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Moyes masters defensive art

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Phil McNulty | 19:03 GMT, Sunday, 25 January 2009

Everton's resurgence in reduced circumstances has gone almost unnoticed amid the switches of fortune in the title race and the managerial spats across Stanley Park - but two displays at Liverpool sum up the renaissance fashioned by manager David Moyes.

Moyes took Everton to Anfield for a Premier League game on Monday stripped of virtually all of his attacking resources and without suspended £15m midfield man Marouane Fellaini.

Everton earned a draw at Anfield courtesy of Tim Cahill's late header, and returned for Sunday's FA Cup fourth round tie still without Fellaini but further depleted by the loss of influential midfield orchestrator Mikel Arteta.

No-one would suggest Everton did anything other than mount a rearguard action to earn a replay at Goodison Park, but equally no-one should diminish the standard of their defensive excellence.

For a team with no strikers, Everton have found a way of - for now at least - avoiding defeat.

Liverpool spent much of the Cup encounter camped in Everton's half, but through a combination of bravery, sound defence and in-bred resilience, they lived to fight another day, a day when Moyes will hope he can field a stronger side.

And it was only an uncharacteristic error from Tim Howard that gave Steven Gerrard - again Liverpool's brilliant inspiration - the chance to remove the blue shield of defensive resistance from in front of Everton's keeper.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez clearly regarded Everton's tactics as a huge irritant, but he actually should have recognised facets of some of his own team's most successful European missions in how Moyes set up his team and carried out their gameplan.

And to criticise Everton's tactics while ignoring his own team's obvious defensive flaw suggests he is taking aim at the wrong target.

Benitez may in fact be better employed asking his own defenders how Cahill, not exactly Everton's secret weapon, once again arrived unmarked in the penalty area to set up Lescott's goal.

Liverpool deserved a draw at the very least, but it would have been harsh on heroes such as Lescott and his defensive sidekick Phil Jagielka had Everton lost.

It was ironic that Everton were caught on the break and almost conceded a late goal to Dirk Kuyt, only for the striker to shoot tamely at Howard. This would have been the most galling manner of defeat for Moyes, given his attention to defensive detail and his team's determination not to be caught off guard.

Lescott has had a mysteriously uncertain England career, never looking the player he does for Everton at international level. Here, however, he was magnificent in front of watching England coach Fabio Capello.

And Jagielka did his chances of adding to a single England cap not the slightest harm with his second outstanding defensive display against Fernando Torres in a week.

Everton celebrate Lescott's goal

I was rightly taken to task by a journalistic colleague for describing Jagielka as "limited" during the league draw at Anfield. A poor choice of word - he is a player who knows his limitations and performs outstandingly within them.

This is not damning Jagielka with faint praise. It is a simple statement of fact.

Liverpool will hope to tease Everton out of their defensive shell on home territory in the replay, but it has taken the driving force of Gerrard to unlock them twice inside a week and it is hard to see Moyes throwing caution out of the window in the replay.

Moyes has played the role of pragmatist after losing Yakubu for the season, James Vaughan until at least the closing stages of the campaign and Louis Saha to sadly predictable injury problems.

He has restored the reliable, unfussy Tony Hibbert at right-back, pushed Phil Neville into a midfield anchor role and released Cahill into a more advanced attacking position, playing the dual part of striker and auxiliary midfield man.

It is a role for which the Australian is perfectly cast, as an ever-willing runner, a non-stop nuisance (defenders may use other less kindly descriptions) and an uncanny poacher of penalty area trifles.

And all this is deployed within a no-frills framework of strict discipline and tireless endeavour.

Everton were robbed of much artistry and creation with Arteta's withdrawal, but the twin defensive towers of Lescott and Jagielka meant they were still tough to breach at the back.

Liverpool will fancy their chances of progressing, and they may indeed be better suited to taking Everton on at Goodison Park, but it also time for Moyes to receive credit for his work with a paper-thin squad that he has guided into sixth place in the Premier League and kept in the FA Cup.

If chairman Bill Kenwright can actually come up with some resources for Moyes to make an impact in the closing days before the transfer window shuts, it would give a squad built to a large degree on team spirit an extra, crucial, dimension.

The other main talking point to emerge from the Cup tie was the exclusion, from a list of 18 players, of Liverpool's £20m summer signing Robbie Keane.

Keane had a miserable night against Everton on Monday, but it is a grim sign for his long-term Anfield future that David Ngog was regarded as a better bet on the bench than Keane.

Everton's defence will take the plaudits for earning a replay - Keane must now wait to see if he even gets the chance to influence it.

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  • 1. At 8:25pm on 25 Jan 2009, el-nino84 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 8:27pm on 25 Jan 2009, Vox Populi wrote:

    On your last point- Keane was a catastrophic waste of money. Unless Liverpool change owners, that was money that Liverpool could not afford to throw away.

    I felt strongly in the summer that Liverpool needed a penetrative right winger with flair who is a class above Pennant and Benayoun. Someone like Quaresma.

    Robbie Keane has never looked like fitting in, or like forming an effective partnership with Torres. He needs five chances to score a goal. He is not good enough to play for a club with the ambitions of Liverpool.

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  • 3. At 8:40pm on 25 Jan 2009, That Colemans Mustard wrote:

    Good article. Glad to see Everton getting some praise from the media - not a frequent occurance.
    Lescott and Jags were immense today, and a draw was all we could hope for really before the game, but if it weren't for Howards howler, then we probably could and should have won it. And, to all those people who complain and moan about long ball, defensive tactics, fouls, rough play, etc - who cares? I certainly don't, as long as it produces the results.

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  • 4. At 8:41pm on 25 Jan 2009, Arrian2005 wrote:

    Everton indeed deserve enormous credit for their two simply excellent performances at Anfield within the space of a week. Moyes has worked wonders with a well-documented limited squad and the players deserve equally high praise.

    I watched Everton play at home against Fulham earlier on in the campaign and they were fairly woeful despite grinding out a 1-0 victory. However, as their season has unfolded they appear to be getting stronger. They must be an outside bet to exert some sustained pressure on Arsenal's current position as long as their current form continues.

    However, Liverpool look like a desperate team based upon the last few weeks. Chelsea must have them firmly in their sights and a positive result for Scolari's side at Anfield in the coming week will all but condemn Liverpool's season to ultimate failure in my opinion.

    The team looks disjointed, with only Steven Gerrard and Xavi Alonso playing anywhere near their potential at the moment. Fernando Torres continues to look like he will require time to gain full form after his series of niggling injuries this season, although his assist today was admittedly brilliant.

    The likes of Dirk Kuyt, no matter how much his supporters will comment on his superb work-rate, do not deserve their place in Benitez's current starting 11. It is much to do with this as to why Liverpool look blunt in attack and why Tim Howard had nothing to do today until the goal went by him. Had his blunder not happened, I suspect Everton's rearguard would have fancied themselves to hold out, but undeniably the change in momentum resulted in them holding out somewhat.

    Ultimately, the buck stops with Benitez. I believe his recent tactics (or lack of) with regards to opening teams up when they do "park the bus" in front of goal to a certain extent, have been poor and his selections equally so. There's no doubt that Robbie Keane for one should have been involved today. It's also a wonder how a player of the quality of Ryan Babel looks so unconvincing and uncertain in his play, when at top form, he possesses weapons that could open up any team in the league.

    No matter what sounds are coming out of Anfield, Benitez's Liverpool are feeling the pressure. The pressure of leading at half way, the pressure of games piling up on them and the pressure that Rafa has self-inflicted on his own team. I believe Man Utd with win the league comfortably this season, and I suspect Benitez will be able to look back on the weekend of the Stoke game, and realise this is probably where Liverpool's title aspirations went down the pan.

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  • 5. At 8:42pm on 25 Jan 2009, liv_pool_crazy wrote:

    To be honest, credit to everton is fully deserved. However, anyone who thinks Liverpool only have Gerrard to thank for today obviously didn't even watch the ITV highlights.

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  • 6. At 8:53pm on 25 Jan 2009, prentonparker wrote:

    One point Phil, at first glance I too thought Gerrards' goal was down to Howard being slow to go down.
    But having seen it since, about the best he could have done is get a foot or knee to it as it passed so close to him, so fast, he could never have got down to stop it in time.
    As for Everton's defence they deserve all the plaudits going but the Blues will need to be a lot more inventive overall if they are to emerge victorious from the replay.

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  • 7. At 8:54pm on 25 Jan 2009, duncanisourhero wrote:

    Great result for Everton, though I would have liked to see them control the ball for longer in a match that Liverpool certainly dominated. I must challenge Benitez's comment regarding Everton's defensive approach though. Torres cost his club only a few millin pounds less than our entire side. It amazes me how some of the top clubs' managers seem to forget the importance of financial resources. Maybe they should all be forced into a wife-swapesque reality show in which they take over conference sides for a few weeks? Much needed reality checks would ensue I'm sure.

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  • 8. At 8:58pm on 25 Jan 2009, boycey wrote:

    How come a team that is meant to play for a draw, score the first goal? And they call us bitter!

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  • 9. At 9:00pm on 25 Jan 2009, Yogibear20 wrote:

    Everton defended very well against a liverpool team showing very little creativity (except for Torres' flick, yet even then a howler from Howard was required for Liverpool to score). Countless draws for Liverpool at home to 'lesser' opposition- hardly the form of champions. Indeed if it wasnt for Man Utd and Chelsea being severely of form for long periods, then Liverpool would be in exactly the same position as this time last year. In fact Liverpool are begining to remind me more and more of last season where they create tonnes of chances, and convert very few.

    Liverpool have no chance of being champions this year, and if Chelsea get their act together, no chance of a top two finish either!

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  • 10. At 9:03pm on 25 Jan 2009, MarktheHorn wrote:

    I did think they performed better at Anfield on Monday actually but well done Everton on getting the draw.

    Sure once Arteta is back and they have a striker fit the Toffees will be more open at home.

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  • 11. At 9:05pm on 25 Jan 2009, davajonah wrote:

    Yes, well said Phillip.

    I'm getting fed up with Benitez and his bleating. Everton's defence were simply magnificent today, and it took a piece of brilliance by Tores, coupled with a rare blunder from the Everton keeper, for Rafa's expensively assembled team to get the draw. What's wrong with good defending? It's an integral part of the game.

    Rafa has very little class if he cannot acknowledge this.

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  • 12. At 9:12pm on 25 Jan 2009, danielvane wrote:

    Finally a moment of clarity...instead of the normal sweeping under the carpet of all everton fc do and achieve..a honest and well written assement of a team that gets no genuine coverage do to the medias love of the sky 4 and villa..
    David Moyes has bought some of the premierships best bargains and forged a great spirit and even with limited resources has managed to develope two great centre backs that if it werent for rio and terry would without doubt be in contention for england duty.
    Well done Mr McNulty...my faith is restored

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  • 13. At 9:15pm on 25 Jan 2009, brillers wrote:

    Phil,

    Seriously, is all this moderation necessary? Some are awaiting modration for almost an hour. Do me a favour!

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  • 14. At 9:32pm on 25 Jan 2009, merrytoffee1 wrote:

    Well said Mister Phil . You are a thinker and a good a brilliant blogger. Keep up the good work.

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  • 15. At 9:46pm on 25 Jan 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    If Scolari does not work out for Chelsea over this season and next then Peter Kenyon could do a lot worse than offer Moyes the role at Stamford Bridge. Yes Moyes has yet to be tested in man managing players with huge egos, and that could be his downfall, but he proves each season with Everton that his sides play with guts, team spirit and determination and I would be quite happy to see him manage at Chelsea.

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  • 16. At 9:52pm on 25 Jan 2009, joculargaz2003 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 17. At 9:54pm on 25 Jan 2009, collie21 wrote:

    I reckon if Everton want anything really from this Season, they need to go and buy and out and out goal scorer. If they do, good night Liverpool. Everton will put them to shame.
    I think Raffa has lost the plot completely. He spent 20million on a guy he doesnt deem worthy of a spot against a team they should have beaten hands down. I think the problem at Liverpool is they are living on Legends. They are way too arrogant. Once they touched the top spot they thought the league was theres, Now they belong to the late great Tony Hart school of football. Draw draw draw.
    Thank you and good night.

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  • 18. At 10:24pm on 25 Jan 2009, NotSuperHans wrote:

    Everton did what they needed to get through the match, so fair enough to them. The main threat in these two games was from set pieces-- with Everton's current lack of strikers that's understandable-- so it's more of a concern that Liverpool seems to have gone backwards on defending them.
    What would be far more beneficial on the whole is a creative spark, especially on the right wing, to supply more goals, but that probably won't happen anytime soon because of the owners. Dirk Kuyt can be very useful but a tricky winger he is not, and the lack of options on the right for Liverpool can get frustrating.

    Far too much is being made of Robbie Keane's absence-- as if Benitez has never ever ever rotated players before ever. The 4-4-2 wasn't working against Everton so a different formation was tried, that's all.

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  • 19. At 10:27pm on 25 Jan 2009, redforever wrote:

    Its a bit of a concern that the BBCs "Chief Football Writer", thinks that sticking your entire team behind the ball and hoping for the best is the "art of defense".
    I would think that anybody who knows anything about football would recognise the subtle difference!!
    In addition to this it should be noted, and wasnt how poor Liverpool were at probing the Everton barricade. Nobody tried to carry the ball into the box, everything was lobbed in. As for quality crosses, there were none. A huge number of cross attempts didnt beat the first man, Arbeloa seems to be a specialist at this type of failure to launch, but credit to him for even trying. The crab-like Kuyt will only cross the ball if its his absolute last option ( his decison making tree is, pass back- pass sideways-attempt to get throw in- give the ball away with little "dink" pass - cross the ball).
    I wish I had the stats to back this up, but I am sure that if you counted you would find that Liverpool get fewer players into the box when attacking than any other premiership team. Often its none at all, typically its one, and occasionally if Gerrard isnt on the ball, it will be two.
    Liverpool have a team full of game watchers. Mascherano NEVER gets even within 10 yards of the box, Alonso makes it that for once or twice a game. Kuyt, well I have discussed him already. Babel and Riera are simply unable to get the ball that far. Keane- I am not sure about him, he is either off the pitch or entirely invisible when on it. Is it possible to be less effective when you are on the field than when off it? If so Robbie Keane has perfected that.
    One final blast at my beloved club. I wonder what kind of team we would be if we had combined the Dossena money with the Keane money and bought Andrei Arshavin.
    I very much look forward to seeing that man play in the premiership. Kenny Dalglish and Dennis Bergkamp all in one.

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  • 20. At 10:28pm on 25 Jan 2009, jbarker86 wrote:

    I love how people are having a go at Everton for playing conservatively against a team who are top of the league and who's striker cost as much as the team he was facing. David Moyes is more than aware that if Everton try and play Liverpool at their own game they will get taken apart and has therefore played to the teams strengths. Liverpool fans should try taking a look at the fact that they lack the imagination to break teams down rather than criticising Everton for being defensive. Its about time Moyes received some praise for the excellent job he is currently doing with such a depleted squad.

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  • 21. At 10:33pm on 25 Jan 2009, bigbadbobbolton wrote:

    Spot on Phil, why should teams just roll over and play the game that suits their opponents? How can Liverpool accuse Everton of playing for a draw? They scored FIRST!

    The tactics used by Moyes has been employed by Benitez in many big Champions League games. I would have thought much more of Benitez if he would just admit his mistakes and his team's failures.

    After all it smacks of desperation if you start blaming others for your lack of success.

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  • 22. At 10:34pm on 25 Jan 2009, novoludo wrote:

    el-nino84: The appropriate comparison is for the two situations of the clubs today is that Liverpool were without Gerrard, Alonso, Torres, Kuyt and Keane, and Everton had Fellaini, Arteta, Saha and Yakubu. No-one reading this thread thinks that there could have been any other result than an Everton victory.

    You huffed and puffed for 90 minutes and Howard had to make one save. Lawrenson said after the game that you are a team which is wholly dependent on only two players - Torres and Gerrard. I look forward to seeing how you will cope when Stevie G is.. ah hem... not available for selection for a time. Chelsea will be licking their lips at facing such a disjointed bunch of misfits and patently hysterical manager next Sunday.

