We played with a high tempo, which was lacking during Roys reign, good all round pressing from the forward players, notably Maxi. In defence, Agger and Skrtel were largely untroubled and dealt well with the aerial challenges that came their way. The most active player of the half was Dirk Kuyt, who played some good penetrative passes in the final third, but incidentally, he also lost the most possession. The midfield trio of Lucas, Spearing, and Meireles dominated midfield right from the start, preventing Everton to attack through the centre. Everton failed to exploit what I thought would be our weakest link, LB. This may probably be due to the good covering provided by Maxi and Meireles. Hence u could see Everton switching their attacking play down the right of the pitch but to no avail thanks to Kelly’s solid display. Liverpool looked dangerous attacking down the left flank, as you can see with the 1st goal, with Meireles and Maxi linking well in the last third. Johnson struggled to offer support going forward, but this is no surprise considering he is a right footer. Would have been wiser to start Aurelio at LB instead. However, Kelly did well to replicate Johnson’s attacking prowess down the right, ensuring that Johnson’s surging runs weren’t missed. Torres looked to be close to his best, making no less than 5 successful dribbles in the 1st half to torment Heitinga and Distin. It was also refreshing to see so many players committed to attack with Agger and Skrtel holding a high defensive back line, which Beckford failed to exploit. All in all, great 1st half, great goal by Meireles, great display from Torres and Kelly.
No idea what the lads were thinking with Distin’s goal. Horrendous marking by Skrtel. Could the introduction of Kyrgiakos thrown Skrtel off balance? Liverpool defended the corner with only 1 player guarding the near post ( Meireles ), but I feel that having another player guarding the far post would be ideal, so as to make the goal smaller for Reina to guard. This would have prevented the 1st goal. With the goal, momentum shifted to Everton, who pressed well causing headaches to Kyrgiakos and Skrtel who struggled to get the ball to the midfielders. This half, Everton applied the same tactics, but with more aplomb. Osman and Baines made life absolutely terrifying for Kelly, as Everton bombarded the right flank, forcing Kuyt to act as an auxiliary right back to provide additional defensive cover for Kelly. So immense was the threat down the right that Spearing and even Lucas at time were called on to support Kelly. This was the exact effect David Moyes had intended. The instant Lucas was drawn out of position to help defend the right, Everton swiftly switched play down the centre for Anichebe and Beckford to attack the unguarded Kyrgiakos and Skrtel. Meireles (who has been our weakest player in the 2nd half) should have been tactically aware and matured enough to move into the centre and fill in Lucas’s CDM position whenever Lucas drifted to the right. Once again, Meireles failed to spot Beckford drifting back inwards. He was too slow to mark Beckford, allowing Beckford to score from point blank range. Make no mistake, Skrtel and Krygiakos displayed their abmysal positioning once again. Kyrgiakos should have NEVER allowed himself to drift towards the right, when Skrtel has already done so. There was absolutely no defender in front of Reina. Meireles was absolutely awful in the 2nd half, constantly misplacing passes, and was rightfully replaced by Shelvey, who delivered 2 successful crosses into the box, and played 2 delightful through balls for Torres, albeit Torres being offside. Shelvey truly is 1 for the future. Right behind Meireles is Kuyt, who comes in 2nd place for the weakest player of the 2nd half, despite a well taken penalty. He enforced the fact that he has little technical ablity, losing possession with the ball at his feet for no less than 6 times. Should have been taken off for Cole or Babel.
Reina – 6.0 Fairly solid, had not much to do except pick the ball out of the net. Not at fault for either goals.
Kelly – 7.0 Tremendous display by the youngster. Solid defending and intelligent going forward.
Skrtel – 5.0 A typical day out for the Serbian Slovakian. At fault for the 1st goal.
Agger – 6.0 Marshalled the defence well. No surprise Liverpool looked more solid with him at the back.
Johnson – 5.5 Stuck to his job well. Delightful cross into the box for the 1st goal.
Spearing – 6.5 Showed great maturity and passion. Stuck to the basics, supported Kuyt well.
Lucas – 7.0 Sat deep and controlled and allowed the Meireles and Spearing to get forward. Solid display.
Meireles – 5.5 Great goal in the 1st half. However, misplaced too many passes for his calibre.
Kuyt – 6.0 Tireless as ever, had a mixed performance. Played some good penetrative passes, but lose possession far too often. Good penalty.
Torres – 7.0 Looked sharp and had the confidence to run at players. Unlucky to hit the post.
Maxi – 5.5 Largely anonymous. Missed some a few opportunities in the 1st half.
Krygiakos – 5.5 Very determined display. At fault for the 2nd goal.
Shelvey – 6.5( For those 10 mins ) Didn’t make any mistakes, displayed good attacking intent.
Things can only improve from here. Hope we bring in some players soon!