Are Liverpool right to be angry with Jordan Pickford and Richarlison after fiery Everton clash?

Liverpool were furious after their derby clash with Everton at the weekend as the Toffeemen seemed to dish it out on Liverpool’s players as the two teams drew 2-2. But should Liverpool hold resentment for what happened and are they justified? If so should Everton be reprimanded and face any FA action?

It all started when a high ball was contested by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk who had come surging forward looking for the loose ball. Pickford went into van Dijk who went down in pain and tried to continue but couldn’t. There were screams for a penalty since the incident happened in the area but that was rendered obsolete given that van Dijk had been offside. But should Pickford have been punished for his challenge?

Though thoughtless and controversial Pickford was looking up at the high ball and not at Van Dijk and that is why despite the outcome it would have been harsh to have sent off Pickford which would have been the initial reaction- but the officials decided to do nothing and again that feels wrong. There didn’t seem to be any intent but to have let off Pickford completely didn’t make any sense. The player should have been booked and talked too. After all it was a reckless challenge. Even after the game the FA did want to review the incident but couldn’t because their own rules state that if the referee didn’t bring it up during the game then there is nothing that can be done.

Sadly for Van Dijk he has damaged his knee and cruciate ligaments and could miss the rest of the season which would be a huge blow to Liverpool. Though the best case scenario is that the player could be back as early as February. Still what  a miss for the champions.

Whilst the Pickford incident grabbed all of the headlines perhaps it should have been Richarlison’s tackle on Liverpool’s new signing Thiago Alcantara later in the game that did. It was a badly mistimed moment from the Brazilian which saw his studs slam straight into Thiago’s shin and could have meant the end of the ex Bayern Munich players season. It was that bad. Gladly justice was served on this occasion and Richarlison was shown a straight red card, he will miss the next 3 games which will be a blow for Everton and he has let his team mates down.

The good news for Thiago is that he has escaped serious injury, and officially has a knock and will be assessed for the clubs up coming games, for him he somehow escaped serious injury.

But the fall out of what has happened looks like it will linger for much of the season. Whilst both clubs do have a rivalry it seems to be much more intense this season given how well Everton have started the season, and after this game they remain top of the league. It also seems that the blue half of Merseyside are not exactly happy that Liverpool are finally champions after having to wait 30 years and herein lies Everton’s response; to start this season as well as they can, and it certainly is the clubs best start to a season in a generation.

There is a determination for the club to make an impact and they are fed up of being in Liverpool’s shadow and seeing the red half of the city not only win the league but also last year’s Champions League. Enough is enough, and we saw that Everton are trying their best to compete with Liverpool on the field. How many times for example would we have seen the club crumble when going a goal behind and so early on against their neighbours? And Everton came back twice to do that.

The downside to Everton though is their aggression. Of course derby games have always had that added spice and passion but there is also a line that shouldn’t be broken. No players should be missing of the season because adrenalin is running high and because of that Liverpool do have a point in being angry with Everton and the fires do seem to have been stoked.

Liverpool will not remain quiet about what has happened at the weekend and that is fair enough. But football isn’t just a physical game but a psychological one and the Reds wil keep up their fury until the teams meet again later in the season. By going all out that they were the victims in the first game they may end up getting the sympathy vote in the second if Everton step out of line.

As it stands Everton got away it when you also include that Liverpool appeared to have scored a winning goal and yet it was ruled offside. That just rubbed the salt into Liverpool’s wounds some more.

Roll on when the clubs meet again, it should be very interesting indeed.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 2 Picks

All 20 Premier League teams will be in action this weekend for the first time in 2020-21, with four games on Saturday, four on Sunday and the final two of the gameweek taking place on Monday night.

Manchester City and Manchester United were given last weekend off due to their involvement in European competition abroad last month. The Citizens start their campaign away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night, whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side host Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.

Here are our fantasy football suggestions for the weekend:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Everton started the season with a 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend as Carlo Ancelotti handed debuts to three of his summer signings. Allan did an excellent job in protecting the back four whilst James Rodriguez created a number of chances in the opening half.

The Toffees welcome West Bromwich Albion to Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime with the newly-promoted side having been beaten 0-3 at home by Leicester City without really causing any problems for the opposition. Slaven Bilic’s side may not see much better luck this weekend against an organised defence so Jordan Pickford should be a good pick between the sticks.

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English Premier League: Best 11 Players from Matchday 1

The English Premier League returned at the weekend and the 2020/21 edition kicked off in spectacular style, 7 goals in the Liverpool v Leeds game ruled the headlines as Reds striker Mohamed Salah scored a hat trick. Was that enough to make him player of the week with the most points? See below for the first team of the week in the Premier League.