    Rather than behaving in such a typically graceless and petulant manner, Benitez might instead like to explain how one of the most expensively assembled squads in the world, at full strength and at home, failed twice in a week to beat a half strength team which cost less in total than his cock-up signing who couldn't even make your bench.

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  • 23. At 10:43pm on 25 Jan 2009, g0yathlay wrote:

    Why do Liverpool supporters expect teams to come to Anfield and play attacking formations against a team that most of them believe have a divine right to win the Premier league? Every manager of a Premier League team knows how to play Livepool. Cancel out Torres & Gerard and they are a very ordinary team, easier said than done I know but with such a weak manager as Benitez, most other managers have sussed him out. He is an underachiever, he's had millions to spend every year and has never come close to winning the Premier League. His constant moaning about other teams tactics when they get the better of him is nauseating in the extreme. You're the manager Rafa, you're supposed to get the better of these 'smaller' teams!

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  • 24. At 10:43pm on 25 Jan 2009, novoludo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 25. At 11:01pm on 25 Jan 2009, Sack the Juggler wrote:

    I see the bitter reds are out again, just because they haven't won the title for almost as long as Everton, they look to blame others for their misfortunes instead of behaving with dignity and class...

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  • 26. At 11:03pm on 25 Jan 2009, AussieInEire wrote:

    el-nino84 ..What you do forget is that on Monday night, Everton actually had 6 times the amount of shots on target as opposed to Liverpool. Yes some were tame shots and how they count as shots who knows granted, but what does that say about the Pool? Liverpool had an extra percentage point and a bit more in the Everton half that night, but where exactly? An inch over the half way line!

    Today, they done what was necessary to ensure themselves a better chance next time round, with the possibility of a more quality filled squad as to what was at their disposal tonight, at home. Sound familiar to you by any chance?. For all the Pool's depth they had the luxury of leaving their what is he again? Second most costly purchase in the history of the club if i am not mistaken, out of the squad entirely! But yet for all this possession, this multi talented, super star filled team, couldn't beat a team that encouraged them to attack, with a wealth of strikers at their disposal, (Torres, Babel, Kyut, N'Gog, sorry well he did get in before Keane). Agaainst a team depleted not only of their strike force in their entirety, but the best part of the heart of their midfield with Arteta and Fellaini, not to mention the quickest player in the squad, Yobo. They, Everton were absolutely fantastic in what was no more than what the bookies would have said was a home win banker. Yes they sat back, but give the team credit for beating them at their own European tactics. Take off your red tinted glasses and see it for what it was! And you have the cheek to call the blue side the bitters! Pot-kettle-black

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  • 27. At 11:08pm on 25 Jan 2009, LFCfan128 wrote:

    Words from a Everton fan no doubt. If you think putting 10 players in front of goal and hoping to score at set pieces is a "defensive art", then yes I agree, Everton has got that to a tee ! Given that they have no traditional strikers, thats the best Everton can do. But one piece of advice, or should I say "attacking art", you can't win games without goals and you can't win set pieces if you don't attack! Sorry for stating the obvious but clearly thats the point of this blog. Be carefull Everton, Arsenal and Man U will undoubtedly score first against you next week and then you really need to play some football.

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  • 28. At 11:35pm on 25 Jan 2009, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    Well done Everton and Moyes. Moyes is once again showing his quality as a manager.

    Benitez, on the other hand is looking more and more like a condemed man every week. Time and again Liverpool fail to put away teams which just uncovers the shortcomings of this team.

    It wouldn't surprise me to see them finish 4th or even 5th and even a full-strength Everton could have them in their sights!

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  • 29. At 11:40pm on 25 Jan 2009, Moyles Out! wrote:

    It appears Benitez has a short memory. Am I the only one who remembers the best part of 110 minutes of last ditch tackles and the most obdurate of defending against Milan in the 2005 Champions League final......and of course the plaudits that followed that 'valiant' display?

    Sometimes you have to dig in to get a result against a team with better resources than you, especially when you're without a number of your best players. Pompey did similar against United last season and it served them well.

    For all their possession, Liverpool only created 2 or 3 chances of any note and were largely predictable in their attack. That they failed to break down a significantly weakened Everton side and only scored due to Tim Howard's blunder should be of far bigger concern to Benitez than our containing tactics.

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  • 30. At 11:46pm on 25 Jan 2009, g0yathlay wrote:

    If you are going to run a blog then why take so long for the 'moderator' to approve readers comments?

    Surely the whole point of a blog is to reflect peoples honest opinions, especially those who have taken the time to post on your website

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  • 31. At 11:48pm on 25 Jan 2009, happy_red wrote:

    Everton fans will be delighted: 4 throw ins, 3 corners and a couple of free kicks. No chance of silverware, of course but, hey, what the hell! As long as they can win a couple of set plays against Liverpool, they're winners, right?

    Roll on Goodison when they will have to attempt an attack or two. Isn't it sad that the only chance of a trophy Everton have, and they play like a petrified Championship team, scared to leave their own half.

    Premiership, Champions League and FA Cup. At least one team in Liverpool has to try and play football.

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  • 32. At 11:57pm on 25 Jan 2009, therealeverton wrote:

    Everton's 18 man squad today cost approx £27m.

    Even the £15m spent on Fellaini was covered by the £18m+ from he sales of Andy Johnson & James McFadden.

    'Nuff said'

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  • 33. At 00:06am on 26 Jan 2009, ReformationPostTLC wrote:

    Dear oh dear! Benitez is sounding like the school bully who has had his authority challenged. Everton did what they could with limited resources and Liverpool, with all their suppossed craft and ingenuity, could only muster a few decent chances. Should the red half of Merseyside win nothing this year then I think the bitter Spanish mouth will cross the channel and return to Southern Europe.

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  • 34. At 00:19am on 26 Jan 2009, bfoggy wrote:

    I'd like to analyse Rafa Benitez' comment - "one tean came here to win, the other not to lose" - personally I struggle with this for a number of reasons

    1) Why would Everton not want to win a cup match - not to mention a Derby match????

    2) I hope Rafa concentrates on this one - see in football both teams want to win and neither want to lose. unfortunatlely only 1 team can win!! so it just so happens that if a team can't win they'd prefer a draw to nothing - that make sense??

    3) Seeing that Everton were 1-0 up - technically it's Liverpool who played for the draw as they were the one who scored to make it a tie game

    4) For all the possesion that you have in a game - if you cant stick the ball in the back of the net you can't win

    So to sum up, yes Liverpool were the best team out there - of course they were!! but THEY FAILED TO WIN!! and you can't use Everton - a team with only one young striker and without their best player (Arteta) - as a scape goat for their own short comings. I'd personally like to see Liverpool play without Torres and Gerrard and see how they would play then!!

    All I can say is well done Blues and David Moyes I hope you can pick up a striker before the deadline so that (with the return of Arteta and Fellaini ) we can give ourselves a chance of getting through to the next round

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  • 35. At 00:19am on 26 Jan 2009, rods2123 wrote:

    I think Everton's ethos of "Not losing" has led them to win 3 "big" games and put them back near the top of the table. Moyes and Everton are punching well above their weight with the players they have available, and all I can do is agree with everything you've said. Good blog.

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  • 36. At 00:28am on 26 Jan 2009, gratefulkm wrote:

    its funny how everyone forgets, and this leads to the nonsense we see from people and thier opions everyday.
    liverpool have sat in the opposition half for most of the season, we have a team that is cautious and this leads us to only once being beaten, or more to the point, throwing a game away, at this stage of the season i can safely say job done.
    this liverpool team is in totally new terriotry, they are the best in the league and hardly anyone but the usual man u , chelsea or arsenal will go toe to toe with us,
    this liverpool team is getting used to it, yes we are having trouble opening up ten man defences, which is a gray cloud over our form. yet if we do !
    if start to get the knack of how to get that killer yard, then all who watch us, will know that we will be unstoppable,
    but i do admit that benetiz, did not want crouch to go, he wanted that target man that we severly lack when we have their backs to the wall,
    the biggest concern for us, is the lack of headed goals.
    we have nobody to cross to, so the whole team becomes very narrow

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  • 37. At 01:37am on 26 Jan 2009, novoludo wrote:

    Happy Red - You had a more expensive player who couldn't reach your bench than the whole of our side on the pitch. Our goalkeeper had one save to make all night. Your bunch of worldbeaters failed twice to beat a half strength team with no strikers. And you have the most graceless and classless manager in England, who made a fool of himself once more tonight. Your captain is in criminal court, your senior defender was booked once more for trying to intimidate the referee, and your most expensive midfielder embarrassed himself again trying to get a fellow professional sent off. Your owners know and care nothing about football and spend their time bickering about who is going to pick up the tab. Your manager and CEO appear not to be on speaking terms. Are you proud of your club?

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  • 38. At 03:18am on 26 Jan 2009, GettinSwamu wrote:

    Liverpool look unlikely to win anything going on current form!
    Mascherano and more importantly Torres need to start imposing themselves more in matches. Everton's defence was very good but a lot of teams have carried out the same strategy at anfield and succeded. The lack of goals in the premiership this season is best represented by Manchester United who have managed only 34 goals in 21 games, Barcelona have scored 63 in only 20 games. This reflects the competitivness of the premiership me suggests. Along with the pile up that is the foot of the table. So the ability to show that bit of creativeness and open up an organised defence is crucial. Liverpool dont have enough of this or a pair of Torres's.
    Anyway Swansea for the final!!

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  • 39. At 03:40am on 26 Jan 2009, itsallgoneblue wrote:

    gratefulkm

    'yes we are having trouble opening up ten man defences, which is a gray cloud over our form. yet if we do !
    if start to get the knack of how to get that killer yard, then all who watch us, will know that we will be unstoppable,'


    Quite literally the same argument every week from Liverpool fans!! I've commented on this a few times now and can't believe people keep using the 'if only this had happened', or 'if we could just do this'......It didn't, and you can't!!

    'With 'ifs' a flea could carry an elephant'

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  • 40. At 03:49am on 26 Jan 2009, kzwhitesclub wrote:

    Moysey proves once again how good a tactician he is and what pleasure it gives me and other Northenders that he has cut it so well in the Prem .
    Year after year he has got Everton "over acheiving " as he did with us , with attention to tactical detail and getting the best out of players .
    He is that good he last year gave PNE his right hand man at great loss to himself and massive gain to us , one Alan Irvine , and still keeps Everton at the top .
    He is a great character and long may he reign in the Prem in the top 6 and with a bit more dosh you never know !!!

    Up the Whites and all the best to Moysey and Everton !!!

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  • 41. At 03:57am on 26 Jan 2009, jamesdwyer wrote:

    Rafa Benitez has become so arrogant and silly in his latest interviews, I wonder if he realises how silly he actually has become.

    Without any strikers, with the 2 influential midielders out and playing the league leaders at Anfield of course David Moyes is going to play on the counter attack and try to snatch a point and get a replay at Goodison in 10 days when some key players may be back! At least when things dont go Everton's way David Moyes says it how it is, he doesnt look for excuses by talking about the opponents tactics, the buck stops at Everton.
    Rafa should point the finger at his own tactics if he cant break Evertons team down and if his defence are showing cracks. This is Benitez showing us his own limitations, being frustrated in this way, the thing he should know about the FA cup is ya dont get to choose your opponents, its not like a heavyweight champion who can choose suitable opponents to knock out for his title defences. Maybe that is why Alex Ferguson has won the Premiere League before, he knows how to get it right when it matters most.

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  • 42. At 05:31am on 26 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    To all those who moan about a team with less resources and a tremendous injury list unfairly not playing fair and allowing the 'heroes' of Liverpool to win...

    Let's bear in mind that injuries (and a suspension) to Yakubu, Fellaini, Saha, Vaughan and Arteta are the equivalent to Liverpool lining up without Torres, Gerrard, Keane, Kuyt or Alonso.

    Bring that team to Goodison and then we'll talk about teams playing for a draw.

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  • 43. At 06:11am on 26 Jan 2009, ZEUSFC wrote:

    how can rafa have a go at everton for being too defensive, when
    a) they scored first
    b) his own team keep drawing (eg arent attacking enough!)

    another example of rafa throwing his toys out the pram cos his team's not good enough to win the game.

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  • 44. At 07:30am on 26 Jan 2009, Champagne_blade wrote:

    Phil,

    I must say, I really enjoy your blogs, but I would take exception to the fact that you suggest Phil Jagialka is a player with limitations, no matter how you word it.

    I am a Sheffield United fan, I should state so have seen Phil play well over a hundred times. He has played central midfield, right midfield, right back and centre back, not to mention goalkeeper with some aplomb on three seperate occasions.

    I would suggest he is anything but limited. He is a tremendous athlete, a good reader of the game and has excellent pace.

    He is also still only 24/25 so has still time to develop too.

    Now he is playing for what would be considered a more fashionable club, let us hope he gets the international recognition he deserves. If Phil Neville, formerly of Man U of course, can be given 50+ England caps, then there is no reason Jags cannot exceed this.

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  • 45. At 07:33am on 26 Jan 2009, kenmano wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 46. At 08:40am on 26 Jan 2009, novoludo wrote:

    Kenmano - The difference could also be that when Liverpool shut up shop you have £50M+ of attacking talent that Benitez is utterly clueless to know what to do with. Unfortunately that is not the case with Everton. Benitez does not know how to break down excellent defences, and for this reason you will win nothing again this year. Especially when your captain is unavailable for selection.

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  • 47. At 08:42am on 26 Jan 2009, aries22 wrote:

    Never mind Everton's stickability, Phil, how do you rate their watchability?

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  • 48. At 08:47am on 26 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    If Rafa really wants to make Liverpool the best in the premiership, he has to get over teams parking the bus at Anfield. It comes with the territory. He had a £20m player left on the bench but made no attempt to change the game by bringing him on. Fergie would have thrown on extra attackers, even if there was a higher risk of conceding.

    From Everton's point of view, they went to Anfield with a weakened team, scored the first goal and deserved to hang on for a draw. Whats wrong with that?

    Rafa needs to stop moaning and get on with it...

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  • 49. At 08:49am on 26 Jan 2009, aries22 wrote:

    I wouldn't get too hung up about anyone saying Phil Jagielka or any other player has limitations. All footballers down the ages have had them. It's just that some have fewer or more than others, and there's nothing wrong with saying that. Heaven knows managers have limitations too, including Rafael Benitez and David Moyes.

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  • 50. At 08:55am on 26 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    Sorry, didn't realise Keane was dropped from the squad yesterday (see point 48), although that raises more questions that it answers. My comment still stands though, Rafa's only attempt to change the game was the like for like change of Babel for Riera. He should have taken off a defender and gone for the win...

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  • 51. At 08:58am on 26 Jan 2009, Robbing_Hoody wrote:

    Good blog Phil,

    Even as a Liverpool fan I can respect what Everton are achieveing at the moment. I have no problem with those tactics- that's football. Sure they were a bunch of spoilers yesterday who, to be honest, did not even look like scoring other than from set plays. They play like Liverpool did the early Benitez years and took the replay they wanted.

    Liverpool passed and passed but people are too critical of us. These two games were always going to be difficult and I'm as happy with two draws as I am with our whole season- we're doing well. I just wish some people could see that but the fickle are many these days.

    We'll have too much for them in the replay I feel as they will at least have to come into our half and this will suit us but again it will be difficult.

    Special mention for Stevie. Sounds a bit silly when up on an assault charge but he has been a true proffessional as always. He's been superb all season but his recent displays show him for the legend that he is. Well played.

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  • 52. At 09:14am on 26 Jan 2009, Owen wrote:

    I agree that Liverpool's creativity was lacking and that Everton's defensive play was admirable, but for a journalist to laud them so much is a bit extreme.

    Everton did nothing more than what Stoke, Fulham, West Ham and Hull have all done this season.

