After The Match 


Liverpool-Everton 1-1 (0-1)         25.1.09              FA Cup - 4.r
Goals: Gerrard (54)                       Lescott (27)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Dossena, Carragher, Skrtel, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt, Babel, Gerrard, Torres
Subs: Riera (Babel 75)
Not used: Cavalieri,Hyypia, Aurelio, Benayoun, Lucas, Ngog
Yellow: Alonso (34), Carragher (45)            Cahill (9), Pienaar (77)
Red: None
Referee: Steve Bennett
Attendance: 43,524
Shots on target: 5-1
Shots off target: 9-2
Blocked shots: 2-2
Fouls conceded: 5-17
Corners: 7-2
Offsides: 0-1
Possession: 74.3-25.7
Yellow: 2-2
Red: 0-0
pleased with my team's performance..."

Rafael Benitez
2701: Benitez frustrated?
          Now he knows how that feels

2601: Alonso calls for improvement
2601: Benitez takes the bait to open
          up another derby day dispute

2601: Rafa expects Keane to be upset
2501: Moyes defends his actions
2501: Rafa hails Reds reaction
2501: Lesson not learnt by Liverpool
2501: All square on Merseyside again  

Benitez frustrated?
Now he knows how that feels

Comment by Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post

Rafael Benitez expressed his disappointment that the opposition didn’t do enough to win game – well, at least now he knows how it feels.

It’s a similar frustration that most Liverpool fans have felt this season when they have seen their team struggle to yet another draw.

So it’s a bit rich Benitez criticising someone for not going for it, as it’s not as if it’s something he has done a regular basis this season, is it?

Seriously, what did he expect Everton to do? Stick Anichebe and Cahill in a 4-4-2 and go for it? Everton were always going to sit back and soak up Liverpool’s pressure because that’s always going to be their best chance of staying in the tie.

And, let’s face it, after the success other teams have had at Anfield in applying that tactic this season, why would you play any other way?

Stoke, West Ham, Hull, Fulham. All came away with points because they put the onus on Liverpool to go at the and find a way through.

And the fact is, Liverpool weren’t good enough to do it.

So it concerns me that Benitez takes it so badly when a team comes to primarily defend (although to be fair, I don’t actually think Everton were too negative overall and at least, like Hull, they gave themselves a lead to sit on).

But what Benitez has to get used to is sides playing that way against him. It will be that way for the rest of the season and it’s not going to change.

So what does have to change is the lack of cutting edge in trying to finish these teams off.

It’s no good letting yourself get frustrated because you have way more possession but then fail to make it count. Just like Everton on Sunday, teams who come away form Anfield without getting beaten will see it as an excellent result and offer no apologies.

But the problem is that once again you come away from a game, as we did after the league meeting on the Monday, saying the same thing.

Everton get the praise for making the most of their shortage of players and for Liverpool you still dread the prospect of them being without Torres and Gerrard for any sustained amount of time.

Their link-up for the goal only confirms just how much their team need them and how much they would be missed if they had to go without them.

As outstanding as Lescott and Jagielka were in dealing with everything thrown at them, even they couldn’t cope with having to defend on the turn. Torres and Gerrard were too quick for them.

And those players also had the bravery to take a chance and make a decisive move to break a stubborn defence down.

That’s the kind of action Benitez needs to encourage more of and he’ll only do that by focusing on his own team’s shortcomings rather than what he sees as the opposition’s.

Getting a taste for the derby day again

A few more derby observations:

Sunday’s cup tie had a great atmosphere. There were some insults flying around but having 15% of the ground blue worked really well and it was great to be there.

There wasn’t a bad tackle in either derby last week. The games were both competitive but it never crossed the line into nastiness or violence as it has in the past.

If you can’t even find a place for Robbie Keane on the bench in a game like this then maybe it’s time to cut losses. He’s still a good player but this transfer hasn’t worked and it’s time to admit that and move on.

And finally....LIverpool to win the replay. They are much better away from home, as are Everton.

* Mark Lawrenson was talking to NICK SMITH

Alonso calls for improvement

Sky Sports

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso admits they need to improve if they are to challenge for honours at the end of the season.

The Reds were held to their third successive draw after the 1-1 stalemate with Everton in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Rafa Benitez's men have lost top spot in the Premier League to Manchester United after dropping points to Stoke and Everton in recent weeks.

The recent run of form has raised question marks over Liverpool's title challenge, but Alonso is confident they can recapture their best form to keep their bid for success on track.

