Thursday, 23 January 2014

Five Favourite Wins Against - Everton at Home

Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins the Liverpool’s next opponents.  This weekend Liverpool play the Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield.  Here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.

6th November 1983
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Rush 16, Robinson 60, Nicol 85)
EVERTON   (0)   0  

LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Neal, Hansen, Lawrenson, Kennedy; Lee, Souness, Nicol; Robinson, Rush, Dalglish

EVERTON: Southall; Harper, Ratcliffe, Higgins, Bailey; Steven, Irvine, King, Sheedy; Heath, Sharp

This game was played on a Sunday and Liverpool stood the chance of going top of the table after Manchester United lost the day before.  Everton were down in 16th having scored fewer goals than any other side in the division.

After quarter of an hour, Hansen brought the play forward passing to Dalglish just inside his own half on the left.  Dalglish played a beautifully weighted pass splitting Harper and Ratcliffe for Nicol to run onto.  Nicol then beat Harper down by the bye-line and his low cross was only parried by Southall and Rush was on hand to fire the ball home.  Rush had got the only goal in Bilbao in midweek in the European Cup, and had scored 5 goals against Luton the last time Liverpool were at home.

Neither side created many real clear-cut chances for the rest of the half but on the hour Grobbelaar picked out a cross easily enough and then his long throw sent Dalglish on his way down the left.  Dalglish moved infield finding Lee on the right. His cross was headed out for a corner.  Dalglish was becoming more and more influential and as Liverpool patiently waited for an opening, Souness played Dalglish in on the right edge of the area, just as he had done for many years, and his low cross had Rush trying to grab his second at the near post.  The ball bounced off the post and across the goal where Robinson was unmarked at the back post to turn the ball in.

Graeme Sharp tried to chip Grobbelaar from outside the area but the ball landed on the bar.  Then as they were closing the game out, Dalglish found Rush on the right, who then turned it back for Lawrenson to cross.  His cross was met by Nicol for the third goal.  The whole performance was very comfortable as Liverpool played the ball about at will.

Liverpool were back on top of the table and they ended up winning in Joe Fagan’s first season in charge.  They also won the League Cup and their fourth European Cup.  Everton recovered from their poor start.  They were 16th on Boxing Day and went onto finish 7th.

25th April 1987
LIVERPOOL   (2)   3   (McMahon 9, Rush 45, 85)
EVERTON (1)   1   (Sheedy 15)

LIVERPOOL: Hooper; Venison, Gillespie, Hansen, Ablett; Johnston, Molby, Spackman, McMahon, Whelan; Rush

EVERTON: Southall; Stevens, Watson, Ratcliffe, Power; Steven, Reid, Snodin, Sheedy; Heath, Clarke

When Everton arrived for the derby in 1987 they were top of the league by 6pts with Liverpool in 2nd.  Liverpool had played a game more and only had 3 more to go after this one, so a win was vital.

Everton had won their last 7 and were on fire, conceding just twice during that run and had lost just once in their last 11.  This run had seen them overhaul Liverpool who were leading in mid-March.  They had won just once in their last 5, losing the other 4.  Having won the double the year before they were struggling to hold onto their League title.

Anfield was packed, with thousands locked outside, and the game belonged to Ian Rush.  He equalled Dixie Dean’s record of 19 goals in Merseyside derbies, as Liverpool managed to keep the title race alive.  This was the period when Liverpool and Everton dominated English football, sharing nearly all the trophies between them. 

Nine minutes in and Ablett drove down the right, exchanging passes with Rush before the Welshman flicked the ball to McMahon who unleashed an unstoppable shot which left Southall helpless.  The move had been stunning in its simplicity but had also involved most of the Liverpool team.  But 6 minutes later Everton were level.  They had a free-kick just outside the area which Kevin Sheedy curled beautifully over the wall and past Hooper.  Two goals in the opening 15 minutes and from players playing against their old clubs.

