Everton jury: West Brom comeback has given us hope
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Everton fans in upbeat mood ahead of Merseyside derby after Hawthorns triumph
LEE MOLTON (St Helens)
ECHO JURY MEMBER Lee Molton EFC
What a brilliant comeback at West Brom on Monday! I have only just got my breath back! The Blues do not know when they are beat. Brendan Galloway had a great game and is getting better and better, Baines will struggle to get his place back now. Deulafeou had a good game crossing for Lukaku twice. We need to get the ball more often to the Spaniard and he will create so many chances for Lukaku.
It’s now time to countdown to the Derby, the game we all love to hate! We need to go into the game with no fear and believe that we can win. I hope Stones and Coleman are back to bolster our defence and Deulafeou starts again.
Stones warms up before the Reading game
It is about time that we won one, it has been far too long. Let’s hope that we are all dancing on the tables in celebration at 3.30 on Sunday!
PAUL McALLISTER (Fazakerley)
Monday night’s thrilling three goal comeback against West Brom has had all Evertonians skipping this week and also given everybody huge confidence ahead of this weekend’s Merseyside derby. The team should be going into this match with the attitude that only a win should be classed as a good result.
Liverpool without Gerrard this season have looked a completely different animal than the one we’re used too, they clearly lack on-field leaders and their back-line looks shaky indeed. Providing Ings is successfully controlled and Countinho afforded limited time on the ball I really foresee this Liverpool side struggling to hurt us.
Philippe Coutinho must be allowed limited time on the ball
Whilst it may seem harsh, I feel Martinez should resist temptation and not start Arouna Kone for this one.
Great against the Baggies but maybe not for Sunday
His awkward movement gives tired defenders nightmares meaning his impact on the game can be seen much more clearly. Coming off the bench, the Ivorian could prove to be the match-winner.
MATTHEW JONES (Prenton)
Coming back from two goals down to win a Premier League match is not a normal experience for Evertonians. Neither is beating local rivals Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. But Everton have a wonderful chance to quell these two longstanding sources of suffering in the same week.
The former has already been addressed emphatically with the stunning fightback against West Bromwich Albion. Everton showed they do have what it takes to break down a cohesive, determined defensive shape with a tremendous second half display. Gerard Deulofeu, whose absence was felt last term, provided the raw edge which was so scarce in 2014-15 and simply must start in the derby.
Everton's Arouna Kone scores his side's equalising second goal at The Hawthorns
It’s a win which should see Goodison Park rife with passion and positivity come kickoff on Sunday, hopefully pushing out the standard angst when the Reds come to visit. If Everton play to their best then they’ll secure a comfortable victory, but it never seems to be quite so easy against Liverpool. A win like the one at West Brom could be the catalyst for an overdue shift in mentality, though.
SAM CARROLL (Walton)
Sam Carroll, Everton jury
It’s easy to forget that Gerard Deulofeu only started nine of his twenty-five appearances during his first spell at Everton. Although the goal at Arsenal and the performance at home to Stoke stand out in the memory, there was still the definite feeling around Goodison that the player we signed permanently was not guaranteed to be a success. After Monday night’s performance, the glass ceiling of expectation has been shattered into one million pieces.
Gerard Deulofeu celebrates victory
Martinez was right- Deulofeu deserved to start on Monday, and he repaid the faith from his manager. Deulofeu- like Barkley, Stones, Lukaku, Galloway and Browning- is young and will make mistakes, but the mistakes will be distant memories if his final product is as consistent as it was on Monday.
The team for Sunday picks itself aside from Coleman hopefully returning. Being favourites brings an added weight of expectation, but the message from Martinez should be simple: give Deulofeu the ball. If we can do that, Lukaku and Barkley will definitely have chances to give us that derby win we crave.
Blackburn Rovers beat 10-man Everton to maintain superb U18s Premier League form
Joe Rankin-Costello celebrates his winner.
October 1 2015 Lancashire Telegraph
BLACKBURN Rovers’ impressive start to the Under-18s Premier League continued on Saturday when they stretched their unbeaten run to five matches with a 2-1 triumph at home to 10-man Everton.
First-half goals from top-scorer Lewis Mansell and Joe Rankin-Costello inflicted a first defeat of the season on Everton who had half-time substitute Anthony Evans sent off on the hour mark for a headbutt on Lewis Travis. Rovers boss Billy Barr, whose second-placed side head to Newcastle United this Saturday, said: “It wasn’t our best display as we were wasteful in possession, we kept giving the ball back to them. “It is the first time we’ve played against 10 men and we panicked a little bit. We were trying to protect the lead rather than taking advantage of the extra player which led to a few nervy moments. “But we’ve shown them the game to ensure that it won’t happen again.” After their now customary fast start Rovers went in front in the ninth minute when a long throw into the box found Mansell, who evaded a couple of challenges before finding the bottom corner with a clever left-foot finish. But they were pegged back in the 25th minute when defender Matty Platt could only divert a Callum Lees cross into his own net. However, after Mansell missed a great chance, Rankin-Costello scored what proved to be the winner in the 38th minute with a superb chest trap and volley that dipped into the net.
Everton FC: Blues derby debutants who were an instant hit
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Goodison heroes who netted against Liverpool first time out
Brendan Galloway and Ramiro Funes Mori could be among Everton’s derby debutants at Goodison Park on Sunday and while you’d get long odds on either of the defensive pair finding the net, there have been plenty of rookies who have scored for the Blues in the history of the fixture.
Both are rated as 14/1 anytime scorers and 40/1 first scorers against Liverpool but over the years there have been plenty of new boys who endeared themselves to the Goodison faithful by netting on their derby bows.
Romelu Lukaku: November 23, 2013
Big Rom didn’t just score once on his Merseyside Derby debut but bagged a brace against the Reds.
A cool 72nd minute side-footed finish on his unfavoured right peg drew the Blues level before an 82nd minute header put the hosts ahead – both in front of the Gwladys Street – although a late Daniel Sturridge equaliser ensured a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw.
Steven Naismith: October 28, 2012
Pic Andrew Teebay. Everton FC v Liverpool FC.Steven Naismith celebrates his goal after making it 2-2 for Everton. Visitors Liverpool raced into a 2-0 lead at Goodison through a Leighton Baines own goal on 14 minutes and Luis Suarez on 20 minutes but Leon Osman pulled one back on 22 minutes before Naismith – a summer free transfer acquisition from Rangers after the Scottish club’s financial demise – slammed home Marouane Fellaini’s cross from close range to square things up at 2-2 on 35 minutes and that’s how it would finish.
Andrew Johnson: September 9, 2006
Andrew Johnson’s double capped Everton’s biggest win over their neighbours for 42 years.
Firstly, the Blues then-record £8.6million signing, shrugged off a wild challenge from Jamie Carragher before side-footing low to Pepe Reina’s left on 36 minutes. He then capitalised on the Spanish keeper’s late error to head the ball over the goal-line in the final minute and send Goodison wild.
Olivier Dacourt: April 3, 1999
French midfielder Dacourt had missed the goalless derby at Goodison earlier in the season - suspended after picking up six bookings and one red card on his introduction to English football - but the feisty Frenchman took just 40 seconds to make an impact on his derby debut with a spectacular 25-yard left-foot strike past David James in front of the Kop. Walter Smith’s men would lose 3-2, though, and the game gained notoriety for Robbie Fowler’s unfortunate “line sniffing” goal celebrations.
Danny Cadamarteri: October 18, 1997
Everton's (left - right) Earl Barrett, Danny Williamson, Danny Cadamarteri, Gavin McCann, Graham Stuart and Gary Speed celebrate Everton's second goal Everton’s teenage sensation robbed a ponderous Bjorn Tore Kvarme just inside the Reds half before dancing around Neil Ruddock – who had put the Blues in front with an own goal – and slotting home. It was the young Yorkshireman’s fifth goal in seven outings but would prove to be the high-point of his season as he failed to find the net again with Howard Kendall’s side only avoiding relegation on goal difference.
Gary Speed: November 20, 1996
Image 5 for 'Everton FC legend Gary Speed's career in pictures' gallery
Robbie Fowler had put Liverpool ahead at Anfield on the half-hour mark but just eight minutes from full-time Welshman Speed – a boyhood Blue – nodded Everton level in front of the Kop as he rose highest to meet an inswinging Andy Hinchcliffe free-kick from the right with his effort going in via James’ right-hand post.
Andrei Kanchelskis: November 18, 1995
The Russian international winger bagged a brace at Anfield with what were his first goals for the Blues in a season in which he would find the net 16 times. In a reversal of their usual roles, Paul Rideout found himself on the right-wing to set up the first for Kanchelskis to head home in front of the Kop on 52 minutes. The former Manchester United man’s second on 65 minutes was more of a trademark low, powerful drive as he was picked out by Anders Limpar on the opposite flank.
Duncan Ferguson: November 21, 1994
English Premier League match at Goodison Park. Everton 2 v Liverpool 0. Duncan Ferguson celebrates after he scored his first goal for Everton in the Merseyside derby. 21st November 1994.
On-loan Ferguson began what has become a lifelong love affair with the Goodison faithful by putting the bottom-of-the-table Blues on their way to a 2-0 victory over their neighbours in Joe Royle’s first match in charge. In a crowded penalty box, the Scot rose highest to meet Andy Hinchcliffe’s right-wing corner in front of the Gwladys Street before Rideout sealed the win.
The men tasked with boosting Everton's commercial performance
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Everton announce three key commercial appointments
Sam Lucas, Alan McTavish and Matt Roche
EVERTON have swelled their existing commercial team with three key appointments - with the promise of more to come. Alan McTavish has joined from Watford and will become Head of Commercial Partnerships, Sam Lucas left the FA to join the Blues as Head of Partnerships while Matt Roche will fill a newly created Head of Matchday Revenues role. In an announcement the club say the trio’s role will be to “support the club’s growth plans and increased market share aspirations.” As Head of Commercial Partnerships McTavish will be tasked with enhancing Everton’s commercial profile.
Head of Commercial Partnerships Alan McTavish
Previously commercial director at Watford and with experience at Glasgow Rangers Alan said: “The Premier League is an extremely competitive arena, not only on the field but also in terms of trying to attract and secure new partners, and Everton is one of the UK’s most successful football clubs with all the key ingredients required for commercial success. “I’m excited at the challenge ahead and the opportunities in front of us and I’m keen to make my contribution to developing the club’s commercial revenues while respecting its heritage and values.” Sam Clucas was one of the FA’s 77 strong Team England who travelled to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014. He helped attract brands like Budweiser, Nike, Vauxhall and Mars to the FA’s advertising portfolio and prior to working at The FA spent five years at Umbro, Everton’s kit supplier.
Head of Partnerships Sam Lucas
He said: “Everton is unique in that it’s a huge club with a dedicated and loyal fanbase not only locally but nationally and internationally. “The Premier League’s popularity and the international players we have in our squad show the potential of the club worldwide and I’m really looking forward to playing a part in the club’s future development.” New Head of Matchday Revenues, Matt Roche, will be responsible for overseeing all direct Everton customer transactions including hospitality, food and beverage, matchday programmes/publications and retail.
Head of Matchday Revenues, Matt Roche
He will also work with other members of the commercial team to devise and implement a strategic and profitable approach to the sales of hospitality opportunities and season ticket campaigns.
“I was impressed by the strategic vision of the Senior Management Team and its commitment to taking a long-term approach to achieving its objectives,” he said. “Everton has a loyal and dedicated fanbase and going to the game is important to them. In my new role I look forward to working alongside club staff and the fans to help improve their matchday experience.” The Blues say they will be further expanding their commercial operations, with more appointments to be made shortly.
Everton trio named in England squad for final Euro 2016 qualifiers
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Jagielka, Stones and Barkley in Roy Hodgson's 24-man party
THREE Everton players have been named in the England squad for their final two Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Blues skipper Phil Jagielka, centre-half partner John Stones and midfielder Ross Barkley have been called up by Roy Hodgson. The Three Lions face Estonia at Wembley on Friday, October 9 and then go to Lithuania on Monday, October 12. England booked their place at next summer’s finals by defeating San Marino 6-0. Jagielka, Stones and Barkley all started the game with the latter scoring his first ever international goal. Wayne Rooney reckons Ross Barkley can one day challenge his England goal record
Barkley now has 15 England caps, Stones has six and Jagielka 37. Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley (both ankle) missed out on the England squad due to injury.
Everton and Liverpool supporters unite in a city-wide food bank appeal for derby day
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Alexandra Genova
The two football teams' fan clubs are asking supporters to bring donations to Sunday's match
Everton and Liverpool fans are teaming up ahead of Sunday’s derby match to support the city’s food banks. The Everton Supporters Trust and Spirit of Shankly Liverpool Supporters Union launched the initiative after they saw the alarming increase in the need for food banks in Liverpool. Royston Bentham, Football Supporters Federation National Council member, said: “This is really needed in Merseyside, which continues to be the food bank capital of the country.” The campaign calls on supporters from both teams who are attending the match at Goodison Park to take any food they can spare to any of the six drop of points, which are located around the stadium. The food will be then be distributed by food banks across the city for anyone in need. The two organisations set up the initiative in conjunction with North Liverpool Foodbank, Anfield Breckside Community Centre, Unite in the Community and the Trussell Trust. The two fans groups said in a joint statement: “We have tens of thousands of supporters coming to both grounds on a weekly basis and are asking them to bring food to any of the specified drop off points. “It is vitally important we help the neighbourhoods around the grounds we gain so much from by giving something tangible back to those most in need.” Peter Hooton of Spirit of Shankly and Keith Mullin of Everton Supporters Trust said: “After our recent and hugely successful refugee concert at the Echo Arena, we are now forming a unique partnership in football and putting rivalries aside to come together for the greater good of the region of Merseyside. “No person of any creed or colour should ever go without food on the table. We urge fans groups around the country to take up the baton in helping their respective communities in this ever growing crisis. Football pales into insignificance when a challenge like this presents itself” Everton star Steven Naismith and Everton FC’s official charity are also calling on fans to help Liverpool’s food bank crisis this Sunday, as part of the nationwide We Shall Overcome campaign. Fans are asked to take any donations to the Matchday Hub, located on Spellow Lane. Both campaigns have asked for dry products, such as rice or pasta, tinned products or packet products, such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, long life milk and fruit juice, sugar. Toiletries, and children’s nappies are also welcome. Mr Bentham said the fan clubs will also be setting up six drop off points at the Everton v Manchester United match at Goodison Park on October 17.