"We have to keep going, that is the way we have to carry on if we are to have success this season," he said.

"Being critical of ourselves we need to improve in certain areas.

"The performance (against Everton) was better than Monday. We controlled the game much better.

"Of course we are not happy with the mistake we made (conceding the goal) but it was better.

"It was a good ball (from Fernando Torres for the goal) but we had a few more chances to score a second goal and it is something we have to work on and correct.

"We are disappointed. We always expect to win home games but after they scored it was a difficult situation.

"The team kept playing the same way and trying to score and we were unlucky.

"We know he (Cahill) is good in those situations and for the future we will have to get that right.

"We are confident we can go to Goodison and win. We don't have to fear anyone. We respect them but you can't fear anyone."

Benitez takes the bait to open
up another derby day dispute

Comment by David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Rafa Benitez tried to bite his lip. He tried to keep his frustration bottled in. The Reds boss sat in front of a gallery of hacks and even said: “I will not talk about this because I know where you want to go.”

But in the end he couldn’t quite help himself.

“Have you ever put 10 men behind the ball?” was the question that did it.

“At Valencia, never,” he snapped. “With Extremadura sometimes, but never with Valencia.

“They had players missing, yes, but they did more or less the same on Monday.”

And in that one frustrated phrase he opened up another derby day row.

In a one-sided second half Everton did park up the bus.

“They even put the handbrake on and tossed away the key, before asking Liverpool: ‘Do you have the ingenuity to unlock the door?”

One gloriously inventive moment apart, the answer was no.

But in the circumstances, could anybody really blame the Blues?

Already deprived of three of their four front line strikers, and with a record signing sat suspended in the stands, they suffered another crushingly cruel blow on the eve of kick-off when in-form playmaker Mikel Arteta pulled out with bruised ribs.

Everton overcame the most trying of circumstances to claim a moral victory.

Then Benitez’s barb gave David Moyes the opportunity to grab the moral high ground, too.

He did so impressively.

“Liverpool is a great football club,” he shrugged. “They have a great chance of winning the Premiership. But Everton do things with dignity and style.”

Liverpool are undoubtedly well placed for Premier League glory, but Wednesday week’s replay – sandwiched in between the visit of Chelsea and a trip to Portsmouth – will hardly help.

Everton will relish the replay more.

Their aspirations for silverware are based solely on the FA Cup, but a word of warning. While they were much the happier team with yesterday’s draw, Goodison Park has been the scene of some of Liverpool’s more convincing derby performances in recent years.

This tie is still wide open, but Everton’s confidence is growing.

They produced another impressive defensive display yesterday, even though they were effectively down to the bare bones.

Segundo Castillo was the man selected to replace Mikel Arteta. It was hardly a like for like swop.

Three times in the first half hour the Ecuador international passed the ball sloppily to a player in Red, although at least he found a player. On two further occasions he passed the ball straight into touch.

But Everton still had their moments.

In the 26th minute Tim Cahill repeated his astonishing ability to lose markers inside the six-yard box.

And once again Liverpool made a strange choice of man to pick him up.

On Monday it was Riera, this time it was Alonso – and on both occasions the little Australian made them look like mugs.

His header might even have found the corner of the Kop net on its own, before Joleon Lescott made absolutely certain with a telling close range header.

Such was the excellence of Everton’s defending – Phil Jagielka excelled again under Fabio Capello’s watchful gaze and Phil Neville was an unsung hero – that Everton looked capable of grinding out yet another clean sheet.

But Steven Gerrard has the bit between his teeth these days and when Fernando Torres’ sublime backheel gave him a glimmer of an opening, he took a little American assisted advantage.

The conundrum for Rafa Benitez to juggle with now, is whether both can possibly play in Wednesday week’s replay in between the testing Premier League assignments against Chelsea and Portsmouth.

Graham Poll’s recently unearthed Rule 11 means that we might not even be looking forward to a third derby in a fortnight if both managers had agreed.

The truth is, in a masochistic fashion, we kind of like these parochial set-tos.

Yesterday’s showdown lacked the quality and late drama of Monday night’s clash, but then something similar happened way back in 1991.

We could be set for fireworks again at Goodison Park.

Rafa expects Keane to be upset

By Alex Livie - Setanta Sports

Rafa Benitez claims he has not seen Robbie Keane to gauge his reaction to being omitted from the Liverpool squad for the FA Cup clash with Everton.

