Film Focus: Reviewing Liverpool vs. Everton

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2014

The 222nd Merseyside derby was pitched as one of the most even rivalries in sport. 

In recent point tallies and league placings, that statement remains true. Head-to-head, however, Liverpool maintained their dominance over Everton with a 4-0 mauling at Anfield.

Goals from Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and a double from Daniel Sturridge left Roberto Martinez's side reeling, unable to cope with their rival's rampant attack.

From Everton's stance, here's a look at each goal with the aid of film, in an attempt to clarify exactly what caused the Toffees' biggest derby defeat since 1982.


1-0: Key Blow From a Set Piece

Liverpool began the match in the ascendancy. They forced Tim Howard to make several saves yet never fully exerted the American.

Everton enjoyed periods of possession, seemingly one pass away from creating a key chance themselves. The pace and intensity were high, and it was clear the opening goal would be crucial.

On 21 minutes, Liverpool grabbed that important first strike from a corner.

There isn't too much to analyse here. As the image shows, Steven Gerrard darts ahead of Gareth Barrywho gets tangled up with Ross Barkleyand scores.

Zonal marking is so often chastised in the media, but this is an example of when man marking can be equally fallible. A precise delivery and a split-second movement can be just as tough to defend against.

Barry gets caught in traffic, running first into Barkley and then into Romelu Lukaku. Curiously, Leighton Baines seems to be marking a zone near where the ball arrives, yet he fails to attack it.

After a treble at Goodison Park, this was the Reds' fourth-straight set piece goal in a Merseyside derby.


2-0: Too Bold Too Early

Having fallen behind to a set piece, Everton made some critical mistakes.

Tactically, they were far too bold with the score 1-0, sending both full-backs forward while the ball remained deep. With Liverpool's high pressing and potential on the break, this was a recipe for disaster.

Sure enough, as Barry loses possession, both Leighton Baines and John Stones are caught too far ahead of the ball, leaving Jagielka, Alcaraz and James McCarthy three-on-four at the back.

With Philippe Coutinho and two more Liverpool bodies on the right and no Baines in sight, the defence shifts across to cover the immediate danger.

That creates extra space for Sturridge, who remains ahead of Stones to calmly finish.

Everton's urgency at 1-0 gave the impression the game was approaching its climax. It was simply too much too soon with so much time left to play.

Away from home, the Toffees needed to take stock and regroup at this stage. By becoming so cavalier, they invited Liverpool's pacey attack to pick them off, playing into their hands.


3-0: No Defensive Pace Without Distin

Everton play one of the best high lines in the Premier League, mainly due to the pace and awareness of their defenders.

However, that's normally provided by Sylvain Distin and a fully-fit Phil Jagielka. 

Distin missed the game with injury and both selected centre-backs had been injury doubts just before kick-off. A half-fit Jagielka and Alcaraz proved far less suited to this method throughout the game, with Liverpool regularly finding space behind them.

As well as being half-fit, this was a first competitive pairing for Jagielka and Alcaraz—something that seemed very evident from Sturridge's second goal.

First of all, Baines plays Sturridge onside which is criminal for a full-back. However, there's also an embarrassing lack of communication from both centre-backs and no pace to recover the initial error.

This is basic defending and the most unforgivable of the four goals conceded, especially from a normally sound defensive unit.


4-0: Individual Failings

As was the patten since Liverpool's first strike, Everton continued to throw bodies forward until eventually losing the ball and facing a break.

With just two or three back against the pace of Raheem Sterling, Coutinho, Suarez and Sturridge, this played to Liverpool's strengths.

Unsurprisingly, it contributed to an especially busy night for Tim Howard. The Toffees conceded nine shots on target—more than in any match over the past two seasons.

This was how the fourth goal arrived, with Suarez catching a hesitant Jagielka and waltzing clear to score. 



The theme building up to this game was how many individuals were injury doubts for both sides. Martinez gambled and risked several of these players, which had a detrimental effect on Everton's play.

Steven Pienaar, Ross Barkley, Alcaraz and Jagielka were all late decisions, and all four struggled to reach their normal levels.

Carrying an injury can make a player hesitant and affect his anticipationcrucial traits for a defender. This was certainly evident for the final two goals as well as during several other phases of play.

It's also important to highlight that Liverpool were excellent, executing the counter-attack to perfection. With such pace in the home side's attack, Everton were far too wild and aggressive at 1-0. 

They launched themselves forward and left themselves hugely exposed at any turnoveran ideal scenario for their opponents. The Toffees' performance was also littered by individual errors, reminiscent of so many recent encounters with Liverpool.

This is a result Martinez must flush out of the system as quickly as possible.


Statistics via WhoScored?


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