“Oh it’s a terrible time for being a blue, on cup final day with nothing to do, oh Everton we’re all laughing at you”. Everton’s commitment to self parody is something to be admired. They’ll have a good go, but somehow they’ll manage to ruin it for themselves and send their fans home sad, again. On Friday Night, they visited their biggest rivals searching their first victory at Anfield this century, and trying to end a 23 year trophy drought.
The first 35 minutes of the game, was similar to what Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano described over a decade ago, “Football is made up of subjective feeling, of suggestion and, in that, Anfield is unbeatable. Put a shit hanging from a stick in the middle of this passionate, crazy stadium and there are people who will tell you it’s a work of art. It’s not: it’s a shit hanging from a stick.” Literally nothing of any interest happened in the first 35 minutes, Everton kicked a few lads and Liverpool would run really slowly forward and then give the ball away. A hopeful ball towards the box changed all this, Everton defender Mason Holgate decided to inexplicably throw Adam Lallana to the ground, and James Milner put the Reds one-nil up from the spot. It probably is it a bit of a soft decision, but like the penalty against Liverpool in the last months derby, it’s just one of them isn’t it? Don’t throw needlessly grab someone in the box and you don’t have to worry about the consequences.
The games second flashpoint came when the aforementioned Holgate, had another brain malfunction and shoved Roberto Firmino over the advertising hoardings into the Main Stand. His head has gone, which isn’t helped by something the Brazilian says to him in retaliation. I don’t really know what he said, nobody really does. There’s some really cool people on twitter who claim to be able to lipread Portuguese so you can go and read their tweets if you want. The referee is standing right between the players so I’d probably wager it wasn’t that bad. But again, I don’t really have any idea.
Everton captain Wayne Rooney should probably receive a second yellow card just after the break, but the referee decides to referee the “narrative” instead of the game. Referee Bobby Madley doesn’t want to send off the Everton captain after already giving Liverpool a penalty. He’s probably seen Mayor Joe Anderson earlier in the day tweeting that he’s writing a letter of complain to the Premier League and Football Association over the Ross Barkley transfer to Chelsea and decided against it. Fair enough I guess.
The game is fairly even in the second half, during a lull in play I send a text to a friend at 21:13 about Everton midfielder about Gylfi Sigurdsson “He’s a match of the day player lad. That’s why he thrives at Swansea and was found out at Spurs. Scores a screamer once every so often to stay relevant.” Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised at 21:21. Lol. Liverpool put in a terrible corner, allowing the impressive Ademola Lookman to break, pick out his captain Phil Jagielka who has inexplicability ended up at centre forward instead of centre back, who cleverly lays the ball into the Icelandic’s path who cooly slots the ball into the bottom corner. Sparking scenes of pandemonium in the Everton end, one lad on crutches miraculously recovers and is celebrating holding both crutches in the air. Fair play to him.
The game goes really mad from this point on, both teams legging it forwards and backwards along the pitch frantically trying to score or keep a goal out. Liverpool’s big money signing Virgil van Dijk is getting free at a couple of set pieces but not quite connecting properly with the ball, but he’s getting in the positions to score at least. (I hope you see what I’ve done here folks, it’s a literary technique called foreshadowing. Guess what’s about to happen?)
Liverpool get a corner in the 85th minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the boyfriend of Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards swings the ball in and the newboy van Dijk beats the Everton keeper to the ball, and scores a derby winner at the Kop end, on his debut. That’s quite good in fairness to him. Hopefully this will stop all the incredibly boring and tedious talk about his transfer fee and whether he’s worth. You’ve not paid it, neither has @BanterFC or @TheSilvaSurfer. Something is worth whatever someone is prepared to pay for it, that’s how economics works. But football is not about economics or price rationality thankfully, it’s about moment such as tonight. A lad scoring a late Derby winner on his debut.