably the friendliest Merseyside Derby I’ve seen. No crazy tackles and no blood and thunder. It was…kinda weird.
We started off really well, just like the Arsenal game, where we pressed really well and had a lot of good movement up front alongside the majority of the possession. Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard linked well (which would be the theme of the night) before Gerrard’s shot was saved by Tim Howard. Jordan Henderson’s rebound was then blocked by Dan Gosling.
Suarez was then set free again only for Tim Howard to stop another shot on goal. This was all in the first 15 minutes as well. Suarez then linked up with Stewart Downing to provide the opening for the first goal. Martin Kelly had the resulting shot saved before Gerrard chipped the ball in with his left foot.
It was a class goal and if that had been Messi people would’ve been drooling over it.
Martin Kelly had another chance to grab himself a goal as he was set free on the right but his shot went just wide.
The half ended with Liverpool a goal up and dominating the first half. I was hoping we would push on in the second half and not let Everton come back into the game. We started well again in the second half and kept possession well. The second goal came from the Gerrard-Suarez link up.
Suarez jinked into box and skipped past two defenders before Stevie lashed in his second and Liverpool’s second.
Everton made changes but we still managed to keep them mostly away from our goal so much that I don’t think Pepe Reina made a save all night.
Andy Carroll also went close when Suarez again jinked into the box but his shot went just wide. Martin Kelly also tried again (Stewart Downing put in a great cross) but he just missed the ball on the stretch and Suarez had another chance to get a goal but missed. As the game was winding down Gerrard broke free before laying it on for Suarez to shoot. Instead Luis turned inside before laying the ball back for Stevie to complete his hat-trick.
Unselfish play by Suarez as he could’ve scored himself but decided to give it to Gerrard for his third goal.
And that was that. Liverpool got bragging rights and we did the double over the Bitters. I’m praying that this is where we finally push on and get wins in the league. The next 10 games are winnable but it’ll be up to the players to show that they deserve to be Liverpool players.
I assume Mrs Gerrard is expecting.
MOTM: Stevie for his hat-trick but since most of his goals came from great link up play I’ll add Luis Suarez there as well. Special mention to Martin Kelly who had a great game and could’ve scored a hat-trick himself, and Andy Carroll who seems to be improving each game he plays.
So I came home to possibly the best news yet (the best would be a complete annihilation of ManU at Anfield), Liverpool won the derby!
From what I gathered it was pretty even until the ref sent off Rodwell (poor guy, I saw the replay and it was barely even a foul). For everyone out there accusing Suarez of play-acting, watch the replay again, Suarez had barely moved before the ref was pulling out the red card. He could’ve gotten up and danced around but it would’ve been too late as the ref had made up his mind. For that injustice, the Bitters have my condolences. (I’ll still take the win though).
Anyways, Dirk Kuyt missed a penalty (could’ve believe he could do that, I thought he was a machine!) and Charlie Adam hit the bar in the half. We started the 2nd half better but had to breakdown 2 banks of 4. Kenny’s subs were telling and it was Craig Bellamy (who came on for Downing) who changed the game (Stevie also got another 23 minutes, maybe he’ll start against ManU in 2 weeks). He played a good ball to Jose Enrique to the byline, who then chipped the ball back into the box. Kuyt ducked, knowing Andy Carroll was behind him and big Andy swept the ball home.
Another number 9 celebrates at the Gladdison end (they must be sick of seeing these photos lol). Happy for Andy, he needed the goal and hopefully now he’ll push on.
This is a sight Everton fans may see for a long time to come. Luis Suarez (I just can’t get enough!) slid home the second after a defensive blunder between Sylvain Distin (so much for you being able to take on great strikers eh Distin) and Leighton Baines. I love this man and I hope he stays a red for a long time to come!
A quick word from our manager: "After they went down to 10, we were very professional, composed and thorough in what we were trying to do."
NB: the idiots who decided that throwing bottles and such was good representation of Everton should get their heads checked. Uncalled for and stupid really.
Best line I’ve seen today about the match: "Moyes should pick up the coins thrown onto the pitch to help Everton’s transfer fund." Harsh but hilarious! YNWA!