“Injuries,” says Gary Naylor. “Okay, it wasn’t quite defending a title, but have a look at this motley crew.”
I’d like to know more about that team. They weren’t a patch of the awesome 1984-85 side, yet they won the blooming league.
“Forty-five minutes to go,” says Mary Waltz, trembling uncontrollably. “This is the only time I regret giving up drinking 20 years ago. The early goal has given me hope, an extremely dangerous state of mind for an Everton fan.”
“I appreciate it’s been a difficult and strange season but Klopp has to take a degree of responsibility for the fatigue that his players are experiencing,” says Gerry Scott. “Remember when they were 5-0 up at Palace but he somehow thought it was necessary to bring Salah on? Madness.”
Agreed. Diogo Jota was injured in a meaningless game as well. At the start of the season, my colleague Paul Doyle – who reads football better than anyone I know – said Liverpool wouldn’t win the league and that Klopp should have sent the front three and the full-backs on holiday the moment Liverpool clinched the title last year. He was right.
Half time: Liverpool 0-1 Everton
Peep peep! Richarlison’s excellent early goal has given Everton a sniff of a first win at Anfield since 1999. Liverpool dominated without creating any clear chances, though Jordan Pickford did make a stunning save from Jordan Henderson’s volley. Henderson then became the latest Liverpool centre-back to get injured, going off with what looked like a groin injury.
45+1 min Kabak is booked for an ill-judged tackle on Coleman.
43 min Mane and Alexander-Arnold has looked quite sharp for Liverpool, but Salah, Firmino and Robertson have been subdued. It has to be fatigue; Robertson, in particular, is nothing like the elemental force of 2018-20.
42 min “Ben Davies needn’t worry,” says Gary Byrne. “He’ll get his chance when Kabak picks up an injury.”
41 min Andre Gomes is booked for an off-the-ball block on Salah.
41 min Liverpool have dominated the half without creating any clear chances. Both Pickford’s saves came from long-range strikes. But Everton might be asking for trouble by sitting so deep; I don’t think this will end 1-0.
39 min “Hi Rob,” says Toby Podmore. “I could be wrong, but didn’t the throw-in leading to the Everton goal have to be retaken, because it never entered play the first time? In which case, it was not from 15 yards inside the Everton half (which is where the first decision was given) but rather 10 yards inside the Liverpool half. I appreciate that everyone steals a few yards here and there, but 25 yards for a direct effect on the goal is a bit much, non? I could be sorely mistaken, though…”
I didn’t see that, though you might be right. Either way, I wouldn’t mention it in Roy Keane’s company.
38 min Jurgen Klopp is having a moan to the fourth official Paul Tierney.
38 min Robertson’s flighted free-kick is headed into the side netting by Phillips, a good effort from a very tight angle.
35 min “There are multiple reasons why Liverpool have struggled this season but I really would like to have seen us fail with our first choice squad,” says Niall Mullen. “This never-ending conveyor belt of injuries (a destruction-line if you will) is soul-crushing.”
I’m trying to think of a team that has won the league despite a series of injuries. Arsenal had quite a few in 1997-98 and 2001-02, though they didn’t lose 47 centre-backs. Manchester City this season, though their injury list probably isn’t as bad as Liverpool’s.
33 min: Big save from Alisson! Everton could be 2-0 up, and it was all the work of their wing-backs. Digne curled in a brilliant cross towards the far post, where Coleman got the wrong side of Robertson and met the ball with a flying header. But it was too close to Alisson, who pushed the ball away as he fell to his left. Coleman should have scored.
32 min “I’m sure an Everton fan out there will confirm this,” says Rick Harris, “but I don’t think Everton have lost a game where Richarlison has scored first. If Liverpool turn this around they will deserve that Europa League place.”
31 min Alexander-Arnold curls a tame free-kick over the bar.
30 min Holgate is penalised for what looked like a good tackle on Mane. Free-kick to Liverpool, 25 yards out…
29 min Nat Phillips is preferred to Ben Davies as the replacement for Henderson.
29 min Henderson is done. Liverpool have had such desperate luck with injuries that now even the makeshift centre-backs are getting injured. Do you see what happens, Larry, when you sell Dejan Lovren?
28 min Henderson comes back on, though he’s not moving freely. He’s got serious moxie.
27 min Henderson wants to continue, so it can’t be a hamstring injury. It looks like he’s hurt his groin. Either way, if he carries on he could make it worse. For now Liverpool are playing with 10 men.
26 min Henderson is down after being fouled by Doucoure. In fact, Henderson has pulled his hamstring – it wasn’t a foul at all, though a free-kick was given.
22 min Liverpool are playing with the wind in the first half, so it makes sense to shoot from distance.
21 min Liverpool are starting to hit their stride. Alexander-Arnold, 25 yards out, cracks a fierce rising drive that is touched over by the leaping Pickford. That was a more comfortable save, though still a good one.
20 min: Stunning save from Pickford! The resulting corner is headed away to the edge of the area, where Henderson cuts across a beautiful volley. It’s heading for the bottom corner until Pickford flies to his right and fingertips it round the post. That was a seriously good save.
19 min Mane turns away from a couple of defenders on the edge of the area. Firmino picks up the loose ball, opens his body and sidefoots a shot that deflects wide off Keane.
