Post match quotes – Liverpool v Everton

Post match quotes from interviews on Sky Sports.

Steven Gerrard: "The game could have been a lot easier if Milan Baros had taken his chances but unfortunately he missed them and was later sent off. But as a defensive unit we defended like lions. Everything went wrong with injuries in the first half but we stuck together and ground it out. We dominated the game to get 2-0 ahead – but then there was hard work. I always enjoy playing and scoring for Liverpool and it was nice to get my 10th goal of the season – we knew nothing else would do other than the three points. I’m captain of this club so I’ll take criticism – some of it is a little bit unfair but I’ll take it on the chin and get on with it."

Jamie Carragher: "We’ve taken a lot of stick this season and I think a lot of people wanted Everton to win today. But it was a massive game for us and psychologically it will give us a big lift."

Rafael Benitez : "I’m delighted for the players, for the supporters and for the club – it’s a fantastic victory. We knew it was important to get the three points for the confidence of the team and to win in front of your own supporters is also important. It’s difficult to be consistent without all the squad fit, but we’ve put pressure on Everton – and we’ll try to do it in the next game."

David Moyes: "It definitely wasn’t three minutes – and I think we played three minutes to the second – I can’t believe it. But I’ve got to say I thought Liverpool were very good in the first half. They put us under pressure, which we knew would happen, but we didn’t get a lot of protection or the decisions that matter to us. But they probably deserved the win on their first-half performance."
Continue reading Post match quotes – Liverpool v Everton

Report: Liverpool 2 Everton 1.

Liverpool’s season has been full of inconsistencies. Outstanding Champions League performance stick in the mind as much as dire League performances.

Today though was a day where Liverpool showed anybody who’s interested that they should not be fighting for fourth place.

Liverpool went into the game with a long injury list. Chris Kirkland, Sinama Pongolle, Alonso, Mellor, Kewell, Cisse, Traore. Now add Warnock, Hamman and Morientes, who all went off injured in the first half, and Luis Garcia who was forced to carry on with an injury for 45 minutes because Liverpool had no subs left.

Liverpool dominated the first half. They played with style and purpose, and by the end of the first half Everton had managed only one shot on goal – not on target – to Liverpool’s 11.

In the second-half, with Garcia unable to perform well for at least 30 minutes, Liverpool needed character – particularly when Milan Baros was sent off.

At the heart of the dominance of the first half and the character of the second were local lads Carragher and Gerrard. Captain Gerrard, a life-long red, said after the game he loves playing and scoring for Liverpool, and it was his goal that opened the scoring. Carragher meanwhile marshalled the defenders, playing a captain’s role within the back five. It would be difficult to find two more committed players in any game than those two.

Carragher’s future at Anfield has seemed under threat repeatedly during his career – as central midfielder to start with when he made his debut, he was too far down the pecking order for a regular place. He was later played at centre-half in the 3-5-2 days, before having spells as full back – on both sides – for quite some time. Carragher has been under threat from Henchoz, Babbel, Ziege – all of whom have now left, and Finnan, Riise and Hyypia, who all perhaps get picked after Jamie.

In fact Hyypia’s days could be numbered now. Pellegrino was selected by Benitez on Wednesday due to Hyypia suffering from a flu bug. Today he was selected on merit, Benitez preferring the Argentinian to the Finn. And Pellegrino played well, very well, and seems to be setlting in.

Everton struggled to deal with Liverpool and in the end had to resort to smash-and-grab tactics. On came "Big Dunc" to try and unsettle the Liverpool defence. Ferguson managed to foul Carragher, Dudek and Pellegrino, quite forcibly, in addition to pulling the referee back, but somehow escaped a booking. He actually pinned Carragher to the ground during an Everton attack to try and give a team-mate some space.

In the end Everton’s goal was actually a well-taken shot by Cahill, perhaps one of the more impressive Everton players. Everton’s football is not pretty, almost along the lines of Wimbledon North, but Cahill showed that with a little more money maybe Everton could play better football.

