Whether you talk music, history, grandeur, European Cups (5 don’t you know), or a local derby it is right up there with the best of them.
A game for the neutral that had it all, intensity, pace, quality, goals, controversy, desire and drama, but for those either side of the blue/red divide all it provided was a record number of 999 call outs to address cardiac complaints!
At one point I thought my heart had actually burst through my chest as if I was John Hurt (if only Sigourney Weaver had been present!), yet with the dust settling I find myself happy with the point given that no side has left with more in the league in 2013.
Now sure in instances like this, picking out the negatives in the aftermath is somewhat like shooting fish in a barrel. We could go on and on about our set-piece defending, THAT miss, not playing Sakho and some chap masquerading as a referee but that is a truly a fruitless venture. Of course I am not saying we should bury such topics like Trevor Jordache (points there for memory!), but I consider myself quite a positive chap post 90 minutes so want to raise what I feel are the plus points to take away from Goodison, the kind of stuff that falls to the wayside in the modern game when 3 points are not secured, so here we go:
I am a firm believer in with holding my judgement of a Red until they have left the club. Whilst a player wears that famous shirt it is imperative that they receive our support to drag through lean patches or to help settle. Yet even with this in mind, Flanno had left me in cold sweats as I recalled Ewood Park under Kenny. I wont lie, his name on the teamsheet at the Emirates and then less so across the park had me worried but it is fair to say the young man was excellent.
Certainly on Saturday he tackled well, disrupted, was not overrun and added offensively as well. It is testament firstly to him that he has fought back from such a low to the level he is at now (exactly the attitude we want from each and every player in red) and secondly to Rodgers who shows that regardless of who you are the door is open if you apply yourself at Melwood, a fantastic message to filter to the younger members of the squad and the academy.
I can guarantee I will get flak for this and of course it looked easier to score or lay it on a plate for Suarez, but that single incident detracts from what I thought was a solid comeback into the starting line up, being a clear miss when he was withdrawn. With him in the middle, reading the game as well as he does and his distribution in general gave us something to look forward to when he is back at his very best.
I see his future in the mould of a ‘Xavi’ in terms of being busy in the middle of the park, always offering himself for a pass and retaining possession, and as I mentioned before he reads the game very well meaning he can intercept and disrupt oppositions in a subtler way than say a Mascherano (who I would crawl over broken glass to bring back to Anfield). I know he isn’t exactly flavour of the month, but he needs our support.
Whilst I believe that some errors were made in the game, for instance I would have liked to have seen Sakho handle Lukaku (stop it!), praise where it is due I saw an element of Ferguson in him.
One of the reasons why United have been so successful is that Fergie would rather lose going for a win than draw, which more often than not they did. As Everton were growing in confidence and the pressure was increasing into an equaliser Rodgers could have quite easily packed the midfield or thrown on a defender, but instead he withdrew Lucas for Sturridge.
A criticism of Rafa in the past was that he could be too cautious preferring not to lose a game. What we saw at Goodison was a positive gamble that given our team spirit and quality is one worth taking in my mind.
Wow! I mentioned it on Twitter that I believed, given his form in recent seasons, had Pepe Reina been in net instead we could have been looking at a very different result, and whilst to an extent I agree the Belgian has to work on his distribution, I would much rather it was that aspect of his game that needed working on than any of his others! A stronger wrist could have helped prevent Lukaku’s first and I can think of one or two out there who probably could share their wrist workouts!
Kudos to the man that he finished 90 minutes as another may have finished their career following that Miralles challenge. We all know he has his bad points, and I’m sure I’m not alone in being disappointed with his Guardian piece in the summer, but to put in that performance after going to Jordan to play (was the Price right? See what I did there?), then on to Uruguay to play and then rushing home the day before says everything about him as a player. I would be loathe to sell him for any amount of money, look at a Spurs with no one to Bale them out.
I think you have had 5 of my best, and hey lets hope Mr. M’Vila liked what he saw, what do you think? Agree or disagree? Have you seen other instances?
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