Sunday, October 02, 2011

Match report: Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was the villain in the eyes of Everton fans after he was involved in the sending-off of Jack Rodwell before scoring the second goal in a controversial 216th Merseyside derby victory.

The Uruguay international was berated as a cheat by the majority of Goodison Park - and appeared to have a coin thrown at him - after making the most of Rodwell's sliding tackle midway through the first half.

He also won a penalty - which Dirk Kuyt missed - to add to his growing reputation as Mr Unpopular with the blue half of Merseyside.

Suarez, and the performance of referee Martin Atkinson, somewhat overshadowed Andy Carroll's first Barclays Premier League goal of the season.

His strike was the breakthrough and set his side on the way to victory which Everton had worked so hard for so long to deny their visitors.

The last time Kenny Dalglish left Goodison Park as Liverpool manager more than 20 years ago after a 4-4 FA Cup draw the major story developed two days later when he surprisingly quit citing health problems, brought on partly by the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.

However, on his first match back as Reds boss, the headlines were being written as early as the 23rd minute.

Rodwell slid in to challenge Suarez and although seemingly winning the ball with a tackle which did not appear to be dangerous Atkinson immediately brandished a red card.

It was the 20th dismissal in 39 Barclays Premier League meetings, 13 of which have been Everton players with eight of those coming in the last 10 games at Goodison.

Prior to that Everton had produced the best chances with Tim Cahill - passed fit after struggling with a shin injury all week - forcing Jose Reina into a fingertip save after rising highest at the far post and Sylvain Distin blazing a shot just over.

But momentum of play changed in an instant after the dismissal as Cahill, who had been posing a threat to the Liverpool defence in an advanced role behind Louis Saha on his first start of the season, was dropped back into a left-sided midfield role.

Everton's high-tempo pressing play was abandoned for a deeper-lying, more measured approach and that played into the visitors' hands as they were able to control possession of the ball.

However, they struggled to make a breakthrough until Phil Jagielka brought down Suarez on the corner of the penalty area just before half-time and Atkinson pointed to the spot.

Kuyt, scorer of five derby goals, stepped up but Howard saved brilliantly low to his left - the first miss from the spot in a Merseyside derby since Robbie Fowler in April 2001.

Howard joined fellow Evertonian George Kitchen and Liverpool duo Sam Hardy and Bruce Grobbelaar as goalkeepers who have saved penalties in cross-city meetings.

And while Charlie Adam did beat Howard in added time at the end of the half his 25-yard shot cannoned down off the crossbar.

Everton continued to make light of their reduced number after the break with Saha shooting just wide after being teed up by Cahill just inside the area.

But Liverpool were starting to create more openings and Carroll's header looked to be creeping inside the post from Stewart Downing's corner before Saha hacked away.

Another Carroll effort had Howard scrambling to his left to turn around the post while Kuyt deflected Adam's quickly-taken free-kick wide.

Saha rifled a 25-yard shot just wide of Reina's right-hand post before, in the 67th minute, Dalglish sent on Steven Gerrard, making only his third substitute appearance after six months out after a groin operation, and Craig Bellamy to win him the game.

But it was not the talismanic Reds captain who made the difference but his fellow substitute.

Just four minutes after coming on the Wales international's run down the left released Jose Enrique and Kuyt cleverly ducked under the Spaniard's cross to allow Carroll to power home from eight yards.

The match was wrapped up in the 82nd minute when Suarez grabbed the second.

Collecting Kuyt's knockdown he was lucky to have Distin's clearance bounce into his chest but he made the most of it to place a left-footed shot past Howard from six yards.

The striker's celebrations in front of the Gwladys Street end were interrupted by a number of bottles being thrown onto the pitch.

Kuyt then hit a post before Suarez showed Atkinson a coin which he alleged had been thrown from the stands.

This match has gained a reputation for being the 'friendly derby' over recent years. It was definitely not on this occasion.

Kenny's Joy At Derby Win

Kenny Dalglish praised a 'professional and composed' display from his players after Liverpool beat 10-man Everton 2-0 in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Reds had to bide their time before Andy Carroll opened the scoring at Goodison Park when he converted Jose Enrique's cross on 71 minutes after the Blues' Jack Rodwell was shown a straight red card midway through the first half.

