Alright, there are two aspects of this game that need examining.
The first is the overall performance for the 90 minutes, which was alarmingly bad.
The second is essentially: ‘Haha how do you like that you shower of horrible red twats?’
Tackling the second portion first then, you can’t really whack an injury-time goal, especially in front of the Kop, and even more so when it is a quite remarkable strike like Phil Jagielka’s. Ignore the Everton captain’s modesty and the Liverpool captain’s sour-faced comments – the compliments from him and cornflake lips were backhanded more than Raheem Sterling’s girlfriend – Jagielka’s technique, to hit a falling ball like that on the half-volley from 25 yards, was exquisite. At one point the shot even appeared to burst into flames, King Fu Hustle style, as it screamed in off the underside of the bar.
That was in the 91st minute, and there was still time for Gareth Barry to slide a sneaky backheel into the side-netting. Lord almighty, if that had gone in. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
As for the preceding hour and a half, it was the Premier League equivalent of a bum fight, as two shite teams danced around each other, creating very little and making a mockery of their ‘back in the big time’ billing on the strength of one good season.
Jagielka’s wonder goal masked the paucity of Everton’s performance which in turn papered over just how awful Liverpool are.
Tony Hibbert started the game, as did Mohamed Besic, and Romelu Lukaku spent the entire match out on the right wing – a ploy that earned Roberto Martinez praise when he employed it against Arsenal last season but is now starting to look like a crutch along the same lines as David Moyes’s obsession with an attacking midfielder who is good in the air.
The lack of movement, drive and willingness to commit men forward was notable throughout the match. Everton were just so passive, stumbling over possession and looking as if they were passing the ball on shagpile, it was so slow and ponderous. John Stones, rightly singled out by Phil Neville on Match of the Day as the Blues’ best player, was forced to keep dribbling forward and taking risks because the options in front of him were so poor. It’s been said that maybe the Toffees are missing Ross Barkley, and they could have done with his willingness to go at people here, but an even bigger absence is Seamus Coleman. The Irishman’s energy and ability to commit the opposition are simply invaluable and he can’t come back soon enough, especially as another of Everton’s more direct players, Kevin Mirallas, looks like he will be out for some time with a hamstring injury.
Typical Everton, the Belgian had the Liverpool defence back-pedalling for once, and just as you thought he was going to shoot or maybe get brought down for a penalty, he instead collapsed to the turf in agony.
Aiden McGeady replaced him and was shit, again.
It genuinely looked as if Everton were just killing time for the most part, passing the ball around aimlessly at the back, waiting for Liverpool to finally get their act together enough to score.
Just past the hour it eventually happened when Mario Anichebe went down screaming yet again after the slightest brush from Leighton Baines. Tim Howard got a hand on Steven Gerrard’s free kick, unfortunately though it was about a foot over the line at the time, so there really didn’t seem any point in even diving for it.
Gerrard’s celebration and post-match interview indicate that he thinks the goal is proof that he is still a force to be reckoned with. Whatever, you snidey, sly-arsed, sucker-punching, permanently ‘can you smell shit?’ expression-wearing shitehawk.
Balotelli then saw a point-blank shot skim Howard’s shoulder and crash against the bar as Everton looked ready to cave in completely. In fairness they never, and finally started to have a go when Tyias Browning replaced Hibbert and Samuel Eto’o also made his entrance. It was actually the young defender who made the bigger impact, whipping in a couple of crosses and starting the attack that ultimately led to Jagielka’s equaliser.
After the match, Martinez, whose interviews have to be taken with a large pinch of salt at the best of times, said that he was glad that we showed our winning mentality. For a start, we drew, and moments before the goal, Everton’s sorry performance was summed up by Baines’s dreadful corner followed by, of all things, a foul throw. There was nothing clever or admirable about this performance.
Jagielka also said that we have been playing well lately but not getting the results – or something along those lines anyway. We really haven’t. We’ve been average and it was only that Liverpool are hopeless that we got away from this game with a point.
So sort it out, the pair of you.
It’s Old Trafford on Sunday after a trip to the arse end of Russia on Thursday. Anything could happen here, absolutely anything.