Baros was sent off for what look like a genuine attempt to win the ball – albeit what used to be known as a "striker’s tackle". Running at speed, he tried to block the ball cleared by Stubbs, but failed to connect with anything other than Stubb’s leg. For the referee to come running at the speed he did brandishing the card was a little over the top, from a referee that had already let an Everton player off from getting a second yellow card. Allowances need to be made in derby matches, but rarely are these days.

Liverpool succeeded in doing their talking on the pitch today. Their lead and the three points only looked shakey towards the very end of the game – playing with 10 men, one who was injured, with a referee finding it difficult to discipline a rough and tumble Everton team – and with no out-and-out strikers on the pitch. Before that Liverpool were confident, and more than capable of adding to their tally.

The gap to fourth place is still four points. Everton’s goal difference is inferior to Liverpool’s, but Everton still have their destiny in their own hands. There’s an international break coming up again now – which Liverpool always seem to follow with a defeat. Liverpool’s next place is against Bolton, who they replaced in fifth place after today’s win.

A thoroughly deserved win for Liverpool – although Everton will no doubt complain that three minutes stoppage time wasn’t enough at the end – and the huddle from the players at the end showed how much it meant to them.
Continue reading Report: Liverpool 2 Everton 1.

Liverpool 2 Everton 1. Text-summary.

Result:    Liverpool 2 (Gerrard, Luis Garcia)  Everton 1 (Cahill).
                Baros sent off.

Excellent performance by Liverpool, who get into a huddle at the end, as "You’ll never walk alone" rings out around Anfield. If this doesn’t turn Liverpool’s attitudes into a winning attitude until the end of the season then they will never be winners. Playing with 3 players off injured, another one having to stay on injured, then another one sent off. Liverpool played very, very well, but will be glad of the international break to try and fix their wounded team.

90:00 +3:00 It’s all over.
90:00 +2:15 Liv 2 Eve 1. Everton caught offside. Dudek will take his time with the free-kick.
90:00 +1:30 Liv 2 Eve 1. Liverpool holding on, but this is a long 90 seconds remaining.
90:00 +1:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Carragher clears into touch.
90:00 +0:40 Liv 2 Eve 1. Garcia caught offside.
90:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Three minutes to be added.
89:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. How much time will be added on? A Liverpool fan holds on to the ball in the crownd and Moyes goes over to retrieve it.
88:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Hearts racing all round as Everton attack Liverpool’s goal again. Dudek collects the ball to the relief of the reds.
86:50 Liv 2 Eve 1. Ferguson is spoken to by the referee for the fourth time since he came on. Still no card shown.
85:45 Liv 2 Eve 1. Hibbert clatters Smicer. Everton surround the referee, Ferguson tries to pull the referee back. Hibbert booked, linesman on pitch.
84:30 Liv 2 Eve 1. Everton free-kick midway into Liverpool half. Ferguson receives but heads wide.
83:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Ferguson once again gets away with a foul – this time on Jerzy Dudek. Pistone leaves the pitch to be replaced by Steve Watson, Everton’s final change.
82:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Liverpool start to flap, with the gap down to 1 goal, Liverpool with one player less on the pitch, and no substitutions left.
81:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Finnan booked.
81:00 Liv 2 Eve 1. Everton pull one  back – Cahill. Good, well-taken goal, beat Dudek at the near post.
78:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Liverpool now down to nine-and-a-half men. No subs left. No forward on the pitch now as such – the injured Garcia and Smicer – both attacking midfielders really – are the nearest Liverpool have to a striker on the field.
76:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Baros sent off. Baros was trying to block the ball, but running at speed his foot was deemed too high by referee Rob Styles. Alan Stubbs was the player "fouled".
75:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Weir rashly challenges Baros, lucky not to get a second yellow card. Fifteen minutes remain.
74:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Everton get into the Liverpool box, but waste possession eventually with Kilbane’s ball back into the box going out of play.
72:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Pistone and Nunez collide, Liverpool get a free-kick near half-way. Nunez thankfully back on his feet again.
71:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Everton’s first shot on target, from Cahill, saved by Dudek.
70:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Liverpool seem to have got a second-wind now, but the fact remains that Everton are capable of closing the gap. It’s certainly a lively game, even though Dudek has had very little to do so far.
68:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Baros, through on goal again, 1 on 1 with Martyn, did really well, but somehow Martyn finds a way of getting his shoelace to the ball to knock it out for a corner. Corner cleared.
66:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Garcia seems to have shaken off the injury now – or maybe he’s had an injection that’s now kicked in. Carsley penalised for rugby tackle on Biscan.
64:30 Liv 2 Eve 0. Excellent shot from distance by Baros, narrowly over the bar.
63:30 Liv 2 Eve 0. Ferguson spoken to again for throwing his arms into the face of Pellegrino.
62:30 Liv 2 Eve 0. Ferguson penalised for sitting on Carragher in the penalty area.
61:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Excellent run at goal from Nunez, but Stubbs managed to cut it out.
60:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Thirty minutes to go and Liverpool as a team are already starting to look tired. Everton now utilising the "long ball" up to Duncan Ferguson. Liverpool will have a tough half hour now against a physical team in Everton.
57:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Luis Garcia, struggling with injury, is fouled by Cahill, but referee allows play to go on, frustrating Garcia, who gets a talking to from the ref.
55:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Everton substitution. Duncan Ferguson on for Marcus Bent.
51:00 Liv 2 Eve 0 Gerrard shoots at goal, saved by Martyn, although was going narrowly wide.
50:00 Liv 2 Eve 0 Biscan clean through on goal after Everton slip, stumbles and lets Hibbert clear.
49:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Biscan shot deflected off Stubbs, collected by Martyn.
47:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Luis Garcia is on for the second-half, but still looks to be in pain.
45:00 Liv 2 Eve 0. Everton kick-off towards the Kop End.