Any queries ahead of the football club’s food bank appeal on Sunday should be directed to: www.northliverpool.foodbank.org.uk
Romelu Lukaku says "hungriest" side will win Merseyside derby
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton striker targets derby hero status after missing out in 2013
ROMELU LUKAKU says the ‘hungriest’ side will win the 225th Merseyside derby - and Everton’s leading scorer is starving for success. The towering Belgian heads into Sunday’s clash with Liverpool at Goodison on the back of being the Blues’ match-winner at West Bromwich Albion on Monday night.
Lukaku bagged his fifth and sixth goals of the season but all of his strikes have so far come away from home. And so the 22-year-old now wants to get off the mark in front of the Everton faithful in the biggest game of the season. Lukaku was minutes away from being the derby hero in November 2013 when Everton fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 down to lead 3-2 before Liverpool found a late equaliser.
The £28m signing from Chelsea has four goals in nine career appearances against the Reds and wants to add to that record this weekend. “Monday’s win sets everything up really well but the derby is a different game,” Lukaku told the ECHO. “It is about the personal pride and the pride for us as a club.
“The side that is hungrier is going to win this game on Sunday. “We went back to Liverpool on Monday night and tried to recover as soon as possible. “It was then that we started focusing on the derby.”
Lukaku brought Everton level in the 2013 Goodison clash with a calm side-footed finish and then put the Blues in front with a header from Kevin Mirallas’ corner eight minutes from time.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku (right) scores their third goal of the game with a header
“I was close in my first year!” Lukaku said, about being the derby hero. “I will work hard on Sunday like I did at West Brom and whenever I go on the pitch I want to work hard, help my team-mates and help us win. I want to win the game and score.” Lukaku believes that despite a long list of injuries, Everton are strong heading into Sunday’s clash. “The competition between us players is harder and now we have played with a different defence for a few weeks,” he said. “Training is really tough, everyone wants to show themselves to the manager and I want to keep my place in the team like everyone else.”
Could all-time great Wayne Rooney have become a Galactico at Everton?
2 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
David Prentice column
WAYNE ROONEY is an all-time great of English football.
His record of more international goals than any other English footballer is justly celebrated.
And his career will be feted on Monday in a BBC documentary hosted by another Everton old boy, Gary Lineker. But in that look back at Rooney’s formative years, you can’t help but be left with a lingering sense of ‘what if?’ Rooney is just shy of Denis Law’s Old Trafford goalscoring record, with only Bobby Charlton beyond him. His tally of 235 Manchester United goals on top of his 50 for his country is outstanding. But has the quantity of those goals, especially in the latter half of his career, matched the quality of the strikes he scored for club and country at the outset? Gary Lineker interviews Wayne Rooney for the BBC documentary to be aired on Monday. The overhead kick against Manchester City, of course. But how many others? When Rooney first burst onto the scene at Everton he was a ferocious force of nature, a footballer for whom every situation was an opportunity for spontaneous magic.
Like the riotously celebrated matchwinner at Elland Road, after dribbling past a clutch of tightly packed defenders. Like the impeccably optimistic strike against Arsenal, against a team which hadn’t been beaten for a year, another mazy dribble and finish against the Gunners at Highbury – or the ridiculous FA Youth Cup strike when one of his free-kicks was charged down back to him, and he promptly leathered it back into goal from 35 yards. His talent was instinctive, exciting and wildly unpredictable.
The way he tormented West Brom’s Darren Moore, standing with his hands on his hips before leaving him grasping at fresh air, was cruel but arrogant – the kind of arrogance only the truly gifted possess.
Ryan Giggs, another truly gifted individual, recalls the first time he faced Rooney at Old Trafford more than a decade ago. “He knocked the ball past me,” says Giggs. “And I was like, “Woah! What happened there?” It happened again at Euro 2004, and on his Manchester United debut with a sparkling hat-trick against Fenerbahce. But in subsequent years those Rooney dribbles, those moments of genius were replaced by a more prosaic, but nevertheless productive talent. Zlatan Ibrahmovic offers one possible explanation. “When he was playing with Cristiano Ronaldo, all the work was done by Wayne,” he said.
“But he didn’t get the credit because Ronaldo was scoring all the goals.”
Wayne Rooney is a truly great footballer.
But could he have been a Galactico?
How would his career have panned out if Rooney had remained at Goodison just a little longer?
How many more moments of genius might we have seen?
Might he have been allowed the freedom to move into the Suarez/Neymar/Messi bracket?
We’ll never know.
We’ll just have to sit back on Monday night and enjoy what we’ve seen.
DERBY matches are unpredictable.
Not in that cliched ‘formbook flies out the window’ type of unpredictability.
In derbies, like in football, the team in form usually does better than the team which is struggling, which is why Liverpool’s record has been so impressive in the Premier League era and why bottom of the table Everton’s 2-0 win in November 1994 was such a celebrated anomaly.
No, the outcome of Merseyside derby matches can be predictable.
But where they are unpredictable is in the quality of match they can produce.
Contrast the last two Goodison Park clashes.
Last season Seamus Coleman’s last minute shot from a Ross Barkley pass was about the only memorable moment of an evening which might have been sponsored by Horlicks.
Yet 12 months earlier the old Mersey rivals produced the most riveting, spine tingling, head-shakingly thrilling derby match it has ever been my good fortune to witness – and I saw my first in 1975.
Before that six-goal shoot-out – which could have easily ended six-all – Everton had ground out two goalless draws, while Liverpool had sauntered past Fulham but lost 2-0 at Arsenal.
Yet they produced a six-goal celebration which came from nowhere.
As did the cherished 4-4 draw in 1991, which came three days after the sides had cancelled each other out in a grim goalless draw of attrition remembered only for Gary Ablett’s attempt at gelding Pat Nevin.
Then there was 1985.
Those who witnessed the five goal Goodison thriller that autumn described it as the most wonderful derby spectacle they had ever witnessed. Yet Liverpool’s previous league assignment had seen them draw 2-2 at Oxford, while Everton had laboured past Luton Town.
So what kind of spectacle are we going to see on Sunday?
Everton haven’t kept a clean sheet at Goodison Park all season, while West Ham, Manchester United, Bordeaux, Norwich, Aston Villa and even Carlisle have scored since the Reds’ last clean sheet at The Emirates.
Everton are the team in form, but the possible absence of three-quarters of their first choice back-four will hit them harder than Liverpool’s loss of Dejan Lovren.
Having said that, Liverpool will miss Jordan Henderson’s drive more than Everton will miss the suspended Kevin Mirallas.
Goals look guaranteed.
But you can’t guarantee anything in derby matches.
Brendan Galloway named in England under-21 squad
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton defender injured for last international call-up
Everton defender Brendan Galloway is in line for his England Under-21 debut after being one of four uncapped players called up by Gareth Southgate. The 19-year-old missed games against USA and Norway last month after pulling out of the squad with a knee injury. But he has been included in Southgate's squad to face Kazakhstan for their European Under-21 Championship qualifier in Coventry on October 13. Galloway has impressed at Everton this season, making seven appearances while deputising for the injured Leighton Baines.
Southgate said: "Brendan's got in again, he's another product of Milton Keynes' academy which is another feather in their cap. He was in our squad last month but was injured. We're looking forward to working with him. "He's a versatile player, he's playing at left-back at the moment but can play centre-back and in midfield. He's another good character, a good type, which gives him a chance to succeed.
"He's at a good club who are good at giving young English players their opportunity and that's important to recognise." Galloway joined Everton from MK Dons in 2014 and made his debut at West Ham in May.
His performances since the end of last season have won rave reviews from manager Roberto Martinez.
And Everton are now planning to hand the teenager a lucrative new contract. Lewis Baker - currently on loan at Vitesse Arnhem from Chelsea - Hull's Arsenal loanee Chuba Akpom and Brighton goalkeeper Christian Walton, on loan at Bury, have also been included.
Liverpool's Jordon Ibe and Norwich winger Nathan Redmond are also in Southgate's squad along with Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Tottenham defender Eric Dier has been playing in midfield for Spurs this season and, as he hunts his ninth cap, Southgate has been impressed with the 21-year-old's development. He added: "In the last 12-18 months his progression has been fantastic. That's credit to Tottenham because they have managed him very well. He is maturing and it's showing in his performances." The full England u-21 squad is: Goalkeepers: Angus Gunn (Manchester City), Jordan Pickford (Preston North End, loan from Sunderland), Christian Walton (Bury, loan from Brighton & Hove Albion) Defenders: Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Brendan Galloway (Everton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Dominic Iorfa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) Jack Stephens (Middlesbrough, loan from Southampton), Matt Targett (Southampton) Midfielders: Lewis Baker (Vitesse Arnhem, loan from Chelsea), Nathaniel Chalobah (Napoli, loan from Chelsea), Jake Forster-Caskey (MK Dons, loan from Brighton & Hove Albion), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) Forwards: Chuba Akpom (Hull City, loan from Arsenal), Jordon Ibe (Liverpool), Solly March (Brighton & Hove Albion), Nathan Redmond (Norwich City), Duncan Watmore (Sunderland), James Wilson (Manchester United), Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).
Howard Kendall: Now no-one asks 'how much?' for Romelu Lukaku any more
1 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Howard Kendall
The more Lukaku plays the less people mention the transfer fee
Naturally and rightly so, Romelu Lukaku got all the plaudits following Everton’s win at West Brom on Monday night. The giant Belgian scored two goals, including one six minutes from time, and provided an assist for the other as the Blues fought back from 2-0 down at The Hawthorns. As each game passes and Lukaku plays more and more for Everton, people are talking less and less about his transfer fee.
I believe he has now gone past that stage when people talk about the £28m the Blues spent to sign him from Chelsea. There are always question marks when you first sign for a club and the first people you need to impress are the other players. You have then got to win over the fans, but it’s the players you are playing with first of all that you need to show what you can do. I don’t think it can be in any doubt that the players liked what they saw in him, but it was sections of the supporters who were questioning the fee. I don’t think as many are asking now. As a young striker, Lukaku is always learning and he will continue to improve and get better and will improve certain parts of his game. But he deserves all the plaudits that came his way as a result of Monday night’s performance. Lukaku is big, he’s strong and can shove people off the ball and when the ball is in front of him and he has a sight of goal, he is a tremendous threat. He has a little bit of a problem when he has his back to goal but that will get better and the more confident Rom is, the more relaxed he will be and that will help the ball stick.
Sion selection shows respect for the Blues Brendan Rodgers’ team selection against Sion will show you a couple of things. It will prove how much the derby means to him and also how much respect he has for the Everton side. Form tends to even itself out on derby day but there is an advantage in the Blues being at Goodison. Both teams will be fired up for the game and if, as expected, Rodgers rests a number of key players tonight when they play Sion, then it reinforces how much he is wary of Everton. Without saying the Blues go into this game as favourites, the Evertonians will be expecting a win. Hopefully, Roberto has the side playing with the tempo they played with against Man City and Chelsea.
Derbies tend to be played at 100mph anyway and they have, historically, been fiery occasions.
Liverpool will miss Steven Gerrard's influence in the derby The game has changed but I don’t expect to see a game where it’s ‘pass, pass, pass’ and a slow build-up. Everything on Sunday will be done at pace and, as a fan, that is what you want to see. At the back, you have always got to be keeping a close eye on any proven goalscorer and so Everton will need to shackle Daniel Sturridge. Danny Ings has also got off the mark with Liverpool which will be good for his confidence. But without a shadow of a doubt, the whole feel of the derby is different now that Steven Gerrard is not playing. He has been a major factor for Liverpool in these games over the years and has been a great leader for them. The absence of Jordan Henderson, who looks like he could be a replacement for Gerrard, is another blow to Liverpool.
Harry Catterick told me that if I was going to stay in football, as a manager or coach, then I must keep women out of football. But two Premier League managers have this week said that their future in the game will be decided by their wives. Everton Manager Harry Catterick welcomes his new signing Howard Kendall to Goodison in March 1967. Louis Van Gaal has said that how long he stays in charge of Manchester United depends on his better half and the same for Dick Advocaat. Not sure what Harry would have made of that!
Everton will wait until derby day to decide on John Stones and Seamus Coleman fitness
2 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton manager will give Stones and Coleman until Sunday morning to decide if they will face Liverpool
Everton will give John Stones and Seamus Coleman until Sunday morning to prove they are fit enough to face Liverpool in the 225th Merseyside derby. Roberto Martinez will wait until just a few hours ahead of kick-off before he makes a decision on the influential pair, who have both been recovering from injury.
The Blues boss had been confident at least Stones would be available for the clash with their local rivals despite picking up a knee injury in the Capital One Cup victory over Reading last week, but he took a more cautious tone in his press conference this morning. "I think it's too early to tell now," he said. "They're progressing well and in the next two sessions we'll get a clear idea. I wouldn't be able to tell you one way or another. "We will make a decision as late as we can, probably on the day of the game.
"John (Stones) hasn't trained with the group, he has trained on his own. We have got two sessions now where he is going to be involved with the group and we'll make a final assessment."
Martinez gave the ECHO further details on the nature of Stones' medial knee ligament problem.
"It is a very busy period with the game on Sunday and then the international break which is very demanding for a player who has been out for a game." "We'll need to make an assessment but we will make the right call. "The medial ligament needs a bit of time because it is where the force of kicking the ball goes in your leg, so it needs to be repaired and 100% "So from a medical point of view there is a real clarity and if we can get him 100% for Sunday then he will be available for Sunday but if not, then we'll make sure he comes back from the international break ready to perform."
Big-spending Reds should be favourites, says Martinez
Martinez's men are the bookies favourites ahead of the game, but insists he is taking nothing for granted against Brendan Rodgers' troubled outfit.
"What matters is the 90 minutes," he said. "We're showing good form, so maybe people see us as favourites. But if you look at the amount of money Liverpool have spent in the last three seasons, maybe you would say they are favourites. "It's a derby. It doesn't matter the past." Asked about the pressure his counterpart from across Stanley Park is currently under following the Reds underwhelming 1-1 draw with F C Sion last night, he said: "It's part of the game. "We've created so many high expectations, and the nature of not winning games means pressure is normal. If you don't win a game, you're under pressure. We as managers accept that. "I don't measure success by comparing our squad with other teams. I develop a squad window after window, and I am delighted with what I have. "
Why Everton must take emotion out of derby to arrest run against Liverpool
2 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Roberto Martinez on his determination to turn the Blues' fortunes around
Roberto Martinez wants to stay cool, calm and focused
Roberto says Everton must remove the “emotion” from the derby if they are to beat Liverpool for the first time in five years. The Blues have not seen off their city rivals since October 2010 when goals from Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill secured three points at Goodison. Martinez, who has managed Everton in four derby games, is determined to stop the Blues’ rot against Liverpool which has seen them win just once in the last 11 meetings. But the Catalan says his players have to try and treat this game like any other and ignore the hype and history of the fixture.
