Liverpool have equalled their best ever Premier League start after beating Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Derbies are usually horrible, tense games to watch. Neither side usually wants to give an inch to the opposition as local bragging rights are at stake and the first half was a turgid half of football.
There were no real surprises to either team’s starting sides. From the start Liverpool looked to control possession and impose themselves on the game but never really created anything. There were hardly any chances for either team in the first half. Cahill failed to connect from Arteta’s corner when he had a good chance to score and Fellaini blasted straight at Carragher when he had beaten Reina, but that was about it for a goalless first half.
Mike Riley once again showed his talent to ruin every game he officiates by stopping the game any time two players went near each other, he gave 22 fouls in the first half, despite there not really being any notable fouls.
In the second half Liverpool controlled the game again. Yakubu was rightly booked for a needless dive when he had already beaten Skrtel. Torres was looking frustrated by the rough treatment he was getting from the Everton defence and was booked for dissent.
Liverpool’s breakthrough came when Riera tackled Arteta and Alonso released Keane down the left channel with a ball that took out two defenders, Keane crossed and Kuyt made a run forcing Lescott to follow him across goal, Osman failed to track back leaving Torres unmarked in the middle who volleyed home. Liverpool got their second three minutes later when a good move resulted in a ball being played into Kuyt, who was tackled well by Jagielka but the ball fell to Torres who made no mistake.
Liverpool should have had a third, Dossena’s cross fell to Torres who blasted home from an acute angle only for the hapless Riley to disallow the goal for a phantom push from Kuyt. Everton’s fans started streaming out and the atmosphere deflated around Goodison Park, with only Liverpool’s fans audible.
The final nail in the coffin for Everton came with ten minutes to go, when Cahill was sent off for a foul on Alonso. It was not a red-card tackle but the challenges of Kevin Davies and Emmanuel Pogatetz last week laid the groundwork for this dismissal, as it was the trailing leg that did the damage. Cahill won’t have helped himself, with regards to an appeal, by walking away from the referee before receiving his card. Liverpool took it easy for the last ten minutes and even though Saha flashed a shot just wide, Reina never had to make a save all game and Liverpool got a comfortable win.
I was pleased with the performance today. We moved the ball around well and even though we created nothing in the first half we always looked the most likely team to score. Keane worked his socks off today and looks to be settling in. I’m sure the goals will come soon. Torres was outstanding in the second half and hopefully will push on and be as successful this season as he was last.
Our defence was excellent throughout, Everton have not kept a clean sheet this season an d have now lost all three of their home games and they looked like they were happy to play for a 0-0 draw.
This was a huge win for us today and I think we must be considered for the title this season. We’ve got a tough game against Man City next Sunday but first we host PSV Eindhoven in the Champions league on Wednesday.