After the twists and turns and finally joy of Liverpool’s week off the pitch, the club’s problems continued on the pitch as Everton comfortably beat the Reds 2-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
New owners John Henry and Thomas Werner of New England Sports Ventures were at the game, but the football wasn’t a pretty sight, not for the Reds anyway.
Glen Johnson was missing from the Reds squad today, amid speculation linking him with January move to Juventus. Christian Poulsen and Dirk Kuyt were also out, but Paul Konchesky and Fernando Torres had recovered from injury to start.
It was a firey game throughout with challenges going in from all angles. Liverpool saw Raul Meireles, Maxi Rodriguez and Torres all booked and Meireles looked increasingly frustrated as the game went on. The Portugese midfielder started in his preferred central role for the first time and got forward to provide some shots on goal in the second half.
A battling run from Seamus Coelman allowed him to play in a low cross which Liverpool’s defence completely misjudged. Tim Cahill took advantage to give the Toffees the lead in the 34th minute.
Their lead was doubled just five minutes into the second half when Mikel Arteta was left unmarked on the edge of the box from a corner, firing in a rocket of a shot past an unsighted Pepe Reina.
The Reds did have one chance late on – Torres’ strike saved by Tim Howard, but there was little else to shout about in Everton‘s penalty area.
The result leaves Liverpool 19th in the Premier League table, well and truly staring a relegation fight in the face, with only 6 points from a possible 24.
These are dark days on the pitch for Roy Hodgson’s men and questions must be asked. After the game Hodgson insisted Liverpool’s passing and movement was good, something many would debate, and claimed his side controlled the game in the second half – something that only was true once Everton were two goals ahead and sat back.
Line-ups and Substitutions
Everton: Howard, Baines, Heitinga (Hibbert 72), Jagielka, Distin, Neville, Coleman, Arteta (Beckford 74), Cahill, Osman (Bilyaletdinov 46), Yakubu.
Substitutes: Mucha, Hibbert, Shkodran Mustafi, Bilyaletdinov, Beckford, Magaye Gueye, Baxter.
Liverpool: Reina, Konchesky, Kyrgiakos, Carragher, Skrtel, Raul Meireles, Gerrard, Cole (Babel 79), Maxi (Jovanovic 84), Lucas (Ngog 71), Torres.
Substitutes: Jones, Aurelio, Kelly, Spearing, Jovanovic, Babel, Ngog.
Ref: H Webb