“It is a very interesting area,” Martinez told the ECHO.
“When you are trying to analyse players and teams you focus on the technical, tactical and physical aspect. “Very rarely do you go into the emotional or psychological aspect of the game but if you go into the last 17 games in derbies there has only been one victory for Everton and that is something we need to change and need to work on.
The derby provokes more emotion than most games
“Clearly it is not going to be purely footballing factors but the way to solve that is to make it easy and clear for every player on the pitch. “You are not playing the past, you are not playing the stats, you are not playing to occasion, you are just playing the football game. “You are just trying to perform as well as you can to keep your place in the team and hoping for three points. That’s it. “I think that clarity and narrowing that approach is the only thing that can make it a footballing game rather than taking any psychological aspect into the performance.”
We're ready to perform after our impressive displays -Martinez
Martinez believes Everton, who have drawn three of the four derbies under the Catalan, are ready to perform against Liverpool how they have against Chelsea, Arsenal and other sides in high profile games.
“We have been developing and growing in the last two-and-a-half seasons it has been challenge after challenge. “Going into a derby and being ourselves is something we need to achieve and I don’t think we are too far away from that. “There have been many big games and milestones that we have been able to achieve over the season: to go and win at Old Trafford and to beat Arsenal by a three goal margin are things we have overcome in the last few seasons and, clearly, going into a derby and performing in the manner we can is something we need to try and work on.”
Everton vs Liverpool: Merseyside derby pressure may get to Brendan Rodgers
FANS' VIEW: Supporters of the sides involved at Goodison Park this weekend offer their thoughts
2 October 2015 Guardian
Ahead of the Premier League meeting between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park this weekend, we caught up with a couple of fans for their take on the match...
Playing Liverpool at home is pretty much the biggest game of the year for us and we go into the match on Sunday not having lost in five games, one of which being our demolition of last year's champions, Chelsea. As such, it's safe to say that confidence is high around Goodison Park. Liverpool, in contrast, are a club on the ropes and despite all the money they splashed over the summer, have only won twice in their last five. Brendan Rodgers is halfway out the door and with such a massive game at such a crucial time, I reckon the pressure will get the best of him. Whilst we still have some injuries to contend with - Mohamed Besic and Seamus Coleman are unlikely to start and even John Stones is a maybe - Liverpool find themselves in an even worse state and are without Jordan Henderson, Firmino, Flanagan, Lovren and Benteke. As such, I can see Lukaku, Barkley and Co wreaking havoc for 90 minutes. I'm going for a 2-
After six attempts Liverpool finally managed to get a win last Saturday against Aston Villa. While a generally shaky performance, it was amazing to see Daniel Sturridge net two brilliantly taken goals, an encouraging sign from the striker, provided we ease him back into the squad correctly. Defensively, we left a lot to be desired yet again and this has to be addressed, beginning on Sunday against Everton, a side with players such as Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley that could potentially expose our shaky back four. The Merseyside derby is the perfect platform for Brendan Rodgers and his side to really kick-start our season; the fixture remains a monumental one and a victory over our neighbours could potentially give us the push needed to press on and gain further momentum. It will be a tough afternoon at Goodison Park on Sunday, and I can honestly see the game ending in a 2-2 draw.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez unmoved by Steven Gerrard's derby absence
2 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
"What I'm concerned about is how well we can adapt" says Blues boss
Roberto Martinez won't be drawn on whether Steven Gerrard's absence will be pivotal on Sunday
Roberto Martinez is unmoved by Steven Gerrard’s derby absence declaring: “I’m only interested in Everton.” The Catalan would not be drawn on the former Liverpool captain who scored 10 times against the Blues in his Anfield career. Martinez admits he is a “romantic” when it comes to the inclusion of local players in derby matches. Liverpool, following Gerard’s departure this summer, are expected to line-up without a Scouser at Goodison but Martinez is only focused on what Everton’s players can do. The Blues are expected to have Wavertree’s Ross Barkley in their starting line-up and Martinez may keep faith with Toxteth’s Tyias Browning at right-back.
Barkley is from Wavertree and a life-long Blue
“I’ll tell you after the game,” Martinez said, when asked if a local influence can tip the balance in Everton’s favour. “But I am a romantic in that respect, in derbies around the world you want players playing who have been kicking the ball in the street and dreaming of scoring in front of the Gwladys Street or Park End, when they were younger. “That’s what football should be about. But not long ago, in the Milan derby there were hardly any players from Italy, never mind Milan, and it is harder to find those type of romantic stories now. "We have players have dreamed of scoring in derbies as children" – Martinez “But we have got our own romantic stories and it is great to see those players, who have been dreaming of scoring at Goodison.” He added: “It is a special feeling playing in the derby and you quickly know how important it is for everyone and the fans and families in the city, they let you know quickly.
“That extra significance, even if you are a foreign player, you get it straight away. “
Gerrard made 33 appearances against Everton between 1999-2015 but Martinez says he hasn’t considered how his absence may change the derby dynamic. “You’re asking the wrong person,” Martinez said. “What I’m concerned about and what I’m focused on is how well we can adapt to the derby. “From the other side, you are asking the wrong person because I have not got enough information. “But I would love to see, from a footballing point of view, us perform as well as we did against Chelsea. “If we can achieve that we can go a long way.”
Everton v Liverpool: A defining moment in Reds' season - Neil Mellor
2 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Mellor
Merseyside derby a chance for Rodgers' Reds to transform the mood
There is no doubt about it in my mind – this is a defining moment for our season.
Win the derby, on the back of beating Villa last week, and we’ll move back up the table and all feel better. But lose it and we’ll go into another international break with doubts and debate raging again for a fortnight. So yes, the pressure is on, but I don’t think we should approach this game with any sense of trepidation. The performance and result wasn’t good enough Thursday against FC Sion. But Brendan Rodgers made seven understandable changes and he’ll play an almost entirely different team now. Because nobody has forced themselves into the derby reckoning. It is a team that will have taken confidence from a deserved victory over Villa last week after scoring three goals. Yes, Goodison is always a difficult place to go, though we haven’t done too badly there down the years. But Everton have not made it a fortress this season. They had a really good win over Chelsea but don’t forget, they lost to Man City and drew with Watford. That said, we’ve just had four home games on the run and won just one of them – which is just not good enough and has left Everton feeling confident. There will be goals – I feel pretty certain of that. Because both sides have a goal threat and both sides struggle to keep clean sheets. More than anything, I just hope the players remember how it felt going into an international break having been well beaten recently by Manchester United. None of them will want that again. They have a big challenge ahead on Sunday, yes. But with it a real chance too to change the mood and define their season in a positive way.
Sturridge and Ings are our best weapons
It looks like Christian Benteke may be losing his race to be fit for the derby tomorrow. But even if he were to make it, I’m not sure Brendan would be tempted to bring him straight back in. That’s because we have already seen signs of an emerging partnership between Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings.
Sturridge may not be up to full speed yet but we saw his finishing ability with the goals against Villa. He is for me the best English striker in the Premier League and one good reason why we should still be confident of getting the result at Goodison – despite us not being in the most convincing of form.
This will be the first derby in years when we haven’t seen Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher leading us out. And I do worry that we are lacking a leader, someone vocal enough to drive others around him to play with the intensity and passion required. Jordan Henderson can do that of course – but he is out injured. However, if Sturridge and Ings can pick up where they left off against Villa, Everton’s back line will have plenty to worry about. That’s where we can hurt them – and win it.
Everton FC's Leighton Baines and legend Graeme Sharp take private tour of new Alder Hey
2 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Laura Tacey
The sportsmen say they were massively impressed with what they saw
Everton FC legend Graeme Sharp and defender Leighton Baines were massively impressed on a private tour of the new Alder Hey hospital with project manager David Houghton
Everton FC player Leighton Baines has hailed the new Alder Hey as the best hospital in the country.
The defender was joined by Blues’ legend Graeme Sharp on a recent private tour of the £237m Alder Hey in the Park, located on part of West Derby’s Springfield Park. Their visit came ahead of this week’s big move into the new site after 10 years in the making. The sporting duo were shown around Alder Hey in the Park by David Houghton, who has been project manager for the two-year construction project – and is a keen Evertonian. Baines said: “The new hospital is mind-blowing. The amount of thought that has gone into every small detail is fantastic. I think that this is an amazing facility that will clearly be the best facility for kids in the country. “It’s been a tough task for the people who have been working on it to bring it all together and they’ve done an incredible job. It’s one thing coming up with a design and getting a building ready but you’ve got to transport a lot of patients across and get them bedded in to their new surroundings. You can’t appreciate it enough really, even when you come down and see it.”
The design was inspired by children and some features include a giant indoor tree house, an outdoor play deck and relaxation garden. Sharp, a keen supporter of the hospital and the incredible results they achieve, said: “I was really looking forward to coming along today to have a look at the new hospital and it’s absolutely incredible. “We’ve been coming to Alder Hey for the last 10 to 15 years and when you see this new facility, it’s just incredible. “Every corner you turn there’s something that takes your breath away. It’s a fantastic facility for the people of Liverpool, everybody knows what a fantastic job Alder Hey does but this will make it even better.”
Roy Hodgson: Ross Barkley should take cue from Baggio and Totti
• England’s manager hopes Everton’s creative youngster can add more to his game
• ‘Ross is going to score goals and those two would be my template,’ says Hodgson
3 October 2015 Guardian
Roy Hodgson believes Ross Barkley should use Roberto Baggio and Francesco Totti as his template as he seeks to sharpen an attacking edge in his own game. The England manager is confident the 21-year-old can go on to excel for club and country as a goalscoring creator behind a striker.
Barkley has recovered his poise impressively this season after toiling at times last term, re-establishing himself as a key member of Roberto Martínez’s resurgent Everton. He has featured in every game for the Merseyside club, starting each of their Premier League fixtures to date, and has contributed three goals and as many assists, already more than he managed over the entirety of the last campaign.
Hodgson used him in both Euro 2016 qualifiers last month and he is expected to play a significant part against Estonia and Lithuania as England complete their qualification campaign and seek to maintain a pristine record. Yet for Barkley to become a regular in the attacking trio behind a striker, and particularly in the central support role he has enjoyed this season at Everton, the manager admits he must add more bite to his game. “If you want to be that player then you have to score goals,” said Hodgson. “If we take the real classic players in that position in the past, I would be looking at Roberto Baggio, whom I had the pleasure of working with very briefly [at Internazionale], and Francesco Totti. Over their careers they scored an awful lot of goals and I don’t know if you can have the luxury of someone who can play in there unless he’s going to be chipping in with a few. We’ve talked to Ross about that and I’m sure Roberto has too, so he’s more than aware of it.” Barkley is at a similar age to that when both Italians first established their reputations. Baggio had enjoyed a relatively prolific season with Vicenza in Serie C1 when he was 18 but his first truly productive campaign was at Fiorentina, in Serie A, as a 21-year-old in 1988-89. Totti flourished with Roma at the age of 22 and made his Italy debut in 1998-99. “I think Ross is going to score goals and they would be my template,” said Hodgson. “He should be thinking: ‘Right, this is the position I want; this is the position I’m good at; I’m going to provide some goals but I’m also going to score a few myself.’ “In saying that, if he’s going to be a real, serious candidate [in this England team], he’ll have to threaten people like James Milner, Fabian Delph, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and not just say: ‘Well, if you want me I can only play here,’ because we might not have that specific position available. This season he really seems to have made a place in the Everton starting lineup his own and I know Roberto’s pleased with him. “We always liked him. So once again it’s up to him. There is competition for places but we think he’s good enough to play for England and he’ll get his chances. He’s got the qualities, don’t worry about that. He’s a big powerful lad, he can go from box to box. He doesn’t lack anything at all.” Hodgson, who confirmed he had been considering calling up Callum Wilson only for the Bournemouth striker to suffer knee ligament damage last weekend, hopes to give the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli a debut over the next eight days, with Liverpool’s Danny Ings also seeking a first cap. The manager addressed Ashley Young’s prolonged absence from the national setup as well. The Manchester United winger has failed to feature since earning his 30th cap as a substitute in a 0-0 draw with Ukraine in September 2013. “I enjoyed my time working with him in 2012,” said Hodgson. “He hasn’t featured so much for me since then and I explained, if not to him directly then through other people, that Ashley was coming up to 30 and he’s not a 100% regular at Manchester United. We do think he’s a very good player and he’s certainly as good as some of the players I’m picking. But, if I pick Ashley Young, it will be because there’s a distinct place in the team where I can see him coming into and playing every game between now and France. “I’m not going to bring him in to be a luxury reserve, because that’s not the right thing to do to him at this stage of his career. He accepts it at Manchester United but I don’t think he needs to accept it with England too. I’m sure he’d like to play, but I don’t want to keep bringing people in and giving them a sight of a place in the team, only to disappoint them when I pick the next squad. If I bring him in, it will have to be the case that, even when we get all the players back from injury, he will be a distinct and important part of the squad. If I can’t give him that, I’d prefer to leave him out.”
Royal Blue: Martinez wants new era of derby confidence
3 Oct 2015Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Everton manager wants a win on Sunday to draw line in sand after prolonged mediocrity
Roberto Martinez is attempting to bring back a feeling Everton haven’t experienced in a generation.
The Blues boss is trying to create a shift, encourage a new way of thinking and hoping to introduce a culture change at Goodison.
Martinez calls it a “winning mentality”.
The Catalan’s first season, where Everton thrillingly pushed for Champions League qualification but ran out of steam, showed the potential of this squad Significant wins in the Europa League, during the difficulties of last term, were another step in the right direction and victories against the established top four - home and away - have edged Everton closer.
But one major hurdle has yet to be overcome: beating Liverpool.
If the Blues are to progress and make the leap, as Martinez believes they are capable of, then they need to get out of the rut they find themselves in against the Reds. Everton forward Tim Cahill celebrates his goal against Liverpool in front of happy Evertonians Picture by Gareth Jones
Tim Cahill celebrates a derby goal
Everton last defeated Liverpool in October 2010.
That’s one win in the last 13 in all competitions and two in the last 19.
It’s the “mental block” that Martinez has to smash through.
He is all too aware of Everton’s history in this fixture and though keen to treat it as much like any other game as possible, he knows the heavy significance of win on Sunday afternoon. It would, undoubtedly, feel like a watershed moment for this team and this manager.
