Posts Tagged ‘Goodison Park’

It’s been a season of Mersey misery so far, with both Liverpool and Everton making horrible starts, the Toffees eased some of this pressure today, but Liverpool limped to another defeat at the hands of their nearest and most bitter rivals.  So, with Roy Hodgson’s side now lying second from bottom in the table, we ask what exactly went wrong?

Defensively, Liverpool had been hesitant and disorganised, with Paul Konchesky and Jamie Carragher playing either side of Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos. None of these four were able to really effectively take charge and contain the threat of the lively presence of Yakubu and Tim Cahill. Everyone stood off Seamus Coleman as he burst into the box for the first goal, leaving Cahill with an easy finish.

In midfield, while Mikel Arteta was pulling the strings for Everton, Liverpool were relying on Raul Meireles and Lucas to put tackles in and break up the play, but could never distribute the ball to Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez or Fernando Torres, none of whom were able to realise their potential in a disappointing first half. When we look at the quality that is undoubtedly in this Liverpool side, we really have to wonder why Roy Hodgson cannot get  the best out of them. The Everton back-line were never threatened in the first half, and remained on top all the way to half-time.

 

Another dismal result for Hodgson

 

One real problem is that the frustration they have already felt in previous games this year has started to seep into the psyche of practically every Anfield soul, an early example of this was when Jamie Carragher completely lost the rag with Torres after playing a pass down the right wing to the Spaniard. Carragher seemed to forget that by playing a pass down the wing to his lone forward, he was leaving his side with no attacking options in the box – tactics seem to have fallen by the wayside, replaced by bickering and wayward attacking ideology. The disinterested figure of Torres was in stark contrast to Yakubu at the other end, who put himself about and used his strength to torment the visitors’ shaky rearguard.

Coming out a goal down at the intimidating Goodison Park, with their New England Sports Ventures executives looking on, the Reds knew the next 45 minutes  would be crucial to their season, and the opening signs were promising, with Rodriguez testing Tim Howard with an early shot, but four minutes later, more slack defending from a corner allowed Arteta to rifle a shot past Pepe Reina to put them two goals clear. There was little doubt Roy Hodgson had do to something to try to scrape something from the game. His only attacking options on the bench were Ryan Babel and David N’Gog, both underwhelming to say the least, but surely they couldn’t be any worse than what was out there? Everton held 80% of the possession for the opening ten minutes of the second half, and were still very much on top.

It became increasingly apparent that the Reds had never found an adequate replacement for Xabi Alonso; in Meireles and Lucas, Hodgson was using two men to do the job that Alonso used to do on his own, and far more capably too. Joe Cole and Rodriguez continued to provide no support whatsoever for Torres, and Tim Howard remained a spectator for much of the second half.

 

N'Gog - ineffective as ever

 

N’Gog came on, did nothing. Babel came on for Cole with just 11 minutes to go, and Jovanovic with six minutes remaining, why wait so long? They had been 2-0 down since the 49th minute. With stray passes and tiring legs hampering any chance of a comeback, and chants of “you’re going down” following them around Goodison, it was a miserable day for the Anfield club. There is little doubt that someone somewhere would be able to devise an effective playing system and starting XI for Gerrard and Co. but right now, Roy Hodgson has a long way to go before he finds that winning formula. Although all logic suggests that they won’t fulfill the Everton fans’ prophecy and get relegated, that same logic does seem to say that mid-table is as good as they can expect from this season.

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