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
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
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
"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
"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
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
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
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
Everton overcame the most trying of circumstances to claim a
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
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
This tie is still wide open, but Everton’s confidence is
They produced another impressive defensive display
yesterday, even though they were effectively down to the
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
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
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
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
"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
“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."
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
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
"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
"Liverpool has so much possession and played well. But I
felt we were comfortable, defensively. They are in good form
and showed it."
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
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
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
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
"I think we have important games coming up, so the replay
will be difficult but we will try to manage with the squad
"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
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
I think every Liverpool fan watching the telly has said the
same thing about Tim Cahill's goal. It was a terrible goal
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
All square on
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
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.