Luis Suarez made the three points safe with a neat finish following a mix-up in the Everton defence to leave the boss delighted with the efforts of his charges.

Dalglish told his post-match press conference: "It was pretty even 11 against 11. I have not seen the incident, so I don't know whether he deserved red or not.

"After they went down to 10, we were very professional, composed and thorough in what we were trying to do.

"Sometimes it is difficult to play against 10. It was difficult because you know what you're going to get from Everton and they put in a great effort to try and keep it at 0-0, or even win it themselves.

"It was never going to be easy for us, but I think the way we went about our work was a great credit to the players."

Liverpool could have taken the lead earlier had Tim Howard not produced a fine save to deny Dirk Kuyt from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

Dalglish added: "You're always hoping you're going to make a chance, whether you take it or not is another thing. Although they (Everton) will be unhappy with the result, I think they will be happy with the effort their players put in for them.

"We were delighted with our players and the way they went about their work. It's hypothetical whether we would have won or lost (with 11 versus 11) because we'll never know."

Carroll's deadlock breaker was his first goal in the Barclays Premier League this season.

One reporter put it to Dalglish that a derby goal could provide the No.9 with a lift in confidence, to which the manager replied: "It won't do Luis any harm either!

"What was also pleasing was the reaction of Dirk Kuyt after missing the penalty - it didn't seem to affect him, which is the sign of a strong character.

"Those three incidents are very positive returns for each of the three individuals.

"Big Andy was unlucky a couple of times earlier with headers, but he stroked it away nicely."

Dalglish added: "We said when we signed both of them (Carroll and Suarez) it was a great bit of business for the club and we don't see any reason to change that opinion. I don't think there's any need for us to have a weekly bulletin about how they've played either.

"We're delighted with them. Andy has worked really, really hard in training and he is getting his reward on the pitch."

Meanwhile, a satisfying afternoon for Liverpool was enhanced by the sight of Steven Gerrard getting a further 23 minutes under his belt after entering the action as a second-half substitute to continue his comeback.

Dalglish was quizzed on the prospect of the No.8 being included in England's squad for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro.

He said: "It's another step forward for Steven coming on in the derby and getting a few more minutes under his belt. I think Steven aired his views yesterday and I don't think there is anything I need to add with regards to that.

"With regards to any reaction after the game, there was none whatsoever other than happiness about the result."

Martin Kelly's international future was also the subject of journalists' questions.

The full-back turned in another assured display at Goodison Park and Dalglish was quizzed on whether he could soon make the step up from U21 to full international for England.

"Fabio (Capello) has got to pick a team and he'll pick whoever he wants to pick," said the gaffer. "We're delighted with Martin and where his performances for us take him, I don't know."

Suarez Delight For Carroll

Luis Suarez spoke of his delight after he and strike-partner Andy Carroll fired the goals which won the 216th Merseyside derby.

Carroll opened the goalscoring in the second half before Suarez secured the 2-0 win following a defensive error from the hosts.

All this after the first-half dismissal of Jack Rodwell following a challenge on Suarez.

Afterwards our No.7 paid tribute to fellow January arrival Carroll and the Reds fans who travelled to Goodison.

"We tried with one more man," he said. "For a striker you always try to score but I am happy as well today that Andy scored.

"For me it's unbelievable because I've been here nine months and every time the fans help me. It's unbelievable of them."

Moyes Angered By Red Card

David Moyes was hugely disappointed with the red card brandished to Jack Rodwell in Everton's 2-0 Merseyside derby loss against Liverpool.

Rodwell was sent off in the first half of the encounter at Goodison Park for a sliding challenge on Luis Suarez. The midfielder won the ball but referee Martin Atkinson opted to reduce the home side to ten men.

Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool went on to win the game courtesy of late goal from Andy Carroll and Suarez, much to the anger of Moyes, who singled out Atkinson for criticism.

Moyes said: "I thought it ruined the game. There are a lot of questions that people ask about derbies, tackles and sendings-off but that wasn't down to a bad tackle.

"I would have been disappointed if it had been a free-kick and if he had given a yellow card you would have said 'what is that for?'. It would have been hard playing Liverpool 11 v 11 - it was a really tough game for us and it became tougher."

Moyes has history with Atkinson as he was fined £8,000 by the Football Association 12 months ago for confronting the official at the end of their 3-3 draw with Manchester United at Goodison Park.

