Liverpool vs Everton: Moyes' FA Cup Dreams Lead To Merseyside Misery

Everton have shown they can give the very best a run for their money so they should have had no problem with Liverpool last night. But with an FA Cup quarter-final looming The Toffees rested key men and it cost them.
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Everton have shown they can give the very best a run for their money so they should have had no problem with Liverpool last night. But with an FA Cup quarter-final looming The Toffees rested key men and it cost them.


Liverpool vs Everton: Moyes' FA Cup Dreams Key To Merseyside Disaster

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It might not have the same national importance as it once did, nor engender the same levels of enmity evident in other derbies, but the clash of the Merseyside clubs still matters to the fans involved.

Regardless of the result you can guarantee that the pubs of Liverpool (in the case of Evertonians) or the pubs of Torquay (in the case of Liverpudlians) will be dissecting the ins-and-outs of the game for days to come.

This season’s Klanfield derby arrived at an interesting time for the two clubs. Everton went into it unbeaten in ten games, buoyed up by recent acquisitions and possessed of that all important forward momentum.

By contrast Liverpool‘s season was, judged by their own lofty standards, threatening to end in disappointment. A tacit admission of the failure so far of ‘Project-Dalglish’ was provided by the man himself a few days ago when he asserted that the club’s success this season should be judged not in the conventional sense, by games won and points accrued (as other, more successful teams do), but in a more holistic fashion, by sponsorship deals or number of pies sold (as other, much less successful teams do).

These contrasting fortunes managed to penetrate my deeply ingrained pessimism, leading to the belief that Everton actually had a chance to get a win from the game. And in doing so we would leapfrog our esteemed neighbours, making a mockery of the lavish sums that Dalglish has squandered on his squad of carthorses and racists.

But how wrong I was.

It’s bad enough to lose a derby in the first place, but to do so in this fashion was particularly galling. It’s been a long-time since Liverpool have inflicted such a heavy and comprehensive defeat upon Everton.

It would be soothing to think that the 3-0 score-line flattered our neighbours but that would be a lie. It was a win that (through gritted teeth) they thoroughly deserved.

Everton are usually excellent at closing the opposition down, specifically when playing against the bigger clubs. As wins against City, Chelsea and Spurs have revealed, despite our many limitations we can effectively compete and win at the highest level.

Last night marked the ten year anniversary of David Moyes’ arrival at Everton and so it would have been fitting had the team rewarded this milestone with a victory at a ground where to date Moyes has failed to win.

In light of this, playing a team of Liverpool’s limited ability should have been an easier prospect. And yet we failed to turn up for the game and through our own mistakes gifted them two of the three goals.

Last night marked the ten year anniversary of David Moyes’ arrival at Everton and so it would have been fitting had the team rewarded this milestone with a victory at a ground where to date Moyes has failed to win.

But any attempt to do this was hampered from the start, undermined by Moyes’ choice of the starting eleven. In light of the all important FA cup fixture against Sunderland at the weekend and the fact that our final league position is largely immaterial now, it’s perhaps understandable that our manager would want to rest some of his key players. But this meant that our strongest team did not take to the field at kick-off, with players such as Jelavic, Cahill and Drenthe consigned to the subs bench.

It made Everton particularly weak up-front. I’m fairly sure that the Stracqualursi and Anichebe partnership is not something that the vast majority of Evertonians would want to see again for some time. Both players have their merits but as a strike-force for a team that is hoping to reside in the top-eight of English football, they are woefully underequipped.

By contrast to Moyes, Dalglish opted to put out one of his stronger sides, despite having his own important cup fixture at the weekend; a decision that demonstrates the importance he placed on this fixture. Liverpool’s recent form has been poor (jammy win against Championship fodder in the Carling Cup aside). A defeat last night would have been totemic, adding further credence to the growing belief that perhaps he isn’t the right man to helm the club’s footballing resurrection.

Gerrard’s place in the starting eleven was clearly one of the best decisions of the night. Three goals, two of them to equal the deadliness and quality of any leading forward in the Premiership, is achievement enough. But he also managed to boss the midfield. Whenever he has graced the pitch in recent games he has been surprisingly anonymous. But last night Gerrard revealed the kind of form that makes Evertonians hearts sink.

And he was complemented in this by the permanently-menacing presence of celebrated racist Luis Suarez. He is one of those irritating players who seems dangerous whenever he gets the ball and unsurprisingly had a hand in two of the goals.

Dalglish would probably be better advised to play Carroll as a centre half, reasoning supported by the player’s intermittently impressive defensive moments in the Liverpool eighteen yard-box last night

But despite Liverpool’s commanding performance there are positives that we Evertonians can take from the game.

Gerrard’s advancing age and Suarez’s likely need for Champion’s League football could mean that Liverpool will need to replace these two integral players in the near future. For most managers that would be a tricky task but for a manager with as chequered a transfer history as Dalglish, this will be particularly difficult.

Although compared to a club like Everton, money is less of an issue for Liverpool, in stark contrast to David Moyes, Kenny Dalglish is appalling at buying talent. And no better is this illustrated than with the continuing conundrum that is Andy Carroll.

His selection is effectively a statement of intent, telling everyone that the team will not be averse to using the long-ball and that they have no serious intention of challenging for the league. With him up-front, we Evertonians can be assured that Liverpool are not going to set the Premiership alight anytime soon.

As a red-friend of mine suggested, Dalglish would probably be better advised to play Carroll as a centre half, reasoning supported by the player’s intermittently impressive defensive moments in the Liverpool eighteen yard-box last night.

For Carroll, being an expensive but adequate centre-half is arguably better than his current malaise, which sees him wandering the pitch like the ghost of a 1930s centre-forward, theatrically questioning every decision in a vain attempt to disguise his own ineffectualness.

But all in all, these are small comforts for us Blues. Last night was a horrible experience to sit through and the sight of a happy Dalglish is something that will haunt my dreams for many nights to come.

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