Merseyside Derby From An American’s Point of view
I’ll start this out with the fact that I am, for sure, an Everton fan. That being said, it was an amazing feeling watching the Toffee’s game with the rest of the Evertonians. Watching everyone’s timeline turn from fear of dropping points again, to the most wonderful feeling. The Merseyside Derby is one of those fantastic spectacle games. The derby came down to 12 ties and 11 losses for the Blues in the last 22 matches in all competitions. Those results all litter the span between this win on February 20th and their last win in Goodison Park in 2010. Nevertheless, the Toffeemen tend to make the Liverpool fans sit on the edge of their seat in most Merseyside meetings.
Comparing it to my local town rivalries and the “not so close” rivals of the Revolution and the New York Red Bulls isn’t fair. It’s definitely in the plans to make it to quite a few English derbies in my life. Merseyside, being an Evertonian is the #1 match to attend. Sitting here and looking at the records of the 204 meetings of the two teams gives me hope. It’s a hope that I can find this feeling locally in the next 50 years. I want there to be a local team to rise up and give the Revolution a run for their money.
Match Day 25 Magic
For Everton and all Evertonians, Match Day 25 was an epic display of soccer, where the away team managed to pressure the home team into failing at what they do best. Liverpool absolutely dominated the entire game, ending with 71 percent of the possession. The Reds had 850 touches to Everton’s 420, an absolutely damning number. The only thing that saved the Blues was their ability to track down, defend and counterattack. They made 40 clearances in the match, springing counter attacks with 63 long balls out of the back. Pickford stood on his head for the match, saving six shots on goal.
This was an electric match to watch, Liverpool had so many chances to finish it. Klopp said it best, “We had to chase the game and did it well creative-wise. We created some chances in the first half and even more in the second half but we did not finish our situations off.” As a soccer fan all over, I entirely feel those comments from Jurgen, there isn’t anything you can do besides finish off those chances. If the finishing isn’t there, it’s not there and you don’t win, simple and plain. They had amazing creativity.
Injuries Damn The Reds
Not only did Jordan Henderson go down during this Merseyside Derby for Liverpool, but they had several notable prior injuries tearing apart the team. Joel Matip, Diego Jota, Fabinho, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and James Milner all not making the game-day roster. Diego Jota is a huge miss in such a big game, as his current rate of scoring nears 0.90 goals per 90 minutes a game, a better conversion rate than Mohamed Salah. Salah’s ability to do it over the entire season is a lot more impressive, but if Jota was healthy for the past two months prior, he’d be continuing that dominance.
Liverpool came into this game missing a huge defensive giant in Van Dijk, which definitely damned them on the first goal by Everton. A player of Virgil’s skill would’ve picked up on Richarlison sliding through the defense. They instead had to lean on Ozan Kabak, the Schalke 04 center back on loan to Liverpool this season since the beginning of February. Kabak’s necessity in the position and newly acquired spot with Liverpool was likely the culprit, not knowing his surrounding defense.
This Merseyside Derby was a great game to watch for the soccer/football fans in your life. Plenty of attacking style play from Liverpool that flowed wonderfully with Everton’s counter attacks. Still amazed that the Toffees made it out of Anfield with the three points. I’ll always take an Everton win…as they say…