Martinez was asked how he felt about Everton being favourites heading into the 225th Merseyside derby.
Privately Martinez will embrace favourites tag
“If you look at the amount of money Liverpool have spent in the last three seasons, maybe you would say they are favourites,” was his response. Publicly, it was Martinez’s attempt at amateur psychology but behind closed doors, the Everton boss will embrace the Blues’ favourites tag.
And where there would always be a defensive-first mindset under David Moyes - a starting point of damage limitation against Liverpool - now Everton have to be brave, bold and go for the jugular this time. They have to if they are to take the next step towards a place they’ve not been to, consistently, in 30 years. Martinez believes in a bright blue future - but knows they must break with the past to get there. Earth calling Roy - remember Leighton Baines?! Maybe it’s his age. He is getting on after all.
But Roy Hodgson appears to be getting a touch forgetful and perhaps needs Royal Blue’s help.
It was the England squad announcement this week and the Three Lions boss was asked about Luke Shaw. The Manchester United full-back suffered a harrowing leg break last month and will miss the rest of the season. Shaw’s injury has ruled him out of the European Championships next summer and Hodgson, understandably, is disappointed not to be able to have the talented 20-year-old as part of his squad in France. “We were certainly punting on him being the left-back and arguably looking to be the best left-back in the tournament,” Hodgson said. The best left-back in the tournament?
Err, Roy you seem to be forgetting that he’s not the best left-back in the England squad.
The left-back in the country is a man with 30 England caps and a player closing in on 500 club appearances. His name is Leighton Baines, Roy. When’s he’s fully fit again, you’re most welcome at Goodison Park for a refresher. Brendan Galloway - another class Everton left-back for you Roy
In the meantime, Evertonians would advise you to keep an eye on Brendan Galloway.
He’s not half bad either.
Evertonians gather to celebrate hero Ball
Evertonians gathered on the doorstep of Goodison to celebrate club legend Alan Ball.
The Winslow Hotel was the venue for a night to remember the great former Blues midfielder.
Alan’s son, Jimmy, was a special guest on the night and asked about his favourite memories of his dad’s time at Everton. An auction was also held to raise money for Health Through Sport charity, which helps under-privileged children in the city. Ronny Goodlass with Alan Ball's son Jimmy at the Winslow Hotel next to Goodison Park A pair of Steven Pienaar’s boots were among the prizes on offer.
Organiser and former Everton winger Ronnie Goodlass wanted to thank all those involved in making the night such a success. Ronnie told Royal Blue: “I just want to thank to Winslow for hosting the night and for everyone who came along and supported it. Everton's Alan Ball walks out for the second half
“We all had a great night remembering the great Alan Ball.” Ronnie has plans in place for a special night planned for the 10th anniversary of Health Through Sport later this year. Keep an eye out in Royal Blue for details.
Peabo Bryson is an Evertonian!
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
American soul singer to visit Goodison Park on Sunday
IN 1983 he celebrated his love for Roberta Flack in a chart-topping hit single.
But on Sunday afternoon American soul singer Peabo Bryson hopes to celebrate his new found love for his football team - Everton Football Club! And it’s no long distance love affair - the Blue balladeer will be inside Goodison Park on Sunday to watch his first match, a high intensity derby clash.
“It’s true,” said an Everton insider. “Peabo has been following the Blues for years after one of the guys who organises his travel got him interested in football. “This guy is a big Blue and it rubbed off on Peabo. “He’s been following our fortunes from afar but he’s coming on Sunday and we’re looking forward to welcoming him here.” Peabo Bryson is currently in the middle of a world tour which started in Japan and has taken in Vietnam, Manila, Mozambique and Italy. He performed in South Africa last week and is in Chicago on October 16. But in between concerts he will be at Goodison Park on Sunday, possibly humming the words to ‘Grand Old Team’. Bryson is not the only entertainer to pledge his allegiance to the Toffees. Sylvester Stallone, Amanda Holden, Liz McClarnon and John Parrott have all been seen at Goodison in recent years, while former world heavyweight boxing champion Riddock Bowe regularly pledges his allegiance to the Blues on Twitter. Amanda Holden pitchside before kick-off during the Barclays Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool Sir Paul McCartney, whilst not a passionate football fan, was spotted at the 1968 FA Cup final and once said “I went occasionally to watch football. My family team was Everton and I went to Goodison Park a couple of times with my uncles Harry and Ron. They were nice memories for me, but I wasn’t that keen on football.”
Everton v Liverpool: Five ECHO writers pick their team for the Merseyside derby - now you pick yours
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Joe Rimmer
Who should start for Everton in the Merseyside derby? Have your say by picking your line-up here
Merseyside derby team selector Phil Kirkbride: Everton and Roberto Martinez have two big calls to make ahead of the 225th derby.
Both surround the fitness of defenders.
If John Stones and Seamus Coleman are passed fit, and shake off knee and hamstring injuries respectively, then they must go straight back in the team. Tyias Browning, at right back, and Ramiro Funes Mori have done well but Coleman and Stones are two of the Blues' best.
My pick (4-2-3-1): Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku
Greg O'Keeffe: The burning question stressing out Blues is whether John Stones and Seamus Coleman will be fit. Let's be uncharacteristically optimistic and say they both make it, then the team selection is fairly straight forward isn't it? Arouna Kone can spring from the bench at some point and change it if things are not going quite to plan. My pick (4-2-3-1): Howard, Galloway, Jagielka, Stones, Coleman, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku
Neil Jones: Picks itself, surely, providing Seamus Coleman and John Stones are passed fit?
Gerard Deulofeu has played his way into the team with his performances against Reading and West Brom, and could be a key player in Sunday's game.
So the only real decision is whether it's Arouna Kone or Steven Naismith. Me? I'd go for Naismith from the start, with Kone making the impact from the bench, as he did at The Hawthorns.
My team (4-2-3-1): Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku Ian Doyle: Other than waiting on the fitness of Seamus Coleman and John Stones, Roberto Martinez only really faces one selection poser. Who to play on the left flank. And for me, there has to be a space in the team for Steven Naismith, who has the happy knack of producing in big games.
Gerard Deulofeu surely has to keep his place. The rest of the team, then, picks itself. My pick (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway; Barry, McCarthy; Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith; Lukaku.
Chris Beesley: If Seamus Coleman and John Stones are passed fit I think they've both got to play, while Steven Naismith is a big-game player so he keeps his place ahead of Arouna Kone despite the Ivorian's goal as a sub at West Brom. Gerard Deulofeu stays in the side after his excellent performance at West Brom, while the rest of the midfield picks itself right now. My pick: Howard, Coleman, Galloway, Stones, Jagielka, Barry, McCarthy, Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith, Lukaku
Liverpool and Everton fans unite for ticket price protest
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Sean Bradbury
Fans from both sides of the Merseyside divide make their point at Liverpool ONE
Fans of Everton and Liverpool stood side by side in a protest against ticket prices.
On the eve of the Merseyside derby, supporters from both sides of the Stanley Park divide staged a demonstration outside the club shops in Liverpool ONE today. The peaceful protest was a joint venture between Everton’s The Blue Union and Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly group. Both organisations are supporting the Football Supporters’ Federation ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ campaign. Fans hope clubs will listen to them and cap away derby tickets at Anfield and Goodison Park to £20.
Reciprocal pricing arrangements at Premier League teams have saved fans thousands of pounds since the Twenty’s Plenty campaign was set up in January 2013 - to highlight how away games are unaffordable for many fans. In a joint statement shown to the Football Supporters’ Federation recently, the two local groups said: “Supporters from both Liverpool and Everton have enjoyed a unique relationship over the years and stood side by side on many occasions. “Both The Blue Union and Spirit of Shankly would welcome further co-operation between the clubs to reward loyal fans in an ‘affordable derby’. “We applaud the Premier League’s Away Supporters Initiative, which sees every club set aside £200,000 per season to improve away attendance and note that many clubs have enhanced this scheme by entering into reciprocal ticket price agreements for away fans. “Away supporters at both clubs thus benefit from cheaper tickets in recognition of the valuable contribution they make to both the atmosphere and spectacle at games.”
Everton v Liverpool: All you need to know about the Merseyside derby
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Mark Philbin
All the information you need ahead of the Merseyside Derby
The game is a 1.30pm kick-off on Sunday, after the Reds' commitments in the Europa League Thursday night.
Where can I watch it?
The game is live on Sky Sports 1 on Sunday, coverage starts at 12.30pm, so if you want to watch the action live and don't have a ticket for the derby that's the way to do it.
Who is the referee? Everton fans look away now. Martin Atkinson is in charge of the game, and he was the man who controversially sent-off Jack Rodwell in 2011 for his challenge on Luis Suarez.
This will be the fifth time he takes charge of a Merseyside derby. He refereed last season's Anfield derby where Phil Jagielka scored a stunning late equaliser in the 1-1 draw. Atkinson was also in charge of Liverpool's 4-0 victory at Anfield in the 2013/14 season, he awarded the Reds a penalty that night but it was missed by Daniel Sturridge. In the first Merseyside derby he took charge of, Atkinson sent off both Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Steven Pienaar as the Reds won 1-0 at Anfield in the 2009/10 campaign.
Atkinson is yet to show a red card this season in his seven Premier League matches, showing 32 yellow cards in the games, 4.57 per game.
Who should I be looking out for in their team?
Merseyside Derby Everton vs Liverpool at Goodison Park. Daniel Sturridge warms up at half time.Photo by Colin Lane Everton fans - The obvious choice is Daniel Sturridge, he has scored six goals against the Blues in his career, including three for Liverpool. He scored his first goals since his return from injury against Villa in his last game with two goals in the second half at Anfield. The other man to watch is Philippe Coutinho, he appeared to find some form in the 3-2 win against Villa on Sunday and linked well with Sturridge for his second goal. Coutinho has been wasteful at times this season, often shooting rather than looking for a pass, but with Sturridge's return the link-up between the two could cause any team problems. Liverpool fans - Romelu Lukaku, he appears to have found his form again after his two goals and assist against former club, West Brom on Monday night. He scored twice in the 3-3 in 2013/14, and also scored in both games for West Brom against the Reds in the 2012/13 season.
Gerard Deulofeu could also cause Liverpool problems on Sunday, he was lively on Monday night and produced an excellent ball for Lukaku's first. With Liverpool likely to play with Alberto Moreno as a left wing-back, he will need to be disciplined against his fellow Spaniard.
Any injury news?
Seamus Coleman (R) John Stones (C) and James McCarthy (L) during an Everton training session at Finch Farm
Plenty for both teams.
Everton will wait on the fitness of John Stones and Seamus Coleman, after Roberto Martinez said it was "too early to tell" if the pair will be fit, and will give them up until the morning of the game to prove their fitness. Everton are without Leighton Baines, Tom Cleverley, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar, but Muhamed Besic may available, although he hasn't been declared fit. Another man who will miss out is Kevin Mirallas, he is serving his last of his three game ban he picked up for his red card against Swansea.
Liverpool are waiting on the fitness of Christian Benteke, in his press conference on Friday, Brendan Rodgers confirmed that the Reds would check on the Belgian in the next 24 hours. The Reds will be without four players, Jon Flanagan, Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren are all out, with no return date given to any player.
What happened in the last derby?
It was Steven Gerrard's last ever Merseyside derby, and that is all it will ever be remembered for.
It was a poor game that ended 0-0 at Goodison, Jordon Ibe hit the post for the Reds, and that was the closest either side came to a goal.
What should I be betting on?
The truth is that anything could happen.
Everton fans will think they are due a derby win having not won in 10 attempts, whereas Reds will think they're due a Goodison win after three consecutive draws away to the Blues. There is value for money wherever you look with the bookies unsure on who is the favourite, though more see the Blues as the favourites. Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku both to score is 5/1 with William Hill. Both teams to score in the second half is 12/5 with various. Many people are expecting goals on Sunday and various bookies are offering 13/2 for over 4.5 goals.
Everton v Liverpool: No more Merseyside derby deadlocks, says Roberto Martinez
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
"We want to be an attacking team," insists Blues boss ahead of 225th Merseyside derby
It was a switch which signalled a change of Mersey derby mindset. With Everton trailing 2-1 in Roberto Martinez’s first Merseyside derby, influential full-back Leighton Baines limped off after 49 minutes.
It was a crushing blow. In-form Luis Suarez had already scored once and was licking his lips in relish.
But while the new Blues boss did have defenders on the bench in Johnny Heitinga and John Stones, his solution was as bold as it was unexpected. He introduced a winger, Gerard Deulofeu. The game became as stretched and as wide open as any derby in modern history - and half an hour later Everton led 3-2.
And even though the match ultimately ended with honours shared, Martinez had made a statement of intent. If it wasn’t exactly a Damascene conversion, it was a change of derby outlook. Martinez’s predecessor had often been accused of being over-cautious in derby matches. And while the criticism may have been harsh, David Moyes’ record of just four wins from 25 derbies hardly pointed to an adventurous approach. His “knife to a gunfight,” comment might have referred to a trip to Manchester City, but it could easily have been a metaphor for some of Everton’s derby day tactics. Leading a Wembley FA Cup semi-final 1-0, the Toffees retreated into a defensive shell and tried to hold what they had. They failed and Liverpool reached the cup final. When Steven Gerrard was red-carded just 18 minutes into a 2006 Anfield derby, depriving the Reds of their captain and giving Everton a numerical advantage, the Blues stuck rigidly to their 4-4-1-1 gameplan, conceded an own goal and lost the match 3-1. And before an FA Cup quarter-final replay at Sunderland in 2012, Moyes fielded a forward line of Denis Stracqualursi and Victor Anichebe in a bid to protect the likes of Nikica Jelavic, Leon Osman and Royston Drenthe before a clash with Sunderland. Everton drew the Cup tie 1-1 and lost to Liverpool 3-0.
