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Merseyside Derby.

The weekend action in the Premiership was entertaining in most cases, with the Merseyside Derby capturing most of the attention in the press since Saturday. A game overshadowed by penalties and red cards finished in Liverpool’s favour when Dirk Kuyt held his nerve to steer his second penalty of the game past Tim Howard into the bottom-right-hand corner of the net (also, for the second time), and Liverpool had the victory over their fierce rivals by two goals to one.
The performance of Mark Clattenburg has been scrutinised to the extent that one of the Premiership’s finest referees will have no game to cover this weekend. David Moyes fumed after the game that not only should Everton have had a penalty at the end (they should have) but Kuyt shouldn’t have been on the field to score Liverpool’s second having lunged at the stand-in keeper Phil Neville (Everton’s second sending off) shortly after equalising.
Jamie Carragher’s pull on Joleon Lescott was the second time the Englishman felt he had been denied a penalty. The first came when Steve Finnan grappled with him in the box. The first incident was not a penalty, Lescott was looking for that one, the second there was no doubt. Quite what Carragher was thinking, after Liverpool had scored the potential match-winner in the last minute, is anyone’s guess. Lescott managed to get in front of Carragher and the defender clearly thought he had given away the penalty by the look on his face. Carragher’s behaviour was, in general, poor, especially considering he wore the captain’s armband once Gerrard was inexplicably withdrawn twenty minutes from the end. While Carragher was clearly determined to win the game which means so much to him as a boyhood Everton fan and ‘lifelong’ Liverpool player, he was lucky not to get booked for dissent on several occasions.
The Kuyt challenge on Neville was the right call by Clattenburg. That Kuyt made an exceptionally dangerous challenge is of little doubt. However, there was no way Kuyt was going for Neville, simply throwing himself at the ball to attempt to block it from being delivered long and into the box by Neville. Neville’s reaction suggests he was aware of this. Hibbert’s red card is being disputed by few, so Clattenburg deciding to ‘even things up’ by dismissing Kuyt would have been unfair on a player who works harder than anyone on the Liverpool team to do his part in defence and attack.
Neville should be banned for a lengthy period by the FA. Deciding to fling himself to the left to punch clear Lucas’ shot was the epitome of a cheating, cowardly action. The Brazilian was denied a Merseyside Derby winner and can be rightfully furious, though Benitez will simply be glad that his decision to bring him on in place of Gerrard, who had begun to play with something resembling his normal confidence, reaped rewards. Had it not, further questions would certainly have been asked of his managerial reign. His relationship with Gerrard is a cordial one at best it seems, and Liverpool need to beat Arsenal on Sunday, knowing a defeat would leave them nine points behind.
Moyes and his team can rightfully feel cheated. While disciplne let down both sides and it is unfair to accuse Clattenburg of bias towards Liverpool, Everton deserved something more from this tie. The table will show Everton languishing in mid-table despite a good start to the season. Liverpool retained their place in the top four, just about keeping touch with Arsenal, A big game at Anfield on Sunday. Both sides head for Europe, secondary concerns to the league, knowing victories are required to restore confidence.

Categories: Everton, Liverpool, Premiership
  1. steve
    August 13, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    when was the 100th merseyside derby?

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