Another derby defeat for Everton
Sylvain Distin's moment of madness in the FA Cup semi-final gave Liverpool a platform to go on and win a poor Merseyside derby at Wembley as Dalgish and Moyes faced off.
The last time Wembley hosted a Merseyside derby was the FA Cup final in 1989, and though our game has since then been pimped out by Sky Sports and the makers of flashy sports gear, there were some similarities which bind that match and today's. Then, as now, the country was run by a bunch of right-wing nutters intent on auctioning off the state; and the crowd were still waiting for someone to be called to account for the horrors of Hillsborough. Quite what scousers at the '89 final, only five weeks after the disaster, would have said if told that they’d still be waiting for justice 23 years later, one can only guess.
But whereas that match (which also saw a Liverpool team picked by Kenny Dalglish) was a five-goal, extra-time classic, today’s semi-final was a battle between two incoherent teams who found themselves beneath the occasion and putting on a poor exhibition for a great footballing city.
The two goals which sustained the match into its late climax were both the result of embarrassing defending, albeit both finished very smoothly by Nikica Jelavic and the odious Luis Suarez. Quite what Sylvain Distin was thinking when he planned that painfully underweighted backpass/ fantastic through ball only he knows, but he has already taken to Twitter post-match to make his feelings clear, tweeting: "I cost my team mates, the staff, the club and a the fans a place in FA cup final. Nothing more to say but SORRY all of you."
It’s a shame that such a big-game mistake came from a defender of such experience, sturdiness and professionalism (not to mention quality), at the tail-end of a very good season. Evertonians, valuing as they do commitment and consistency over headlines and kit deals, will certainly forgive the Frenchman once the pain has subsided.
Speaking of fates which ill-befit their recipients, there was something extremely pungent about the look of sheer self-satisfaction on Andy Carroll’s face as he wheeled off after scoring the winning goal, after a performance- and a Liverpool career- of comic mediocrity.
So it’s been an atrocious season of derbies for Everton who, despite beating Tottenham, Chelsea and Man City in the league, have been beaten three times by the worst Liverpool team in years, conceding seven goals. David Moyes’s much anticipated silverware breakthrough will have to come another year.