Breaking the Mould - In a Bad Way
The Merseyside derby has been lopsided for a long while now; until Everton shocked Liverpool at an empty Anfield last season, their last win over their rivals was way back in October 2010. At Goodison Park, the story has been one of stalemate, with 8 of the 9 previous meetings drawn, but that narrative changed sharply as the Blues were blown away last night by their neighbours.
The Reds scored early and often and looked like running away with the tie in the first quarter of the game. Everton were able to fight back before the half and pulled one goal back too, but had no answers in the second half as the visitors strolled to a win.
The last nine Merseyside derbies at Goodison Park #EVELIV:— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 1, 2021
Heading Towards an Iceberg
Wednesday’s calamitous performance means the Toffees’ winless run in the Premier League now stretches to eight games, their worst run in 22 years. Facing a tough Monday night home match against Arsenal, the team needs to turn around the Good Ship Everton before tragedy unfolds.
If what we saw at the final whistle yesterday with chants of ‘Sack the Board’ and Bill Kenwright, Marcel Brands and the players being confronted by disgruntled supporters, the atmosphere in the ground could get very ugly long before the final whistle. With majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri due to be in attendance, Goodison Park will be a powder keg with a short fuse on Monday.
Everton haven't won in their last 8 Premier League games - their longest winless run in the league since December 1999 (also 8). #EFC— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) December 1, 2021
No Cutting Edge
Manager Rafa Benitez surprised most by sending his troops out in a 4-4-2 formation, with Richarlison playing alongside Salomon Rondon, a bold move ensuring Liverpool would outnumber Everton in midfield. As it played out, the Blues shipped two goals before they were able to seriously threaten the visitor’s goal and in truth were fortunate to still be in the game by the time Demarai Gray scored in the 38th minute.
Whilst the Reds have a free-flowing attack, averaging three goals per match, Everton have been anaemic by comparison. Gray’s 4th goal of the season makes him the club’s top scorer, overtaking Dominic-Calvert Lewin, who has been injured since the end of August.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin hasn’t played a game since August. Until Demarai Gray’s goal vs. Liverpool just now, he was Everton’s joint top scorer in the league.— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 1, 2021
Finally surpassed…. pic.twitter.com/Iyjv68DAQo
Outclassed and Outgunned
Former manager David Moyes is famous for his “taking knives to a gunfight” quote, when illustrating how Everton were punching above their weight on a limited budget. Under the Goodison Park lights last night, the home team showed very little going forward and spent most of the first 25 minutes repelling a red onslaught. The xG (Expected Goals) racked up by the visitors during the opening ten minutes alone was more than Everton have in four Premier League games this season.
This proved a relevant illustration of where the respective teams are at in terms of offensive production, and the final score was really no surprise, even though it took some brilliant finishing to ensure the Reds got four goals.
Everton (0.54) 1-4 (2.97) Liverpool— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) December 1, 2021
Running out of Time
Initial comments by Moshiri this morning - relayed via his media contacts, rather than the club’s official channels, as is his way - were supportive of the beleaguered Benitez, but history does not suggest that his patience is unlimited. In fact, the Monaco-based Everton owner has proved ruthless in dismissing underachieving managers and though he has nailed his colours to the mast in backing the Spanish veteran, the 3 bosses he has dispensed with so far were actually doing better than the latest incumbent at the time of their dismissals - here are the records of the last five managers to leave Everton in their last ten games in charge.
Everton managers points from their final 10 PL games:— Gardantuan (@EfcDan15) December 2, 2021
Koeman - 8 points - Sacked ✅
Silva - 7 points - Sacked ✅
Martinez - 6 points - Sacked ✅
Benitez - 5 Points - Sacked ⏳