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Torres Double Overshadowed by Mike Riley

Fernando Torres two goals in three minutes is the difference as Liverpool take the short trip to Goodison Park and come out 2-0 victors that was marred by the horrific refereeing of Mike Riley.I am going to say it like I see it here, Mike Riley has officially ended the FA’s respect campaign over the last two weeks. Last week, Soccernet picked up 40 fouls Riley called between Chelsea and Manchester United. Today, Soccernet picked up 43 and the Guardian showed 39. Fact remains, the majority of fouls Riley has called over the last two weeks have not only been severely questionable at best, but have tested the patience of even the most patient people.

To make matter worse this week unlike last week, as far as I’m concerned, Tim Cahill was unjustly sent off ten minutes from the ninety. Yes the tackle was nasty, but it was just as bad as Arbeloa’s tackle four minute earlier. No one from Liverpool expected red, no one in the EPL Talk Chat expected red, and I’m convinced the only one who was convinced it was red is Mike Riley.

This is the second high profile match Riley has refereed in six days. As far as I’m concerned he’s made some serious errors in judgment that have to be taken into account. From the farcical ending to last week’s Chelsea/Manchester United fixture to Cahill’s sending off, Riley has made big mistakes that seem to be forgiven by the FA. Yes refereeing is a tough job and they deserve respect, but when a referee continues to make mistakes to the magnitude Riley has of late, it’s very hard to give Riley any at all.

As to the match itself, Riley’s whistle made sure there was no flow to the match. Liverpool though dominated from the kickoff. Everton only had about ten minutes where they were on the ascendancy, even then they were unable to test Jose Reina. Liverpool in the first half were unable to break Everton down in the final third. Everton’s back four and midfield were being way too forgiving and pretty much allowing Liverpool all the space they wanted when they were pushing forward.

Both Liverpool goals boil down too two fatal flaws. The first being losing possession in the midfield and the second being defenders abandoning their space giving Torres all the space in the world to do his job. On the first goal, Alonso gets the ball in the midfield and it’s Joleon Lescott abandoning his space trailing Kuyt’s run near post. How no one else was marking Torres I haven’t a clue. Torres with that much space and time one on one with any keeper in the world is rarely going to miss. On the second goal, it was Torres himself who starts the play in the midfield after Everton fail to possess a throw in. The final blow was when Joseph Yobo went in trying to clear a tackle when the ball fell perfectly to Torres. With Howard off his line, the finish was automatic.

Robbie Keane is starting to mold into the team, but Rafa has to let him be what he is, a forward. Playing on the wing has done him no favors, and it was only when he was able to get more central was when he was his most dangerous. Everton need to figure out a way to win at home. It would also help to get chances that challenge a keeper. Yakubu up front by himself is not going to work and hopefully once Louis Saha is fully fit, David Moyes will revert to a 4-4-2. Everton’s back line is also becoming a massive liability. It hasn’t helped Moyes that he is just now getting a chance to mold this squad.

A few other observations
1) As much as I slagged Riley off at the beginning of this piece, I have to give him all the credit for rightfully booking Yakubu to start the second half for diving. There was at least 2 feet of space between him and Jamie Carragher.
2) Marouane Fellaini just looks out of place. Unfortunately because of his price, expect him to continue to start.
3) Liverpool’s defense is reminding me of Manchester United’s from last season.

Photo thanks to the Telegraph via the PA

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  1. Johnathan Starling

    September 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Sorry, I didn't see Cahill's challenge as Serious Foul Play or Violent Conduct, and I stand by that.

    As for Rob Styles penalty decision…it is Rob Styles after all. I'm pretty much numb to the decisions he makes. I don't expect him to be getting any top flight games for a couple of weeks unless it is as the fourth official after Saturday though.

