It was yet another big match for Everton, and once again another poor result. Conservative tactics coupled with a lack of effort led to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Liverpool. To add insult to injury, their two most vilified players got the goals for them. For me the most depressing part of the whole thing was the apathy that seemed to emanate from this Everton squad.
This is a match that will never be shown on any of the greatest highlight reels. The quality was lacking from both sides for most of the match, although there were occasional moments of individual brilliance. That said, Everton had the upper hand for the first half, and could have killed off Liverpool if only they had wanted it more.
I am a firm believer in the fact that big games can often come down to effort and desire. Yes talent does matter, but if 2 fairly evenly matched teams face off in a big game, the team who shows more desire and effort will be able to scrap out a win. Sadly enough that was not Everton on this day. After going up 1-0 thanks to a goal that should have been ruled offside, the squad never tried to go for the jugular, or even put forth an extra ounce or two of effort. It would have been easy to do considering the goal was a product of what happens when you pressure your opponent and try to create something out of nothing. Rather they just continued their same old poor play and just tried to hang on.
Had Everton come out swinging in the second half like Liverpool did, we could have held the one goal lead, or we could have nicked a second goal. Good things come to teams that work hard, but any hard work from the first half didn’t carry over to the second half.
If you want evidence of effort, look at our victory over Manchester City in January. Yes we had a conservative gameplan then, but the players all believed in the job at hand, and they were willing to work. Every player was determined to get a result, and even though the bus was parked, the effort ensured them all three points. Here there was no such effort, and once Suarez took advantage of a Distin blunder there was no hope for this side.
The best example of how our players didn’t want it enough on Saturday came after Liverpool’s second goal. The team had no fight in them, even though they were only a goal down against the 3rd string keeper. Yes there were a few half chances, but Liverpool dominated possession for the final few minutes of the match, something that should never have happened. It was really just a pathetic effort and made me sick to watch.
Evertonians can complain all they want about David Moyes and his team selection, as well as his tactics, they can even complain about the quality of players, but until this squad is willing to really go all out for a victory, we will be doomed to the same disappoint that we felt this weekend.