    In those results, the Liverpool team was criticised, but when Everton do it and an Evertonian journalist is reporting, Everton are the best team in the World, all of their players should be playing for their national teams and when they get a few players back from injury there will be nothing to stop them!

    Has anyone considered that when the more attacking players come back then they will be replacing your currently defensive players and therefore you are likely to start conceding more goals?

    Just a side note:- You don't want to buy Lucas do you? Perhaps we could do a deal; buy Lucas and get Benayoun for half price! At least Benitez wasn't stupid enough to play either of them yesterday!

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  • 53. At 09:17am on 26 Jan 2009, stebluenose wrote:

    Comment By Novoludo
    "The appropriate comparison is for the two situations of the clubs today is that Liverpool were without Gerrard, Alonso, Torres, Kuyt and Keane, and Everton had Fellaini, Arteta, Saha and Yakubu. No-one reading this thread thinks that there could have been any other result than an Everton victory."

    Absolutely spot on mate.
    Nothing else needs to be said really.

    David Moyes could have said a lot more in response to benitez comments, but as the man said, Everton FC prefer to conduct their business with dignity and style. and so he has.

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  • 54. At 09:47am on 26 Jan 2009, footballandethics wrote:

    keane 2.5m at most.

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  • 55. At 09:49am on 26 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Phil, not a bad attempt at putting praise on Everton, but you never actually praise the players but rather comment on them executing a game plan correctly.

    Everton deserved the draw because of the team work they displayed and the discipline they showed.

    Can you explain your comments about Jagielka please, "he is a player who knows his limitations and performs outstandingly within them"....... so his limitations are what his goal scoring? his passing? Now take those standards and apply them to Carragher, Ferdinand or any other player for that matter. A top class player performs what he is good at brilliantly and then makes up for the poorer elements of his game. This can certainly be said of Jagielka and Lescott.

    Face it…. he is in the form of his career and if that continues should add to his one England cap.

    As for Liverpool’s performance yesterday, whilst they dominated possession they rarely threatened the Everton goal and it was only when they used Gerrard did they actually look dangerous. Torres was for the most part ordinary and Kuyt and Babbel noticeable by their absence.

    Rafa got his tactics wrong AGAIN!!! After 60 mins it was clear that Torres was struggling for both fitness and a knock he had mysteriously picked up. Given the players importance over the coming weeks/months it would have been wise to change him, however, he had no-one with quality on the bench. The only other player in the squad with a proven goal scoring record wasn't even given a place on the bench, this left Rafa with little option to stick to plan A and hope it produced the goods.

    It didn't and because of that Liverpool have an extra fixture which they could do without. Especially when Mascherano, Carragher and that brilliant midfielder Lucas have 4 bookings, one more either on Wednesday against Wigan or at the weekend against Chelsea and they could miss the replay. For that matter Gerrard is only a couple of bookings away from a suspension. The extra games could be very important in making or breaking the season of either club.

    The two games over the past week whilst entertaining have been lacking one thing…..PASSION. It seems that the days of hard but fair tackles have gone and the days of referees blowing for the slightest touch are here. Lets hope the replay has that spirit back into it.

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  • 56. At 09:57am on 26 Jan 2009, philmcn_is_a_joke wrote:

    Phil...are you an evertonian by any chance? I presume you are as having read this blog on quite a few occasions it strikes me that you're biased and lacking in objectivity. Please answer this question as it undoubtedly has an impact on the supposed integrity of this piece (and others I've had the misfortune to read).

    Will await your response with interest.

    Am not at all impressed with your consistently deprecating remarks about LFC - surely the BBC has enough wit to state that you are a toffee, and therefore we can expect some degree of bias, but to have you masquerading as an objective football fan with no affiliation to LFC or everton is without merit (from all that I've seen you blog about so far) and all too apparent to a fan of the team on the recieving end of your bias.

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  • 57. At 09:59am on 26 Jan 2009, oohahhMickMadar wrote:

    Kenmano - talking about BBC bias from a red? How about Hansen, Lawrensen and the 'wonderful' Alan Green on MotD / 5 Live every week?

    Aries22 - Evertons watchability has generally quite high the last few years but take out all the playmakers for the game and what do you expect?

    Anyone having a go at the tactics need to have a reality check, if we play 4-4-2 and get demolished what good is that? If Rafa plays one up top and on the counter in Madrid is that negative or playing to the strength of the situation?

    As for Mascherano - put your imaginary yellow card away or at least get fouled first...

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  • 58. At 10:00am on 26 Jan 2009, Storm of Swords wrote:

    Great to see Liverpool potentially falling apart again. Rafa really has proven what an idiot he is this season with his comments at Sir Alex and now constantly accusing teams of setting up to defend whenever Liverpool can't win a game. The guy needs to grow up and realise that any thoughts of winning the league are delusional.

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  • 59. At 10:01am on 26 Jan 2009, Sam Wanjere wrote:

    While an avowed Red, I can't help but admire how Moyes has set up his team when they've played us at Anfield. I admire his managerial approach and stoicism.

    That said, I'll not join in the anti-Rafa and LFC bandwagon. All teams face challenges and how they bounce out of the same is what matters in the end. It's very easy to dismiss what the Rafalution's brought to Anfield, give or take any mistakes made along the way. Rafa is not inferior in any way to Moyes, Wenger, SAF or Mourinho.

    The Kopites are a fabulous team that's having downtime right now. They WILL bounce back, and are formidable on the road. They can't be happy about this stalemate, anymore than Everton are. It's not fair to focus on Evertons' accomplishments vis-a-vis Liverpool's. The Toffees are not a Championship or League 1 outfit, they're sitting comfortably in sixth in the EPL! They also didn't come to Anfield to get beaten. They're just as good a team as the Reds - and that's an honest assessment. Injuries are just bad fortune, not anything to cry about, considering all teams are inundated with such.

    I'm very happy about the Reds improved second match and the all-round involvement of everyone, including the vilified Doss.

    About Keane, I choose not to speak about him. I can only trust that the coaching staff know something I don't know. I have this feeling Keane will be one of our key players come end of the season. It's still a long way between now and May.

    For now, it's kudos to Moyes and his team.

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  • 60. At 10:18am on 26 Jan 2009, AmamusAmatusAmant wrote:

    I have read all the comments and felt the need to chip in.
    Liverpool, despite the belief of their arrogant supporters, do not have a divine right to win anything. They don't even have a team good enough to win anything at the moment, without Gerrard or Torres.
    In Benitez, they have a "cheeky chappie" of a manager whom I tend to like, but he obviously hasn't a clue how to mange his team. He has spent a fortune but cannot get the players to gel consistantly. If David Moyes had had the same amount of money to spend, I feel sure he would have bought more wisely and, as a result, Everton would have won some silverware over the past few years.
    Benitez didn't even include his £20 million striker in the squad! To me that suggests he didn't want to bring him in in the first place. Maybe this is why he is stalling on a new contract, until he has full say in who comes and goes.
    Let's not forget that Everton are playing without a striker presently. What else can they do but grind out results, hoping to nick a late winner? Any other team that was short of key players would have employed the same tactics. Everton will have several key players available for the replay, and may have one or two strikers available, if they bring someone in during the window. Let's hope so anyway.

    Come on you blues!!

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  • 61. At 10:26am on 26 Jan 2009, Eewires wrote:

    I have always found Arsene Wenger's response to 'failure' boorish and ungracious and thought I would never see another so bad. Looks like I might have been wrong. Once again RB is bleating about the opponents tactics instead of saying 'well done but we'll get you in the replay'.

    Everton showed obstinance on the field and class off it. Liverpool showed they are still just short of what it takes on the field (but only just) and a complete lack of class when RB was interviewed. Concentrate on finding the missing ingredient in the play, not on whinging, and you could yet finish the year with the title. Carry on whinging and United will stroll home again. Is that what you want???

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  • 62. At 10:27am on 26 Jan 2009, Gladysstreetexile wrote:

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...they just ain't good enough. Shame.

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  • 63. At 10:30am on 26 Jan 2009, Westdrop wrote:

    As an Everton fan who was at the game yesterday I'd like to make the point that I (and the other fans around me) were all a bit disappointed with Moyes's tactics yesterday.

    In the league game on Monday we were probably the better side, with the larger amount and better chances on goal and the better tactics and setup, but yesterday we were just too negative in my eyes. We never had an outlet, partly because our midfield is too slow to hit teams on the break and Anichebe is not good enough as a target man. As a result it was inevitable that we would drop deeper and deeper, end up with all outfield players behind the ball and defend for our lives.

    But the big problem is that playing in that way we are unlikely to ever score more than one goal. A Liverpool fan has mentioned this already: it's all well and good relying on set pieces, but if you don't attack you can't win the set pieces to start off with. Similarly the chances of shutting Liverpool out for an entire game when you concede so much possession and territory are slim. Therefore, I predict that IF we play with similar tactics in the replay we will lose, but we definitely have the players and capability to be more adventurous and win.

    Don't want to be too harsh on my beloved Blues though - the fact is that Liverpool were woeful at opening us up and it's caused by the fact that they have little to nothing out wide. When you play against a team with lots of men behind the ball you have to get in behind players from wide positions. Liverpool can't do that because Kuyt is terrible, Babel cuts inside the whole time and the two full backs lack the attacking quality of the likes of A.Cole, Evra, Rafael etc.

    Final points: Everton should have had a penalty in the first half; Mascherano should be ashamed of himself for diving to try and get Cahill sent off; Steve Bennett had a shocker: don't think we got one decision off him all game; and Liverpool only equalised because of a goalkeeping error. A little less luck for Liverpool and they would have lost yesterday.

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  • 64. At 10:41am on 26 Jan 2009, willythewriter wrote:

    All you Liverpool people, read The Rescue Man, a very good book set in Liverpool during WW2 and just published. I'm mentioning it because Liverpool need a rescue man. Without Gerrard, where would they be?

    Feel sorry for Robbie, he runs around a lot but gets nowhere cos he's a square peg in a Spanish hole and doesn't see much of the bull. I wonder what he's worth now? Everton need a striker.

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  • 65. At 10:53am on 26 Jan 2009, LFCfan128 wrote:

    Evertons "tactics" was obvious, play counter and for set-pieces. They played for the draw and thats what they got. I think they were surprised they scored first. Another piece of poor defending by Liverpool and Rafa needs to sort this out - fast! Zonal marking doesnt work for me.

    It is not an art to put the whole team in your own half and counter. I agree with others here, Everton played like a lower league team in a typical cup game - get an away draw and reply at home. Don't forget that Liverpools form is actually better on away games. Therefore, surely, if Moyes was a "tactician" he will attack and get the win at Liverpool ?!! Especially after going ahead 1-0 ! Like I said, he was shocked to be in the lead.

    To be fair and frank, no team can play decent football with 18-20 players on one half of the pitch. You can't even walk, never mind passing the ball and shoot. Everton defended well and blocked all shots. Good luck to them in the PL, will they make it to Europe? Not with this sort of tactics they won't.

    Also, why are we talking about money here ? some people are saying that one Liverpool player is worth the whole Everton squad etc. What are you saying ? Everton is a "small" club"?! surely not. However, in order to become a bigger club, may be EFC wants to start winning some trophies or at least start playing in big tornaments to order to gain revenue. Even Andy G. can't help you now, yes it has been that long ago. They are 6th now but I can't see them staying there for long, especially after February. Arsenal and Man U will make sure of that, and playing Liverpool again will surely tire the CBs out. Yes, its only January.

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  • 66. At 10:55am on 26 Jan 2009, GOM wrote:

    Zzzzzzzzz....

    If the RS manage - third time lucky! - to win the replay, at least Everton and Moyes will retain their dignity...

    ..unlike Liverpool and many of their supporters who will continue to demonstrate their utter lack of class and dignity - and Benitez his complete gracelessness.

    COYB!

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  • 67. At 10:55am on 26 Jan 2009, Phil Gauge wrote:

    If Liverpool only had the attacking talent to open up stubborn defences at home then we'd be fine. The problem doesn't exist away because the emphassis is on the home team to push up more. A talented play maker is needed like Arshavin. Sell Kuyt(£7m,) Dossena(£5m) and add £8m to get the Russian star.

    Why are we not seeking these stars? Man Utd scouts seem to be earning their corn, Ronaldo, Nani, Welbeck, Tosic and the da Silva brothers to name but a few.

    Come on Liverpool pull your finger out!

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  • 68. At 10:56am on 26 Jan 2009, outsideswinger wrote:

    Great column again Phil, it balances a good report with some backing of opinion.
    I agree that Everton have played fantastic against Liverpool and I think you can see that Everton's mind games against Liverpool have shown them as being edgy when they can't break through.

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  • 69. At 10:59am on 26 Jan 2009, ArmchairPro wrote:

    Excellent article Mr McNulty. You do seem a bit pessimistic about our (Everton's) chances in the replay though. 5 goals in our last 2 home games without conceding since the 0-0 with Chelsea gives me plenty of hope we can have a good go at them. Particularly with the return of Arteta and Fellaini.

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  • 70. At 11:10am on 26 Jan 2009, david regan wrote:

    Well done Moyes and Everton. A great display, bearing in mind lack of strikers and 2 influencial midfielders missing.

    Benitez is losing his grip/mind!! With a shortage of strikers and most important midfielders missing, what did he expect us to do - go all out attack!!

    What a fool!

    And questioning our defensive tactics??

    Let's look back a week. Liverpool 1 Everton 0, and what does Benitez do?

    He takes off his 2 strikers and replaces them with midfielders! What an attack minded strategist. Was he away from home? No he was at Anfield, defending a one goal lead in a Merseyside Derby. Need I say more.

    Mr Benitez, a word of advise - forget about referees, forget about Fergie, forget about Everton - start thinking about your own team, your own tactics, your own fans, and your ability to buy and manage a team of attack minded players to a victory and the League title, which you seem to believe that you are entitled to!!

    Dream on!!

    If Moyes had the money you've had, and the squad you have, and the opportunities you've had, then maybe you would have something to complain about. Get real, see the reality of your tactical mis-givings and offer some praise to a 'small' team (you've got a cheek) that comes to Anfield twice in a week with a greatly depleted squad (and a small squad to start with !!) and you can't beat us.

    Find us a multi-billionaire and see if you can hold on to our shirt tails.

    Once a Blue always a Blue - once a red always a moaner!

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  • 71. At 11:11am on 26 Jan 2009, cantona1968 wrote:

    Respones to p57. As a Utd fan I have to stand up for Hansen and Lawrensen. I think these two pundits, bearing in mind ex LFC give unbiased commentry and analysis. They may still support LFC and want them to win but they are not blinkered to footballing matters and they don't pull any punches when talking about recent events. I mention this because although Phil is an obvious Evertonian, given the extent of depleted squad Everton had no choice to play the way they did, and will continue to do so until they get over the worst of their injury crisis. The fact the Rafa blames EFC for putting ten men behind the ball shows what a limited thougt process he has. Of course LFC have a better squad than Everton, the same way Utd have a better squad then West Brom but it does not mean you have a divine right to win the match. West Brom will cause Utd problems tomorrow night because they will play to take advantage of Utds injurys and force Utd to braek them down. If Utd can't do this then they are at fault if they don't win, not West Brom for defending and going for a draw. I am baffled why LFC supporters are so blinkered in their support of a manager who tactically is limited and who alwaysblames LFC limitations on the opposing team for more or less not letting them win! Staggering....

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  • 72. At 11:12am on 26 Jan 2009, ericleroi wrote:

    I'm surprised no-one has picked up on what a good result 1-1 was for Manchester Utd.

    Liverpool get an extra game in their already busy schedule that they surely could have done without, and Everton get one the same week that they play Utd.

    Here's hoping for a really intense replay that goes into extra time on a boggy, energy-sapping pitch ;)

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  • 73. At 11:13am on 26 Jan 2009, Sack the Juggler wrote:

    I thought both sets of fans tried to lift up their support for their teams rather than slag off the opposition fans and players, unfortunatley there were some enclaves on both sides who still tried to be unpleasant...
    but by far the worst offender was Rafa - in a time when are talking about building up respect for both clubs and to stop taunting each other, he leads from the front in tearing down that respect - no dignity, no class, the sooner he goes the better....