Formation: 4-4-2 (Includes weekend games only)

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford- Everton 7pts

Jordan Pickford was criticised at times last season for Everton. The England number 1 has got off on the best footing though as he kept a clean sheet away to Tottenham as Everton won the game 1-0. A few other keepers also kept clean sheets earning 7 points also but Pickford made some superb saves against a quality side.

Defender: Timothy Castagne- Leicester 9pts

What a debut for Timothy Castagne at Leicester. Not only did he see his side beat West Brom 3-0, keeping a clean sheet in the process he also scored a goal, absolutely magnificent first game for the player who is valued at 6m.

Defender: Lucas Digne- Everton 7pts

Another Everton player who had an up and down last season. Looked assured in defence, held it together well as Everton went to Tottenham and beat the Londoners 1-0. Kept a clean sheet and assisted in Everton’s goal, a perfect weekend for Digne.

Defender: Frederico Fernandez- Newcastle 5pts

Fernandez has been at the Magpies for a couple of seasons but got the chance to make a rare start and made it count. Defended well and helped keep a clean sheet for Steve Bruce’s side as they beat West Ham 2-0 away.

Defender: Yerry Mina- Everton 5pts

Overall maybe Everton’s best defender as they beat Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham side 1-0. A great start for Everton and Mina who had faced a lot of pressure last season. Mina seems to be heading in the right direction and he can be bought for 6m.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 14pts

No player earned more points than Mohamed Salah at the weekend and the player of the weekend was in brilliant form as helped his side Liverpool beat Leeds Utd 4-3 in a thrilling game at Anfield. Salah has got off to an amazing start as the prolific striker looks like he will have yet another great season.

Midfielder: Jeff Hendrick- Newcastle 8pts

Jeff Hendrick really caught the eye last season and has started well with Newcastle. The Magpies beat West Ham 2-0 away and he scored a goal and also assisted in the other one. He’s off to a great start earning 8 points.

Midfielder: Willian- Arsenal 6pts

Willian switched from Chelsea to Arsenal and looked like he had played for the Gunners for years. Arsenal beat Fulham 3-0 with ease and the ex Chelsea player was superb assisting in two of the goals.

Midfielder: Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace 6pts

The Eagles had a lot of injuries so they were heavily reliant on Wilfried Zaha and he got the only goal as Crystal Palace beat Southampton 1-0. Zaha has been loyal to the club and played with an intensity and was always a threat.

Striker: Jamie Vardy- Leicester 8pts

Jamie Vardy keeps doing it, he keeps scoring goals. The top goalscorer from last season bagged 2 goals as Leicester beat West Brom 3-0 away from home. Vardy got the penalty that counted, and he will be delighted with himself. You can add Vardy to your team but he won’t be cheap coming in at 11.5m.

Striker: Callum Wilson- Newcastle 4pts

Callum Wilson made his debut for Newcastle in style as he scored a goal as the Magpies ran out 2-0 winners at a very poor West Ham. Wilson was very alert, scored a nice goal and this could be a great capture for Steve Bruce.

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Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Jordan Pickford

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England’s number 1 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was able to play some pivotal moments in Everton’s up and down season which saw the Mersey siders finish the season strong after a slow and poor start could have caused an early exit for new manager Marco Silva.

All eyes were on Pickford to see if he could ‘earn’ Everton some valuable points and he ended up keeping 14 clean sheets, 2 better than Hugo Llroris who finished above him in the rankings.

Pickford’s season started out as a nightmare as he saw Everton not only struggle for points but also kept conceding goals and it meant than in his first six games he had yet to earn a point and in fact was on -10 points.

Pickford’s first points of the season didn’t actually come until the end of September, when at Goodison Park, the Toffees were able to beat Fulham 3-0 thus earning Pickford 7 points for his clean sheet.

The Everton keeper’s best period of the season started in mid March and ran through to the beginning of May where from 7 league games he kept 6 clean sheets and Everton found a new belief, finishing the season strong and beating the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Indeed the club beat United 4-0 and that was seen as one of the biggest surprises of the season and a wake up call for them.

Pickford was also involved in the 0-0 game against Liverpool. This is a match that Everton fans will remember for some time given that it was the last time that Jurgen Klopp’s team dropped points during the season and thus, in theory, Everton stopped Liverpool from winning the league, something that Pickford and the club and fans would be very happy about given the rivalry between the sides.

Pickford wasn’t without criticism this season and that is a given. Simply put because he is England’s number 1 there will always be the spotlight on him. His worst match came against Tottenham just before Christmas where Everton, at home, were thrashed by Mauricio Pochettino’s side 6-2 in an embarrassing game for the Toffees who certainly came unstuck and as a result Pickford earned -10 points. Indeed had Pickford never experienced that game he would have finished 3rd in the rankings.

