Liverpool robbed of derby win, settle for deserved result
Usually, I don't like to rant about the refs. And it feels a little off to be so angry about a decision that cost Liverpool a vital three points, when in the end 2-2 sounded about right for an overall result. But when the call is so bone-jarringly stupid and inexplicable, it's hard not to.
You always remember the injustices against you more than the calls that went your way. So perhaps I've forgotten a host of decisions that swung matches Liverpool's way. Or maybe I'm not, because it seems like in all the ones that matter they don't get those calls. The last one I remember is Rodwell's joke of a sending off in this fixture last year. Feel free to let me know in the comments what I've missed.
You could say that this was balancing out that Rodwell sending off. But to say "these things even out" is a neutral's cop out. First of all, they don't tend to. Secondly, there shouldn't have to be an "evening out." These calls should be right more than they are. And they're not.
It's also disappointing because after Liverpool defensively shot themselves in the face, for the second match in a row their manager once again got creative in reshaping his team and the match, which bottled everything up. My fears of there being no Plan B aren't as high as they used to be, and maybe just that warranted getting a late winner.
It's not a terrible result we're left with, though. Especially when you consider the form of Everton these days. Being three points behind them would have been nice, but there's time enough to get there soon.
But that doesn't make me feel all that much better.
-First, to the subs: With that halftime double-switch, Rodgers changed the team's shape, got his most vulnerable attacking player out of harm's way of a sending off that the opponent was constantly begging for, got the area that was flooded plugged up, and changed the match. It's been a while since we've seen that.
Sterling being punted up top through the middle dropped his chance of being involved in a tackle to almost nil, while it also pressed the Everton defense back some because of his pace. Just admitting that most of your chances are going to come off the counter seemed like a big step for Rodgers. Planning accordingly is even better.
It got Wisdom some cover in not just a midfielder tracking back, but an experienced defender in Martin Skrtel. And aside from freekicks here and there and one nice play from Coleman and Naismith, it capped Everton's threat. Way better than Dalglish's like-for-like switches, isn't it?
-That said, Suso was significantly more a threat in the first half than Sterling was, but with the latter's pace needed, I understood the decision even if I didn't like it at first.
-Ok, that's enough of the Brad Jones train. Liverpool got away with it for two matches, but in a match where the main threat was always going to be crosses bombarding in, you kind of knew there was going to be some face-palm moments. And Everton's first goal was just that. You'd rarely see a pull back from a teammate be so perfectly placed as Jones's punch.
-Jones's skittishness quickly spread to Martin Skrtel, who always seems so fragile. When he's got his preferred partner in Agger and a confident keeper behind him, he's a menacing defender. When he loses either of those, he suddenly veers from timid to reckless. The second goal came with him not closing down Fellaini, and also not cutting off the one ball that he's supposed to if he's not going to close him down. There were some rash tackles later in the match that could have brought doom.
-When did Everton get so bitchy? Everything was either the worst foul ever committed or a yellow card or not a foul at all if it was called on them? On the same note, I'm not going to complain about Suarez's celebration when I thought it was funny when Drogba pulled the same stunt at Benitez.Somehow I doubt it'll get the same treatment from the press.
-Suarez's ability to rile a whole stadium and team against him is...well, it's impressive.
-We saw how Sahin had struggled with frantic, physical matches before like against Stoke. So why he was chosen today ahead of Shelvey will remain a mystery. But it was corrected soon enough. Barely.
Still waiting for the tide to break and a Liverpool streak to ensue. It feels like it really wants to but can't quite get over the storm walls. It's there somewhere.