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Sterile performance and management mistakes but Everton will rise again
by Peter Bottomley

LIVERPOOL 2 (Suarez 62, Carroll 87) – EVERTON 1 (Jelavic 24)

Like Samson shaved of his locks, an effectively wing-less Everton were never able to exploit the wide-open spaces of Wembley and the obvious weakness of a Liverpool who indulged the giggle of playing Agger at left back and still had the last laugh. With Steven Pienaar ineligible, Royston Drenthe on walkabout and Seamus Coleman not selected, David Moyes chose as his wide players the inexperienced Gueye – who effectively froze – and Leon Osman, who may be an excellent footballer, but does not have the pace to be a natural winger. The selection of Gueye had another, ultimately terminal effect on Everton – it effectively neutralized Leighton Baines as an attacking force. The full-back barely ventured beyond the half-way line such was his lack of confidence in the young Frenchman’s defensive capabilities. Had Osman been operating in front of him from the start, it might have been a different story. The Blues lost this game on the flanks; their centre-forward starved of opportunity as they were outcrossed by Liverpool by 21 to 13, that simple statistic encapsulates this defeat.

We were dismayed and astounded that Coleman did not replace Gueye until just twenty minutes from the end. We are unstinting in our support of David Moyes, but on this occasion he was asleep at the switch. Maybe he had allowed himself to become as mesmerised as his players by the myth that this expensively assembled Liverpool team has anything to offer – other than the darting, diving skills of Suarez. Indeed such was the Uruguayan’s frustration at being unable to shake off Johnny Heitinga that he reverted to his usual default setting; try to get your marker sent off. And why not, after all it worked with Jack Rodwell. Had Gueye been withdrawn at half-time in favour of Coleman (or even Anichebe) and Osman switched to the left, the Irishman could have perhaps played himself into form and Baines would have been freed to show his natural attacking game. 

That said there is one man who would have won this game for Everton but he was sitting 6,000 miles away glued to his TV, his name; Landon Donovan. Had he been playing the Blues would have won this game at a canter; imagine how he would have dissected the lumbering 6’ 3 inch Agger, systematically demolishing his game and providing a stream of inviting balls into the area for Jelavic.

The bottom line though is that players and management alike must share responsibility for this defeat. The players appeared to have been neutered of their attacking instincts, hesitant and timorous, where they should have been aggressive and strong. Their focus seemed to be entirely on worrying about and countering the imagined threat of the opposition. Little surprise then that when Liverpool finally woke up to the fact that Everton were anxious, had ceded territorial advantage and were playing too deep, their confidence grew. Everton’s crushing sense of inferiority was such that it didn’t matter in what order the goals were scored, Jelavic’s strike was effectively a consolation goal, even as it kissed the back of the net.

We will not discuss Sylvain Distin, other than to say that the man acted with the dignity and humility we would expect of an Everton player, as did his manager, who just as he did following the Cup Final defeat of 2009 made sure he shook the hand of every opposition player. Under these most trying of circumstances few men could have done that.    

LIVERPOOL (4-4-2): Jones; Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger; Henderson (Rodrigues 75), Spearing, Gerrard©, Downing (Bellamy 84); Suarez, Carroll

EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard; Neville©, Heitinga, Distin, Baines (Anichebe 88); Gibson, Fellaini; Osman, Cahill, Gueye (Coleman 68); Jelavic

Referee: Howard Webb                                                

Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Mike Mullarkey                      Fourth Official: Lee Mason

Attendance: 87,231

Written by Peter Bottomley

Blogs for Everton site Dixie's60. First game at Goodison: 5 Nov 1960, EFC 1 - WBA 1...hooked ever since Follow me on Twitter: Follow me on Twitter: @dixies60pete


David Moyes was terrified of Liverpool, pathetic from Everton!!!!

by Tgan on Apr 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

The bottom line though is that players and management alike must share responsibility for this defeat. The players appeared to have been neutered of their attacking instincts, hesitant and timorous, where they should have been aggressive and strong. –

Couldn’t agree more with these excellent balanced points Peter, and the article in general. Moyes shaking every RS player hand could be translated as ‘see you as boss next year’???? Either way I think Moyes and Everton will part this summer, any replacement better be ready for a hard graft unless heavy investment comes in.

by CaptainFerguson10 on Apr 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

The only way this everton team could have won this game, is if they had eleven different and better players and a better manager. The only other way is maybe if they stayed at anfield in 1892 and wore red shirts.

by tom hallahan on Apr 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Evertonfc need investment and soon. Feel sorry for Dave Moyes who is constantly having to work to a tight budget and it all came evident v Liverpoolfc (fa cup semi 2012. Having to sell top players to subsidise further improvement is not the way to run a football club in the premier league.

To have any hope of silverware (major) investment is needed..

Oh Mr Hansen was wrong to say Moyes needs to move. Him being a kopite it would give him alot of satisfaction no doubt. Lets hope Chelsea show them a thing or two ha.

by toffeeman on Apr 17, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Toffeeman u are a proper joke

by Antony on Apr 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Liverpools worst side for 30 years has beaten Everton 3 times in one season, including knocking them out of the FA cup at wembley to reach their second final of the season and having already won one trophy.

All I can say is “Thank Christ I’m a red and not a bitter”

by Trader on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:16 pm

To suggest that man of the match Suarez dived all day is delusional. Watch the game again his movement is top drawer. Heitinga nd distin couldnt cope with it.The chances Liverpool created in the 2nd half was ther for all to see. Baines was poor, Neville and Cahill are so far past their sell by date its untrue. gets away with murder bec press for some weird reason love him. probably got to do with his friendship with the Dictator Fergie.

by Borolfc on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Balanced article – unlike our team on Saturday.

Our fans were magnificent – such a pity the players didn’t share our belief in victory.

To me, at half time, Gueye and Cahill should have left proceedings to be replaced by Coleman (Drenthe if he hadn’t gone daft) and Anichibe – and left Fellani in his normal position where he was playing so well.

If we can beg borrow or steal the dough – then Pienaar and Donovan for next season would be great – crossing it into a class finisher like Jelavic. I hope Moyes stays, but if not, I like Martinez or the Swansea bloke.


Personally I greatly admire Moyes – but he should have had their heads in a far more positive frame for the second half. We went into our shells and nervously awaited the onslaught that this Liverpool side was not really capable of. Felt gutted for Distin (and myself) at the backpass – as he’s such a fine player and good bloke (no airs and graces – just solid and dependable week in week out).

by Blue Jim on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:17 am

I was there and I was gutted. Goodish first half but if truthful did not deserve to win the game. Agree with the artical above. Baines (our best winger) was too concerned with Gueye’s defending to play his own natural attacking game. Attacking wise, Gueye did not show the form he showed against Sunderland. Osman should have been switched to the left much earlier (after 20 mins) and Coleman should have come on for Gueye. I can only assume Coleman still has the groin/thigh injury. Distin and Heitinga did not play badly. Fellani was less dominant in second half. I can’t see L’pool beating Chelsea and look forward to a Torres hat-rick in the Final.

by EighteenSeventyEight on Apr 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

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