  2. Richard Whittall

    September 28, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    The Cahill tackle deserved a red. Certainly not all Premier League refs would have given it, but it was well within Riley's rights to give it. The Everton supporters didn't seem too miffed about it. I have to say, the only decision worth mentioning this week was Rob Styles 'penalty' decision against Bolton…pathetic.

  3. Johnathan Starling

    September 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    As far as I'm concerned, Torres two goals were overshadowed by the stupid rediculous way Riley called the entire 90 minutes. You can look at the 3 minutes of brilliance of Torres as your overriding storyline, but to me that's not the case.

    And if Arbeloa is going to retaliate the way he did because of the way Osman or anyone for that matter marks him, then maybe the Premier League is not the league for him.

    As for Cahill, he was sent off for the tackle, not what he did after it. As for the tackle itself, the studs did not connect with Alonso. Alonso yes was a sitting duck, but a clumsy tackle does not make it a red card challenge.

    And to say Cahill disrespected ala Ashley Cole…please tell me you're joking. When at all did Cahill start getting into the referee's face and pointing to the back of his shirt? That's right he didn't. You can read above to see how I think the situation should have played out.

  4. Matt

    September 28, 2008 at 11:35 am

    That I will agree with. Torres was denied what should have been an impressive and fast hat-trick with a great well taken third goal.
    And yes, it wasnt too dissimilar to Pogatetz except he didnt catch the man as bad, but could have.

  5. Matt

    September 28, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Seriously, Torres' goals werent overshadowed by Riley at all. The match was over by the sending off anyway. Cahill is a cocky gobshite who showed disrespect ala Ashley Cole last season and rightly got sent off. He was also obviously seeking revenge for the Arbeloa thing. As for Arbeloa, he was provoked too but nobody mentions or shows the little kicks Osman (i think?) was taking before his kick.

  6. Johnathan Starling

    September 28, 2008 at 7:12 am

    To be perfectly honest with you, my read on Moyes's reaction was 'here we go again'.

    And continuing to ignore the referee is not a straight red card offense. Straight from the FIFA Rulebook for reason to be a red card, 'uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures'.

    I'll say it again, if Riley wanted to send Cahill off, he should have shown a yellow for the tackle and then a yellow for dissent.

    As for Torres being denied a perfectly okay goal…thank Riley for that one. I couldn't tell you what he blew his whistle for. I am convinced he just loves to hear that thing.

  7. stonyk

    September 28, 2008 at 3:03 am

    He was a terrible ref. Denied torres a perfectly good hat-trick. Also, I thought the takle was similar the middlesborogh one against man u. That was regarded as disgraceful cos has non tackling leg caught the guy. How is this one different?

  8. carl

    September 28, 2008 at 2:39 am

    The tackle was clumsy and miss timed, it looked worse live than in the replays. A yellow card was all the tackle was worth. I can only think the red was a culmination of the tackle and dissent. He was unlucky to be sent off. Youv'e got to blame the FA for appointing Riley in the first place to ref such a heated derby, especially after his performance last weekend.

  9. magicspacemonkey

    September 28, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Cahill made the decision easy for Riley, his tackle was late, two footed, clumsy and dangerous, Cahill's decision to continue to ignore the referee when called back was in itself a straight red card offence, Cahill ignored the ref for 30 seconds which culminated in a straight red, you can see by Moyes reaction as Cahill left the pitch he knew it was deserved. At least that decision was made correcly, shame about the disallowed goal that was perfectly ok.

  10. Johnathan Starling

    September 28, 2008 at 1:05 am

    If that was the case, what Riley should have done is shown a yellow for the tackle and then flash the yellow again for dissent before showing the red.

    If he did let his anger get in the way of a decision, all the more reason for him to be taken to task.

    Thank you for your opinion.

  11. tcguanz

    September 28, 2008 at 12:42 am

    I mustv say though Cahill sent off was a little bit unfair, the main reason his sent off was due to his ignorance when Mike Riley signalled him to come forth to explain his foul. Riley was too angry and gived a red card!

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