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  • 74. At 11:16am on 26 Jan 2009, Livzy69 wrote:

    I'll tell you what - as a United fan if Liverpool dont want Keane anymore we'll take him gladly off their hands.

    I reckon he'd bag 20 between now and the edn of the season - easy.

    not even including him in the squad to me shows how Benitez really is cracking.

    Everton deserve their replay.

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  • 75. At 11:18am on 26 Jan 2009, CuleBlue wrote:

    Bitter Benitez, (thought it was blues who are meant to be bitter) should take note of this. The only available striker was a teenager (who also went off injured), the most creative player and record signing were both missing too. Six days ago, Everton had more possession and more shots at goal, today they didn't. Feel free to swap budgets with Moyes any time, then you can moan, like you also did at Valencia, about not having enough money to spend. When Benitez sends a team out for a draw and gets it, it's 'tactical genius', apparently. Top teams find teams defend against them. The best ones, deal with it. He should just be grateful he's got Gerrard because he'd be completely stuffed without him.

    Benitez hasn't coached his side to defend against Cahill, nor did he withdraw his defensive midfielder in pursuit of victory. start looking closer to home.

    Benitez hasn't won a game since he cracked up. Keep shouting your banalities instead of concentrating on the job in hand and it will all have fallen away in another 6 weeks.

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  • 76. At 11:20am on 26 Jan 2009, danschmidt wrote:

    To aries22:

    How can you comment on Everton's watchability!

    What about Liverpool's watchability, they are awful. I can safely say that I would prefer to be gaffer taped to the underside of Southport Pier in mid winter, nude and at high tide than to watch a Liverpool match in its entirety.

    Now how anyone can say that Everton didn't deserve anything out of that match is beyond me. The tactics displayed by Moyes were spot on, and not to dissimilar to many a Liverpool performance I have had the misfortune to watch in his highly successful reign.

    At this moment in time, I am avery happy United fan.

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  • 77. At 11:21am on 26 Jan 2009, LFCfan128 wrote:

    Final words, Everton played to their strengths and got a reply back home. Liverpool did not convert their chances and Howard and CBs played very well. End of.

    What I dont like reading is "without Torres and Gerrard, Liverpool hasnt got a team" etc. This is such a lame thing to say and I just wish people would stop saying that. We all know that a team has to gel to perform, take note Robinho and Man C, and agreed, those two are key Liverpool players. But I might as well say your car is not going to run smoothly without the fourth wheel, although arguably the most important part of a car is its engine ! get it.

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  • 78. At 11:29am on 26 Jan 2009, MostlyRubbish wrote:

    Two points:

    "No-one would suggest Everton did anything other than mount a rearguard action to earn a replay at Goodison Park" ...er, except David Moyes!

    Also, Everton have played Liverpool 3 times this season and not come within a country mile of winning. Other teams with even more meagre resources - Wigan or Hul for instance - have achieved much more at Anfield with a much more enterprising approach. But I gusess pointing this out would undermine the basic narrative of this blog...

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  • 79. At 11:30am on 26 Jan 2009, PACSYIP wrote:


    I don't understand why Everton played defensive football yesterday. Indeed, they didnt want to lose, but no permier league team wants to get a replay, that's the least thing they want, espeically from the Liverpool point of view. Win or lose, it doesnt really matter, that's what the FA cup is all about, you win or lose, go through or not. It's good to see small team get a reply against the perimer league team, becasue they can benfit from it.

    I think if the big team wants to play a one-off match like the Carling cup, no reply, let them do it. There's no point to play twice, let's get the FA cup out of the way, then concentrate on the league and champion league.

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  • 80. At 11:34am on 26 Jan 2009, Richiebobblue wrote:

    Just read Rafa's post match criticism of Everton's tactics...

    Very harsh considering Everton were without our record signing, our main playmaker and all of our recognised goalscoring strikers. We did all we could with a very limited team.

    The man is a complete idiot, and a bitter one at that. Does he think Everton should have just let Liverpool win? I seem to remember Liverpool playing for draws many times in the Champions league!

    Liverpool should have been able to break Everton down, but they couldn't, so you shouldn't criticise your opponents for your own inadequacies.

    The man lacks honor and respect.

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  • 81. At 11:42am on 26 Jan 2009, giantgraystacks wrote:

    Nice to see some accurate journalism and comments that, in the main, congratulate Everton. Kuyt nearly scoring showed the inherent dangers of us trying to attack, we were left open on the counter. I think we will play in a similarly solid fashion at Goodison but at least we should have Fellaini and Arteta back which will give us a better chance to play more attacking football. Signing a striker would be nice though!

    To Rafa and all Liverpool fans mocking our defensive attitude, the one thing I've noticed in the main is that Everton fans are, generally, realistic. We realise our team is small and currently very limited due to injuries, we just want the team to try their very best and not roll over, especially to our merseyside rivals. If Manchester Utd manage to open us up then perhaps they deserve the title more than Liverpool as they play the better attacking football eh? Since when was seeing Liverpool play like watching classic Brazil anyhow?!!

    If our suprisingly rich owners (http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/table/2009/jan/07/football-club-owners-rich-list) put their hands in their pockets and invested more for players who knows what Everton might be able to achieve.

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  • 82. At 11:54am on 26 Jan 2009, paddym1878 wrote:

    Liverpool are a so called 'Big 4' right? So when a team travels to the home of 1 of the 'Big 4' with no senior strikers, 2 key midfielders out and one of the best current defensive partnerships - surely they will defend!! If Liverpool are championship challengers then they will have 2 deal with teams defending and get that fat waiter to shut up! Would be good 2 see Liverpool going to old trafford without torres, gerrard and alonso, wonder what there gameplan would be? I have a good idea!! So stop talkin s*it!!

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  • 83. At 11:56am on 26 Jan 2009, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:

    I sensed I was heading for trouble with my remarks about Jagielka. I was actually flagging up how wrong I was to describe him as "limited."

    As further explanation, Jagielka is a player who knows exactly what he can and cannot do and sticks rigidly to it.

    In no way is this intended to denigrate him. It is actually a huge strength.

    The big talking point for Liverpool was Robbie Keane's exclusion.

    I actually felt a measure of sympathy for Keane during Monday's derby. His colleagues seemed almost unaware of his presence.

    And for all his disappointing performances for Liverpool, he surely has to have a place on the bench for an FA Cup tie against Everton.

    David Ngog may be promising, but no-one can tell me he poses a bigger threat than Keane.

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  • 84. At 11:58am on 26 Jan 2009, FeedTheYak wrote:

    Priceless isnt it, statment after statement about Everton's defensive tactics.... I love the suggestion from most of the plastic faithful from Redruth to Dublin that we always play for a draw away from home, makes it all the more remarkable we have won 7 out of 10 away games does it not?

    As has been stated, if Liverpool were without thier best 2 midfielders and entire strikeforce, they would get battered at Goodison.

    Oh well petal's its another year without the league, good job you continue to produce (ok, so you still dont produce it, lets say steal) such great youth talent............. surely the likes of Ngog, Lucas and erm will see you dominate the next decade.

    Shame, another trip across the North Sea in Feb, those Nordic ferry lines must be delighted with the replay

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  • 85. At 12:05pm on 26 Jan 2009, COE2005 wrote:

    Let's not persist with spreading myths shall we?

    Everton had attacking options, Moyes chose not to use them. Consider that Anichebe (a centre forward), Cahill (a support striker/attacking midfielder), Osman (attacking midfielder), and Pienaar (winger/attacking midfielder) all played. Moyes just asked them all to be as negative as possible, he had the team to try and make a game of it but decided not to.

    There should be no criticism in displaying your ambitions to play football this way and it may yet prove fruitful for Everton. Everton are only four places below Liverpool in the league and yet they are being celebrated for a negative performance and trying to stifle the game. Its not exactly on a par with Liverpool against Barcelona is it?

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  • 86. At 12:06pm on 26 Jan 2009, Samwell2804 wrote:

    Great Article Phil,

    I agree with 90percent of it, but for me it was Everton who came out shinning in this one

    "Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez clearly regarded Everton's tactics as a huge irritant, but he actually should have recognised facets of some of his own team's most successful European missions in how Moyes set up his team and carried out their gameplan." - couldnt be truer

    im sick of this moaning about defensive tactics, from the master of all defensive game plan setups, when have Liverpool, especially in Europe, actually gone out to win a game, apart from maybe when they are a few goals down, by which point then they have no other real option than to do that!
    Benitez, always sets his teams up defensively to break quick and catch the opposition on the break?! cheap shot by him if u ask me, signs of a very sore loser!

    Also aswell?! How many times do Liverpool have to rely on Roy "Here I come to Save the Day" of the Rovers?! It seems like their only tactic is to pass the ball to Steven Gerrard if they are losing and hope he can pull something out of his pocket to get them something out of the game?! Its either that or a long "HOOOOFED" ball into the channel for Torres to Chase and run on to! So one dimension at times and thats what Benitez doenst seem to understand, thats why it was so easy at times for Everton to defend them, despite this "Massive" Onslaught?!

    Everton were magnificent Yesterday, for a team with no real recognised forwards in their ranks due to injury, and also short ofarguably their best player, their magnificent Talisman Arteta, they were superb at the job they set out to do, how could Benitez possible expect them to come out all guns blazing attack when they are so short of attacking options???

    How much would he be moaning if Liverpool were without, lets say Torres, Gerrard, Kuyt, Keane, Riera, Babel, basically all their attacking player, Quite a lot of moaning I would imagine, the excuse book would be in full flow!

    But Moyes on the other hand, has to be admired in my opinion, afterall, as is said, people have forgotten their steady march up the table whilst short on resources?! without so much as a moan or groan about the state of his squad ravaged by injury.

    His only moan I seem to remember was when Fellaini got the booking to miss the merseyside derby games, which i feel was actually a soft booking, but couldnt really argue due to persistant fouling?!

    So Bravo Everton, you deserve a lot of praise!

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  • 87. At 12:08pm on 26 Jan 2009, SharpesSword wrote:

    Great Blog Phil,

    It's nice to see model proffesionals such as Jagielka and Lescott get the credit they deserve. Both of them are young (ish) English players that have come through the ranks at Championship sides and have gone to perform at a high level in the Premiership. I'm a Sheffield United fan and while Jags was played in every position on the pitch by Mr Warnock, it was clear to most observers that he was best at centre-back. He's quick, good in the air, can read the game well and is always willing to put his body on the line - the number of last ditch tackles and blocks he makes is amazing.

    Well done Daid Moyes for giving these two guys a chance at the top level rather than paying over the odds for an older foreign international who has nothing to prove (Winston Bogarde anyone?!).

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  • 88. At 12:08pm on 26 Jan 2009, adamboglin wrote:

    Robbie Keane being dropped is not a talking point. He was very poor last game and got dropped because of it, a consequence which happens regularly (eg. Drogba -was poor against united, got dropped against southend), but i suppose it would have been hard to fill a whole article about one of the most negative displays i've ever seen.
    Tim Howard wasting time after 25 mins, is that what the 'magic' of the cup is about? I give Moyes credit for achieving what he has done but i fel sorry for the everton fans having to watch that everyweek. I can understand playing for an away point in the league but really, sticking 11 men behind the ball and playing for penaties in a cup game is insulting to fans who pay to watch.

    Jagielka and Lescott played well but the best Everton performance, for me, was Pienaar - the only evertonian with any ambition on the pitch.

    I look forward to another 'classic' cup tie and i'm sure Moyes has already started digging the trenches.

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  • 89. At 12:09pm on 26 Jan 2009, vawn wrote:

    Everton are a very boring team. The point of this article is that this year they are even more boring than before.
    Greece in disguise.

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  • 90. At 12:11pm on 26 Jan 2009, duffy wrote:

    Nothing is better that listening to Benitez rant after failing to be a weakened Everton side. He really is a bad loser.

    Well done Moyesy. Good luck for the replay.

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  • 91. At 12:17pm on 26 Jan 2009, dosani1977 wrote:

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  • 92. At 12:19pm on 26 Jan 2009, oohahhMickMadar wrote:

    Cantona1968 - I take your point fully about Hansen and Lawro being balanced (although Lawro referred to "we" twice in the second half!) I was simply outlining that LFC have a good proportion of representation on BBC football.

    I'm sure as a Utd fan you have as much time for Mr A. Green as the blues do...

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  • 93. At 12:20pm on 26 Jan 2009, Ash wrote:

    "For a team with no strikers, Everton have found a way of - for now at least - avoiding defeat."

    That's funy, I though Anichebe was a striker. It's hardly anyone elses fault that Moyes continues to play him on the wing even when they have no other strikers.

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  • 94. At 12:28pm on 26 Jan 2009, footy_analysis - play beautifully - wrote:

    Got to say, Lescott is a fantastic defender.

    His reading of the game, pace, tackling and heading are top class.

    Jagielka was, as you say Phil, superb too.

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  • 95. At 12:28pm on 26 Jan 2009, lee fett wrote:

    I fully expect Keane to be a part of Benitez's plans for the replay. Simply because his priorities will shift and he'll now regard that replay as a chance to play some of the lesser names (in his view). Hence why Keane will probably start and will play all 90 minutes...actually what am I saying that'll never happen, no way can Benitez resist hauling him off before the end.

    On a day when Spurs are close to resigning another recently sold player i'd love to see us trying to bring Keane back. The guy was fantastic for us the last few seasons and its a shame its not working out for him at Anfield.

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  • 96. At 12:36pm on 26 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

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  • 97. At 12:40pm on 26 Jan 2009, footy_analysis - play beautifully - wrote:

    Just to expand on Jagielka, he's an honest, hard working player who reads the game well and times his tackles well.

    Anyone who can snuff Torres out the way he did yesterday has got genuine ability and I think any manager would appreciate him in their squad.

    On Liverpool.....they played ok yesterday, Everton are clearly struggling as an attacking force with so many injuries, which allowed Liverpool to dominate possession.

    But RB's side is still one which has little cutting edge or creativity.

    It was Gerrard again who had to bail them out with help from Torres.

    This is why they wont win the league.

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  • 98. At 12:41pm on 26 Jan 2009, mccuul wrote:

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  • 99. At 12:41pm on 26 Jan 2009, Scenicjoker wrote:

    There has been a myth all season that Liverpool have been playing well. Apart from the Newcastle result all season they have played less than imaginitive football.

    The only reason they were top is because some of their early season form saw the luck going their way in matches they should have drawn or lost...(Wigan/City etc). Now that luck is beginning to go against them suddenly they simply look an average team which is what they are.

    They struggle to break teams down, and apart from Torres (who in fairness has had his season hampered by injury) and Gerard who continually gets them out of the mire, they have no world class players.

    You cannot continually rely on Gerard, and it is a tribute to him that he is so good that he is keeping them in things...(annoyingly so).

    Players like Kuyt, Keane - are hard working players but it would be a travesty if this earned them a championship ...

    That is not to say it is not possible....I look back to the average Blackburn team of 95 (who had least had Shearer) and the even more average and appalling Leeds team of 92.

    It's just that in reality Liverpool should not be even in contention.

    The fact is for the first time now we will see how they cope with a packed second half of the season, when in the past they have managed to get to the Euro semis/finals because Man U and Chelsea have had to contend with the Championship too. This time no chance to rest players before big European nights.

    This is in no way to denigrate Everton. I still think it is a great result to go to Anfield when your strikers are all injured and get a draw. Indeed I am not exactly looking forward to you visiting Old Trafford because we ourselves are struggling to break down teams.

    The difference is though at least you are not just relying on one player like Looneypool.

    Finally it's a bit rich for cracking up Benitez to moan about the bus being parked. Liverpool hardly show attacking fervour in European Matches, and even this seasn against a 10 man Arsenal they hardly stunned the world with their attacking play.

    I am not underestimating Liverpool, because rubbish teams can win the league (see comments earlier). However, there simply is no sensible person other than a Liverpool fan who thinks that Liverpool have a decent team and play anything then average football.