Even when Everton did achieve a rare win - their last in the series in 2010 - they had a hapless Roy Hodgson side reeling on the ropes 2-0 after 49 minutes, then appeared to declare. Martinez now has experience of four Merseyside derbies - and while he is still waiting for his first victory, he insists that he will be bold as he was in his first back in November 2013. “I always feel that in order to be a winning team you need to be consistent with what you are trying to do,” he said. “You can’t just be negative and all of a sudden be a little bit more cautious in front of certain opposition. “I don’t feel that that’s the way to get the gain for the long term. You need to create a mentality where we know exactly what we are as a team. “We want to be an attacking team, a team that is built to score goals and win games and in the process you need to be well organised and defend well. “It’s not a science but I don’t think you fulfil your potential by changing your approach from game to game and I don’t think it’s in our nature now at Everton to become over-cautious from one game to another.” Lukaku celebrates his goal during the match between West Bromwich Albion and Everton at The Hawthorns on September 28, 2015 He added: “The last thing I want to do is drag stats and drag past approaches into a 90-minute game. I think what’s clear is that we’re playing a very good team because the investment is there and we need to respect that. “But we are playing at home. We are Everton. We are the team that started the season well and we need to test ourselves as to how good we can be. “I don’t entertain what’s happened in the past. I don’t entertain who you are playing against in order to perform in one way or another. We are building it from our last home game which was against the champions and the way we performed is the way forward. “We are coming off the back of a very good result psychologically, a very strong performance away from home and it would be very wrong to all of a sudden be thinking about the opposition.
Everton FC: Blues are overdue some derby confidence - Ian Snodin
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
Fans shouldn't believe that Reds have got a sign over us
Many Evertonians think that Liverpool have got a sign over us and that we don’t perform like we should against Liverpool but that’s not the case. The derby is a special occasion. As players you love to win the derby but you’re playing that particular game for the fans. You know what the rivalry is like – there are people who live in the same house that support different teams. Blues and Reds live together, work together and it’s fantastic. Even the foreign lads realise how important the Merseyside Derby is.
They’re special events. Sometimes they’re not the greatest of games but the build-up to it, the atmosphere and rivalry is second to none. I’m not saying I always enjoyed them as a player and the current ones will be apprehensive but they’re the kind of game you want to play in. We are certainly due a win in this fixture. If we win, I don’t think the fans will bother about the last five years though.
Supporters are only concerned about their last result. If we win, who cares that we hadn’t won a derby for five years? Nobody will care. We need to improve our derby record – we know that. We’ve had some disappointing days at the hands of Liverpool but this time around we’ve got every opportunity and we’re confident. They’re not having a great time at the minute but they’ve got some good players who can win games so got to be careful with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge. Of course it’s a tough game – it always is – but I just think at the minute we’re looking good and we’re improving all the time. That was the manager’s aim from the start of the year when he said ‘I just want to see an improvement from last season.’ Nobody is ultra confident but we’re going into the game in a rich vein of form so why not be optimistic?
It would be nice to draw first blood
I’d love to see us go 1-0 up rather than chasing games so if would be nice to go in front and see how Liverpool respond. Roberto likes to push forward. He’ll not look at the game and think because it’s Liverpool we’ll have to be cautious. I think he takes the approach that if they score two, we’ll get three – that’s how he looks at football. If it was to end up another 0-0 then I don’t think it will be through a lack of trying to score goals. We’re at our best when we are going forward and attacking. He’ll pick a positive team and will hopefully take the game to Liverpool. Roberto Martinez admitted after the game at West Brom that we weren’t good enough in the first half and weren’t up to our usual standard.
We knew we could do a lot better and it took a second goal to wake us up and from responding well to pull one back and from that moment onwards I thought the lads did brilliantly. They suddenly released that they could go on and get three points.
It was really pleasing and really positive.
Gerard Deulofeu can cause Reds problems from wide positions
Gerard Deulofeu could prove to be a real dangerman in the derby.
Geri looked a real threat on the counter attack and created two goals and it showed just how confidence the lads are. He kept his width on the right hand side and that causes problems for a defender.
You don’t want to give a player of his talent the time and the space to start running at you.
Sometimes you were thinking ‘tuck in a little bit’ but Chris Brunt didn’t know what to do. He knew he couldn’t dive in because he was going to go by him and he whipped two early balls in. The first was a peach that went over the head of the defender that Rom finished and the second was a ball in that the keeper couldn’t really come for and the defenders couldn’t get it. He’s young and he he might frustrate on occasions but other times he’s a match-winner. He’s an immense talent and can cause problems. He’s done that in the games he’s played so far against Barnsley, Reading and West Brom.
Romelu Lukaku will be champing at the bit Those goals at the Hawthorns will have done Romelu Lukaku the world of good and he’ll be champing at the bit for the derby. Rom was in the right place at the right time. He’ll tell you that he’s disappointed with some of the chances he’s missed of late but like I’ve said before, at least he’s getting into those positions. It didn’t happen against Swansea but against West Brom he got in there twice and scored two goals. Rom scored a couple of goals in the Goodison derby two years ago and he’ll be looking to do something similar this time around.
Everton v Liverpool: Patrik Berger on why the Goodison derby was always his least favourite fixture
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Exclusive: Ex-Red says away trips to Everton were always "horrible" to play in
The smile fades from Patrik Berger's face for a brief moment. The mere mention of Goodison Park is enough to provoke a grimace from the former Liverpool midfielder. The memories, it seems, linger.
“For me, it was a horrible place to go and play football,” he says, the smile slowly returning. “It was so aggressive, so intimidating. The fans will always let you know that you are not welcome, they make a lot of noise, and I always found the atmosphere to be really horrible. I just didn't enjoy playing on that ground at all.” History would appear to confirm Berger's feelings. Despite playing close to 200 times for the Reds, the Czech Republic star was never on the winning side in a Goodison derby. Everton, in that time, were seen as a team that would raise their game when Liverpool rolled around. The likes of Berger, foreign imports unused to the ferocity of a local grudge match, were seen as easy pickings. When Everton won 2-0 at Goodison in 1997, Berger was substituted before the hour mark.
A strike against Everton brings a first Merseyside derby victory in five years into sight
Berger scores against Everton in a 3-2 win at Anfield in 1999 'Derby goals mean the world to me'
Anfield, though, was different. Berger twice netted in home derby matches, his volley in 1999 proving decisive in a 3-2 win. He scored from the penalty spot in a 3-1 win the following year, and rates those goals as among his favourites in a Liverpool jersey. “To have an impact on derby day is what you dream of when you play for Liverpool,” he tells the ECHO. “I was fortunate enough to score twice in these games, and those moments will always stay with me.” Berger is speaking at a golf day organised by 5times.com, the Liverpool former players' organisation. There, at the Mere Hotel in Cheshire, a dozen ex-Reds gather to take on Manchester United counterparts in a Ryder Cup style event. The main topic of conversation, though, is Everton. “For the fans, it is the most important game of the season,” he says. “No matter what anyone says, Everton and Manchester United are the two biggest games you can have. They are always special atmospheres to play in. “When you're a player, the preparation is always the same. It doesn't matter who you are playing against, the week is always the same Monday to Friday.
“But obviously you know that the whole city is buzzing, and that everyone is looking forward to the game. “Once the derby was on the horizon, everyone is ready. Not just in the city itself, but also where I used to live out in Southport, I would have people coming up to me and talking to me, telling me to get the three points, to bring the win home, all that. “It's a huge game not just for the players, but also for the supporters. It doesn't get bigger.”
'It will be tough, but Sturridge can give Reds the edge'
Berger, echoing the views of a number of former Reds, admits Sunday's game represents a huge challenge for Brendan Rodgers and his side, who head into the match on the back of Thursday's uninspiring Europa League draw with Sion, and with pressure mounting on the manager.
The mood is not the most upbeat going into a derby, for certain. Berger, though, believes the return of Daniel Sturridge can give Liverpool the edge. “It's a tough place, and it will be a really tough game on Sunday,” he says. “Everton are playing quite well at the moment, so it will be difficult for Liverpool to go there and get a result. “The thing is, it's a derby game, and so anything can happen. You can have a team go into the game as favourites, but it doesn't work out like that. Strange things can happen, as we have seen before. “I just hope it's the Reds fans who are singing and shouting on Sunday afternoon!”
He adds: “Last year for Liverpool was no good, so everybody was expecting this year to be much better.
“We haven't really started well, but the win against Aston Villa was really important given the fixtures coming up. “So it was important that they won last week, and that they got Sturridge back. You can see already that the link up play between Coutinho and Sturridge gives them that extra dimension, and makes the team so much more dangerous. “With Sturridge, his movement is great, and technically he is fantastic. He can score goals, he can create goals, he is quick. He's the real deal. “The only problem with him is that wherever he has been, he has been injured a lot. That's been a big problem for Liverpool, particularly over the last 12 months. “If he can stay fit for the rest of the season, then he will be scoring goals. And that's exactly what this Liverpool team needs. Without someone finishing off the chances, you are not going to go anywhere. “He's a massively important player if he can stay fit. But it's a big if.”
Everton FC: We can finish above Liverpool says Arouna Kone
3 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues striker hoping to make up for lost time
After having his first two years at Everton overshadowed by a serious knee injury, Arouna Kone is hoping that this is the season he can help the Blues finish above neighbours Liverpool. When the Ivory Coast striker followed Roberto Martinez from Wigan Athletic to Goodison Park in the summer of 2013 to become the Catalan’s first signing, Everton had just finished above the Reds in consecutive top flight seasons for the first time since 1937. However, while Brendan Rodgers side almost won the Premier League title in 2013/14, Kone had been forced to spend the majority of the campaign sidelined after suffering damage to his knee cartilage in a game against Hull City. The road back to fitness has been a long one for Kone but now finally fully fit again, he believes he can play his part in helping the Blues to overhaul their rivals from across Stanley Park. He said: “This might be the year that Everton finish above Liverpool again. “The reason is nothing to do with Liverpool but I think we’ve made a good start, it’s been solid, and I think through the difficult times of last season a lot of our younger players have benefited from that experience and gained in strength. “On Monday we came from 2-0 down at West Brom to win and in past seasons we haven’t shown that and been mentally strong enough. “Our game management has improved now that we’ve gained some experience and for that reason I hope we can finish above Liverpool.”
A new start
Having only scored a single goal in his first two seasons at Goodison Park, Kone has now found the back of the net twice so far in the current campaign and is delighted to finally be repaying back some of the £6million outlay Martinez splashed out on him. He said: “It really was tough. I’d just signed and you’ve got great hopes of doing well for your new side and then just two months later I suffered a major injury so it was very tough at that time. “Fortunately that’s all behind me now and hopefully the best is ahead.
“I feel so good in myself fitness wise, I can really push myself really hard in training sessions now which I think is beginning to show on the field. “This hard work is going to help me in my goal of helping the team reach its targets and finish as high up the table as we can.
Kone added: “Retirement is something that never crossed my mind. It was always a case of keeping positive during the period that I was injured. “I saw it as a personal challenge to myself to come back again. I’d done it twice before so on the third time I was confident I could return to full fitness.
“The thing that really kept me going was that as I’d won a trophy at Wigan, I knew that I had to prove myself at Everton and I was determined to bring the good side of myself to this club and show that I could perform here. “If there were any moments that I wasn’t positive, that’s what kept me going. It wasn’t so much as reinventing myself but doing what I’d done at Wigan again and prove that to the Everton fans.” He continued: “I can only speak for myself and what motivates me to give 100% all the time is that Roberto Martinez not only showed confidence in bringing me to Everton but to Wigan.
“I feel that I have something special that I owe to our manager for showing confidence in me on two separate occasions. “Now when I’m out on the field, every minute is an absolute joy and pleasure after the period I was out injured. “That’s why I want to prove that I can bring something to the club and achieve things.”
Turning 32 next month – both Kone’s goals have come as a substitute and he believes that he can make an impact off the bench to change games. He said: “In an ideal world we wouldn’t want to have to come from behind in games but I’d like to take the positive attitude that it shows that we are mentally strong and can manage games and turn them around more. “It’s been nice to come off the bench and spark a comeback. “I think this season we’re better in a lot of different little ways. We had a full pre-season, with everyone together sooner. “We’ve got a slightly bigger squad and we’ve benefited from the adversity. “The manager is clever because he makes us ready all the time. If I don’t start the game, I know that if I’m focused I can come off the bench at any time and make a difference and others can too.
“The manager is making us all feel part of things because at any moment we can change the game.”
Deal or no deal Despite penning a three-year deal with the Blues in 2013, Kone is having to cram much of his efforts into a single season after an injury ravaged spell but he remains unconcerned that his contract is up next summer. He said: “I don’t feel any pressure that it’s the final year of my contract. If anything it’s a positive pressure that I see as adding to the challenge. “When you sign for a club and almost immediately you’re out for nearly two years the fans think ‘is he not fit? Has something else happened?’ “This is the first season that I’m 100% cured fitness-wise and back to my best.
“It’s all about making up for that last time whether I stay or whether I go. “I’d love to stay and extend my contract. Even if I do go I’d like to leave a lasting impression that here’s a guy that when he was fit, he presented a good image of himself at Everton.”
Ian Doyle: Why Everton FC have to start carrying the weight of expectation
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Time for Blues to stop this column writing about the same old story... and is Christian Atsu really one of the best players in the world?
A typical midfield derby battle from last season at Goodison... but Everton need their mentality to be different In the big book of derby cliches, it’s right up there with “local bragging rights” and “the form book going out of the window”. “Play with your heads as well as your hearts” will be one of several messages being drummed into players on both sides before they step out at Goodison this afternoon.
Except, for Everton, how they deal with what is going on inside their minds will more applicable than ever. Regular readers of this column will know it has a particular bugbear regarding the Blues and their tendency to buckle under the weight of expectation. It happened last season when, after a surprisingly profitable debut season under Roberto Martinez, much was anticipated from his players. They failed miserably until rediscovering their form far too late for it to make any real difference. Then, this season, a testing summer meant the campaign was approached by fans with a sense of trepidation. Yet less than two months in and a series of impressive performances and thrilling fightbacks mean home supporters will expect today. Or will they?
Evertonians, for the reasons just stated, have learned not to raise their hopes too much. And particularly when Liverpool come to visit. The Blues have won only four of the last 18 meetings with their neighbours at Goodison, the majority played during a time when there was not much between the teams in terms of league placing. That’s not good enough. So why is this the case? Jamie Carragher hammered the nail on the head last week when he said that he believes at times Everton had a mental block regarding the derby during his playing days. Today, though, that shouldn’t apply. Sure, Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka have suffered at the hands of Liverpool in the past.
But for must of the starting line-up, there haven’t been many if any harrowing experiences, given Everton have drawn five of the last six derbies. It may instead be a case of the crowd having to temper their understandable caution of fearing the worst. The Blues have already seen off Chelsea at Goodison this season. In the recent past, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester rivals City and United have all been put to the sword. This afternoon represents the perfect chance to finally add Liverpool to that ever-growing list. If they don’t due to a yet another mental shortcoming, the same old story will become an increasingly tedious read for everyone in Blue.
Ballon d'Or full of hot air
The Ballon d'Or used to be a barometer for the great and good in football.
Now it's simply good for a laugh.
