Everton and Liverpool In Relegation Battle: Has The World Gone Mad?

Fernando Torres Liverpool 2008/09 Phil Jagielka Everton Everton V Liverpool (0-2) 27/09/08 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International

I know. I know. It’s only seven games into the season, but I guarantee there wasn’t anyone predicting that after seven matches Liverpool and Everton would be desperately trying to keep their noses ahead of Wolves and West Ham.

At some point you have to the stop the “It’s only [insert number of matches] into the season” and figure out what to do about it. Seven matches equals roughly 20% of the season. Assuming that no team can simply throw a switch and perform a 180, how long can this go on before changes are contemplated? Are they really that bad? What are these two teams to do?

The first two canned phrases that come to mind are “Moyes has done all he can at Everton and it’s time for the club to move on.” Followed by “Hodgson is out of his depth with a big-time club like Liverpool.”

Is it really that simple? That’s not a loaded question. I am only asking. Would bringing in a new manager at this point really make a difference in terms of turning the ship around (and who would that be)? Are both teams’ problems merely a reflection of the managers’ abilities/inabilities or are they more a matter of lack of player talent/cohesiveness….or both?

In their present situations I don’t believe you can directly compare the two managers. Moyes has been with Everton since 2002, so you can fairly lay any player acquisition/development problems at his feet. Hodgson has been dealt a deck of cards he might rather not have, but nonetheless is responsible for developing to the best of his abilities. This is not a Moyes versus Hodgson question, but rather a “What’s to be done in each case?” scenario.

I am interested in reading your thoughts. What must each club do to right the ship….before it’s too late? Have at it.

30 thoughts on “Everton and Liverpool In Relegation Battle: Has The World Gone Mad?”

  1. Put the results aside, Everton were playing very good football, were unlucky in several of their games, the only bad game they played was against Newcastle, all the rest they were the better team (but they failed to get the points) while Liverpool been very poor so far, Everton did win away to Birmingham on the weekend and you can see them moving up the table soon, as for Liverpool, they will end up moving up the table but i predict them to finish behind Everton.

  2. Its too early in season to say. Everton have had there first win of the season. This should give the team confidence. Yes Everton have had a poor start yet again but I do think we will have a mid table finish. As for Liverpool there is too many problems behind the scenes and this is putting pressure on the team the manager.

  3. In Everton’s case it is Moyes that has been the problem. Every season we start poorly, and it’s the players that rescue the season, not him. As has been more obvious this season, he plays players out of position and doesn’t bring in the better players until the mediocre players that are starting (Osman, Hibbert, Distin, etc) are injured. The man is too stubborn. In Liverpool’s case, they just don’t have the players that are needed to mount a challenge on the title. besides Gerrard and Torres (when he plays), Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal, and even City and Spurs would have their top side bettered in each position.

    1. Roman, what “better players” are there to be brought in from such a thin bench? I agree there have been some tactical head-scratchers in a couple of the games from Moyes, and I’d be fine with never seeing Hibbert or Bilyaletdinov except in garbage time. But the talent is what it is — fine passing and possession around the first two thirds, a bit soft on defense, poor finishing. The construction of the team is the issue, not how the talent is being used, in my opinion.

      With that said, I agree with everyone else that Everton should recover and get to mid table eventually. Flawed but capable team, unlike Liverpool, whose situation is more dire.

  4. It reminds me a bit of Spurs in 2008. With 2 points from 8 games sitting bottom of the table. There was real danger of relegation until they started playing much better (I think 3rd in the second half form table) in the spring of 2009. Ultimately I think the quality will take over and they will both be safe.

    1. I thought the same thing. Of course, the Spurs turnaround coincided with the club firing Juande Ramos and hiring Harry Redknapp, who then had a reputation for turning clubs around.

      I think it’s too early to know for sure. One thing is certain, though — neither Everton or Liverpool will be challenging for Europe this season.

  5. Are gamble on beckford clearly hasent paid off an with Saha injured AGAIN! And yakubu not looking the player he was before his bad injury we haven’t got anyone capable of scoring on a regular basis, we’ve played well in all but one of are games this season, Newcastle being the one, but until we get a decent goalsorer it’s looking like mid table for us.
    Liverpool are in dissaray, very average team with a top quality spine to the team but as everybody always said if torres an gerrard arnt on top of there game then they are a very mediocre team

  6. Yeah the past few seasons we’ve seen Everton start out like this and then eventually find form. But you’d think they’d find form earlier than this. It always looks like Everton is one of those teams that is trying to gel due to an influx of new players brought in during the summer. But that’s not REALLY the case, is it! For the past few seasons they’ve had relatively the same starting squad, so you’d think they would be good to go! How this ISN’T happening, is a mystery to me.

    As for Liverpool, I think it’s going to take the January transfer window for them, in addition to all the negative press disappearing. Don’t see any of that happening, and don’t see any new players coming to the club given the current climate (would YOU go to the club? I didn’t think so.)