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  • 100. At 12:45pm on 26 Jan 2009, Scenicjoker wrote:

    There has been a myth all season that Liverpool have been playing well. Apart from the Newcastle result all season they have played less than imaginitive football.

    The only reason they were top is because some of their early season form saw the luck going their way in matches they should have drawn or lost...(Wigan/City etc). Now that luck is beginning to go against them suddenly they simply look an average team which is what they are.

    They struggle to break teams down, and apart from Torres (who in fairness has had his season hampered by injury) and Gerard who continually gets them out of the mire, they have no world class players.

    You cannot continually rely on Gerard, and it is a tribute to him that he is so good that he is keeping them in things...(annoyingly so).

    Players like Kuyt, Keane - are hard working players but it would be a travesty if this earned them a championship ...

    That is not to say it is not possible....I look back to the average Blackburn team of 95 (who had least had Shearer) and the even more average and appalling Leeds team of 92.

    It's just that in reality Liverpool should not be even in contention.

    The fact is for the first time now we will see how they cope with a packed second half of the season, when in the past they have managed to get to the Euro semis/finals because Man U and Chelsea have had to contend with the Championship too. This time no chance to rest players before big European nights.

    This is in no way to denigrate Everton. I still think it is a great result to go to Anfield when your strikers are all injured and get a draw. Indeed I am not exactly looking forward to you visiting Old Trafford because we ourselves are struggling to break down teams.

    The difference is though at least you are not just relying on one player like Liverpool.

    Finally it's a bit rich for cracking up Benitez to moan about the bus being parked. Liverpool hardly show attacking fervour in European Matches, and even this seasn against a 10 man Arsenal they hardly stunned the world with their attacking play.

    I am not underestimating Liverpool, because rubbish teams can win the league (see comments earlier). However, there simply is no sensible person other than a Liverpool fan who thinks that Liverpool have a decent team and play anything then average football.

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  • 101. At 12:46pm on 26 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    #79 - If the most important thing is to avoid a replay, why didn't liverpool take more risks? Man United would have thrown on extra attackers and battered Everton, Rafa seems incapable of doing this.

    he is too scared of losing, it has already cost liverpool in the league, now it has cost them an extra cup fixture...

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  • 102. At 12:47pm on 26 Jan 2009, RobVilla wrote:

    Great result for Everton considering who they had missing.
    I think Rafa has cracked under the pressure. He has spent an absolute fortune and they are only a little further along than under Houllier.
    For 4 seasons his teams have played turgid, defensive football - 10 men behind the ball at Villa Park this season anyone? Or the time he took Gerard and Torres off v Reding. Occasionally it has been interspersed with the odd bit of Gerrard/Torres brilliance. How he can criticise other teams is beyond for negative tactics is beyond belief?

    As for the beeb being pro-Liverpool, this has been the case throughout my 30 years in watching football though is worse now than ever. Lawreson's co-commentary yesterday was embarassing. Hansen is intelligent but wholly subjective on Liverpool. Alan Green - best radio commentator is rubbish when Liverpool is involved. Normally with Jan Molby as his sidekick.

    Never ever try and write something on these forums re Hillsbrough or Heysel unless it paints Liverpool exclusively as 'victims' because the thought police will remove it

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  • 103. At 12:51pm on 26 Jan 2009, ACTwerton wrote:

    With repsect I think this article is nonsense.

    Credit to Everton for working hard and defending well (in both games) but we’ve seen throughout this season (and before) that Liverpool’s greatest weakness (arguably) is that they struggle to penetrate well organised teams who turn up at Anfield and play to not concede (and to hopefully pick up the odd goal from a set piece).

    Perversely, Everton’s injury woes probably worked in their favour against Liverpool. With few options up front who could balme them for “parking the bus”? With a fit squad there would be much more expectation on them to play a bit and against such teams Liverpool tend to do much better. (I wander how many points Liverpool have dropped this season against teams who’ve come to Anfield and really had a go)? Hopefully those expectations will be raised for the replay seeing as they’re at home.

    Moyes is a good manager, obviously, but to point towards 2 draws against Liverpool as evidence of Moyes being some sort of tactical genius is just rubbish. Defending against Liverpool at Anfield is sadly not difficult at the moment, as has been demonstrated a few times this season by managers who a year ago your average premier league team fan wouldn’t have even heard of.

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  • 104. At 12:52pm on 26 Jan 2009, lexohiggins wrote:


    response to Norapeti.Chelsea changing manager.

    Chelsea are a " BIG MONEY" CLUB ,noticed i said big money.
    To think that Moyes would contemplate leaving Everton to manage Chelsea is way of the mark and to be honest a case of illusions of grandeur.Chelsea compared to Evertons history traditions consistency over the entire period of top notch english soccer,not just the last 10 years has no comparison to a truly BIG CLUB that is Everton.
    When you have a lot more credit in your bundle you can be compared to Everton.Don't take my word for it ,check the "overall history of top notch english soccer"Everton are tops.

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  • 105. At 12:54pm on 26 Jan 2009, karim1981 wrote:

    Boring!!!!

    Seriously, how boring are Everton! The remind me of Hull, Stoke, West Ham and Fulham! Yet they are talked in the same breath as Aston Villa and Arsenal! Its embarrasing for the blue side of Merseyside to cheer a draw against their most fierce rivals.

    Cant wait for the replay, its an extra game for our guys to get match sharpness for the BIG games against United and Madrid

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  • 106. At 12:55pm on 26 Jan 2009, karim1981 wrote:

    Maybe thats Keanes problem.. he thinks he is a good player but if the team mates dont knwo his existence then its probably a good thing he isnt on the pitch.

    What good does it do either party. I say cut our losses, sell him and bring in a striker such as Jones of Sunderland or Owen.

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  • 107. At 12:56pm on 26 Jan 2009, Chad Secksington wrote:

    Everton didn't play like a lower league club at all, they played like a Premier League club that had lost all it's goalscorers and it's creativity in midfield, Liverpool can whinge all they like but Everton played to a plan and it took an uincharacteristic error from the otherwise faultless Tim Howard to let Liverpool back in.

    For all Liverpool's posession football there was a hell of a lot of passing aimlessly back and forth around midfield rather than actual threat.

    Now Everton have Liverpool at home with a bit more nous in midfield to come in, fair play to Moyes, the job he's doing at the moment is exemplary in the circumstances. Benitez needs to learn that sometimes it's better to say nothing and be thought a fool than open your mouth and confirm it.

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  • 108. At 1:00pm on 26 Jan 2009, lexohiggins wrote:

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  • 109. At 1:05pm on 26 Jan 2009, Spur78 wrote:

    Bereft of Berbatov's intelligent positioning and sublime touch in and around the box, Robbie Keane looks half the player he was in the later part of his Spurs career.

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  • 110. At 1:06pm on 26 Jan 2009, todmeister wrote:

    ...hand on heart now, it's been a long, long time since there has been anything particularly 'stylish' about Everton or the way that they play.

    Moyes is something like the third longest serving manager in the top-flight and still potless.

    He and his club truely deserve each other.

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  • 111. At 1:09pm on 26 Jan 2009, osayanede wrote:

    The problem I think with Benitez's that he leaves his domestic issues and tackles outside issues that have little or no effect on changing his team's chances.

    It is time he wakes to the "what is" of this world instead of "what ought to be". He is firing on all cylinders, antagonising other teams and managers and infact sacrificing his team's progress and strategy in return.

    He should try to focus on the task at hand rather than trying to play mind games which so far have not worked for him against the other contenders.

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  • 112. At 1:14pm on 26 Jan 2009, whatbill wrote:

    The biggest problem Liverpool have is that there is now a well established approach to avoiding defeat aginst them - defend in depth and hope to sneak a goal. Who can blame Everton for doing the same? Thats what they did and but for a goalkeeping error, they would have won.

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  • 113. At 1:19pm on 26 Jan 2009, Zulu Warrior wrote:

    Hello Phil.
    Good analysis. But another point is that Everton without strikers for a fair part of the season have managed 30 goals in the league. Liverpool with lots of attacking options have amassed a mighty 36.
    Those extra six goals have cost about £55m at least for Keane Torres Kuyt etc. Iwonder why there is a reluctance to give Benitez total control over transfers.

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  • 114. At 1:24pm on 26 Jan 2009, melbourne1873 wrote:

    Benitez is your textbook European - spitting the dummy out when things don't go his way. Wenger is the same to a lesser extent - yes, some teams arent as good as your team, as they havent been bought over by foreign multi-millionaires/billionaires, and as such can't afford to pay over the odds for the players you can, so in attempt to progress to the next round of the cup, the managers employ the best tactics they possibly can to achieve this objective. Did Benitez actually think, that with no fit strikers, he was going to play a 4-3-3 and go for a 3-0 win? No, and the fans would have rightfully slaughtered him.

    Grow up Rafa, you aare just being petty cos you have drawn 5 out of the last 8 and dropped off the pace - to nobody's surprise - you are going to have to deal with this.

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  • 115. At 1:37pm on 26 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

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  • 116. At 1:40pm on 26 Jan 2009, sure_star wrote:

    Phil,

    Glad to see you disagreeing with Rafa and praising Everton. I myself being a LFC fan dont agree to Rafa. Without strikers, Everton are 100% correct in defensive approach and take the replay to Goodison.

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  • 117. At 1:42pm on 26 Jan 2009, ThinkingScot wrote:

    I have no connection to either team from Merseyside and neither do i favour either team. There is really no argument here. Everton may have all 11 players behind the ball frequently at times during the game but they are supremely organised when they are. Anyone whos plays football knows it is not enough to just stickk 11 players behind the ball and get a draw at Anfield. To even suggest this is what Everton did ,and twice in a week, is frnakly ridiculous. It is credit to David Moyes organisation and motivational skills that he got such a depleted side 2 draws in a week away at top of the league.

    Liverpool fans why have a go at Everton tactics?
    You are top of the league. If you want to win the league your team and manager have to accept that teams will do this. you dont hear ferguson complaining that teams defend. he buys players that can deal with this (i know he has more money that Benitez but 25 odd million on Keane and Dossena could have bought a creative winger or 3) and usually gets his tactics right so that his team beats this stuffy opposition. You should be worried that a team that cost around the same in total as one of your big money strikers, one of which was deemed on form enough to grace the bench, matched you.

    Everton may not have played pretty football in these two teams but given their resources and injury problems what do you expect? they can hardly go in playing even a 442 when they only have the inexperienced and not match fit Anichebe available.

    Great blog Phil. You got it spot on in my opinion. Everton deserve praise for a gutsy and well organised performance and Liverpool need a reality check. I really do not care who wins the league or FA cup but Liverpool and Benitez need to get back to the brilliant team performances that saw them take the 3 points at Stamford Bridge. Otherwise it may turn out to be another silverware-less season at Anfield.

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  • 118. At 1:42pm on 26 Jan 2009, happy_red wrote:

    Novoludo - of course I'm proud of my team. 18 league titles, 5 European Cups and countless other trophies. Currently sitting second in the Premiership. A great manager, a great team and great fellow fans.
    Poor little Everton, however, who didn't have a striker on the field (except Anichebe) and parking the bus at Anfield in a game for the only trophy they have a chance of winning. Still when you move to Tesco's car park in Kikby, you'll be so proud to be a blue.

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  • 119. At 1:45pm on 26 Jan 2009, SummersIron wrote:

    Despite Everton's '10-man-behind-the-ball' tactics, I seem to remember Liverpool having a 3 on 2 in Everton's half towards the end. What happened? Kuyt missed.

    The reason Manchester United bought Berbatov was partly because he is an outstandingly talented player. More importantly, however, he is big and good in the air, whereas Tevez and Rooney are tiny and useless in the air unless they're left completely unmarked. Ferguson knew that Ronaldo wasn't going to have another 40-goal season so he bought a player who gave them a different way of unlocking defence-minded teams. It has already paid off against Chelsea, Middlesborough, Stoke and Bolton, all of whom played defensive football. (Not that Plymouth Reserves would have failed to beat Chelsea that day - and most Chelsea fans agree with me on this.)

    Benitez, meanwhile, bought a player with about half the pace and half the height of Fernando Torres. If Torres hadn't been injured, Keane would surely have found himself left out even more often than he has been, which is a shame, because he is a good forward.

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  • 120. At 1:50pm on 26 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    happy-red: are the kids on half term already or are you just skipping school today? By the way it is Kirkby...not kikby learn to spell

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  • 121. At 2:08pm on 26 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Just read Benitez comments

    "One team was trying to win and the other team was trying not to lose," said Benitez, whose team have drawn five of their last eight games.

    So therefore Liverpool failed to achieve its target, and Everton successfully executed a strategy. If only Rafa's players could do the same.

    Rafa also said "It is hard against a team with 10 players,"

    No wonder they found it really hard as we had 11 players. Or maybe the cheque he wrote to the Referees Benevolent fund bounced given the £400m Liverpool are in debt, and the obligatory sending off didn't materialise.

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  • 122. At 2:10pm on 26 Jan 2009, footy_analysis - play beautifully - wrote:

    Just a quick word on Keane too.....he's a typical Benitez signing.

    Buy him, don't play him, play him, drop him, sell him.

    Thank you.

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  • 123. At 2:10pm on 26 Jan 2009, supa1878 wrote:

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  • 124. At 2:10pm on 26 Jan 2009, CuleBlue wrote:

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  • 125. At 2:16pm on 26 Jan 2009, novoludo wrote:

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  • 126. At 2:17pm on 26 Jan 2009, MsMoyesyside wrote:

    I thought Benitez's comments were hugely ignorant and disrespectful. As a blue I fully concede that our opponents were by far the more superior attacking force but basically we HAD NO OPTION than to defend, and defend spectacularly we did! The fact that Benitez does not acknowledge this fact just makes him look foolish and bitter. The name of the game is to progress to the next round and on the day, with our backs to the wall for virtually the whole 90 minutes, we played to our strengths. Obviously our refusal to roll over and concede to such a 'superior' side has irritated Benitez for which Moyes, the team and our amazing supporters make no apology!

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  • 127. At 2:22pm on 26 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

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  • 128. At 2:24pm on 26 Jan 2009, biglouie2008 wrote:

    Yes Everton where very defensive in the second game, but thats because we were missing our best creative/attacking threat (Arteta) as well as a host of strikers. In the first game when Arteta played we had more shots on goal than Liverpool and were much better in possesion (even though we were missing Yakubu, Saha, Fellaini and Vaughan).
    The difference between Everton and Liverpool is similar to the difference between Liverpool and Man Utd. (Liverpool are a bit better than Everton in most departments, Man Utd are a bit better than Liverpool in most departments). I'd like to see Liverpool go to Old Trafford without Gerrard, Torres, Kuyt, Alonso and Keane and play open, attacking football!
    As for Benitez's comments, he is a very small, petty man.

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  • 129. At 2:27pm on 26 Jan 2009, tgbutd wrote:

    My concern with Rafa Benitez, is the way he is treating some of the most capable,(maybe not class) footballers in the squad( Keane, Babel, Pennant.. to mention a few).A 20 million striker who doesn't make the squad of 18 is surely a waste of money.Wouldn't you all agree. This just raises eyebrows on the dressing room state of environment.Not to mention the recent unwarranted(if you ask me) outbursts/rants...As a United fan I can't help but lament on Rafa's capitulation. It does seem to be written Real Madrid all over it come summer.

    To be honest I used to respect Rafa Benitez but of late he has been making a joke of himself.Maybe He needed some time off after his operation because it hasn't been a happy renewal.

    props to Everton they had a game plan and executed it effectively. I know that it has been monotonously said but Hasn't Liverpool,under Rafa, won many crucial CL games with their masterful defensive resolve. Why whine when it is reverse...Rafa has lost his cool--if ever he had any in the first place.

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  • 130. At 2:28pm on 26 Jan 2009, Thatsout wrote:

    Both the blog and article have been quite interesting to read. What I can't understand is why some of the Liverpool fans are so concerned with how Everton played. I've read comments about what players they had at their disposal, that they had attacking midfielders but chose to play defensively.