How else to explain the sight of one-time Everton loan misfit Christian Atsu on the shortlist for the world's best player in 2015?
Okay, he had a decent African Cup of Nations, helping Ghana to the final in February. But since then he has played 40 minutes in the Premier League. Mind you, stranger things have happened. After all, David Luiz was named in the FIFA Team of the Year in 2014.
This column has still not quite gotten over that.
Everton v Liverpool: Ross Barkley looking to putting one over the Reds
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Blues midfielder speaks on Merseyside Derby to Jamie Carragher
Everton's Ross Barkley is hoping to show Blues that he's back to his best this season.
The midfielder admitted that he struggled last term as Roberto Martinez's side endured a difficult campaign, but he is determined to prove to his fellow Evertonians that he has recovered. He said: “I did find it difficult at times last season. I got injured early on and had to come back from that and couldn't seem to get going from the start “Obviously as a local lad I see a lot of pressure on me because the season before last the fans saw what I'm capable of and I'm starting to show again this season what they know I'm capable of.” Barkley has been playing just behind main striker Romelu Lukaku and while he feels that is currently his best position, in time he envisages a different role. He said: “I see myself at the minute in the number 10 role but I'm comfortable in a three [man midfield] as well. “Eventually, down the line I want to be a box-to-box central midfielder but right now I'll play anywhere for the team.”
Barkley, who was speaking to former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher for Sky, is pleased that his beloved Blues were able to keep hold of John Stones and is looking forward to trying to end Everton's five-year wait for a derby victory. He said: “Keeping hold of John Stones showed a lot of determination for the club. Keeping our best players can help us kick-on in the future. “My first derby memory was not great because we got beat; I was a ball boy but being there and seeing the fans all aggressive was great.
“On derby days it's not down to form, it's what happens on the day and who is really well prepared. “I'm really looking forward to this one coming up and putting one over on 'yous'.”
Romelu Lukaku strikes to earn Everton derby point against Liverpool
Everton 1 - 1 Liverpool
Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
Sunday 4 October 2015 Guardian
Goodison Park proved to be Brendan Rodgers’ last stand, as it was for Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea and David Moyes at Manchester United before him, though Everton could take no credit for Liverpool’s official recognition of failure. This was a sacking several months in the making. The 225th Merseyside derby had been consigned to the growing file of the instantly forgettable when it was given a status it never merited by the announcement Rodgers had been sacked. A game low on incident, quality and purpose – from both sides – was rendered significant by the departure of the manager who came closer than anyone in the last quarter of a century to ending Liverpool’s desperate wait for a 19th league title. Ultimately, however, it was an appropriate finale for a coach who prided himself on developing a clear direction at Anfield but whose team have lost their way for several months. It was Rodgers’ performance in the post-match press conference that indicated he knew the end was nigh, rather than Liverpool’s display against a supposedly confident Everton. This was not a Liverpool team refusing to play for their manager but one short of confidence, cohesion, sharpness and the ability to leave their local rivals cowering. Just over an hour later, away from Goodison, Rodgers took a call from the president of Fenway Sports Group, Mike Gordon, informing him it was over. Ian Ayre, Liverpool’s chief executive, then arrived to explain the decision in person. He must have known it was coming. “If we are to replicate what we did two years ago, we will have to build something. Unfortunately that will take time,” Rodgers said after the game. “That is frustrating for supporters but there are new players to come in. That will take time, whether that is me or someone else in the job.” Liverpool’s owners must take responsibility for the millions squandered replacing top talent with mediocrity but having seen the assistant manager Colin Pascoe and first-team coach Mike Marsh fall first in the summer, Rodgers knew he was on delicate ground after a miserable start to this season. Realistically he had to demonstrate clear signs of progress in the run of four consecutive home games against Norwich, Carlisle, Aston Villa and FC Sion. Three of the four ended with boos from the Kop. It encapsulated the paucity of Rodgers’ final match that Martin Atkinson’s refusal to dismiss Lucas Leiva for a merited second booking was the main source of contention. “I don’t understand that decision,” said Roberto Martínez, whose side finished the stronger but were unable to punish Liverpool’s insecurities. Everton’s poor derby record now stands at one win in the last 18 contests. “Lucas was very clever. His technical fouls were clever but the second one was from behind and he should have been given a yellow card. We should have played against 10 men for the last 15 minutes.” Danny Ings marked his first derby appearance with a third goal in five appearances. The impressive Romelu Lukaku levelled quickly from the latest in a long line of Liverpool defensive errors, although Simon Mignolet was faultless on this occasion. The Belgium goalkeeper produced superb saves from Steven Naismith and James McCarthy, while in the opposition defence Phil Jagielka excelled in leading the inexperienced but talented trio of Ramiro Funes Mori, Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning. All were making their first starts in a Merseyside derby, all impressed and Everton were indebted to Funes Mori for a vital interception on Daniel Sturridge with seconds remaining. Liverpool created five openings before Everton overcome their latest sluggish start. None were clear-cut but Tim Howard’s sliding tackle on James Milner, Jagielka’s well-timed challenges on Sturridge and Ings, Martin Skrtel’s free header over and Ings’ half volley reflected the flow of the opening exchanges. Howard also denied Milner at his near post following a neat one-two between the England midfielder and Philippe Coutinho. Everton exploded into life midway through the half. Mignolet produced a brilliant fingertip save to prevent Naismith burying Ross Barkley’s free-kick with a powerful header from 12 yards. Moments later he turned away McCarthy’s drive from the edge of the area after good approach work from the hosts. Goodison cranked into life when Emre Can and Barkley became embroiled in a daft spat over the ball and were the first players booked as a consequence. The derby finally had the atmosphere it deserved. Its opening goal arrived shortly afterwards when Barkley lost Ings at a Milner corner and, with Howard not dominating his six-yard area, the former Burnley striker was free to head home his third goal in five games from close range. Liverpool’s corner came after Gerard Deulofeu had needlessly lost possession in his opponent’s half, one of countless errors by the mercurial Spanish winger who did well to survive his substitution for 59 minutes. Yet his one positive contribution resulted in the tireless Lukaku equalising for Everton on the stroke of half-time. Deulofeu’s cross from the right wing was dangerous but should have been routine for Can once it sailed over Lukaku’s head. Instead, his clearance cannoned off Skrtel and the Everton forward did not waste the opportunity to find the bottom corner from eight yards out. The timing of Lukaku’s seventh goal of the season tilted the momentum towards Everton in the second half but they failed to capitalise on several promising counterattacks. Barkley shot wide from distance, Lukaku tested Mignolet from a tight angle while Coutinho and Milner went close for Liverpool. Man of the match Phil Jagielka (Everton)
Everton 1-1 Liverpool: Full-time report
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues' wait for a derby victory goes on
Everton's wait for a win over Liverpool goes on after the 225th derby ended in a draw.
The Blues have not beaten their city rivals since 2010 and Danny Ings stunned Goodison by losing his marker in the area and heading home James Milner's corner in the 42nd minute today. Liverpool had controlled much of the first-half and took the lead but were heavily indebted to Simon Mignolet who produced superb saves to deny Steven Naismith and James McCarthy. But the Reds keeper could do nothing to deny Romelu Lukaku an equalising goal just before half-time. Gerard Deulofeu's cross was not dealt with by Emre Can and Lukaku pounced to smash home an equaliser. Everton pressed hard for a second goal after the break but apart from Ross Barkley's effort, that curled just wide, the Blues failed to trouble Mignolet. Tempers threatened to boil over on a couple of occasions in a heated derby with Barkley, Can, Lukaku and Mamadou Sakho all booked.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard, Browning, Jagielka, Funes Mori, Galloway, McCarthy, Barry, Deulofeu (Lennon 59), Barkley, Naismith (Kone 79), Lukaku. Subs: Robles, Gibson, Oviedo, Osman, Holgate
Goals: Lukaku (45) Yellow cards: Barkley, McCarthy, Lukaku
Everton 1-1 Liverpool: Merseyside derby all square as Reds earn point in frenetic clash
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Our immediate take on Liverpool's 1-1 draw at Everton as Ings get derby debut goal
Danny Ings' third goal in five games helped Liverpool earn a point in a frenetic Merseyside derby at Goodison. Ings struck three minutes before half-time to give Brendan Rodgers's side the lead in the 225th running of the fixture. But for the fourth time in five games, the Reds were pegged back as Romelu Lukaku capitalised on a dreadful mix-up in the visiting defence to score on the stroke of half-time. Liverpool held their own in a tense game but were unable to overly trouble Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard after the interval. And they were ultimately indebted to Simon Mignolet for a brace of brilliant first-half saves that helped ease the pressure slightly on underfire Rodgers going into the international break. After the fringe players did little to improve their claims with Thursday's disappointing 1-1 Europa League draw with Sion, Rodgers stuck with the starting line-up that saw off Aston Villa in their last Premier League outing.
And the Reds began well. Daniel Sturridge released James Milner inside the area but Howard was alert to make a sliding challenge, Phil Jagielka nipped in ahead of Sturridge, Martin Skrtel directed a header into the ground and over the bar while Howard made another decent stop to again deny Milner after a clever Philippe Coutinho pass. However, the Reds required two outstanding saves inside as many minutes from Mignolet to remain level, the Belgian turning over a Steven Naismith header from close range and then diving low to his right to repel a fierce James McCarthy drive. Liverpool struck on 42 minutes, Ings losing Ross Barkley at a Milner corner from the left to head in from a matter of yards.
But they couldn't see out the half, conceding one minute into stoppage time when Emre Can blasted Gerard Deulofeu's cross against the unwitting Skrtel with Lukaku reacting fasted to score. The game was much tighter in the second half with Everton enjoying the better possession, Barkley curling wide after a forceful run at the Liverpool defence while Migolet beat out a Lukaku drive. In the closing moments, Coutinho's pass would have sent Sturridge clear but for a saving challenge from Ramiro Funes Mori.
The draw, though, was a fair result between two committed if unspectacular teams.
Everton 1-1 Liverpool player ratings: Lukaku heroic but Deulofeu rightly hooked
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Plus, your chance to rate the players after the Merseyside derby
Tim Howard: Not his finest hour. Indecisive and too often rooted to his line, he should have done far better for Danny Ings’ goal. Kicking also ineffectual. 5
Brendan Galloway: This lad just grows in stature and poise with every run-out. Barring a nervy opening phase in his first Merseyside derby aside he was superb in dealing with the over-lapping threat of Nathaniel Clyne and helping out Funes Mori. 8
Ramiro Funes Mori: His selection in John Stones’ absence had Blue nerves jangling beforehand after his error at the Hawthorns, but the Argentine was excellent; timed his interventions perfectly and showed far better focus in clearing his lines. Half the price of Mamadou Sakho and looks like money well spent. 8
Phil Jagielka: Barely put a foot wrong with a typically accomplished captain’s performance. Helped contain Daniel Sturridge and his experience helped calm a youthful back four. 7
Tyias Browning: A solid display with plenty of maturity and strength although the youngster struggled to contribute going forward. 6
Gareth Barry: Liverpool tried to isolate him and use his lack of pace to force mistakes but he was unflappable. Never wasted a pass and provided a master-class in consistency and vision. 8
James McCarthy: As ever his work-rate was faultless and he took the fight to Liverpool in the engine room. Lacking, though, in creativity and needs to work on his contribution further up the pitch. 7
Steven Naismith: The type of player you need on derby day. Never took a backward step with a spiky display full of controlled aggression and edge which successfully walked the line but had Emre Can & Co riled. Brought the save of the game from Mignolet too with a fine header. 8
Ross Barkley: With the form he has been in this should have been his derby, but he couldn’t quite seize the moment. Bright and bustling but he's capable of better and that was frustrating. Did the occasion get to his head? 7
Gerard Deulofeu: Largely indifferent and rightly hooked for Aaron Lennon although his one contribution lead to the equaliser. 5
Romelu Lukaku: Led the line heroically with a display of power and passion that set the tone. Won everything in the air and was never going to miss when the chance to gain parity fell to him. Dominated Skrtel and Sakho throughout. 8
Aaron Lennon: His pace caused Moreno and Sakho a few problems and instantly kept them more occupied than the insipid Deulofeu. 6
Arouna Kone: Failed to make the impact he has in previous cameos from the bench. Looked lethargic and off the pace. 5
Everton 1-1 Liverpool: Romelu Lukaku disappointed while Blues fans react to derby draw
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Many fans are upset with referee Martin Atkinson
Everton goalsorer Romelu Lukaku has spoken of his disappointment at not winning the Merseyside Derby wirh Liverpool after a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
Meanwhile, Everton fans have taken to social media to react to the game.
Despite coming from behind after Danny Ings' opener to rescue a point through Lukaku's goal, the Blues were unable to fashion a winner from their second half dominance and their run without victory against their neighbours has now extended to 10 Premier League matches. While some fans were relieved, many Evertonians were frustrated not to secure the three points and some of them vented their anger at referee Martin Atkinson, particularly for not sending off Liverpool midfielder Lucas. The Brazilian - who had already been booked - got away with a heavy challenge on Ross Barkley shortly before being substituted by Brendan Rodgers.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez: I don't understand why Lucas wasn't sent off
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
The Blues boss was left bemused by the official's decision not to issue a second booking to the Liverpool midfielder during the derby draw
Roberto Martinez questioned Martin Atkinson's decision not to send off Lucas
Frustrated Everton boss Roberto Martinez believed that Martin Atkinson's memory of his last rescinded red card in a Merseyside derby may have played a part in Lucas escaping becoming the latest victim of a derby dismissal. The Reds midfielder, already carrying a yellow card, had Reds hearts in their mouths when he appeared to trip Ross Barkley. Referee Martin Atkinson, who wrongly sent off Jack Rodwell in a Goodison derby five years ago and saw the decision later overturned, awarded a free-kick but declined to show a second yellow. Martinez said: “I don’t understand that decision. I thought Lucas was very, very clever. He was a major part of this Liverpool side to stop our counter attacks and he did that really well. “He got booked for it and I thought his technical fouls were very clever, very intelligent but the second one was from behind, he pushes his luck and he should have been given a yellow card. Martin the referee has a clear view. “I don't know if he got affected by previous decisions in derbies, but I did think we should have played against 10 men in the last 15 minutes.” Reds boss Brendan Rodgers admitted he withdrew Lucas a minute later to prevent the chances of his side beuing reduced to 10-men. “I think the last time Martin was here he sent someone off, didn't he? So I didn’t want that to happen to my team,” smiled Rodgers. “Because of the intensity of the game sometimes that can happen unfortunately. Lucas is on a yellow card and I certainly didn’t want to finish the game with 10 men. “I've got good players on the bench to bring on and so to ensure we finished with 11 I made the change.”