Irishman Keane has not had the expected impact since his summer move from Tottenham, but his omission from the squad for Sunday’s clash raised eytebrows.

Benitez opted to name French youngster David Ngog on the bench as opposed to Keane and the Irishman was not seen at Anfield.

Benitez claims Keane is ‘working hard’ and expects him to be unhappy to have been omitted.

“We have a good squad and Keane was not selected,” said Benitez.

"I have not seen him so I don’t know how he has reacted. But every player wants to be involved so I would expect he is not happy.

“Ngog scored twice for the reserves in their last match, so he was a good option. And we have Ryan Babel and Lucas who can play forward, so we were well covered.”

Fernando Torres is the number one striker on Merseyside, but there is hope for Keane.

Benitez added: “He’s working hard and, for me, the most important thing is if the players work hard for the team.”

When quizzed on Keane's absence by Setanta, Benitez said: "I was trying to put 19 players in the squad so I couldn't. I have 18 players and he's not in the squad and that's it."

When pushed by Dan Roan on whether the Irishman has a future on Merseyside, he replied: "I think so."

Moyes defends his actions

By Richard Bailey - Sky Sports

Everton manager David Moyes has defended his tactics after his side drew 1-1 in the FA Cup fourth round at Anfield.

It was the second time in a week that the Toffees had managed to frustrate their city rivals after the two teams drew 1-1 in the Premier League last Monday.

Had it not been for a mistake from the normally ever reliable Tim Howard Everton could have been celebrating a win rather than the prospect of a replay at Goodison in ten days time.

Defender Joleon Lescott had headed Moyes' men into a 1-0 half-time lead but Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard equalised nine minutes after the break with the ball going underneath Howard at his near post.

Despite his Liverpool counterpart criticising what he described as defensive tactics Moyes declared that he never goes into games looking for a draw.

"It was a tough game and now we have come to Anfield twice in a week and got draws," he said.

"There has been a lot said about us not being in the next round, but we have given ourselves a good chance to go through now.

"I have never gone anywhere looking for a draw, I may have taken one in the end, but we have looked after our business and we do things with a bit of dignity at Everton."

In defence of Moyes Everton finished the game without a recognised striker after Victor Anichebe was substituted with an injury.

The former Preston boss is already struggling for numbers up front with strikers Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Louis Saha and James Vaughan all sidelined through injury.

"We had a lot of players out and Liverpool, over the two games had all their players available," Moyes added.

"We did not have the physical capabilities within what we had to do anything different. We would have liked to, but that was all we had.

"You face a side with a lot of big players, who have spent big to win trophies, so that makes it difficult for a side like Everton.

"Liverpool has so much possession and played well. But I felt we were comfortable, defensively. They are in good form and showed it."

Rafa hails Reds reaction

By Joe Curran at Anfield - LFC Official Website

Rafa Benitez today praised his Liverpool charges for an improved performance in today's 1-1 draw with Everton in the fourth round of The FA Cup.

Steven Gerrard linked up well with Fernando Torres to score an excellent equaliser on 54 minutes after Joleon Lescott put the Blues ahead against the run of play in the first half.

But despite bombarding the Everton rearguard in the second half, Liverpool couldn’t force a winner and had to settle for a second 1-1 draw with their Merseyside rivals in a week.

Speaking after the final whistle, Benitez insisted that Liverpool were the better team and focused on an improved all-round display from last Monday's Premier League game with David Moyes' side.

"I am pleased with my team's performance," said Benitez.

"Attacking against a team who have 10 players behind the ball is not easy. Everyone was working hard, playing well and creating chances.

"I think that we deserved to win. When you don't play very well like the other day, and you concede a goal at the end you have to be disappointed. But today we had plenty of possession and had control of the game all of the time.

"They had just one chance in the first half and we made a mistake to let a goal in.

"Okay, we couldn't win, but the reaction from all the players was very positive after the disappointment of the other day."

Benitez insisted that the replay at Goodison Park will be a much more open encounter and said: "My idea was to progress in this competition and changed three or four players to do that.

"I think we have important games coming up, so the replay will be difficult but we will try to manage with the squad we have.

"It will be a different game in the replay. Clearly they will have to attack more."

The Reds boss also admitted to being pleased with the potent relationship between Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, who set up the Reds skipper to score the equaliser with an audacious back-heeled pass.

"We know that the understanding between Torres and Gerrard has been crucial over the last 12 months - they can get in behind defenders and create a lot of chances," said Benitez.