18 min The strong wind is a perfect excuse to post this video from the glory days of John Beck’s Cambridge.
17 min Kabak, who has made a very nervous start, is given a last warning for a foul on James.
12 min Liverpool are having most of the ball, though Everton look solid defensively at the moment.
9 min Mane’s dangerous cross is punched away by Pickford. That was a really important save because Jones was waiting behind him with an open goal.
8 min Alexander-Arnold curls a crafty pass into Firmino, whose low cross is intercepted by Holgate.
5 min “Hi Rob!” says Mary Waltz. “Everton fan in California being bombarded by Liverpool and United friends telling me my team has no chance, reminding me how we were destroyed by Fulham! I would like to respond with brave responses but I can only muster, well, depressing acceptance. Oh my we just scored! Is this real? Can we hold on for 86 minutes?”
They managed to hold on the time they won here – that was a very early goal too.
4 min This is the revised Everton formation, by the way.
Everton (5-3-1-1) Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Digne; Doucoure, Davies, Gomes; James; Richarlison.
That was such a simple goal. James guided a beautiful pass through to Richarlison, who left Kabak in his slipstream and hammered a low shot across Alisson. He took that superbly.
GOAL! Liverpool 0-1 Everton (Richarlison 3)
Who cares what formation Everton are playing – they’ve scored!
3 min It looks like Everton are playing with a back three, not the 4-1-4-1 we expected. Carlo lied to us.
1 min Everton win a corner in the first minute after Kabak misjudges the wind. Digne’s corner hits the unsighted Godfrey and drifts a few yards wide of the far post.
“Bundled up in Chicago anxiously awaiting kickoff,” says Mike. “Perhaps the Liverpool PA system could put on the infamous Ezekiel 25:17 speech by Jules in Pulp Fiction right before kickoff to set the tone.”
Imagine what it would be like if there was a crowd.
The players of both sides stroll onto the field. They really are walking through a storm tonight – it’s blowing a gale out there.
“According to George Herbert, the Welsh-born 17th century poet, ‘Living well is the best revenge,’” says Matt Dony. “Everton have (rightly) been given plaudits for many of their performances this season, but a footballing lesson today, combined with a decent run of form to put some daylight between the two clubs would certainly make the point. After spending the first half of the season in vaguely similar league positions. Liverpool ‘living well’ in the Champions League next season while Everton, at best, settle for Thursday nights would constitute some form of revenge. I’m not saying it WILL happen. Just that I’d be very satisfied. (Apologies, Gary Naylor.)”
It’s a wild night at Anfield, wet and extremely windy. Good-oh!
And here’s Carlo Ancelotti
“[Calvert-Lewin and Allan] were not so comfortable so I prefer to put them on the bench. They can play if we need. [Is there a change of system today?] No. The system at the start will be the same. I put more fresh legs because we played Wednesday night, and it will be a game with a lot of intensity. We want to be ready for that.”
Here’s Jurgen Klopp
“We had one day’s extra recovery, which is important, so we should be ready to go again. I haven’t seen the Everton team yet because you pulled me out here for this interview. [When told Calvert-Lewin and Allan are on the bench] Ha! Carlo, the poker face! I can say nothing about their line-up because I don’t know it.
“It’s a derby, and derbies are historically intense. We have to be intense but calm in the right moments, and channel our emotion in the right direction. When are you are predictable Everton are really good defensively – when they defend deep, it is more of a man-marking system. That’s uncomfortable if you don’t move enough, but if you move enough maybe you can do things. The boys know the solutions, now we have to do it on the pitch.”
Jordan Pickford starts in goal for Everton, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin are fit enough for the bench. Liverpool are unchanged.
Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Jones, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Adrian, Tsimikas, Davies, Phillips, N Williams, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Origi.
Everton (possible 4-1-4-1) Pickford; Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey; Davies; James, Doucoure, Gomes, Digne; Richarlison.
Substitutes: Olsen, Nkounkou, Allan, Sigurdsson, Onyango, Calvert-Lewin, King, Iwobi, Bernard.
Referee Chris Kavanagh.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Friendly Derby. Arf! There is vengeance in the air at Anfield, where Liverpool and Everton meet tonight. The return fixture, a 2-2 draw at Goodison in October, was the beginning of the end of Liverpool’s title challenge: Jordan Pickford nobbled Virgil van Dijk with a dreadful challenge and Richarlison was sent off for an even worse tackle on Thiago.
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are not out for revenge, though nobody really believes him. Liverpool’s idea of retribution will almost certainly involve trying to play rather than kicking Everton off the park. The game has changed since Steve McMahon rattled Vinnie Jones’s shinbone as payback for Jones’s infamous challenge in the FA Cup final a few months earlier.
Whatever Liverpool’s action plan, this is the most keenly anticipated Merseyside derby in a fair while – and not just because of the needle. For once Liverpool and Everton are chasing the same thing, a place in the top four. They are currently sixth and seventh, though both can go level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea if they win their game(s) in hand.
Liverpool have lost their last three league games and Everton their last two, so at least one of them will end a losing streak today. Everton would like to put another couple of stats to bed. They haven’t beaten Liverpool anywhere since 2010, and their last victory at Anfield was in 1999. Three players were sent off that night; just another Friendly Derby.
Kick off 5.30pm.