Everton 1-1 Liverpool The Verdict: A missed chance but still a step in the right direction
4 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Phil Kirkbride on a derby stalemate and what it means for the Blues
Martinez couldn't find a derby win but his side are heading in the right direction
Nearly but not quite.
Everton’s wait for a derby win goes on after it ended all square at Goodison. But was this a missed opportunity? Should Blues have headed home with feelings of regret, disappointment and deflation?
Many will have because it was difficult to ignore the notion that Everton were presented with a good chance to end their five year wait for a derby win and missed it. But this wasn’t quite as clear cut as being another tale of derby misery. It didn’t feel as though the ghosts of Everton’s past had prevented them from winning against their rivals or the statistics, the emotion or the magnitude of the occasion but, simply, that their performance saw them came up just short. The Blues weren’t shaky, they weren’t clinging on and they weren’t cautious as so often has been the case in these games.
Blues weren't weighed down by derby record Everton were not as good as they have been at other times this season, the standard Roberto Martinez called for, but set out with every intention of winning this game and had good performances littered throughout their side. The problem was that Martinez’s men couldn’t knit it all together and maybe all those displays, as good as they were, lacked refinement.
Romelu Lukaku was strong, powerful and as good as he’s ever been with his back to goal and the Belgian’s strike just before half-time, his first at Goodison this season, was reward for a performance that left Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can battered and bruised. ut Gareth Barry, the incessant James McCarthy, derby debutant Brendan Galloway and Steven Naismith were all in the running for man-of-the-match honours. Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori – another playing against Liverpool for the first time – were also very good yet Everton could not get over the line. They could not build on Lukaku’s equaliser and turn the screw on the Reds who left Goodison relieved to have taken a point.
Why? Was the weight of history burdening their shoulders in front of their hopeful home fans?
Everton pushed and probed after the break but the spark, the clinical edge and a ruthless streak escaped them. Their display had plenty going for it, but just not quite enough. For energy, industry and a willingness to play with speed and tempo, Everton could not be faulted but at the business end, they couldn’t seal the deal. There were few shrinking violets on derby day in royal blue but too few cold-eyed killers in front of goal.
Lack of cutting edge not a derby specific problem
This isn’t anything new for Everton and certainly not something exclusive to derby days down the years.
The Blues enjoyed slightly more possession, had 13 shots – as many as Liverpool – but only four were on target and in a second-half that they controlled, they struggled to carve out too many clear cut chances.
The extent of Liverpool’s demise under Brendan Rodgers had been exaggerated and they started brightly and with confidence here. They were not the quivering wreck many had painted them out to be and, before Lukaku smashed home an equaliser, Rodgers would have been the happier of the managers.
Yet what Everton, and their supporters, should take from this game is that there is little reason for worry about going to Anfield in February. And that’s the point here. It may not feel like it just yet but Martinez will have seen enough to convince himself that Everton have taken a small step towards rectifying their derby record. Roberto Martinez manager of Everton and Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool
Roberto Martinez won't fear February's Anfield trip
Today’s game would not turn into that watershed moment we had hoped it would and cut the Blues free from their recent past in this fixture. Evertonians, understandably, walked away from the 225th derby frustrated, underwhelmed and with feelings of regret but this wasn’t a game with Liverpool where they saw their side play poorly. A slow first 20 minutes aside – and woeful defending for Liverpool’s goal – Martinez’s team were the better of the city rivals. Simon Mignolet brilliantly denied Naismith’s header and McCarthy’s low drive and would later block Lukaku’s effort. Had Martin Atkinson not let Lucas off with a second yellow card then perhaps Everton’s one man advantage would have told. But still, by the end, there was only one side really pushing for a winner. Liverpool brought on a defensive midfielder, the Blues replaced a tiring Naismith with Arouna Kone and went for it. No acceptance that a point against Liverpool was a good result or in need of protecting and symbolically, at least, that has to be taken into account here. Everton have played better this season and must now wait until at least the end of February to end their winless run. But there was something to build on here, as frustrating as it may have felt at the final whistle.
Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori loving Premier League test
5 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Argentina defender kept place in side for derby and produced excellent display
Derby debutant Ramiro Funes Mori says he is relishing the physical test that Premier League football brings. Everton’s most expensive defender kept his place in the side for Sunday’s derby with Liverpool and produced a polished display at Goodison. John Stones has yet to recover from a knee injury and so Roberto Martinez kept faith with the Argentina international following the win over West Brom on Monday. Funes Mori served up an accomplished performance alongside Phil Jagielka in the 1-1 draw and says he is enjoying his “moment” in the first-team having arrived from River Plate in September.
“Premier League football is very physical and the intensity of the game is high,” Mori told the ECHO.
“I have to keep adapting to the Premier League but I really like it and I’m enjoying my moment and I want to keep playing.” On experiencing his first Merseyside derby, the 24-year-old added: “It was a good game and the derby is something historic here and I enjoyed the fans’ passion. “It has the same intensity as the Superclasico back home and the fans make it very intense and when they scream you know you are in a derby. “We wanted to win the game and at the end had some chances to score.”
Funes Mori believes Everton had chances to win the game but the Blues were indebted to a vital interception from their summer recruit late on. hilippe Coutinho’s through-ball looked set to send Daniel Sturridge clean through in the closing stages but the Argentinean timed his sliding tackle to perfection. “I don’t know how I got that ball!” he said with a laugh. “If that ball had got through then he was going to be through by himself.” He continued: “In the first-half we couldn’t get into our rhythm and they had too many corners and so we had to be more aggressive. “They scored from a corner kick but we lifted our head up and scored before half-time. “Being 1-0 down at half-time makes it harder but we scored and in the second-half we could have won the game."
Everton Talking Point: Subtle tide-change suggests Everton close to derby ascendancy
5 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Dave Prentice on why the signs point to an era of Everton supremacy against their rivals
Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool and Roberto Martinez manager of Everton embrace
Martinez and Rodgers embrace before kick-off
Brendan Rodgers has still never lost a Merseyside derby.
Now he never will - W1 D6 L0. Roberto Martinez has still never won one – W0 D4 L1. But his time is surely due. The Blues boss cut the more frustrated figure at the end of this latest Goodison stalemate.
And his angst was understandable. Both sides had opportunities to take more than a point from 225 Merseyside derby – but Everton looked the more ambitious, the more positive, the more forward thinking. And that hasn't always been the case. Martinez has effected a change of outlook at Everton – and it looks likely to end Blues fans long wait for a derby triumph sooner rather than later.
Simon Mignolet was the busier goalkeeper in the first half at Goodison Park, brilliantly beating away efforts from Steven Naismith and James McCarthy. Simon Mignolet was in outstanding form at Goodison After the interval, while gilt edged chances were thin on the ground, Everton were still taking the match to their rivals and finished in the ascendant. That hasn't always been the case in the recent past. Everton have often taken a “knife to a gunfight” mentality into a derby. In previous encounters they might have been happy to settle for avoiding defeat and shut up shop in the closing minutes.
Even ahead of this clash there appeared to be a self imposed inferiority complex. Jamie Carragher suggested on Monday night the Toffees might be favourites. Martinez bridled, while Brendan Rodgers was happy to embrace favouritism with the phrase “We are Liverpool.” In the past Everton have preferred to utilise a plucky underdog outlook. To Everton derbies were different and they approached them differently.
Just look at this statistic.
Since the start of last season Everton have collected more bookings than their visitors to Goodison Park on just two of 22 occasions. They average just one yellow card per home game.
Their discipline is resolute.
But not on derby day.
Something changes. The synaptic signals crackle more impulsively.
In eight of the last nine derbies, stretching back to 2011, Everton have collected most cards and booking points. Especially at Goodison. But not this time. Something has changed. On Sunday the cards, like the honours, were even – three cards apiece, most of them daft. Ross Barkley and Emre Can were cautioned for a spot of schoolyard keepball, while Romelu Lukaku and Mamadou Sakho were yellow-carded for petulant pushing and shoving. But Liverpool were arguably the more fortunate to escape further punishment – Lucas especially with a stupid trip which Martin Atkinson deemed only worthy of the award of a free-kick rather than a second caution.
Referee Martin Atkinson
That great on pitch entertainer, Duncan McKenzie, tried to lighten the atmosphere following a frustrating draw when he strutted into in the press room and declared: “There'll be a slight delay. Brendan Rodgers is waiting to have a picture signed by Martin Atkinson.” Few had the appetite for anything more than polite laughter. But you got where he was coming from.
Everton aren't taking dogs of war into derby battle any more. They aren't battening down the hatches and trying to pinch set-piece goals. They are thinking expansively and ambitiously. And that's the way they will end their long wait for a derby celebration.
Everton's John Stones to be sent back from England duty to continue rehab with Blues
5 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Stones will meet with England squad today but is expected to return to Finch Farm
England are expected to send John Stones back to Everton to continue his rehab on a knee injury.
The Blues defender missed Sunday’s derby at Goodison because of a medial ligament problem he sustained against Reading last month. Stones missed last Monday’s win over West Bromwich Albion and had not recovered in time to face Liverpool yesterday. Roberto Martinez insisted he would only select the 21-year-old if he was “100%”. Despite Stones’ injury, he has reported for duty with England today ahead of the Three Lions’ final two Euro 2016 qualifiers with Estonia and Lithuania.
Protocol dictates that the Blues centre-half will be checked by the England medical staff but Everton are expecting Stones to be sent back to Finch Farm straight away to carry on his rehab.
Speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, Martinez said: “We are sending John Stones and Mo Besic and Aiden McGeady, those players will be going on international duty and they are carrying knocks and injuries and we need to make sure that they get fully fit very quickly."
Martin O'Neill refuses to give up on Seamus Coleman despite Roberto Martinez assessment
5 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Ireland hoping full-back will be fit to face Germany on Thursday
Republic of Ireland have not given up hope of Seamus Coleman being passed fit for their Euro qualifier against Germany this week. But Everton boss Roberto Martinez says he cannot see the right-back being fit in time. Coleman is nursing a hamstring injury picked up against Chelsea last month and has missed the Blues’ last four games. The 26-year-old has taken part in light training with his national team today and manager Martin O’Neill says they will take it “day by day” with Coleman. “The truth is Seamus is desperate to play, desperate to yesterday and desperate to play for Ireland,” Martinez said.
“Medically he wasn’t ready for Sunday so I don’t know how long he’s going to take. “I doubt it that is going be two-three days and he is going to be fine, I think it will be a bit longer than that but we are going to work with Ireland. “We have a very good close relationship and hopefully we will get Seamus on the pitch as quick as we can.” O’Neill said he was unaware of Martinez’s comments and added: “Seamus has done a little bit of work with the physio and the doctor today. “Obviously he’s very, very keen to play if he can but we’ll see. “It’s a day by day thing. “He’s getting better every single day and even though he wasn’t involved with Everton. We’ll have a look at him, see how he’s getting on and, as I say, assess it day by day.”
Everton should have beaten lucky Liverpool, says Brendan Galloway
5 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues defender relished first derby experience - but left disappointed with draw
Brendan Galloway says Everton should have beaten ‘lucky’ Liverpool in Sunday’s derby.
The Blues were held 1-1 at Goodison in the 225th meeting between the city rivals.
Danny Ings gave the Reds a 42nd minute lead but Romelu Lukaku equalised in time added on at the end of the first-half. Everton pushed for a second goal after the break but were unable to break Liverpool down. Galloway, playing in his first derby for the Blues, believes Everton deserved more from the game.
“I really enjoyed my first derby but we are all disappointed not to come away with a win,” Galloway said.
“It was disappointing to go behind but the way we responded was top drawer and we deserved to go on and get the win. “I think that there was some luck missing on our part Referee Martin Atkinson was heavily criticised after failing to show Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva a second booking following a foul on Ross Barkley. The West Yorkshire official was accused of “bottling it” and Galloway says a number of decisions went the Reds’ way. “Liverpool had a lot of luck and decisions going their way but we rose to the challenge and were the much better team,” he added. “We were just missing something and we will work hard to win the next game.”
Michael Ball: Brilliant Brendan has let Everton give Baines time to recover
5 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Michael Ball
Everton columnist on the derby, Funes-Mori, and Romelu Lukaku
Brendan Galloway has been a revelation for Everton
Brendan Galloway has grown into a man in these last few weeks.
Ever since his performance against Chelsea, the teenager has grown in confidence and stature.
His displays for Everton have been excellent. Even going forward, now, there is an obvious belief in what Galloway does. It is great to see from such a young man. With Leighton Baines out injured, Brendan has grabbed his opportunity with both hands and I can only see him going from strength to strength now. And what Galloway’s performances have allowed Everton and Roberto Martinez to do is make sure Baines is 100% fit to come back. Baines does not need to be rushed back, he can take his time, play for the under-21s, build up his fitness at the right pace and be fully fit before he comes back into the side. Galloway is a really athletic player but you could see early on that full-back wasn’t his natural position. He is being lined up as a future centre-half at Goodison and though he played left-back for MK Dons, it took him a little time to settle into the position at Everton. But he has improved every game and, as I say, his performance against Chelsea was a real watershed moment. Initially, he would make forays into the final third but wear a look of someone thinking ‘I shouldn’t be here’. But not anymore. Galloway attacks with confidence and is making things happen when he’s up there.
He’s hungry and he wants the ball. It is going to be interesting to see what happens when Baines is fully fit, that’s for sure. Either way, Galloway’s form means that Everton do not have to rush him back.
Mori passed derby test with flying colours
Ramiro Funes Mori was fantastic again for Everton.
I think many of us were a little unsettled when the news filtered through that John Stones had not recovered from his knee injury. But Ramiro was excellent and took to the game no problem. He was calm and composed and contributed to a really good performance from the back four.
Tyias Browning may have found it a little difficult going forward – and there’s clearly not much of an understanding between him and Gerard Deulofeu yet – but defensively he had no problems.
Pulling the strings was Phil Jagielka and it is hard to argue with Roberto Martinez’s assessment of him at full-time. Jags has been the most consistent English defender in the Premier League over the past 12 months. He is a great man and a great character. Frustration at chance that went begging
Sunday was an opportunity missed.
Liverpool were happy walking away from Goodison with a point whereas it felt like we had lost the game. At the end, our heads were down, it was like they had scored in the final minute. It wasn’t a typical derby, it was more like a normal league match and Liverpool came for the draw. Their goal came about because of some familiar failings and those same old problems needs addressing.