The conclusion was that Pickford finished 5th and 19th overall for goalkeepers in Europe. He finished with a points total of 53, this is his best of his career so far and he will be looking to impress next season with England manager Gareth Southgate watching on as Euro 2020 gears up.

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EPL Best XI – Week 35

walcott

With the Premier League season continuing whittling itself down to what seems destined to be a thrilling conclusion, nothing more was decided during this past weekend’s action. The battle to avoid being the last side to be relegated from the top flight this season remains far from over, while various intricate races / challenges at the top of the table appear nowhere nearer to being resolved. Liverpool remain two points ahead of Man City at the top of the league with City having a game in hand, Everton impressed many by beating Man Utd 4-0 at Goodison Park and Crystal Palace pulled off a great 3-2 win over Arsenal at the Emirates. With all that said, let us now adopt a 4-3-3 formation and take a peek at which players performed the best this weekend.

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EPL Best XI – Week 33

chriswood

With another reduced number of teams in Premier League action this weekend due to the ongoing FA Cup competition, there were only a few sides to select from for this week’s “Best XI” – though there has been a nice spread of action, with games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Everton continued their impressive performances against the big teams this season when they beat Arsenal 1-0 at Goodison Park, while Burnley earned a hugely impressive – and vitally important – away win at Bournemouth. Leicester and Crystal Palace also picked up wins on the road at Huddersfield and Newcastle respectively, while Liverpool’s Friday night trip to Southampton also saw them take the points. Let’s go for a 4-3-3 and see which players performed the best!

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EPL Best XI – Week 31

nobleThere was only half a round of games in the Premier League this past weekend, what with FA Cup action also going on, and so with just ten teams taking part picking a best XI may be slightly different to usual. Sunday’s action was fun-packed, as Everton raised some eyebrows by beating Chelsea 2-0 at Goodison Park – their first home victory since mid-January – putting a big dent in Chelsea’s top-four ambitions. Liverpool were tested more than many will have been expecting at Craven Cottage, a late James Milner penalty putting them top of the table with a 2-1 win against Fulham. On Saturday, Bournemouth played out a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle, Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley and West Ham beat Huddersfield in a 4-3 thriller.

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EPL Game of the Weekend – Newcastle vs Everton

perezNewcastle fans have had something of a rough time of things this season – they have seen their side struggle to finish off the opposition, struggle to pick up the wins and all the while without the safety of knowing that their popular manager will be at the club for a great deal longer. With rumours surrounding the future of Rafa Benitez refusing to go away, the players have, at times, seemed unable to muster what was needed to get the job done. The quality in the squad can not be disregarded, but this has not always lent itself to fluent performances. As a result, when the Toon Army saw their heroes fall two goals down at home to Everton on Saturday, they could have been forgiven for expecting the worst.

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EPL Best XI – Week 29

pereiraThis past weekend saw no less than three local derbies in the Premier League, with two of them winding up as draws. Of the six clubs involved in these three games only Chelsea triumphed, toppling Scott Parker’s Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage. It was a spirited performance from the hosts, who sacked manager Claudio Ranieri last week after only 19 games in charge. Spurs hosted Arsenal while Liverpool made the short trip to Everton, with both of these games ending in stalemate. Arguably the finest action to be seen was at Old Trafford, where resurgent Man Utd battled to a 3-2 home win against Southampton, who on this performance alone really should not find themselves in the trouble they are in. Adopting a 4-3-3 this time, let’s see which players stood out!

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Confidence abound as Everton take on Liverpool

 

Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK, The Kop, Anfield, Logos and manager cut-outs added by Sean Lunt, CC BY 2.0

Robert Cutts from Bristol, England, UK, The Kop, Anfield, Logos and manager cut-outs added by Sean Lunt, CC BY 2.0

It’s a rare occurrence that Everton head to Anfield to take on Liverpool full of confidence and belief. History has taught them that is a foolish notion.

In the 52 Premier League games they’ve played at Anfield as they’ve managed nine wins. The last of those came 19 years ago. In their last five league visits, they’ve managed two draws and three defeats. Twice in the last four years, they’ve suffered 4-0 defeats there.

Travelling across Stanley Park has become a regular pilgrimage of misery. Even last year, when Sam Allardyce’s side earned a point, there was little joy to be had. Fans had to endure 90 minutes of watching their side defend deep and scrap for an undeserved point. Wayne Rooney’s penalty offered a moment to celebrate but in reality, there was little to enjoy. Continue reading