    I don't understand why this is any of your business? How Everton decide to play is up to them, your job is to counter that and win the game. Benitez must have known how Everton would set up to play (No secret they have some key injuries), with one semi-fit striker and a recent game to go on, but failed to come up with a plan, or his players didn't execute it as he would have liked.

    Alot of teams outside of the top 4 have played 5 in midfield against the best teams, this is nothing new, as a result Man Utd have invested in Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney etc, players that give you a better chance of breaking these teams down (Hence Arsenal buying Ashravin).

    It strikes me that Liverpool fans ought to be looking at why they have wingers of the class of Kuyt, Benayoun, Pennant etc but yet wasted £20 million on a player that obviously didn't fit into their system.

    If your attitude is always "But the opposition did this and that" rather than looking at what we did well, or could improve, I would suggest you will never have the mentality as a club to win enough matches to take the league, something I would quite like to see you do.

    Although Benitez, and some fans on here, are rapidly changing my opinion of a club I grew up to respect and appreciate.




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  • 131. At 2:31pm on 26 Jan 2009, aries22 wrote:

    76. danschmidt - fair comment about Liverpool's watchability - I was just picking up on Phil's comment about Everton's stickability and I wanted to contrast the two qualities that Everton may or may not have.

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  • 132. At 2:46pm on 26 Jan 2009, ArsenalArseneArshavin wrote:

    Benitez doesn't know what he's talking about. Even Wenger does it sometimes. Come on what do you expect?

    You are supposed to be the big clubs and you should be able to unlock defences. There is a reason you are top four clubs. If opposing teams challenge you, 90% they'll lose.

    man united challenged ARSENAL at the Emirates and lost. So security first approach is very normal. If you are not able to unlock defences it means you lack quality.

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  • 133. At 3:01pm on 26 Jan 2009, tanio21 wrote:

    Liverpool scored in both matches against and Everton side who (especially in the FA Cup tie) played with 10 men behind the ball.

    Stoke shut Liverpool out for 2 games. Does this mean they have mastered the art of defence...no!

    As Liverpool sides in Europe under Houllier and Early Benitiez showed, any team with a certain level of talent can park a bus and get a nil-nil away from home.

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  • 134. At 3:01pm on 26 Jan 2009, gay fish wrote:

    I don't think there was much art in either of the games in terms of Everton's defence. It was a case of playing really deep and then hoofing the ball in to the other half whenever liverpool lost posession. (There was little art either in how we didn't man mark Cahill in the second game from the set piece that he scored).

    Anyway if Everton fans are happy for their team to play like this, not just in the league, but in the FA cup then we will be happy to beat them on penalties in the replay. Perhaps we can set our team up to defend against Everton and can turn the whole 90 minutes into a farcical stalemate??????

    I don't think there is one other team in the Premiership who would have been happy for their team to play like that over 2 games...not even Stoke regardless of the opposition.(I picked Stoke as they drew us twice).

    And Phil: we do use these tactics on some nights in Europe that is true but we definitely don't use them for every game...this is a big difference.

    If Moyes is really happy to set his team up like this week after week well he isn't doing his own career any good. I thought this kind of play went out with George Graham and the Arsenal teams of the 80's and 90's.

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  • 135. At 3:32pm on 26 Jan 2009, AmamusAmatusAmant wrote:

    happy_red : your club has won 18 titles and the other silverware you mention, NOT your present team. The present team will not be going down in Liverpool history as great--no chance.

    You think you have a great manager? You must be as deluded as RB himself if you think that.

    As a true blue, I appeal to Liverpool Football Club to keep hold of Rafa and give him full control over transfers. The guy has spent a fortune on fairly average players and struggles to manage them effectively. Long may it continue.

    As for the article, thanks Mr McNulty for recognising Everton's achievments so far, despite very limited resources. I wish David Moyes could get his hands on enough cash to enable him to bring in the quality players he would like. He would not, in my opinion, spend as much as other teams have, but he would definitely improve the team, because he is obviously a very shrewd manager.

    Come on you Blues

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  • 136. At 3:32pm on 26 Jan 2009, Che Guevara wrote:

    You guys are missing the point. Clearly Rafa’s comments were those of a manager upset at not winning a football match and like most in his situation, and that includes the saintly Mr Moyes, will deflect the shortcomings of his team’s performance by concentrating on the opposition, and in this case amazingly seeking to gain the moral ground by suggesting Everton were overly unambitious. Rafa has deployed, possibly measured for I’ll give him the benefit of any doubt, very simple psychology, which all too predictably has worked, judging by your reactions. My simple advice is; please treat his comments in the manner that you would a child goading you and IGNORE them! For people living in the real world knows he is talking absolute nonsense. Indeed Mr Moyes retort was succinct and effective – a surprising level of intelligence coming from an EPL manager , to which I exclude the likes of O’Neil, Southgate, Wenger & Zola from the current group of managerial plankton.

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  • 137. At 3:52pm on 26 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    I can't believe the mods banned my message, it was as harmless as you get! Anyway, I think I've changed the "contentious" point, bless the mods and their sensitive ways:

    This point's probably been made a hundred times on here but I can't be bothered reading all the the posts. But what does Benitez expect, does he want Everton to roll over and die, just because he says so?

    They did extremely well considering the nearest striker playing in blue was probably playing for Everton's U-11s.

    Benitez is really starting to irritate me now, he needs to look at his mistreatment of players, bad tactical decisions and sheer fear of losing big games when they should be going for the jugular before he spouts his own criticisms.

    Here's an overly-simple but fairly effective way of sorting out Liverpool's season:

    Play Carragher at centre-back
    Play with two wingers
    Alternate between Mascherano and Alonso partnering Gerrard in midfield, depending on the opposition.
    Play two strikers.
    NEVER take off a striker for Benayoun EVER, no matter what the score.
    Lose Ngog in a forest somewhere.

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  • 138. At 3:57pm on 26 Jan 2009, Thatsout wrote:

    Gerrardswhiskers

    "And Phil: we do use these tactics on some nights in Europe that is true but we definitely don't use them for every game...this is a big difference.

    If Moyes is really happy to set his team up like this week after week well he isn't doing his own career any good. I thought this kind of play went out with George Graham and the Arsenal teams of the 80's and 90's."

    This is such one eyed rubbish. Everton don't set up their team like that every week, that's the point you've completely missed. Everton set their team up like that because they are playing a team that, man for man, is better than theirs.

    When Everton are playing Villa, or a team below them you will see that they are more expanisive as often a team below them, in a relegation fight, will take the same attitude Everton did with Liverpool and try to scrape a point away from home. Everton's job is then to play more forward minded players in order to break down the defensive numbers. This was the challenge your team had last night and couldn't do it.

    Why is this Everton's fault???? On the same note you don't see Moyes coming on the TV and complaining that Hull came to Goodision just to draw.

    Show some class and dignity.

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  • 139. At 4:00pm on 26 Jan 2009, ACTwerton wrote:

    Yeah good point No. 136.

    I don't always agree with what Rafa says or how he chooses to say it but considering some of the ridiculous nonsense that comes out of Moyes's gob in post match interviews it's a bit rich for Everton fans to criticise.

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  • 140. At 4:00pm on 26 Jan 2009, aka_bluepeter wrote:

    In Cahill, everton have an inspirational player every bit as good and as influential as Gerard in my opinion.
    In Neville have a willing anchor man and defensive minded midfielder.
    In Lescot and Jagielka and Tim Howard he has three solid defensive players. In other words the spine of Everton is every bit as sound as Liverpool's.
    The only real thing missing is an out and out striker. As Man City will tell you they are like the proverbial rocking horse .... even your loose change measures in the hundreds of millions.
    David Moyes deserves some praise I suppose but let's not get too poetic about his influence.
    It's more about the personalities he has in his team. None appear to be prima donna's and they are a testament to the power of 'team spirit'.

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  • 141. At 4:05pm on 26 Jan 2009, DJL WOLF wrote:

    As a neutral, i'm getting so so bored of Benitez. Whenever things don't go his way, he just throws his toys out the pram! He HAS to stop crying every time Liverpool don't win.

    Everton were fantastic last night. Liverpool were poor. I've said it since the start of the season, Liverpool don't have what it takes. You can't win the league with two world-class players i'm afraid - especially when one of them will be banged up for half the season!

    Good on you Everton!

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  • 142. At 4:13pm on 26 Jan 2009, siralfonso wrote:

    Everton is palying near the top-good team &good manager but remember their financial woes early in season.Lack of funds is a disadvantage that doesn't go away.

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  • 143. At 4:15pm on 26 Jan 2009, biglouie2008 wrote:

    Ref 131 - "I thought this kind of play went out with George Graham and the Arsenal teams of the 80's and 90's"

    Do you mean the Arsenal team that won the League twice, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, the F.A. Cup and the League Cup?

    Ref 89 - "Everton are a very boring team. Greece in disguise."

    Do you mean the Greek team that stunned the world by becoming champions of Europe with a hard working but ultimately limited squad of players?

    Hmmm, Im sensing a common theme here...... :)

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  • 144. At 4:24pm on 26 Jan 2009, TheRedFender wrote:

    Credit should go to the bluenoses for a disciplined and hardworking performance against.... on paper at least ....a more gifted side.As a lifelong Red i have always sought to support and encourage my team rather than berate or complain about individual players or managers.....however i think i have now had enough of Mr Benitez.......he has the players.....of this there can be no doubt....he has the money......again no doubt .....but he lacks the one thing that the club needs right now.......BRAVERY....Too defensive,especially at home...Come on if you want to beat a team determined on defending and playing mostly with 10 men behind the ball ......play with 2 real wingers Riera and Babel and 2 attacking fullbacks ...its not as if they(Everton) had any real attacking threat from open play.....you can bet your bottom dollar the likes of Man U,Chelsea and Arsenal wont struggle to break down Everton.Their players play with a confidence and a belief we can only dream of under Benitez

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  • 145. At 4:36pm on 26 Jan 2009, realvilla wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 146. At 4:41pm on 26 Jan 2009, Dey-do-doe wrote:

    "For a team with no strikers.."

    I believe Anichibe's a striker but don't let the facts get in the way of a dramatice (if inaccurate) statement!

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  • 147. At 4:45pm on 26 Jan 2009, biglouie2008 wrote:

    Ref 144 - "You can bet your bottom dollar the likes of Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal wont struggle to break down Everton"

    Im pretty sure Everton have already drawn with Man U and Chelsea this season.

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  • 148. At 5:04pm on 26 Jan 2009, m1santhrope wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 149. At 5:06pm on 26 Jan 2009, Iron Bottom wrote:

    a couple of seasons ago benitez got stick for calling everton a "little" club. well the fact is that they have played like a little club for a long time now. 10 men behind the ball & only threatening at set pieces.

    if they don't progress their style of game esp against the likes of liverpool then they will always have the little club mentality.

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  • 150. At 5:31pm on 26 Jan 2009, PastorGeek wrote:

    I don't see exactly how the 2 displays are an example of 'defensive mastery'.

    I mean, they played well in both derbies.

    WHAT A SHOCK! Thats what happens in derbies! Teams raise their game.

    Its not anything new.

    It also amazes me how so-called experts / pundits, expect Robbie Keane to score 25+ goals a season and are quick to label him a flop unless he does so.

    Is he really that kind of player?

    Is he not more of a Link up man in the Teddy Sheringham mold?

    In the last 4 years for spurs hes score 11 goals in 2 season and 16, and 15 in another.

    He has 7 right now for liverpool.

    Do you guys just need something to write about?

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  • 151. At 5:36pm on 26 Jan 2009, asnac1 wrote:

    I hope Liverpool do win the league this year, although I don't think they deserve it.

    But they won't win anything without being honest about their own performances and the reasons for their failure to win games.

    Rafa (like everyone) sometimes gets it wrong. He should have had a better plan to break down an unsurprisingly defensive Everton side.

    What losers do is complain about what the other guy did or didn't do. Winners concentrate on their own performance and are honest about what needs to be done in order to improve. Denial of responsibility retards that process.

    Liverpool, like many sides in the Premiership, have commitment issues when facing well-organised defences. Players' aren't willing to run at defenders or make space by running off the ball. Punting the ball into the box is not an effective attack.

    The reason United and Chelsea have done so well in the EPL recently is because they have or had many players (not just 1 or 2) who were willing to attack the box (Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Giggs, Drogba, Cole, Anelka, Robben), rather than just d*cking around on the edge of the area or passing the ball in midfield.

    Teams that produce decent defensive results against 'better' teams should be applauded. Well done Everton. Teams that don't ever attack should be criticised - but one of the good things this season is that no-one is utterly defensive and to some extent that's why everything is so open in the table.

    Rafa - sort yourself and your team out before blaming them for your failures.

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  • 152. At 5:41pm on 26 Jan 2009, Josh W wrote:

    Absolutely spot on!

    Rafa can complain all he wants about the way they were set out to defend. Deep down he knows that if he were the under dog and had no fit strikers then he would do the exact same thing.

    Moyes is an extremely astute tactian, especially the defencive side of things so coaching the team to his strengths is natural! Much like the Newcastle side of the late 90's they had brilliant attacking coaches and subsequently were a brilliant attacking team but the lack of focus on the defence was a huge let down.

    Moyes is unlikely to leave Everton at any point soon (and I dread to think what would happen to them if he did), but I'd still love to see how he performed at a bigger (or rather a better funded) club. Top marks to the man and the best of luck to him and Everton in the replay!

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  • 153. At 5:54pm on 26 Jan 2009, ormskirkreds wrote:

    Most blues dream of being like Liverpool FC. Everton cannot continue playing the long ball. We are a small club.

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  • 154. At 5:58pm on 26 Jan 2009, digitalrichio wrote:

    I'd like to agree with the opening statement made by Torontored. It was very disappointing and frustrating to watch, despite the best efforts of the ultra positive Setanta team.
    My match summary goes something like 'uninspiring defensive football at its worst.'

    I'm not a big fan of Raffa, and I don't think the reds have any more than 50% of the required combination of players to win the Premiership or a cup, but facing a wall of 11 on the edge of their own box for 90 minutes puts me off watching. A draw was always the most likely outcome.

    Finally Mr McNulty, I like to see my heroes making their name in the opposition's penalty box. The definition of hero should most often be applied to a winner and surely not a draw-er.

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  • 155. At 5:59pm on 26 Jan 2009, Roger_the_Pessimist wrote:

    Liverpool were poor in both games and did not deserve to win either of them. End of story.

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  • 156. At 6:00pm on 26 Jan 2009, Bluenose wrote:

    Exellent blog Phil I read a lot of them too but to see Everton getting some recognition from the media is refreshing.

    btw...

    Do you actually read any of the replies?

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  • 157. At 6:14pm on 26 Jan 2009, U13799283 wrote:

    Was anybody else disgusted by the antics of Mascherano?? This guy has always unsettled me since his outburst at Old Trafford.

    However, his on Sunday appear to have passed withoutr comment. Not only did he blatantly dive at the feet of Cahill. He then waved the imaginary card around! I thought we supposed to be trying to stamp this out of the game? Surely the FA can go back and ban him? The guy is a disgrace.

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  • 158. At 6:30pm on 26 Jan 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Response to 104.....

    Bad day at the office?

    I merely suggested is that as a chelsea fan I would be happy to see Moyes manage at the club. I think that is a fairly clear compliment to Moyes. How u go off on a tangent about big money club and tradition etc is beyond me. Clearly Rafa's remarks last season about Everton being a small club have still got you rattled.

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  • 159. At 6:34pm on 26 Jan 2009, red_man23 wrote:

    Having read alot of the comments on here i can't help feeling there's a few myths that need to be disspelled.

    1. Rafa does appear to have had alot of money to spend over the five years that he's been here but only if you look at the players he's bought. On a net basis it averages out to 14.6 million per season. In comparison to our other competitors for the league that's a pittance (barring Arsenal).

    2. Everton fans keep pointing out that they've got no strikers and a small squad. Are we not 26 days into the transfer window if they were that short of strikers would they not have either bought someone or at the very least (with funds lacking) got someone in on loan.

