Liverpool 2-2 Everton Match AnalysisPosted: January 16, 2011
As Kenny Dalglish walked out of the tunnel just before kick off in the Merseyside derby there was a sense of hope and expectation around Anfield. Most Liverpool fans (Including myself) had longed for the moment to see ‘The King’ back in a Liverpool Dugout. After a long 18 months of fighting between fans, the divisions seemed to be healed as LFC seemed to be singing from the same Hymn sheet for arguably the first time in several years. You’ll never walk alone was in full swing and Anfield was ready to go.
Dalglish surprisingly handed a start to local lad Jay Spearing despite him being only back from a 4 month layoff with a fractured ankle. They lined up with the same back 4 that got beaten by Blackpool. Maxi came in to the side replacing Milan Jovanovic who is widely expected to move on during the week after a disappointing 6 months at Anfield. There were notable absences from Everton’s side too. Tim Cahill is away with Australia at the Asia cup while Phil Jagielka and Louis Saha were on the treatment table.
The game started well, with Liverpool being the better side. They looked galvanised and it was arguably their best 45 minutes since the Chelsea game at the start of November. Martin Kelly set the tone early in the first half with a barnstorming run down the right wing which could have easily found a red shirt in the box had Everton’s defence been asleep. Moments later, a defensive mistake by Sylvain Distin allowed Fernando Torres to have run at the defence but when he turned his shot agonizingly hit the post and Dirk Kuyt missed the follow up which was blocked by the ever popular Phil Neville.
But, the goal wasn’t too long in coming. In the 25th minute Tim Howard made a quick fire double save but when the ball fell to Raul Meireles he calmly placed the ball into the roof of the net which sent Anfield (and most notably Kenny Dalglish) into ecstasy. They were unlucky not to add a second moments later when Maxi missed from point-blank range. Everton only forced Pepe Reina into one meaningful save for the first 45 minutes and were relieved to go in at the break 1 goal down as David Moyes alluded to in his post match interview.
After the break, Everton turned the match on its head. Most fans weren’t back in their seats when a corner was dubiously given to Everton. The ball came in and the hopeless Martin Skrtel misread the flight of the ball and Distin was on hand to score. Things got much worse for the reds when Skrtel again made a mess of a typical Everton long ball to gift Beckford Everton’s second.
For the majority of the second half Liverpool looked poor and without inspiration until Tim Howard inexplicably fouled Maxi and Phil Dowd (who had a poor afternoon) pointed to the spot. Dirk Kuyt placed the penalty into the bottom corner and the game was back on. The game petered out after that and there was very little to shout about after that. A draw was probably a fair result on reflection but there is feeling of disappointment around Anfield tonight.
Kenny Dalglish faces an almighty battle to keep Liverpool above water. The previous regime of Hicks and Gillett is still evident around L4 and there is no quick fix for this situation. Big money needs to be spent to replace some members of the current squad. Luiz Suarez has been mentioned as a target, as has Steven Warnock. Both of which would prove good acquisitions.
One of the glaring faults of this Liverpool team is that there is very little creativity coming from the Liverpool midfield when Steven Gerrard is absent (And even when he’s there). That has got to be a priority for Kenny in this window, along with some back up to Torres. It is no coincidence that when there was backup in Peter Crouch, Andiry Voronin and a younger Dirk Kuyt, that Torres had his most productive season in a red shirt. A new centre half should (hopefully) be donning the famous red shirt in the next few weeks. It promises to be an interesting 14 days.
There is no doubt that Dalglish is the man for this situation and I believe that if money is spent in this window and when Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard return Liverpool will start moving up the table and back where they belong. It wont be long until King Kenny starts to turn Liverpools season around.