March 2008 Archives

IF one moment encapsulated the 207th Merseyside derby, it was no surprise that Steven Gerrard was at the centre of it.

A block tackle on Phil Jagielka sent him running into the corner with nowhere to turn and little hope of getting out alive - just the way his Everton team-mates spent most of yesterday afternoon at Anfield.

Gerrard, with a shuddering sliding challenge, landed the inevitable killer blow to his opponent, which is where the similarity with the game as a whole ended.

UNLESS Javier Mascherano had jammed an Argentinian flag into the Old Trafford pitch and yelled "The Malvinas is ours" at the top of his voice it is hard to imagine how he could have upset the British media more than he did last Sunday.

"Is This The Dumbest Man On The Planet?" asked one newspaper, while one columnist compared him unfavourably with a child throwing a tantrum after having his Game Boy confiscated by his parents.

Mascherano was guilty of being sent off after picking up two bookings, the first for a foul and the second for dissent. After he was red carded by Steve Bennett, he further blotted his copy book by refusing to leave the scene of his "crimes" as quickly as he should have done.

APPARENTLY the Merseyside derby is the most keenly-fought in Britain. The most bookings and red cards by all accounts.

Factoring in that that includes the Old Firm clashes in Scotland, then it says a lot about the passion that football on Merseyside generates.

The last derby finished with only nine Everton players on the pitch. I hope therefore, that Steve Bennett is not the referee tomorrow as, if he is, we might well be down to a five-a-side game by half time.

There is a lot riding on the outcome of this particular derby and for Liverpool it could not have come at a worse time. We have just suffered a painful defeat at Old Trafford and fate has decided to served us up with another titanic battle.

JAVIER MASCHERANO can't blame anyone but himself for his sending off.

If you've already been booked then you can't afford to get involved with the referee - but he did.

I do have some sympathy for Mascherano because he was trying to stick up for his mate after Fernando Torres came in for a bit of rough treatment from Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes.

IF THERE is one good thing to come out of Sunday's defeat to Manchester United it is that Liverpool only have to wait until this weekend for another massive game to come along.

There is nothing worse when you've been turned over than having to wait to get it out of your system.
But with Everton coming to Anfield for the biggest derby match in years on Sunday the Liverpool players have the perfect opportunity to get themselves back on track.

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