Sunday, 24 November 2013

Saturday in the EPL - Merseyside Derby:

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post where I have a review + analysis of all of Saturday's EPL games including the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park as well as matches such as the London derby (West Ham vs Chelsea) and 1st placed Arsenal against 3rd placed Southampton. 

This blog post will be focused on the Merseyside derby itself, but the other matches will be published in a separate blog post :) 

Merseyside Derby:

The Merseyside derby rarely disappoints... it certainly did not on Saturday. 

Saturday saw one of the biggest derby games in the world see centre stage in the early afternoon kick-off from Goodison Park, with both sides impressing so far this season. 

Everton looked dangerous with Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley and Mirallas on their attacking force while Liverpool have had their best start to a season in a while thanks to the dangerous partnership of SAS - Sturridge and Suarez. 

The derby itself? One of the best Merseyside derbies to date, with both sides looking stronger than ever in their respective goals to qualify for European football for next season. 

Roberto Martinez vs Brendan Rodgers - two of the best managers in the league, helping their sides to improve.

Everton started the game off quickly, with Barkley and Pienaar doing well to get past the Liverpool back line a few times in the first few minutes of the game.

However, it was Liverpool who broke the deadlock after just 4 minutes thanks to a toe-poke by Brazillian midfielder Philippe Coutinho after he did well to anticipate movement from a Gerrard corner and clinically finished after Suarez pass the ball to his feet in the box. 

Anticipation: Coutinho did well to tap past Howard to break the deadlock.

First: Coutinho celebrates his 1st goal in a Merseyside derby to give Liverpool a lead.

FACT: This was Coutinho's first goal in a Merseyside derby.

FACT: This was the first goal that Everton had conceded in over 5 hours of play.

Everton felt hard done by after trailing, and upped the intensity. A few minutes later (in the 8th minute), Belgian forward Kevin Mirallas equalised for the hosts after a deep free-kick ball from full-back Leighton Baines fell to him inside the box to smash past Mignolet into the top corner from the far post.

Back: Mirallas sends the Everton faithful into celebration after equalising in the 8th minute
Everton were not allowed time or space on the ball after the equaliser, and went back behind in the 18th minute after a well-taken free-kick strike by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez from 20 yards out, with a swerving drive which curled around the wall into the bottom corner of the net out of reach for Tim Howard to save. 

World-class: Suarez gave Liverpool the lead again with a curling free-kick strike.

High reputation: Suarez celebrates yet another free-kick goal for Liverpool. Fantastic
A simply fantastic strike, from a great free-kick taker to give Liverpool the lead again without working extremely hard for it. 

English wonderkid midfielder Ross Barkley gave Mignolet something to save with a well-struck drive from 25 yards out near the box towards Lukaku, but the ball swerved towards the post instead of meeting the Belgian striker and Mignolet had to make a diving save to ensure he was not beaten for the second time in 20 minutes. 

At half-time, the score was 2-1 in Liverpool's favour despite Everton doing well to keep themselves in the game. There was controversy surrounding some tackles in the first-half, including Mirallas' late, high challenge on Suarez and Gerrard's elbow on Barry in the air - both challenges looked dangerous upon reflection on the replays, with Mirallas' the worst because it was high and had studs up.

Mirallas was lucky to still be on the pitch after this late challenge on Suarez in the first-half

Red card? Maybe, but his tackle was not intentional even though he was never winning the ball. 

The second-half started without any substitutions for either side, with many late tackles and challenges (just like you would expect in a derby game of this stature)

Everton equalised for the second time in the 70th minute after Barkley was brought down in a dangerous position by Brazillian defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva and the resulting set-piece was clinically slotted past Mignolet into the net to make it 2-2 thanks to Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. 

Lukaku took the free-kick because regular taker Leighton Baines was substituted, and it was a deflected strike which was parried away by Mignolet but an Everton player got to the ball quickest to pass back across goal for McCarthy to Lukaku to slot past Mignolet. 

Clinical: Lukaku equalised in the 70th minute to make it 2-2, slotting past Mignolet.

Both teams looked dangerous on the counter attack in the last 20 minutes, with legs getting tired and therefore making there more space being allowed to take advantage of on the counter.

Everton looked even brighter than Liverpool, with pace on the break (Deulofeu, Mirallas, Barkley and Lukaku) with Barcelona forward loanee Deulofeu having two shots parried away well by Mignolet before an inviting cross fell to Lukaku who completed his brace with an unstoppable header past Mignolet to give The Toffees a 3-2 lead with 7 minutes plus stoppages to play.  

Power and strength: Lukaku scored an unstoppable header to give Everton the lead.

On-form: Lukaku celebrates his second of the day against Liverpool to make it 3-2.
Liverpool rode their luck well and made it 3-3 late in the game after an 88-minute header from a cross thanks to English striker Daniel Sturridge who took his chance well and equalised. 

Late equaliser: Sturridge celebrates his late header to make it 3-3 against Everton.

The fourth official held up his electronic board for 4 minutes of stoppage time, with a nervy couple of minutes for both sides. Moses almost gave Liverpool the lead in the 1st minute of stoppage time, before Suarez almost did the same with a bullet volley inside the box but was denied well by Howard's parry out for a corner. 

McCarthy almost scored before the final whistle, and Sturridge scored an offside goal in the 90+3rd minute before the referee blew his whistle to end the match. 

Here is how the table looked after the game had finished at Goodison Park:

Tight at the top: Everton are 3 points behind their local rivals Liverpool after the 3-3 draw.

Thank you for reading my blog post today as always, I will have more football content for you to read including the rest of Saturday's fixtures from the EPL and the derby game from the Bundesliga - Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich.

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