The rest of the half belonged to Everton who played, as Howard Kendall remarked “one of our best performances at Anfield”.  But they were unable to take the lead and right on half-time Johnston’s left wing corner was headed home by Rush, as Southall hardly moved.  2-1 at the break but Everton still pressed in the second half with Heath and Clarke forcing Hooper into good saves.  73 minutes in and Spackman threaded the ball through to Rush who was one-on-one with Southall.  The Everton keeper came out on top on that occasion, but 11 minutes later Rush had the last laugh.  A cross by Ablett had Rush bearing down on the Everton goal again and this time he managed to force the ball over the keeper for a 3-1 win.

It prolonged the destination of the title for just a short while.  Liverpool then lost at Coventry and when Everton won at Norwich on 4th May they were crowned Champions for the second time in three years, eventually winning the title by 9pts from Liverpool in 2nd.

31st August 1991
LIVERPOOL   (2)   3   (Burrows 1, Saunders 15, Houghton 62)
EVERTON   (0)   1   (Newell 76) 

LIVERPOOL: Grobbelaar; Nicol, Tanner, Ablett, Burrows; Houghton, McMahon, Whelan (Marsh); McManaman, Saunders, Walters (Rosenthal)

EVERTON: Southall; Harper, Watson, Keown (Ratcliffe), Ebbrell; Ward, McDonald, Sheedy; Beardsley, Cottee (Warzycha), Newell

This would be the last Merseyside derby at Anfield in the old First Division.  The two club met with completely opposite records in the early part of the season.  Liverpool were 3-1-1 and Everton 1-1-3.  Liverpool had won all 3 home matches and Everton had lost all 3 of their away trips.

Returning to Anfield for the first time was Peter Beardsley, once a title winner in red, he’d moved across Stanley Park for the blue of Everton.  He got a great reception from The Kop before the match, which was an illustration of, not only how they still held him in their hearts, but how they were still disappointed Graeme Souness had let him go.  Souness had taken over from Kenny Dalglish last season and the team had a distinctly different feel about it, with several youngsters beginning to make their mark.

One youngster, Steve McManaman, was involved in the opening goal barely 60 seconds after kick-off.  His play down the right saw Nicol cross the ball into the Everton box where Saunders was beaten to the ball.  Everton hadn’t fully cleared it when it fell to David Burrows, who’d joined the attack from left-back.  Twenty yards out, he took one touch and then fired a rasping shot which gave Southall no chance.  Liverpool were in front.

It was Burrows first goal for Liverpool and had come after just 48 seconds from the kick-off.  15 minutes later he was involved in the move which doubled the home side’s lead.  McManaman drifted out to the left to receive the pass from Burrows, and he found Walters hugging the left touchline.  Walters crossed to the far post where Dean Saunders, who’d replaced Beardsley at Anfield, took the ball down on his chest and then fired a low shot which beat Southall on his near post and Liverpool were 2 goals to the good.

Everton had more of the play during the first 45 minutes, but were unable to create many meaningful chances and Liverpool were comfortable for their lead at the break.  Midway through the second half Liverpool produced the sort of move they’d done every week under the previous regime.  McMahon and Houghton were involved in midfield and then Burrows was the outlet on the left.  As red shirts moved about to create space, Ray Houghton made one of his legendary late runs into space and Burrows had the simple task of laying the ball into his path and Houghton beat Southall at his near post.  It looked as if the home side would run riot, but they knew the points were safe and the opponent beaten. 

With still 15 minutes to be played it was quite appropriate for Beardsley to make his mark on the game.  His lob over the defence for Mike Newell gave the Everton striker a clear run on goal and his low shot beat Grobbelaar.  It was no more than a consolation and Liverpool were worthy winners.

Liverpool ended 6th in the League won by Leeds United.  They won the FA Cup to give Souness his only trophy in English football.  Everton finished 12th.

25th March 2006
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Neville og 45, Garcia 47, Kewell 84)
EVERTON   (0)   1   (Cahill 61)

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Riise; Garcia, Gerrard, Sissoko, Alonso; Crouch (Morientes), Kewell (Warnock)

EVERTON: Wright; Naysmith, Stubbs, Weir, Hibbert; Neville, Osman, Cahill, Kilbane (van der Meyde); McFadden (Ferguson), Beattie

This particular derby was a intense encounter, but then many of them are.  Liverpool were 3rd in the table coming into the game with Everton down in 12th.  Since they lost 1-3 to Liverpool just after Christmas, Everton had been beaten just once in their last 11 games.  Liverpool had lost just once in their last 7 matches, with only Arsenal managing to score more than once against them.

