Everton can still take a lot of positives from this campaign, while Liverpool's win confirms their status as a team built for the cup
According to the lazy man’s research tool, Wikipedia, a physical law is ‘a theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present’.
Although plenty of research has been undertaken into the physical laws governing motion, energy and other sciencey stuff, very few people have looked at the physical laws governing football. And by few I mean none.
If any sciencey people out-there would like to redress this dearth of research then a good place to start would be my contention that an apparent physical law exists which determines that within the confines of Wembley it is impossible for any Everton side to ever beat Liverpool in the FA Cup.
As evidence I present the 1986 FA Cup Final, the 1989 FA Cup Final and last of all, the horror that was today’s FA Cup semi-final.
On three separate occasions, the dreaded S***e have met us at the hallowed home of English football and come away as victors.
Now, students of football history could point to the fact that on those first two occasions Liverpool went into the game as both favourites and technically (just) the better side. But although there is some truth in that, this could not be said of today’s game.
Since the turn of the year Liverpool have been unmitigated s***e, with a run of form that puts them in the bottom three. By contrast, Everton have been one of the teams of 2012, taking plenty of points from our league fixtures and also some big scalps along the way.
Ignoring the past and dismissing thoughts of the S***e’s infallibility in derbies, an objective analysis could point to the strong possibility of an Everton win today.
Liverpool just seemed likely to score. And from the goal onwards that continued to be the case.
And for a time that seemed on the cards. In a relatively uneventful first half, Everton were the stronger side. So much so, that Jelavic’s goal was deserved. Although it might have arisen from a farcical defensive error by the Liverpool’s centre-halves, it was still a good finish by Jelavic, something that you can’t imagine Saha or Yakubu doing with such aplomb in a blue shirt.
All Everton had to do then was contain the S***e in the second-half. And yet, from the kick-off we let them dictate the play. Liverpool came out full of energy and were it not for the inability of ‘human-heading-machine’ Andy Carroll to actually head the ball with precision, they would have been level not long after the break.
Although Suarez’s eventual equalizer arose from a catastrophic defensive error, it has a sense of inevitability about it. Liverpool just seemed likely to score. And from the goal onwards that continued to be the case.
This being the S***e though, they had to leave it until the dying minutes to bag the winner; what better way to maximise the pain? As soon as the free-kick was whipped into the box I just knew the ball would find its way into the back of the net.
Overall Everton didn’t play to the best of their ability (reliant for too often on long-balls). But then neither did Liverpool. And so, taking into account all the evidence from the past I’m left with the belief that we are simply physically incapable of beating Liverpool at Wembley in the FA Cup. Something that I think a scientist with a football bent should have a look into.
But despite today’s misery, us Evertonians should not be too down hearted. This was never going to be an easy season for us. Back in the summer the absence of significant investment at the club restricted us to loan deals rather than transfers. And so to put together a decent cup-run and find ourselves where we are in the league at this point in the season should be something to be proud of.
We’ve also managed to acquire something that has been missing from the squad for a long-time, namely a proper centre-forward. Jelavic seems at the moment to be the answer to Evertonian’s prayers, a player who can score and work hard for the rest of the team. This is no idle lump like Yakubu or Saha.
To put together a decent cup-run and find ourselves where we are in the league at this point in the season should be something to be proud of.
And we should also take some comfort from Liverpool’s season too. Most clubs would be delighted by the prospect of ending the season with two cups. But of course, as red-s***s will endlessly tell you, Liverpool are not ‘most clubs’. They are a team who their supporters believe should be challenging for both the title and the Champions League season in-season out (mired as they are in the mind-set of past decades).
This time round, Dalglish actually looks like doing something quite remarkable; finishing lower than last season, despite enormous financial outlay. That does not suggest a team that is undergoing a re-building process but rather one undergoing a stagnating process.
It also confirms to me that Liverpool have, whether intentionally or not, turned themselves into a cup team. Over the past twenty-two years, despite collecting League Cups, UEFA Cups and FA Cups here and there, they have barely been a factor in the league, only really giving the eventual Champions a run-for-their-money on a couple of occasions. They are essentially Spurs in the eighties.
So to sum up:
1) There was nothing Everton could do about today, largely because of physical laws beyond our control.
2) It’s still been quite a good season for the blue-half of the city.
3) Liverpool might end the season with two trophies but they remain in essence a cup team who possess a squad that leaves them light-years away from success in the league.
And that’s how I manage to get to sleep at night.
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