Second-half. Everton substitution. Joseph Yobo replaced by James Beattie.

Half Time – Liverpool 2 (Gerrard, Luis Garcia) Everton 0.  3 booked for Everton, 4 injured (3 replaced) for Liverpool.

Continue reading Liverpool 2 Everton 1. Text-summary.

Gerrard is going nowhere

Rumours continue to flow around Anfield – as always seems to be the case before a big game. Robbie Fowler was linked with Arsenal an uncountable number of times over the years – and when he went to Leeds there was no prior warning. Michael Owen spent his whole Anfield senior career on the verge of a move somewhere – yet his move to Real was all carried out at the last minute. Even going back a good few years, John Barnes was constantly linked with a move abroad, yet stayed at Anfield for best years of his career, moving infield from the wing as his career was nearing an end.

Steven Gerrard will be linked with Chelsea until he moves to another club, or until another club replaces Chelsea as the richest club in the country. Whether he wants to join them or not, he’ll be linked. If he signs a new contract, there’ll be talk about "get-out clauses" being inserted.

Continue reading Gerrard is going nowhere

Sunday Gossip

Newspaper gossip for Sunday March 20th 2005.

The Sunday Mirror claim that a) Harry Kewell is leaving in the summer, b) Liverpool have launched an investigation into the recent claims from the Ashley Cole enquiry that Steven Gerrard has already signed for Chelsea and c) Chelsea will be charged with an illegal approach for Cole (which means that if point (b) is true they may be charged again.

The News of The World is reporting two stories about Michael Owen. Owen used to be signed to the News of the World during his Liverpool days, although it’s not clear if he spilled the beans himself on these two stories. First of all that he’s joining Chelsea in the summer, and second of all that his wife-to-be has had some "enhancement" carried out in advance of their summer wedding.