    I think Everton will be ok, midtable by end of the year. Liverpool, no relegation… but maybe like 10th or 11th! We’ll see… we have a long way to go.

  7. Everton’s problem has been scoring, and this won’t get any better until Saha is 100% (don’t hold your breath) or they bring in a striker once the transfer window opens (which they can’t afford to do). While even this incarnation of Everton should finish mid-table rather than fighting to escape relegation, Moyes/ownership dropped the ball by relying on Yakubu and Beckford as Saha’s backups. Add to that the fact that Pienaar has looked uninterested at times, Fellaini looks clumsy as always and Osman would probably miss a penalty without a keeper in net (but that doesn’t stop him from shooting!) and you have Everton where they are. It should be noted, tough, that only Chelsea and Man City have allowed fewer goals than Everton. If Pienaar comes back healthy and motivated and Cahill finds his scoring touch, Everton should work its way back up to the top half of the table by season’s end. On a final note, I’d prefer to see Bilyaletdinov start rather come on as a late-game sub.

    1. See how much Everton misses Donovan now?

      Sorry, couldn’t resist! And frankly, I’m surprised no one else mentioned it first…

      1. Is it possible that Donovan will come back for a bit once the MLS season is over? He’s bound to be exhausted from playing basically the last two years without a break, but it might be something that both sides could talk about at least.

        1. It sure didn’t sound like Donovan was interested in playing across the pond permanently, and I’m pretty sure MLS has no interest in letting him go any time soon. From what I can see, he’s as big a draw as Beckham, maybe bigger.

          That said, Everton made one hell of a run with him last season. It would be interesting to see if they could do it again.

          1. Yea MLS wants to keep him for sure, but I don’t see why they would object to him doing a few months on loan during their offseason (MLS season ends in November). If anything, having an MLS star go and be a productive and effective member of an EPL team helps MLS gain more credibility. Or at least gain back the cred they lost when the All-Stars got crushed 5-2 by Manchester United’s B squad.

    1. Great question. Maybe the clash could be labeled, “Battle For The Bottom!”

      Imagine the excitement! Actually, I’ll be watching. It will obviously be an important match for both clubs.

  8. Liverpool are living the consequences of really bad personnel decisions by Rafa, and Statler and Waldorf burying the Reds in debt. Now L’pool has no $$ to upgrade and are are a step away from receivership (point penalty a la Pompey??) Look at Aquilani, for example: 20M transfer fee for a player that barely played a game and kept getting injured whenever he stepped outside his house, and now we loan him out?? Just look at our midfield right now, a complete shambles. Our back four isn’t any better, Carragher has aged in dog years and is a pylon, and Glen Johnson isn’t panning out at all, and really was the cause of both of Blackpool’s goals. It is looking really ugly, and I fear we are 2010’s version of Leeds…

    1. “….I fear we are 2010?s version of Leeds…”

      While not a Liverpool fan, I sincerely hope that doesn’t come to pass.

  9. i think it’s quite clear that Everton need a striker who can score consistently. and not just that, they need more width in their midfield. they are stacked with talent, but they absolutely have no good wing play. they need to bring in a true winger or some speed on the flanks, this will open up the middle and make them better all around. a man named Landon Donovan comes to mind here. look what he did for them last season. they should really go for a full transfer in January

  10. Those blinded by their Liverpool love were laughably off when saying that Liverpool had Top 4 talent.

    Their current squad, financial mess or not off the pitch, are just not that great and nowhere near Chelsea, United, and probably City.

    1. It’s sad, but true. The Liverpool team, outside of Torres, Gerrard, and Reina, are pretty poor. Kuyt works hard and is an asset to a club that has good, creative players. On this team, he’s just a hard worker. Johnson is not a right back and should be switched to right mid, since he doesn’t want to defend anyway. Lucas, Poulsen, Jovanovic, Maxi contribute nothing. Carragher should be a bench player. Two years ago, LFC had one of the best midfields in the world. Now, it’s not even among the top six of the Premier League. It’s painful to watch.

      1. Spot on Clampdown. I was thinking the same move up to wing for Johnson…but of course, we aren’t exactly deep at defender either. I love Kuyt, but it is sort of sad seeing him work so hard for naught. I wish we didn’t get rid of Crouch, he is so good at handling a long bloop ball (about all Liverpool can generate at the moment) and setting up others. I think he would play off Torres wonderfully. Spurs sure are using him well…

  11. I’ve been calling for Gerrard to be played in the midfield for a long time now – I think I have to reconsider. Put him back up front as the “in-the-hole” player. Otherwise, we have no chance of getting scoring opportunities.

    Now that I’ve reassessed my preconceived notions, maybe Hodgeson will too.

  12. Ironically,when Benitez was fired,I was sure if Moyes had been coaching any other overacheiving,mid table club,besides Everton…he would have been the new Liverpool man.

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