19 December 2016

Liverpool 1-0 Everton

Mané 90+4'

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *gasp* hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

For 93 minutes, Everton succeeded in dragging Liverpool down to its level. It was an all-too-typical Goodison derby, perfectly in keeping with last season's 1-1 or the 0-0 in 2014-15. It was simply ugly football, by Everton's design.

A furious Everton start, on top and trying to hassle and press Liverpool into mistakes, but unable to do so, with Liverpool unable to keep possession but with Liverpool not allowing Everton any chances either as Klavan and Lovren pocketed Lukaku.

After 30 minutes or so, Liverpool reasserted some semblance of control, but couldn't find any way through an increasingly deep blue wall. And it continued in this vein for the next hour, Liverpool restricted to possession with few chances aside.

Liverpool were all over the place trying to find a way to break through. Firmino, Origi, and Mané constantly switched positions. Lallana and Wijnaldum interchanged, with the former also shuttling forward and into wide areas. Milner and Clyne initially took turns going forward with the other protecting, but that fell by the wayside due to the paucity of Everton attacks, increasingly joined by both Henderson and Lovren in Everton's half.

But Liverpool still managed just eight shots before added time. Only two efforts from Firmino merit a mention: found over the top by Milner in the 50th but unable to beat Stekelenburg, then a volley denied by Robles from a corner in the 80th.

Everton were more happy to win their most important match of the season 0-0.

Unsurprisingly, the larger talking point was the physicality, cynical little fouls from both sides despite Mike Dean's unwillingness to call anything, but mostly from Everton, punctuated by a horrific tackle from Barkley on Henderson that really should have seen red. But Lovren could have been sent off for a second yellow. So could have Barkley.

For the most part, we've become used to the unwritten rule that you actually have to attempt to kill a guy before seeing a red card in this fixture (*waves at Funes Mori*).

But then injury time happened. Daniel Sturridge, on as a substitute, tried to single-handedly make something happen, cutting in from the right to unleash a more-than-speculative shot from distance. It was tame, but at least well-placed. Almost any keeper would have easily claimed it. Joel Robles, on as a substitute after Stekelenburg's injury was not well-placed. Joel Robles was seven yards off his line. So Sturridge's shot sneaked past him, and off the post, and on a plate for Mané first to the rebound.

93:51. The latest winner in a Premier League Merseyside Derby, beating Gary McAllister by a matter of seconds. And the only reason there was so much injury time – an announced eight minutes that went on for ten – was because Stekelenburg wasted so much time after getting injured.

Delightful. It's almost more fun than strolling 4-0 at Anfield.

It's the first win at Everton since October 2011. Klopp's the first Liverpool manager to win his first two Merseyside derbies. He joins Kenny Dalglish as the only Liverpool managers to win their first Goodison derbies since Liverpool got back in the first division in 1962.

There really aren't larger takeaways from this. I still worry about Liverpool's ability to create chances with this attack. We've now seen consecutive clean sheets with the same XI, away from home no less, but I'll always worry about this defense. But it's a derby. These matches almost always have to be taken in isolation.

Except for Liverpool's unwillingness to give up. Liverpool pushing and pushing and pushing and getting that bit of luck, creating that bit of luck, and winning it. At the death. Against Everton. The self-belief this side absolutely needs to maintain, a self-belief that'll see them sit second in the league on Christmas Day.

And I just can't stop smiling.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaa loved that first paragraph :D

anyway, as much as i hate ugly wins, this one was glorious in its ugliness. couldn't enjoy it more.

cheers! :D