"We've not had this referee since myself and Steve Round were fined one year ago against Manchester United," Moyes said. "It was interesting that the PGMO (Premier Game Match Officials Ltd) sent him into both clubs this week to do the referee's appraisal prior to this game.

"It needs people who watch and play the game and understand it and write about it to see it (Atkinson's decision) because it is easy for me to say it.

"Too often people talk about the players not doing it right but it wasn't the players yesterday.

"I don't think anyone in this world thought it was [a sending off] but it is one of these things that we just have to take that it was wrong and move on. I don't know if we can appeal the red card."

Moyes admitted, however, that other factors contributed to their defeat. "The team did everything but at the end of the day it wasn't the referee that lost us the game, we made a couple of defensive lapses," he added.

Jonjo Nets Debut Goal

Jonjo Shelvey got his loan spell at Blackpool off to a perfect start by netting on his debut in the 5-0 thumping of Bristol City.

The midfielder played the full 90 minutes for Ian Holloway's side and netted with a superb free-kick after 66 minutes.

He also created the first goal for Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Meanwhile, winger David Amoo was also on target in Bury's 3-1 win away at Yeovil Town in League One.

Amoo is on loan with Richie Barker's side until October 22.

U18s Lose To Blackburn

It was a frustrating day for Liverpool U18s as they went down 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The away side found themselves 2-0 up with two second half goals, and despite a fine late strike from Jack Dunn, Mike Marsh's side couldn't force an equalizer.

The young Reds played some excellent football at times and created some great openings. Substitute David Moli also had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down.

It was to be a double blow for Marsh as he lost Jordan Lussey and Kristoffer Peterson who both left the field with injuries.

Marsh told "It's a tough one to swallow really as we didn't deserve to lose the game.

"We created some great chances, we could easily have had a penalty but it just wasn't our day.

"It was a shame losing Jordan and Kristoffer and we'll have to see how they are ahead of next weekend's Academy derby with Everton.

"On the plus side Jack Dunn came back from injury and scored a really good goal."

Reds Ground-Share A Dead Issue

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner insists the possibility of a ground-share with city neighbours Everton is a 'dead issue'.

The Reds have long been considering stadium plans and the club's unpopular former owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett had pledged to build a replacement for Anfield in Stanley Park.

Planning permissions were approved, but redesigns and the global recession delayed the building process and the much-criticized Hicks and Gillett were bought out by John W Henry's Fenway Sports Group last autumn.

Henry and business partner Werner have taken their time over the important decision of whether to go ahead with a new stadium or to redevelop and expand Anfield in order to increase matchday revenue.

A ground-share with Everton has also been considered but, ahead of Saturday lunchtime's Merseyside derby, Werner said in the Daily Telegraph: "We knew it would be complicated when we took over the club but we are still optimistic of finding the right solution."

"Everyone knows the two options we are examining - staying at Anfield or a new build on the park - and although we have been pressured for a timetable we have not responded to that pressure because we do not want our fans to be disappointed.

"We have been told countless times by our supporters that they have no desire for us to share a stadium and we have listened to that. Our supporters are not for it, therefore it is a dead issue.

"I have said before you can never say it will never be raised again but although there are obstacles on Anfield redevelopment and on the issue of naming rights, I believe they are surmountable.

"People can say whatever they want about how long a decision takes, but as far as we are concerned the situation is exactly as we knew it would be when we purchased the club.

"It is our intention to not only enhance the playing environment around Liverpool football club but also the neighbourhood.

"We appreciate the surrounding area is not Mayfair. We want to be the catalyst for employment and to look after those in the vicinity, assisting the local economy."

John W. Henry Hospitalized

Liverpool owner John W Henry has been hospitalized after an accident on his yacht.

The incident, in Boston, occurred on Friday evening and he was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in an ambulance.

Henry, who also owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team, was seen leaving the $32m (£25.5m) yacht wearing a neck brace and was treated by paramedics at the scene.

Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino told the radio station WBZ-AM that Henry was injured but was able to walk off the boat wearing a neck brace.

The accident occurred less than 24 hours before Liverpool play Merseyside rivals Everton on Saturday and on the day Boston Red Sox announced the departure of Terry Francona, the manager who led the team to two World Series victories, after the team failed to make the play-offs.