    3. With Liverpool not playing at their best at the moment how can Everton fans see a draw as a good result. Surely they would have thought we were there for the taking, or does this just highlight the gulf between the two teams?

    4. Rafa's comments were in no way vitriolic or disrespectful he was merely analysing the game as it was, You came here to defend we came to attack and it was hard to break you down.

    It seems the spirit of the Mersey derby has diminished of late and hopefully it will return and the games will become the exciting blood and thunder affairs they once were and not the anti climax of the last week.

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  • 160. At 6:51pm on 26 Jan 2009, Bluenose wrote:

    138. At 3:57pm on 26 Jan 2009, Thatsout wrote:

    Gerrardswhiskers


    This is such one eyed rubbish. Everton don't set up their team like that every week, that's the point you've completely missed. Everton set their team up like that because they are playing a team that, """man for man, is better than theirs."""

    =-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    Then why have you not won over 180 minutes so far?

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  • 161. At 6:55pm on 26 Jan 2009, TheSlinkyCabbage7-0 wrote:

    I must say I don't see it all as doom and gloom down Anfield way. Liverpool have reached their current position in the league largely without Torres this season and he's only feeling his way back to full fitness. They're also still in two cup competitions.
    What would worry me is the antics of the manager over the last few weeks. The ill-timed at best 'rant'. The now regular hard luck story after not winning a game and the refusal to sign a new contract unless he gets final say on transfers.
    Now I'm not 100% sure on this but wasn't it he who signed Crouch, Bellamy, Keane, Pennant, Agger et al for inflated prices and rarely play(ed) them?
    Time to get his own house in order before blaming everybody else because it's only a matter of time before everyone sees where the limitations really lie.
    And one piddling point in an otherwise spot on blog Phil, Jagielka limited? In the same way as John Terry and Jamie Carragher are limited? I'd love to see you expand on that point.

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  • 162. At 7:44pm on 26 Jan 2009, You Never Know? - Kenzie115 - 34 years and we're still here. wrote:

    Everton do have an excellent defence and Moyes sets his team up very astutely as to use this strength. It ain't half boring to watch though.

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  • 163. At 7:53pm on 26 Jan 2009, rs wrote:

    Perhaps you need to get this into pages

    Why the bbc insists on being so narrow I dont know. Not everyone is using windows 95, 256 colours and a glorified calculator. Infact no one is!

    Come on.

    Also everton are good but boring.

    Keane doesnt get a run in the team and doesnt seem to be able to handle liverpool, some players cant play for big clubs, then again he isnt really being given much chance.

    Im sure most clubs have wasted money. Fellini is not worth anything near £15-17million everton paid but he does a job. Its more a case of who would get you get instead who would be a guaranteed success?

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  • 164. At 7:54pm on 26 Jan 2009, 35mileswest wrote:



    Everton's 'renaissance' summed up by "TWO DRAWS"!!! Nothing funnier than an Evertonian's low expectations. God knows how back to back victories would be greeted.

    The small time mentality of greeting a lucky draw like a cup final victory shows how low Everton have sunk. Ok, we heard the excuses: no strikers, no creative midfield, no money, nobody willing to invest in the club, no good - but the sheer lack of ambition displayed on the field can hardly be hailed as a rebirth of the club. After the replay, in which Everton will surely try to have a shot on our goal, you may find, McNulty, that your over the top assessment of EFC's 'renaissance' will be in need of some revision.

    Once again, Phil, you are pathetic.

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  • 165. At 8:10pm on 26 Jan 2009, Willis wrote:

    "For a team with no strikers, Everton have found a way of - for now at least - avoiding defeat." - More research please MR IMPARTIAL. I only had to go to the everton website to find the first error in your BALANCED article!! PLEASE NOTE HOW MANY REFERENCES THERE ARE TO THE FACT THAT ANICHEBE IS A STRIKER.....

    http://www.evertonfc.com/player-profile/victor-anichebe

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  • 166. At 10:17pm on 26 Jan 2009, LondonsFinestClub wrote:

    I hope Moyes can repeat these heroics at Old trafford, but I sense that his team won't be bowled over by Uniteds aggressive power play, especially Tevez, Evra, Scoles and of course Rooney, if fit. Many teams won't commit to the tackle or man marking, but I think Moyes will use what works and he won't care what people think. I hope Scolari has taken note of Moyes' tactics for defensive set pieces.

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  • 167. At 10:41pm on 26 Jan 2009, grandBenMac wrote:

    Hey Phil,
    Good Arcticle, but I still think your comments about Jags were insulting to the player.

    In the last year and a half he has come from a good squad player to probably one of the first names on the team sheet, should he eventually take over the captaincy I for one would not be to suprised. This constant development has shown that Jags is not a limited player and that he has a attitude which is sure to win him plenty more England caps in the future.

    COYB!!!

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  • 168. At 10:57pm on 26 Jan 2009, redhairdontcare wrote:

    Nobody at Everton , players , manager or fans wanted Everton to " park the bus " It was not the intended game plan , circumstances dictated that we had to defend stoically and succesfully . The late loss of Arteta was a major body blow , anybody who has watched Everton lately can bare witness to his profound contribution he makes to the team , his skills and vision inspire the rest of the players and involve them more to inspire the creative qualities of others such as Pienaar and Osman and also bring Baines and Hibbert into more forward attacking roles . Benitez must have thought his birthday had arrived early when he learnt he was out . He picked possibly his strongest team , (against all his usual FA Cup principals) , thinking that Everton's line up could never score without Mikel , intending to hammer us , go 2 or 3 nil up in the first half , take Gerrard , Torres and another off , then at the after match press conference show that pained rehearsed grin and claim Monday's result was obviously a fluke , the season was back on course and Steevee is the greatest player ever . So when Tim Cahill / Joleon embarrassed his defence again and Jagielka and Lescott nullified any attacking threat , no wonder he felt it neccessary to attempt to shift the blame . He was tactically outthought and never had the nous or knowhow to positively change his system . David Moyes was spot on .

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  • 169. At 11:02pm on 26 Jan 2009, aldos591 wrote:

    whilst liverpool fans clearly are hurting over there failure to get the result they wanted in either derby game it seems that they also seem to forget a few things.

    1. when liverpool opened the scoring in the league game did they not then go ultra defensive in order to gain the 3 points reqiured? only rafa can be blamed for losing out on this as he clearly new during his half time team talk in this game that everton were capable of getting a goal seen as the first half we had 3 very good chances to have taken the lead.

    2. dispite howard not having a single save to make during the first half of the sunday cup game everton had (whilst not being on the front foot) taken the lead and also had what could have been a penalty turned down only 1 less corner given and a similar amount of attempts on goal all be it not on target. 1 - 0 down at half time liverpool had to come out all guns blazing so why should everton go on the offensive against a team that has two of the most dangerous players in the world coming at them.

    rafa needs to seriously look at his own team before having a pop at a team that has done somthing that not alot of teams could have done twice in one week. when reply comes around lets see how liverpool go about there play should they grab a first half lead.

    coyb lets show em what were made of at goodison.

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  • 170. At 11:03pm on 26 Jan 2009, stecar18 wrote:

    Dear 35mileswest

    You really are missing the point. It was clear on Monday that there is a large technical gap between the teams. Liverpool have the better players, as reflected in the fact they have spent around about six times the money on them and Torres is nearly valued at the price of our whole team. Our best two player were not on the pitch (take Gerrard out, never mind A.N.other and let's seee what you would have done), we finished with two eighteen year olds in midfield, and you still couldn't beat us. Do you wonder why we are so pleased?
    Rafa then bleats about our tactics, which Moysie, with the sort of class Rafa used to have but has lost, along with the plot, lately, acts with assured and quiet dignity to by refusing to get involved.
    You might even win the replay, but these two games have put the final nail in your premiership coffin.
    Don't worry though; come November next year you'll be telling us it's your year again like you have for the last twenty.

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  • 171. At 11:37pm on 26 Jan 2009, 35mileswest wrote:




    Dear Stecar18,


    "You might even win the replay, but these two games have put the final nail in your premiership coffin". Really?

    Your first comments about Liverpool being superior were quite acceptable but then you went into a County Road frame of mind and became the sterotypical Bitter. Your final comments were so abysmal that you blew your attempt at reason and just became another "as long as the Reds****e don't win anything" fluffer. Sad! Get in the pathetic corner with McNulty.

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  • 172. At 00:08am on 27 Jan 2009, staygold wrote:

    I've not read the comments but this may have been covered, but to describe Jagielka as a player who "knows his limits and performs outstandingly well within them" is hugely patronising.

    No way would you say those words about Jamie Carragher (despire his Cryuff turn at the weekend).

    You imply that Jagielka is a "stopper". A player who breaks up attacks and is generally negative. That he knows this and doesn't get ideas above his station.

    Well so what? Good players stick to what they're good at. John Terry doesn't trouble many defenders (even at corners these days) and again I say, you wouldn't level that accusation against him. Pure snobbery.

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  • 173. At 01:20am on 27 Jan 2009, EnglandJohn77 wrote:

    if everton started the season a bit better they would of been up there with manu and liverpool now or even higher!

    playing far too many in defence tho

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  • 174. At 04:02am on 27 Jan 2009, gsmc21 wrote:

    Everton did a great job in defending to grind out two consecutive draws. But they would have lost both encounters had Liverpool been more creative and clinical ... Apart from Gerrard and Alonso, the Liverpool players are under-performing, again.

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  • 175. At 08:05am on 27 Jan 2009, IberianBlue wrote:

    It's really very simple:

    Liverpool: equal top of league, full squad to choose from, playing at home, spent millions on players. Expectation: a resounding victory in both league and cup.

    Everton: back on course after poor start, six would-be starters out (arguably including our five best, defence aside), small resources (to even loan over Jan): Expectation: get most out of game possible and hope for injuries to return.

    Winner? Moyes.

    I've always liked and looked out for LFC in past, due to family ties (both playing and supporting).

    Rafa is rapidly changing that. As are the host of fans in his image or think he can do no wrong and have almost as mnay excuses.

    Decent reds I know respect EFC's achievements and that they're - on a different scale - probably more notable than most of LFC's recently. Coincidentally, they also doubt Rafa's up to the job. I'd have to agree.

    LFC is famous for a string of revolutionary, charismatic, gentlemanly and stylish managers. Benithez disgraces them all.

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  • 176. At 08:22am on 27 Jan 2009, redhairdontcare wrote:

    Just as a matter of interest .... in the first game after Gerrard had scored to make it 1 - 0 , didn't Beneathus take his 2 strikers off and replace them with midfielders in order to " batten down the hatches " ? .. So it's ok for him to go into defensive mode because he FAILED ? but because Everton defended with relative success then the toys are launched out of the pram ! :) If you want to borrow a biro Rafa .. Let us know , ..... sign on he dotted line ASAP :)

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  • 177. At 09:15am on 27 Jan 2009, danschmidt wrote:

    TO aries22

    Fair point mate. I just get fed up with Liverpool being lauded when actually I would rank them with, and no disrespect meant to any team, the Stokes and Boltons of this world. They are not exciting to watch in any way. As mentioned a million times in this debate alone, who in the Liverpool side would you pay money to watch? You not going to pay to see Dossena, Arbeloa, Benayoun etc are you. They have 5 exciting players in Gerrard, Torres, Alonso, Babel and Carragher. That is it.

    They will be extremely lucky to win ANYTHING.

    As many people have mentioned, the only match they looked class in was the Newcastle one.

    I am a United fan and I am not saying that we have hit the heights of last season, but lets face it, our football is a darn sight better than the 'Pools is.

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  • 178. At 09:24am on 27 Jan 2009, Neil Anderson wrote:

    Gerrardswhiskers:

    Good to see another regular from the league joining in on the discussion.

    I think that you know Everton fans would not be happy if Everton played like this in every game, but due to the current crisis at the club which was on exasserbated with the late withdrawal of Arteta we had little option.

    I think there are many happy Evertonians because of two reasons. Firstly, we are recognising that the management team are doing a great job and the team are playing well in the roles they have been given. Any fan/supporter needs to back their players when they do a job well and give encouragement. Secondly, this is Evertonians seeing that Liverpudlians are getting seriously urinated off at Everton frustrating their current campaign (even if it is just for a few weeks of the year). The loss of two more points after Rafa's Rant and then forcing an additional game just when the players could do with a midweek off.

    In the replay we should hopefully have Fellanini & Arteta back. we would therefore expect it to be a little more attacking.

    Don't be expecting an all out offensive though as we still have only 1 half fit recognised striker. But it could be a little more open and chances for both teams. It might also have a bit more passion as both matches this month have lacked that.

    BRING BACK THE TRANSFER FORUM CAMPAIGN STARTS HERE!!!!!

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  • 179. At 10:01am on 27 Jan 2009, biglouie2008 wrote:

    Ref 164 - "Everton's 'renaissance' summed up by "TWO DRAWS"!!! Nothing funnier than an Evertonian's low expectations. God knows how back to back victories would be greeted."

    Actually its summed up by 5 wins and 3 draws in their last 8 whilst missing their 3 best strikers, 10 goals scored and only 2 conceeded. When compared with their dismal start to the season, yes this could be considered a renaissance. And before the first Liverpool game, 4 victories in a row had been greeted with quiet optimism.

    "The small time mentality of greeting a lucky draw like a cup final victory shows how low Everton have sunk."

    Even if you think Everton were lucky, surely you'll have to admit that it was 2 lucky draws? Which starts to imply something more substantial than luck.

    "After the replay, in which Everton will surely try to have a shot on our goal, you may find, McNulty, that your over the top assessment of EFC's 'renaissance' will be in need of some revision. "

    In the first game Everton had 6 shots on target and Liverpool only had 2!

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  • 180. At 10:32am on 27 Jan 2009, Eddy Cordoza wrote:

    Quite a bit of stick on here, for Jagielka being labeled a 'limited' player, although i interpret it as a compliment. He's paid to defend and that's what he has been doing this season - magnificently, by all accounts. He doesn't pass the ball as well as Ferdinand or score the goals of Lescott and he's not the most comfortable defender in possession, but like Jamie Carragher he defends like his life depends on it and he does it VERY well.

    Actually, perhaps calling Carragher a 'limited defender' is unfair after his Cruyff turn and shot in the first half!


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  • 181. At 10:39am on 27 Jan 2009, fab-ulus wrote:

    What a great tactical insight.
    They're a bit defensive that Everton.
    5 mins of my life, I wish I could sue for.

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  • 182. At 10:53am on 27 Jan 2009, hackerjack wrote:

    Everton's resurgence in reduced circumstances has gone almost unnoticed amid the switches of fortune in the title race and the managerial spats across Stanley Park

    --------

    Sorry but that's absolute Twaddle, every major news outlet have had articles each week on how Everton are succeeding without any strikers and what a wonderful job golden-boy Moyes is doing.

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  • 183. At 11:18am on 27 Jan 2009, Manno wrote:

    I didn't really understand Rafa Benitez's problem with Everton's tactics. It's typical for teams outwith the top 4 to play 4-5-1 at Anfield, Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford and the Emirates; plus it's been well publicised that Everton only had one fit striker, in Victor Anichebe. The replay is hardly going to be any different, Fellouaini and Arteta will be back, but I'm sure Yakubu, Saha and Vaughan will still be on the sidelines.

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  • 184. At 11:20am on 27 Jan 2009, ga33aw wrote:

    Liverpool were awful again it was a fantastic game to watch because it was full of mistakes, Mascherano needs shooting for the amount of diving he was doing it was ridiculous. Liverpool is a 3 player team and if one of them 3 aint performing they aren't a team that works. I think 3rd would be what they should hope for this season because luck will run out and the last min equalisers will stop coming.

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  • 185. At 11:27am on 27 Jan 2009, Bangforyourbuck wrote:

    Also, Rafa's short-term memory loss is astounding, having forgotten how Liverpool played against Arsenal at the Emirates. When Arsenal went down to 10 men Liverpool should have caught the scent of blood and went for the win, instead he was more concerned about consolidating what he had and going back to Merseyside with a point.

