Top 10 conclusions: Liverpool 2-1 Everton
1. Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel were moonlighting as the Chuckle Brothers. The classic calamitous ‘to me, to you’ routine was played out perfectly. It was a fine indication that a retired Carra would be more suited to CBBC than ESPN.
2. Andy Carroll’s astonishing close-range headed miss was remarkable for the sheer authority with which he missed. It was a bullet header, perfectly struck in the middle of his forehead. The professional composure with which Andy misses is one of the most compelling things about him.
3. Easy digs aside, Carroll was superb yesterday, dominating Everton’s back four like a giant Gulliver trudging around Lilliput island. The £35 million price-tag may always be a granite albatross around his neck, but his defiant attitude and colossal winner suggest a seemingly endless corner has been turned.
4. For all the credit ladled on to Moyes, you have to question the mentality he transmitted to his players at half-time. After getting their goal against a team in woeful form, they sat back more dramatically than an elephant reclining on a bean bag. A wonderful opportunity felt inexcusably wasted.
5. The farce of the FA Cup semis being played at Wembley is a grumble OTP can’t shake. The pre-match ceremony, the pilgrimage down Wembley Way, the sunshine drenching an impeccable pitch all screamed Cup Final day. It was like opening your Christmas presents on Christmas Eve: an uneasy exhilaration that ultimately dilutes the big day. Man City and Norwich playing at the same time was yet another money-influenced slap in the face for the Cup.
6. Credit to Brad Jones for a composed performance in goal for Liverpool. Whilst FA Cup fairytale writers painted the ex-Middlesbrough man and Australia international as a no-hope journeyman yanked off the street, his commanding display under huge pressure was undeniably impressive. Special mention for topical Liverpool banner yesterday: “Holy Comolli, we only have one goalie.”
7. It still hurts OTP’s head that Liverpool look set to bag two trophies despite polluting the Premier league with a real stink bomb of a campaign. Dalglish is a great and intensely woeful manager all at once. It’s a mental tug-of-war which King Kenny may finally have a firm grip on for the first time this year.
8. Craig Bellamy continues to revel in his regular role as Liverpool’s show-stealing substitute. He was only on for 10 minutes, but his world-class delivery for Carroll’s goal was typical of Bellamy this season: precise, selfless and creative. That he understudies so often for Downing seems more ill-fitting than Kenny’s XXL tracksuit.
9. The fact that Sylvin Distin accepted responsibility for Everton’ s loss not only confirms him as a player of pure class, it also speaks volumes about Everton’s mindset at 1-1. They were devoid of any belief that they could go on to win the game.
10. Having been at the game and witnessing an impeccable minute’s silence to mark the Hillsborough disaster anniversary, followed by a thunderous cry of ‘Justice for the 96’, it really hammered home something that reading columns and articles cannot. The pain and disdain at the lack of information on what happened that day is red raw, and unanimously felt. The horrific event happened 23 years ago, but yesterday shouldn’t leave anyone in any doubt that there is no more pressing matter to address in English football today.