These are grim times at Everton. If it wasn’t enough that the lot across the park are strolling to their first league title in 30 years, now their reserve team are beating Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
Matt Jones from the Blue Room podcast joined the Totally Football Show this Monday to lament another chapter in the calamitous book that is Everton’s attempts to win at Anfield.
“Down the years Everton have lost derby matches in the most heart-breaking and hilarious (to Liverpool fans) ways possible,” Matt said. “We’ve conceded hat-tricks to the Liverpool captain, lost in the last minute at Anfield, lost in the last minute at Goodison, lost in the last minute at Wembley, lost in a comical way last season. And now they’ve lost against a Liverpool second or third-string side.
“It was hugely disappointing. Everton were favourites with the bookmakers before the game, which was staggering to me given our record at Anfield. We thought the experience and the ‘quality’ of the Everton team would off-set what Liverpool had out, but it didn’t materialise at all.
“Everton were spineless, they showed very little and ultimately showed why they are where they are in the table, and why they’re in what is effectively a relegation battle.”
Even with a new, multi-Champions League winner in the dugout, Everton still couldn’t get over the Anfield hex, and Matt reckons the game will have been instructive for Carlo Ancelotti.
“I imagine he will have learned a lot more about the players and this club. Certainly in regards to the central midfielders: Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson were two of the most experienced players on the pitch but they were very passive, they didn’t really want the ball and when they got it they were quite cowardly in a raucous Anfield atmosphere.
“Ancelotti has had a good time of things in the first two games, and there were aspects of the performance against Manchester City he would have been pleased with, but reality will have dawned on him after this game. He will have looked at the squad, and thought “I’ve got a hell of a job here.”
He also thinks that Everton’s comical record at Anfield, where they haven’t won since 1999, is more of a mental problem that could take years to shift.
“We’re looking at another group of players scarred by this fixture now. When we had David Moyes and a pretty good side who would finish regularly around the top six, it felt like those players were scarred by what had happened at Anfield, and ultimately that’s why down the years they weren’t performing. It just feels like this is under the fingernails, under the skin of the football club now.
“If they can play a reserve team like they did here, they can probably play the under-16s and get us back to Goodison Park.”
The next time the teams face each other will be at Goodison on March 14, which could hold yet more horrors for the blue half of Merseyside.
“If Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester go along at their respective points totals, then Liverpool could win the league at Goodison Park that day. The joy keeps on coming for Everton this season.”
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