    That is not a title-winning mentality.

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  • 186. At 11:36am on 27 Jan 2009, Parag wrote:

    You r correct aobut benitez... he is obviously crying sour grapes...

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  • 187. At 11:50am on 27 Jan 2009, timwebber wrote:

    I was annoyed with Liverpool's performance after Monday night's game. We were dreadful, particularly Riera, who was at fault for Everton's goal.

    However, on Sunday, we were by far the better team and deserved to win comfortably. I simply can't see Everton riding their luck for much longer: I wouldn't be surprised if we won the replay by quite a few goals.

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  • 188. At 1:12pm on 27 Jan 2009, Helmslee wrote:

    The Kop's famous banner "Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent" no longer applies to LFC.

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  • 189. At 3:14pm on 27 Jan 2009, kevthered83 wrote:

    Im a man utd fan and I love nothing more than having a pop at liverpool, Raffa, and the over ambitious Kopites, but I must say I feel this praise of Everton's tactics is ridiculous.

    i dont disagree with there tactics, they have to do what works for them, but we should not be praising and encouraging this type of tactic as it kills games. I for 1 was looking forward to a merseyside derby, but it was very dull and negative.

    The same thing happened when we went to Goodison. Again, it worked, it earned them a point so fair play to them, but to call it heroic and tactical genius is a step to far. The defensive play will continue, it will earn teams valuable points, but it is not good to watch, so should not be endorsed.

    Also, a few years ago Everton complained when Benitez referred to them as a small club. They are really not doing much to argue against that with performances like that.

    So to sum up my point, please dont use blog space encouraging such negative tactics!!!

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  • 190. At 3:48pm on 27 Jan 2009, Obaydah Al-Namer wrote:

    TOMKINS: PROOF OF PROGRESSION
    Paul Tomkins 26 January 2009
    I don't think there have been many more one-sided derbies since Ian Rush scored four.
    paul tomkins

    Although Liverpool have won a fair few local clashes fairly heavily in the recent past, and lost one too, possession has surely never been so dominated by one side. I half-expected David Moyes to ask Rafa, 'Can we have the ball back, Mr?'

    Admittedly there weren't too many saves by their goalkeeper, bar one incredible stop to atone for an incredible blunder, but fair play to Lescott and Jagielka for blocking almost everything in a game of attack versus defence. Those two were outstanding, albeit aided by virtually every outfield player dropping deep.

    Liverpool kept moving the ball, using the width with intelligence and trying to draw out their neighbours, but it wasn't so much that they parked the bus as brought the entire depot and lined them up like an Evel Knievel stunt. While Liverpool attacked and attacked, it's almost impossible to get in behind teams if they play that way.

    I'm also not sure I buy this hard-luck story of Everton having no strikers; if they choose to play muscular target-man Anichebe on the wing, that's their problem. It's a bit like Liverpool playing Kuyt on the wing with every other striker injured and complaining of having no fit centre-forwards. When Torres was out, Kuyt ended up back up front, naturally.

    In terms of footballing class, there was a gulf. The gulf in attitude and expectations was also seen in how the visiting fans celebrated a draw like a win, even though they'd thrown away the lead. Part of their glee was knowing that the Reds did not need a replay, with the Premiership and Champions League to seriously contest. So their glee pleased me, in a perverse way, as it was a little hollow.

    Thankfully Liverpool usually do better at Goodison, where the home team cannot rely on such negative (but clearly effective) tactics. Being a Cup game, the Blues might be even more hyped up, but that could help the Reds find some space in behind. Everton will almost certainly play better, but by making a game of it, they could play into the hands (or feet) of Torres and Gerrard.

    Everton actually remind me a bit of Liverpool from the early part of this decade when visiting big clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, and in Europe, Roma and Barcelona.

    It's testament to how far Liverpool have come that they no longer need to go to such places and get ten men behind the ball in ultra-negative fashion and hope for one moment of lightning to strike.

    The problem with that Liverpool set-up was how to take it to the next level. It's very hard to spring from a side that is hard to beat to one that can genuinely challenge for trophies – something Everton have yet to do.

    And while Liverpool have drawn a few games too many of late, that is a transition that I believe the Reds have been making well in the past two years. It's not quite perfected yet, but it's getting there.

    Only time will tell if this recent run is the kind of 'slump' where a team usually loses three out of four-or-so games; if this is the Reds' dodgy spell, then those draws are better than defeats, and a sign of progress. If it is a greater trend, then that would obviously be more of a worry. But all teams have bad days, and Liverpool don't seem to get beat on theirs.

    While I have a lot of respect for Houllier (who did a great job in his first three years), I currently see a Liverpool team improving in its overall output under Benítez, to one that had really fallen off the pace in the last two years under his predecessor.

    Whereas the Liverpool team, and overall squad, weakened after a peak in 2002 (with the replacement of McAllister, Fowler, Anelka, Barmby, Ziege, Redknapp, Berger and a few other established senior players with inferior talents), this one continues to look stronger.

    Every team will have its lulls on a short-term basis, but Liverpool are now one of the most feared teams in Europe and flying high domestically. The difference was that at this stage in 2002-03 and 2003-04 the Reds were off the pace by 10-20 points, and both times suffered very poor seasons in Europe. If this is not a sign of progress, I don't know what is.

    While Houllier signed some great defensive players (in particular Didi Hamann and the indefatigable Sami Hyypia), his attacking signings didn't work out so well. Harry Kewell could, and perhaps should have been a bargain, but he was just never fit long enough. That was just bad luck.

    Perhaps this failing of Houllier's is natural; it's far harder to find top-class offensive talent, and I can list loads of attacking midfield and striking flops signed by Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger in the last decade or so.

    (For the record I'll name just a few: Veron, Kleberson, Bellion, Forlan and, it could be argued, Nani; at Arsenal: Wreh, Diawara, Mendez, Boa Morte, Reyes and the woeful Franny Jeffers. But once you get just one right, you can be set for a number of years.)

    But between 2002 and 2004, Liverpool never made the step up to a really potent all-round team, in particular due to a lack of top attacking talents.

    Back then, Liverpool, like Everton, relied on defending in numbers while a gutsy little forward punched above his weight. But before he even got his feet under the table, Benítez lost Owen, the one guaranteed source of goals, and instead inherited the talented but erratic (and expensive) Djibril Cissé.

    So in four years, he has had to totally overhaul that side of the Reds' game. By contrast, at the point Benítez arrived, Ferguson already had Ronaldo and Rooney. He also had Giggs and Scholes, so the majority of his attacking talent was already in place, as were Ferdinand and Neville at the back. Already playing catch-up, Benítez had to start from scratch.

    He went for Peter Crouch and Craig Bellamy, two reasonably cheap players who have recently moved on for lots of money. Neither was a total success at Liverpool, but Crouch was certainly a good buy in every sense: playing well, and making the club a very tidy profit. However, once Torres arrived, neither was going to play as much football, and rather than be substitutes they took their chances elsewhere.

    However, in Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Albert Riera, Benítez has added skilful Spaniards with real class and vision. These are top-class technical footballers who are a joy to watch, without being prima donnas.

    Luis Garcia was another attacking success; not the most consistent performer, but you can never argue with the important goals he scored and how he made things happen.

    Dirk Kuyt is a bit similar in terms of output and important goals, if very different in style; not especially prolific as a striker, his goals and assists from the right flank have made him a positive attacking acquisition.

    Kuyt's game is that of a 'wide-midfielder', ie a solid type of player who does well at both ends of the pitch, rather than a 'winger', who is usually a skilful player who only excels going forward; making Kuyt more of a Ljungberg than a Pires. I feel Kuyt suffers by comparison with the world's silkiest wingers, but most teams tend to balance a winger on one flank with a more industrious type on the other, such as Park Ji-Sung at Manchester United.

    I also feel that Ryan Babel has been hit-and-miss rather than anything like approaching a flop, but he's fallen behind Riera in the pecking order.

    Some fringe players will need to play every week to find their rhythm and gain the confidence to show their true quality. But that will not be possible, by nature of their role, and the limitations placed on them by those established in the team. Dipping in and out of the side is not ideal to help them flourish; but if you don't have the likes of Babel and Lucas – young internationals with major footballing nations – then you don't have cover, and therefore can't rest players or deal with injuries.

    But it's not just Rafa's signings that have improved the attacking side of the Reds' game. While Steven Gerrard is simply a great natural talent who has improved with age, Benítez has also helped him treble his seasonal goal tallies and redefined his role.

    All of these players are still at a good age. The same is true of Benítez's key defensive signings: Reina, Agger, Skrtel, Arbeloa and Mascherano, with Insua vying to add himself to that list.

    So I see no correlation whatsoever between now and what went wrong a few years ago, when the best players, bar Gerrard and Carragher, were either on their way out of the door, or in their 30s.

    This squad has a far better balance in terms of quality in every position and also age. It has a better mentality, too, with less 'flighty' types.

    So my fear remains that some impatient fans (particularly with United on 17 league titles) would want the baby thrown out with the bath water if, despite progressing, the Reds fall a little short come May. For me, there are more similarities with Shankly's Liverpool than Houllier's, but even so, neither pattern is predetermined to be repeated.

    This is a new team, in a new era, heading into new and unknown territory: the future.

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  • 191. At 4:09pm on 27 Jan 2009, Kromkamp David wrote:

    I don't think you're allowed to post web addresses here, but visit a website called transfermarkt (sic). It has a section which lists the premiership clubs in order of total value of their senior squads. Liverpool are third almost 100 million less than United and Chelsea and Everton are 7th a further 140 million back.

    Liverpool are joint top of the premiership with one club who's squad is vastly more expensive and above another who's squad's total value is also far in excess of their own and they've beaten both these clubs this season. Liverpool have also challenged for Europe and domestic cups practically every season since Benitez has arrived.

    Everton lie 6th in the table, just one place above where you'd expect them to be judging by the value of their squad, have been poor in Europe and rarely get to the latter stages of domestic cups.

    It seems to me it's Rafa Benitez and Liverpool who are punching above their weight consistently.

    Everton's defence on Sunday actually cost more than Liverpool's.

    I actually think Moyes has done a good job at Everton but let's not blow their achievements out of proportion. Moyes deserves no more credit than Pulis, Zola, Brown and Hodgson for the two draws they got at Anfield. In fact, all bar one of those clubs was far more positive than Everton were on Sunday evening.

    Of course, Benitez and Liverpool falling apart is the story of the moment so I can understand the angle taken by a lot of the media. Against Stoke and Everton (in the league), Liverpool were awful. There was a marked improvement on Sunday evening though. I thought it was one of the most one-sided derbies I've ever seen and the gulf in quality between the two sides was pretty obvious. We created 3 fantastic opportunities besides the goal Gerrard scored and 19 times out of 20 that would be enough to win the game.

    The Liverpool players deserve more praise for their efforts on Sunday in my opinion.

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  • 192. At 4:20pm on 27 Jan 2009, Obaydah Al-Namer wrote:

    read #191

    spot on mate

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  • 193. At 7:20pm on 27 Jan 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Following the interesting comments from 191.......... I had to go and look at this transfer valuation site, but when you look at the valuations given to individual players Perhaps I am missing something but I am not sure how seriously you can take the information.

    For example Michael Ballack, now aged 32, came to Chelsea on a free and his contract expires at the end of this season, therefore he can leave on a free. Yet his market valuation on this site is close to 27m GBP........

    I don't think so!

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  • 194. At 7:24pm on 27 Jan 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    191...

    Interestingly enough though, on the same site it also lists expenditure on players in 2008/2009 and of the premiership clubs, Liverpool proudly sit second, only behind Man City.

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  • 195. At 7:40pm on 27 Jan 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Apologies 191.........

    but the website you referred to in support of your comments has really got me going now.

    I have just been looking at the net expenditure on players over the last four years by Liverpool, Man U and Chelsea.

    Admittedly, the data does not take players wages into consideration and it should, but nevertheless the results are as follows:

    1. Liverpool - GBP 128m
    2. Man U - GBP 126m
    3. Chelsea - GBP 103m

    Perhaps this explains the tension between Rafa and his erstwhile empolyers.

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  • 196. At 11:36pm on 27 Jan 2009, stecar18 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 197. At 00:45am on 28 Jan 2009, bornabluedieablue wrote:

    I distinctly remember when the reds**** played Chelsea in the ECL at home they played 11 men behind the ball all through the game and stole a win with a disputed goal. The Fat waiter has bought 44 players in his reign and is still trying to catch United.
    The problem with Kopites is you are bitter cos Man U are now top dogs and you are gonna be left in their wake again. Give Benitez the cheque book so he can buy more dross. he's doing a great job. SAF must be laughing his head off. If Everton had Gerrard and Torres we would challenge for the EPL. Thanks to all the kopites for their 5 minute silence after Lescott scored

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  • 198. At 08:54am on 28 Jan 2009, Kromkamp David wrote:

    norapeti,

    You're missing the point. The total value of the squad shows how much money has been spent in total on the squad. Ferguson has been at United for over 20 years, Benitez joined Liverpool in 2004. It's hardly surprising Rafa is going to need to spend more than Ferguson in order to catch up.

    If Stoke spend 70 million pounds next summer and United spend 50 million, do you think Stoke should finish above United?!?! Obviously you wouldn't because they're starting from a lower base.

    Liverpool have come a long way under Rafa. Look at the odds for us winning the premiership and the champions league now, in comparison to when Houllier left the club.

    According to your figures, we've only spent 2 million more than United in the last four years. 2 million more than a team who were regularly challenging and winning the premiership and a force in Europe. We finished 4th the season before Benitez took over, a position I think we achieved on the last day of the season.

    I'm not saying Benitez is perfect, he makes mistakes and has made some poor signings but overall I think he's done an excellent job. If we win tonight we'll go level on points with the leaders. We topped a tough group in the champions league. We've, so far, only lost two games all season in all competitions and only a single league game.

    The fact people are questioning the manager's ability when we're second in the league and comfortably into the knockout stages of the champions league in itself is a sign of great progress in my opinion.

    Like I said before, considering the overall value of each squad, I'd Liverpool and Everton are just about where you'd expect them to be. As are United.

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  • 199. At 09:31am on 28 Jan 2009, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    to 198........

    I am not sure if you are correct that the value shows how much has been spent on the squad. As I mentioned earlier, according to this website Michael Ballack is valued at close to GBP 27m yet Chelsea got him on a free. (not his wages of course), but his valuation does not support your claim that the figures show money spent to buy players.

    But I am not questioning Benitez ability, in the past few seasons he has mostly out thought my own team Chelsea, although I think he is too cautious at times. I just think your club's spending over the past four or five years means you can no longer use lack of funds as an argument for not winning the league, and instead perhaps accept that at least some of the purchases made over recent seasons have not been too clever. Torres being the obvious acception of course.

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  • 200. At 10:04am on 28 Jan 2009, AmamusAmatusAmant wrote:

    Can we close this blog now? It's becoming quite tedious and diversifying to much.

    Let's open a new blog in a week or so to discuss the Everton v Villa cup tie.

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  • 201. At 12:27pm on 28 Jan 2009, stflfc44 wrote:

    It's a sad day for football and for the Merseyside Derby in particular when so many people applaud Everton's 90min defensive, park the bus mentality. I remember going to some great Derby's in the 80's where it didn't matter who was at home, both teams went for that vital win that would give them the braggin rights on Monday morning. It used to be end to end, full of passion attacking play that excited everyone and made shelling out for a golden derby ticket worth every penny. Now I have bluenoses in my face, celebrating like they have won the league, cheering the fact they managed to contribute nothing for 90mins apart from getting Cahill free for one corner!!! I know many of you will say it's up to Liverpool to break them down and what else can Everton do....but for cryin out loud it's the Derby....am I alone in thinking what a sad couple of derby games I have just watched? I still would have felt cheated had Kuyt burried that late chance as I get no entertainment out of watchin one team pass the ball around in midfield for 180 mins whilst the other team huffs and puffs trying to stop us!! Those bitters cheering nothing should hang their heads in shame!!!!

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