The two derbies that season yielded 17 yellow cards and 4 red cards, with 2 in each match.  On this occasion it was Steven Gerrard and Andy van der Meyde who were given their marching orders.  Gerrard had been booked for kicking the ball away after a foul, but then scythed down Kevin Kilbane and left the referee with little option than to issue a second yellow.  Everton manager David Moyes admitted they didn’t play well against 10 men.  Liverpool kept using Crouch’s height as a target and Everton appeared increasingly inept at dealing with it.

Just on half-time, the deadlock was broken.  Xabi Alonso’s corner was headed into his own net by Phil Neville.  Early in the second half Liverpool doubled their lead.  Crouch got up above Stubbs to head the ball on for Luis Garcia to lob Richard Wright.  Tim Cahill grabbed a goal back for the visitors as he scored from Osman’s corner.  But then another Osman corner saw the second dismissal of the day when van der Meyde was sent-off for barging Alonso.

With six minutes remaining Harry Kewell finished things off as he accepted Steve Finnan’s pass and calmly beat Wright.  Liverpool ended the season in 3rd place with Everton staying in 12th.

13th March 2012
LIVERPOOL   (1)   3   (Gerrard 34, 51, 90)
EVERTON   (0)   0   

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique; Henderson (Kuyt), Gerrard, Spearing, Downing; Carroll, Suarez

EVERTON: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman (Drenthe), Rodwell, Fellaini, Pienaar; Stracqualursi (Osman), Anichebe (Jelavic)

When the two met at Anfield in March 2012 they were both preparing for FA Cup Quarter-Final matches the following weekend.  In the league both were underachieving with Liverpool 7th and Everton two places below them.  It was 4 matches since Liverpool had won in the League, and you had to go back to the end of December to find a league win at Anfield for them, although this was only their 4th home match in the league since then.  During that time they had lifted the League Cup against Cardiff.  Everton, on the other hand, were in much better shape.  Unbeaten in their last 7, although they’d gone 4 games since their last victory away from home.

The night belonged to Steven Gerrard.  He became the second highest goalscorer for Liverpool in Merseyside derbies, behind Ian Rush.  He was certainly ‘captain fantastic’ on this night as he put in a performance to haul his teammates towards 3pts.  This was also the occasion of David Moyes 10th anniversary as Everton boss, but in all that time he still hadn’t beaten the neighbours.

Gerrard could’ve put Liverpool in front in the opening 10 minutes only for Howard to deny him.  But he wasn’t to be kept out for long and when Martin Kelly’s shot was blocked by Howard, the ball ran free and there was Gerrard to float the ball left-footed over the keeper and high into the net.  Liverpool had pressed and pressed and were good value for their lead at the break.

Suarez, busy as ever, gave Distin a torrid time down the right and cut back, but before he could get a shot in there was Gerrard to drive the ball home for a 2-goal lead early in the second half.  Liverpool were now rampant and keen to grind their opponents into the dirt.  Carroll and Kelly both went close but in injury time it was the skipper who crowned the night off. 

Substitute Drenthe slipped on the halfway line and Gerrard immediately pounced on the error.  He surged forward, with the visiting defence desperately retreating, and played the ball to his left for Suarez.  Suarez then cut back inside and laid the ball on for Gerrard to fire into the roof of the net and on his 400th Premier League appearance for his club, Gerrard had capped off a great night with a fine hat-trick.

Liverpool went onto beat Everton again in the FA Cup Semi-Final, before losing to Chelsea in the Final.  Everton finished higher in the league, though, as they ended 7th with Liverpool a place below them.

HEAD TO HEAD at Anfield

Matches: 94
Liverpool win: 40
Everton win: 23
Draws: 31

Liverpool goals: 142
Everton goals: 103

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