Considering how I felt things might go in the first Merseyside Derby of the season, things went considerably better than I'd expected. Full disclosure, my alarm didn't wake me up at 6:45am when the match kicked off for me here in the US. Instead, I woke up just as the match entered stoppage time in the second half! OH NO!! I rushed to turn on the TV and was just in time to see Phil Jagielka save the day with an absolute missile goal.
Going back through the match on my DVR at high speed has allowed me to make some observations though, so here goes.
- Everton needed a positive defensive performance, if for nothing else than to quiet down the critics just a bit. While things have been rough this season at the back, it's hard to fathom that Martinez will just sit there and not make adjustments in training.
- Both teams probably should have been rewarded penalties. Lukaku was clearly brought down inside the box but his body shielded the referee's view, so he never saw Alberto Moreno's arm that was subtly pulling our big striker to the ground. On the other end, Gareth Barry got away with a handball after he raised his arm to block Raheem Sterling's strike. So it goes.
- Barry probably could've been sent off in the first half after committing at least three clear yellow card offenses.
- I really hate Steven Gerrard.
- There was an element of luck to Everton's day, combined with a solid performance by Tim Howard. Liverpool and their fans especially will no doubt be lamenting missed opportunities, but at some point you'd think they'd grasp that this is football and sometimes things don't go your way. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
- I don't think we'll ever really know how Jagielka pulled off that equalizing goal. I'm fairly certain he could try that 50 times in a full-speed match and not be able to recreate that bit of magic. I really hope he starts saying that he planned it all along, since it's the Derby and all. STRUT JAGS STRUT.
- It wasn't perfect, it was nervy, a bit physical and ugly, but it's a huge result for Everton after two straight losses, we will take it.