"It was just a pity that they couldn't find a bit more and score another goal to win the game."

Lesson not learnt by Liverpool

Comment by Steve McManaman - Setanta Sports

Steven Gerrard has said it's not about Steven Gerrard but I think it is. Without him, Liverpool, certainly offensively, are nowhere.

He picked Liverpool off their knees and scored the goal and anything Liverpool did positively going forward was all through Gerrard.

I thought he was fantastic, certainly in the second half, and has been colossal of late.

You wouldn't know he's had off-field problems but Liverpool can't be waiting for him to get them out of a hole in every game.

I think every Liverpool fan watching the telly has said the same thing about Tim Cahill's goal. It was a terrible goal to concede.

Tim Cahill is the main man and they should be marking probably the best header of the ball. He was just completely free and it didn't have anything to do with zonal marking.

Liverpool were waiting for Cahill to enter the space, wherever he wants to enter. No-one's picked him up. He's playing on Xabi Alonso and he's not going to be Liverpool's best marker at a corner.

It was the danger the other night and it's happened again. I think the priority should be somebody saying 'I am picking up Cahill, he is my man and he will not head the ball now'.

I cannot believe nobody has said 'I'm picking him up, I'm having this fella'.

Cahill is not the biggest but he is the most dangerous. It's mad.

All square on
Merseyside again

By Joseph Caron Dawe - Setanta Sports

Liverpool and Everton will replay their fourth round FA Cup tie after drawing 1-1 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, live on Setanta Sports.

Joleon Lescott gave The Toffees the lead just before the half-hour mark when he helped on Tim Cahill’s header at a corner, but Steven Gerrard equalised just after half time with a low shot that beat Tim Howard following a delightful piece of skill from Fernando Torres to set him up.

The scoreline may have been a reproduction of Monday’s league result between these two sides, but Liverpool could feel slightly hard done in not winning this game having controlled the game for long spells throughout.

Rafa Benitez made four changes to his side from the one which was held by Everton six days ago, with Robbie Keane a notable absence in that he was not even included in the squad. Everton were minus one of their top performers from Monday in Mikel Arteta, who succumbed to a rib injury in training in preparation for this tie.

Liverpool started dominantly and Xabi Alonso flashed a long-range shot wide after a matter of seconds, while Fernando Torres played an awkward ball to the near post which Ryan Babel just failed to meet.

Everton manager David Moyes was sent into touchline histrionics when Steven Pienaar appeared to be tugged down in the penalty area by Alvaro Arbeloa, but referee Steve Bennett’s refusal to acknowledge the appeals for a spot kick merely added to the Scot’s disdain.

Jamie Carragher, of all people, pulled a moment of skilful magic out of the bag with a neat dragback, but his shot into the side netting of Tim Howard’s goal ensured that the opening 20 minutes served as a goalless introduction to the second Merseyside derby inside a week.

Tim Cahill’s late equaliser last Monday was a tough one to stomach for Rafa Benitez’s side due to his free run inside Liverpool’s penalty area, but despite that the Australian was again allowed to roam free as he set up Everton’s goal in the 27th minute. A corner was whipped in and Cahill rose unmarked to direct a header towards goal, which Lescott got a faint glance on to take it past Jose Reina and in for 1-0.

Liverpool responded by applying the pressure back on their opponents, and enjoyed plenty of possession for the remainder of the half. However, a blocked Javier Mascherano shot late on was all they had to show for a first 45 minutes that offered little in openings up front.

The second half started in similar fashion as Liverpool controlled but failed to capitalise, but that all changed with a moment of sublime skill and vision from Torres. A flick-on from Gerrard was controlled and juggled by the Spaniard, who then backheeled the mid-air ball on for his captain, whose continued run ended with a low drive past Howard for a leveller.

The goal lifted Liverpool and seemed to offer them the realisation that they could make it past Everton’s last line, ad immediately after Howard was forced into a sharp save as Gerrard volleyed into the ground from Torres’ knock down.

A late break saw Gerrard stream down the right side and play the ball to Dirk Kuyt, who had time to steady himself and shoot. The Dutchman’s finish was tame though and allowed Howard to make a comfortable save.

Gerrard almost provided Torres with what would have likely been a winner with a fine cutback, but the striker’s effort was blocked, and the England man then headed well wide from a good cross in added injury time as a replay was confirmed for ten days’ time.

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