Losing hurts, losing to Liverpool is horrific, but the manner of the 4-0 defeat on Tuesday night has left many Evertonians in a fit of despair and depression. The Blues, for all their possession were out thought, out battled and out played. Liverpool deserved the victory and rightly sit four points above us in the Premier League table. But before we write off all that has been good so far this season, let’s not forget we are only four points off Liverpool, four points off fourth place and we remain firmly in contention for Champions League football.
The over reaction to the defeat on twitter has reminded me what a negative bunch, we Evertonians are. Defeat should bring ramifications and a certain amount of soul-searching, especially when the score is so one-sided, but has that much really changed? As much as people like to find a scapegoat, Lukaku (only played for 20 minutes) and the Board (who are far from perfect) are not to blame for this defeat. As a team we did not turn up. However, four points is not an insurmountable difference. The difference in points could be wiped out in a matter of weeks. Now is not the time to panic, now is the time to support Roberto and trust him to deliver for Everton in the long-term.
There remain some positives to come out of the defeat, although admittedly you do have to look quite hard.
We were naive in the way we pushed forward in search of a way back into the game after Gerrard’s opener. But at least we were prepared to have a go. In the past, we would have sat back and taken the defeat. We only have to think back two years to a 3-0 defeat at Anfield, when we were similarly out played, but we didn’t at any time look like we were going to force our way back into the match. On Tuesday we had several chances and had Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry taken chances we could have been level at 1-1.
The highlight of the night for the Evertonians had to be the performance of Kevin Mirallas. As bad as most of his team mates were, Mirallas was simply superb, almost single-handed in his determination to bring the Blues back into the game. After a low-key start to the season, the Belgium has burst into life in recent weeks, with impressive performances against Norwich, West Brom, Stevenage and now Liverpool. If he continues in this rich vein of form, the Blues have every chance of forcing themselves back into Champions League contention.
Finally, the response of the manager was positive. As supporters, you sometimes need to the manager to come out after a painful defeat and prove he is hurting. Martinez, who had spent the entire match on the touchline, cajoling and encouraging his players to find a way back into the match appeared on in front of the TV cameras to give him own damming verdict on the performance. There was no hiding away in the dugout (we have seen that before) or sending his second in command to face the music, instead Roberto fronted up and delivered a rallying call.
“We started well enough but conceded the goal from a deadball situation and we put ourselves in Liverpool’s hands really. We lost our concentration, lost our usual shape and it was unlike us.”
“But we don’t make excuses. We looked at times out of sorts, we gave the ball away too easily and we left ourselves exposed.”
“It’s a matter of admitting that we weren’t at our best, but it’s a day that hurts because it’s a special day for our fans and we need to make sure we change this situation by playing how we have been between now and the end of the season.”
Saturday presents the first opportunity to put right the wrongs of Anfield. We must respond in a manner befitting of Everton. This is a true test of Reberto’s Everton. Whatever your feelings are towards David Moyes, it is hard to remember an occasion when the Blues didn’t respond positively to adversity during his tenure. A win on Saturday will immediately lift spirits and reignite a season that could yet have a positive conclusion on two fronts.