Ross Barkley lost his man at the corner but Everton need to be dealing with anything that drops into the six yard area needs to be dealt with. Coming for corner is not Tim Howard’s game so every players has to be on their toes and not give your man a yard. Howard should still come and claim that ball. It wasn’t even a particularly good corner, it was just chipped in rather than swung into the area.
Lukaku needed more help Romelu Lukaku put himself about on Sunday but he needed more help. He was doing some great things but there wasn’t enough back-up on offer. Maybe it was another reminder of how important that No10 player, that Everton targeted in the summer, would be. Romelu did a lot of hard work but, ultimately, a lot of it was in the wrong areas because he was up there by himself.
And I was disappointed we didn’t get more crosses into the box.
I could fully understand why Gerard Deulofeu was playing from the start, his performances have been excellent recently, but I feel his best displays have come from the bench.
It’s easy to say in hindsight but maybe it would have been better to start with Aaron Lennon, let him tire the Liverpool defence out and then unleashed Deulofeu for the last half an hour.
But, as I say, it was difficult to argue with the decision to start him given his form heading in.
It was just disappointing we couldn’t deliver more crosses into the area of a side that can’t handle them.
I stand by derby claim despite stick from Reds I received a fair bit of stick from Liverpool fans this week after last week's column. I said that there was not one player in the Reds team that I would have in the Blue ranks. I meant it. And I was somewhat proved right on Sunday, especially in the case of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho. Sturridge is not fit enough and the back four handled him easily enough and Coutinho was meant to be their dangerman but he's been out and was nullified.
Gareth Barry had great game and he stopped their forward players from getting at our back four.
Everton and Kitbag announce Blues kits to go on sale in stores nationwide
6 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Strips on sale in selected stores from mid-October
EVERTON kits will be made available in sports stores nationwide from mid-October, for the first time in six years. The club’s strip supplier, Kitbag, has responded to one of the biggest gripes by Blues fans by announcing the sale of kits in selected JD Sports stores from later this month. “The transfer of kits to JD Sports stores from Liverpool Airport to Manchester Airport, Aintree to Oxford Street in London, will begin this week, with kits being available to supporters from mid-October,” said a joint statement by Everton and Kitbag The sale of Everton kits only in the two official club shops and online, has been a major bone of contention amongst many Blues fans. In an analysis of the Kitbag deal published in the Echo in July, supporters were asked for their views. An over-riding theme was irritation at lack of availability in stores at major travel points like airports and train stations. Everton's Kitbag deal analysed: Good or bad for the Blues? Everton and Kitbag: You have your say “It annoys me when you walk into a sports retailer in your own city and see every other kit under the sun apart from your own team,” said one fan from Toxteth. “It’s disappointing for a club in the EPL not to be able to buy shirts internationally, or even in London, other than on the internet,” said another from Australia.
While a Pontefract based supporter wrote: “I personally hate it. I walk into retail here and I can find just about any kit, except Everton. Even in London, Lillywhites stock everyone except us.”
Everton and Kitbag have now responded to those concerns. The Blues statement added: “This season’s traditional blue home shirt, white away shirt and green third strip, all manufactured by Umbro, have proven popular since going on sale in the summer and now, to make kits more widely available, they will be on sale in Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire, Gatwick Airport and London branches of the popular high-street sportswear firm. “The shirts will remain available online at evertondirect.com and in-store at Everton One and Everton Two.”
Everton can challenge for top four this season, says Steven Naismith
6 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Scottish forward on encouraging start to the new campaign
Only way is up for Steven Naismith
STEVEN NAISMITH believes Everton can challenge for the top four this season. The Blues extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to five games with a 1-1 draw at home to Liverpool on Sunday.
Five points separate Manchester City at the top of the table and Spurs in eighth after eight games of a campaign that has already been littered with shock results. Champions Chelsea are fifth bottom while Leicester City and Crystal Palace are fourth and fifth respectively. Everton boss Roberto Martinez, whose side are seventh in the standings, believes that a top four place can be secured this season with a lower than average points tally. The Blues finished fourth in 2005 with just 61 points - in Roberto Martinez's first season a 72-point haul was only enough for fifth - and Naismith says the fight for Champions League qualification will be fierce this season. “The top four has now probably turned into a big six or seven,” he said. “Spurs are consistently fighting for it, we did it a couple of years ago.
“We feel we’re good enough to be up at that mark. “We’re confident against anyone. “If we play as we know we can, then we are a match for anyone in the league. We have shown that over the last two or three years. “Anyone would have looked at our start and thought we were going to be in for a difficult time. But we believe we can beat anyone on our day. “We had a draw on the opening day against Watford and then another at Swansea, but we have always followed it up with a good result.
“We are consistently doing it. “That turns your season into a good start and we are looking forward to what is to come.” Everton were frustrated that they could not build on Romelu Lukaku’s equaliser in Sunday’s 225th derby. And Naismith added: “I think we were the better team, but we probably didn’t do enough to win the game,” he said. “For large parts of the game we were in control. “We played good football, but the final chance wasn’t there and that’s why we didn’t win. Frustration is the biggest feeling because we were confident going into the game.”
John Stones: Everton central defender withdraws from England squad through injury
6 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Tom Marshall-Bailey
The Blues stopper missed the Merseyside derby draw with Liverpool due to a knee complaint
John Stones has withdrawn from the England squad with a knee injury
Everton defender John Stones has withdrawn from the England squad to face Estonia and Lithuania in Euro 2016 qualifiers with injury. We revealed yesterday that England were due to send Stones back to the Blues to continue his rehabilitation on a knee problem. Stones missed the Merseyside derby draw against Liverpool on Sunday, having failed to win his fitness battle after missing out on the thrilling 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion the previous Monday. And, despite being called up to the Three Lions squad by Roy Hodgson, Stones will now return to Finch Farm to help speed up his first-team comeback.
Tottenham duo Kyle Walker and Andros Townsend have been called up in his place, with Hodgson keen to bolster the numbers in his squad for the latest international double header after Wayne Rooney, Liverpool's Danny Ings and Swansea City midfielder Jonjo Shelvey all sat out training. Speaking after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, Martinez said: “We are sending John Stones and Mo Besic and Aiden McGeady, those players will be going on international duty and they are carrying knocks and injuries and we need to make sure that they get fully fit very quickly."
Everton teenager Jonjoe Kenny wants second Euro success
7 Oct 2015 Liverpoool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Kenny won Euro Champioships with England u-17 and targeting with u-19 side
JONJOE KENNY is targeting European Championships success for the second time in his England career.
The Everton under-21 captain scored the winning penalty as England u-17s lifted the Euro crown last summer. Kenny has now been promoted to the u-19 set-up and is determined to taste Euro success for a second time. England face Macedonia on Thursday before games with Finland and Italy as Aidy Boothroyd’s side look to progress to the Euro 2016 elite qualifying group. “We’ve spoke about seeing it as our defence of the trophy this season,” said Kenny. “We are a very confident group and we believe that we can win this one. “We have top players in both attack and defence, we are really positive, so why can’t we go on and win it again? “I think we can go and win every single game with the squad we have got, and even with the experience we have despite still being young, that can only help us.”
Kenny returned to Everton last month after playing seven times for League One side Wigan Athletic.
And the Kirkdale teenager there are a clutch of players in the England squad who have benefitted from playing at a high level with their club. “There’s a lot of good players in this age group and you can see that by some of the lads that have not been included in the squad,” he said. “A lot of the lads are playing in the Premier League or in the Football League, and we have a few playing abroad, so it’s great to be involved with this group. “The morale has always been strong when we’ve been together for England over the years, and I think that closeness is our biggest strength. We all know each other rally well and each other’s game.”
Everton defender Leighton Baines training three times a day to speed up return from injury
7 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Phil Kirkbride
Blues left-back recovering from second ankle operation in four months
LEIGHTON BAINES is training three times a day as he recovers from an ankle operation. The Everton left-back has not played a competitive game since early May after undergoing surgery on a long-standing ankle problem. Baines returned for pre-season but on the eve of the new campaign suffered a fresh injury in the same ankle. The England left-back saw a specialist in London the following week and went under the knife for a second time in four months. Everton set Baines’ recovery time at between 12-14 weeks but the 30-year-old is working round the clock to be back sooner than expected.
Everton FC end of season awards evening at St Georges Hall Liverpool. Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka
Last month, Everton boss Roberto Martinez hinted that Baines was ahead of schedule and the Blues defender has been putting in three sessions a day to help speed up his return. But Everton are still not expecting Baines to back in the squad until November. Brendan Galloway and Bryan Oviedo have deputised in Baines’ absence with the former winning rave reviews for his performances. Speaking after Sunday’s derby, Martinez said: “Brendan Galloway is still a teenager but is someone that brings a smile to your face when he gets on the ball.”
Everton’s Tom Cleverley and family threatened by burglars in raid on home
• Intruders reportedly stole two cars, jewellery and handbags
• Cleverley was in house with wife and two-year-old daughter
Wednesday 7 October 2015 Guardian
The Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley and his family were threatened by intruders armed with baseball bats during a raid on their Manchester home. The former Manchester United player, 26, was in the house with his wife Georgina Dorsett and their two-year-old daughter when the break-in happened, but all were unhurt. The intruders reportedly stole two cars, jewellery and handbags, with a source telling the Sun: “Tom and Georgina weren’t physically hurt but it was a horrific ordeal for them – especially as their little girl was with them. The only thing in their minds was protecting her. This was a very, very nasty incident and the couple have been shaken beyond belief.” A Greater Manchester police spokesman said: “At around 8pm on Friday 2 October 2015, police were called to an address in Hale Barns following a report of a break-in. Officers attended and discovered a man, a woman and an infant who had been the victims of an aggravated burglary. None of the victims were injured. An investigation was subsequently launched and is on-going.”
Ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne to appear in court on harassment charges
7 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
Former Everton star accused of sending abusive tweets, texts and phone calls to ex girlfriend
Everton's new signing Paul Gascoigne holds up an Everton shirt bearing his nickname
Former Everton and England footballer Paul Gascoigne will appear in court later this month charged with two counts of harassment. The 48-year-old, known affectionately as Gazza, is accused of harassing his ex-girlfriend, Amanda Thomas, in a series of abusive tweets, text messages and telephone calls over a fortnight in March. He is also charged with harassing Andy Stone, who is reportedly a photographer, during the same period. Gascoigne, of Poole, Dorset, did not attend Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court when his case was briefly heard on September 29. He is due to appear at the same court on October 29.
Both charges state that Gascoigne “pursued a course of conduct which amounted to harassment which you should know, or ought to have known, amounted to harassment in that you sent abusive tweets via Twitter, telephone calls and text messages”, a court spokeswoman said. Gascoigne, who formerly played for Newcastle United, Tottenham, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough as well as Everton, has faced a high-profile battle with alcohol addiction in recent years and has spent a number of spells in rehab.
A spokesman for Gascoigne declined to comment on the case.
Everton youngster Tom Davies trains with senior England squad
7 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Highly-rated Everton midfielder Tom Davies gets recognition from Roy Hodgson
Everton's Tom Davies joins in a senior England training session and competes for the ball with Raheem Sterling Everton's gifted young midfielder Tom Davies has been rewarded for his progress for England u-17s by being invited to train with Roy Hodgson's senior squad. The 17-year-old, who signed his first professional deal with the Blues last month, joined in with club-mate Ross Barkley, Chelsea's Gary Cahill and Manchester City's Raheem Sterling at St George's Park this morning. Liverpool-born Davies penned a two-year contract in September following his progression with David Unsworth’s Under-21s side.
At the time he said: "I’ve been here since I was in the Under-11s so that’s around seven years now. It’s been hard at times, but enjoyable and I’m very glad I’m still here.“To sign my first contract is all I’ve ever wanted to be honest. "To get it done is really exciting and allows me to push on for the future.”
The midfielder is noted for having a good passing range and being a tough tackler.
View from the Gwladys Street: Celebrity barber Pete Cranfield on the derby and his hopes for the campaign
7 Oct 2015 Liverpool Echo
Everton fan and beard specialist Cutthroat Pete on James McCarthy, Manchester United and the top six
James McCarthy deserves more credit for his non-stop graft says Pete
What are your thoughts on the derby?
I never enjoy a derby day if I’m honest. In my job, I can be in for a week of stick from Liverpool fans if we lose and my phone never stops all day with banter from the lads.
Pete's phone is going off all the time in derby week
I was quietly confident going into it though, we have had such a good start to the season and Liverpool haven’t looked like anything to worry about. Derbies are those games though that all form genuinely goes out of the window and it’s just a case of seeing how it goes on the day.
For me Ross has been outstanding. He looks like he has matured and dealt with the massive pressure that has been put on him. He is such a strong player, I’d hate to come up against him. Lukaku has been on fire too, banging one in when it’s needed. I don’t like to say who I think should be better really.
I listen to fans criticise players and it does my head in!
Ross Barkley has been on top form
I don’t have the knowledge or expertise to say who should be playing better. I think we’ve started this season really well and considering we had a few of the lads not being able to play (Bainesy, Coleman, Mirallas) in the derby we did well.
What are your thoughts on the start to the season so far?
I think we’ve looked great up to now. I was made up not to lose Stonesy, I think we needed to keep hold of him. He’s a cool player, he’s calm and collected and is a massive asset to us. Ross, as I said, I think he looks so much more mature. He is unbelievable to watch, he had way too much pressure put on him last year.
It’s great to see some positive energy amongst the players, I think the lads seem to gel well together and work great as a unit. I was seeing things in the press all summer about Stonesy and James being bid on etc. The fact that we kept them is brilliant, these lads are important to Everton’s future.
Chelsea were unsuccessful in their Stones pursuit
What is a realistic target for the Blues this term?
I think we can be aiming for top six definitely. It’s great to see how many internationals we have in our team, I’m looking forward to seeing Bainesy back too - it’s good to have that maturity in the team alongside the brilliant youthful talent shown by the likes of Galloway and Browning.
Brendan Galloway competes with Nathaniel Clyne
What did you think of the Wayne Rooney documentary on Monday?
I thought it was brilliant. It was great for people to see how down to earth and grounded Wayne is; him and Coleen came across so well. They’re such a nice family.
It’s a massive thing that a lad from Liverpool is England’s all time top goal scorer, something for us as a city to be proud of.
Man U up next - can the Blues get three points?
I’d like to think so yeah! I’d love to see James (McCarthy) score against them, he’s like a machine, he doesn’t stop, I think he deserves to bag a couple and to be recognised a bit more for his graft he puts in.
I think a win at Man U would put us in a great position for a massive run into the Christmas period.