Premier League - Everton crush lacklustre Liverpool
Sun, 17 Oct 15:31:00 2010
Liverpool's first game under new ownership ended in a comprehensive 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
Goals in either half from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta secured a deserved victory for Everton, who go 11th in the Premier League table and leave their city rivals languishing in the relegation zone with one win in eight games.
It was a case of 'brave new world, same old story' for Liverpool, who were outplayed throughout by city rivals who have not enjoyed the best start to the season themselves.
New owner John W Henry was at Goodison and will have been left under no illusions about the size of the task confronting his NESV group.
The transfer window cannot open soon enough for Hodgson, who is short of quality in every department except in goal.
The problems began in defence, where Glen Johnson's absence meant Jamie Carragher played at right-back - not ideal in itself, but it meant the supremely shaky pairing of Martin Skrtel and Sotiris Kyrgiakos manned the centre.
The pair were run ragged by the strength and directness of Ayegbeni Yakubu, while they never got to grips with Cahill's movement between the lines.
Early chances were blazed over by Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin - Everton fans no doubt cursing the fact both opportunities fell to centre-backs, while Yakubu tested Pepe Reina with a low shot from the edge of the box.
The visitors, meanwhile, were limited to a flicked header by Torres that Howard tipped over.
This being a derby, the tackles flew in, and referee Howard Webb - no doubt chastened by his experience of a similarly combative World Cup final - showed great restraint in showing only three first-half bookings, to Rodriguez, Cahill and Meireles.
The goal came on 34 minutes after excellent work down the right by Seamus Coleman, who dribbled past Lucas and Paul Konchesky before pulling a cross back to Cahill. The Australian smashed the bobbling ball into the roof of the net from eight yards.
Liverpool made an encouraging start to the second half, with Maxi hitting a venomous shot at Howard, but their progress came to a juddering halt on 50 minutes.
Kyrgiakos headed a corner straight to the unmarked Arteta at the edge of the box, who was not closed down and lashed a swerving 20-yarder past the unsighted Reina.
Even at two goals down, the Liverpool of old would have launched a fierce response, especially in a derby game. But it was tame stuff from Hodgson's men.
Even when Everton's tempo and pressing slowed, the chances were fleeting. A long shot here, a wayward cross there. In short, nothing to concern Howard or his manager David Moyes.
Hodgson did not make a change until 71 minutes were on the clock, but he could hardly be blamed, given the meagre pickings at his disposal - only David Ngog, Milan Jovanovic and Ryan Babel, none of whom set Anfield pulses racing.
While Hodgson appears an innocent party cast into a maelstrom of chaos and decline, he must bear some responsibility for his team's lack of fight and their disorganisation.
Torres showed a brief flicker of life with a late shot saved by Howard, while at the other end substitute Jermaine Beckford ought to have added a third as Everton raced clear on the break.Alex Chick / Eurosport