Apart from that the Sunday papers are seemingly taking pleasure in linking Friday’s Champions League draw to today’s derby. The angle is basically that Liverpool kept Everton out of Europe after the Heysel disaster, which led to a decline for Everton, and that today’s match might keep Liverpool out of the Champions League next season. Revenge seems to be the implication. One newspaper has managed to find Howard Kendall in a bar and got him to talk about Liverpool keeping him out of Europe. The papers have pounced on this just recently as they do seem to get a kick out of attacking Liverpool wherever possible.

Continue reading Sunday Gossip

Derby build-up – quotes

Some quotes ahead of today’s derby confrontation at Anfield.

Everton manager, David Moyes. "At the moment, it’s a good season for us whatever happens. The last nine games dictate whether it is going to be great, but we are trying to keep the pressure off the players. We’re in a position now where, if we continue to carry on playing for the rest of the season as we have done so far, then it really could prove to be a great season for us. I haven’t said that directly to the players because we just want to go about things as quietly as possible. But it’s there – there are nine games left now and that is the challenge for us. We have risen to the challenge all season and there is no reason we can’t meet the final challenge. We know what victory would mean, and yes a draw would be a fantastic result as well. It is a massive game and really these are the games that you come to Everton for."

Liverpool boss, Rafael Benitez. "I believe we have more quality than Everton, but it is a case of making it count.

Continue reading Derby build-up – quotes

Champions League QF Draw

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW
Quarter-finals:

LIVERPOOL v Juventus

AC Milan v Inter Milan

Lyon v PSV

Chelsea v Bayern Munich

1st legs 5/6 Apr; 2nd legs 12/13 Apr

First team drawn in each game is at home for the first leg, on April 5th and 6th.

Winners of Liverpool v Juventus play winners of Chelsea v Bayern in the semis. So Liverpool and Chelsea would face each other in semis if successful.

Liverpool are facing the side that knocked Real Madrid out of the competition this year.

Continue reading Champions League QF Draw

Liverpool 0 Blackburn 0 – report

Match report to follow…

Liverpool went into this game trying to play down numerous rumours about imminent departures of the manager and the captain. They said they’d do the talking on the pitch and didn’t really want to discuss the rumours.

Unfortunately the talking on the pitch was far too quiet.  Very few shots on goal, practically none on target, and a quite disjointed performance. For 90 minutes Liverpool just did not seem to show any creativity, and without threatening too often it was once again a night where Blackburn always seemed to be capable of winning the game.

Liverpool’s second-half performance was better than their first, but that wouldn’t have taken much. Mark Hughes, former player for both of Liverpool’s biggest rivals Manchester United and Everton, brought a team to play aggressively, defensively, but ready to exploit the counter attack.

Liverpool’s injury problems continued before the game, when Hyypia was forced to sit on the bench due to a stomach upset. Pellegrino stepped in for his fifth appearance of the season – none of which Liverpool have won.

Neither goalkeeper got his gloves dirty tonight, and the scoreless draw was probably the correct result overall.

Liverpool did close the gap on Everton, but the gap is still seven points. David Moyes was probably the only person in the ground to find the match entertaining – he’ll have worked out how to stifle Liverpool, and a draw on Sunday would be ideal for Everton.

Vladimir Smicer reportedly picked up an injury and was replaced at half-time, but his performance was poor enough to suggest he’d have been replaced sooner or later anyway. Riise improved matters for Liverpool as his replacement, but still not enough. Gerrard had a few moments where he threatened to turn the game around, but Morientes and Baros were not on form up front. Luis Garcia again had one of his quiet games and it was yet another "cold" game in Liverpool’s "hot and cold" season.

Ever since the game last week against Leverkusen, the team have been full of hope and confidence – so why can’t they transfer that to the pitch? Unfortunately Liverpool once again showed that they can’t play against teams with a mainly British flavour.

How Liverpool – and the fans – respond to this game is important. Had Baros not wasted a great chance Liverpool would have been ahead, and would probably have won convincingly after that. Everton will be a tough test – against another British manager – but the passion of the fans won’t be in question on Sunday. Tonight they were quiet. Too quiet.

Continue reading Liverpool 0 Blackburn 0 – report