Beck in Business
“I won’t blunder like Alisson.”
What a win. And what a way to do it. Literally, the best way. Give me that over a 6-0 thumping any day. That was Everton’s best performance in a derby at Anfield I have ever seen and yet the result was the same as it ever was.
I was convinced we would win the game up until about the 70th minute when I began to get frustrated with these Reds as I contemplated the possibility of a draw. It was a strange game with a crazy end but nevertheless there was a clear man of the match for me. The opposing number to Little Arms himself. He must have been watching that goal thinking back to Pickford’s comments in late August, still the big man went over to embrace him at the final whistle. Nice, that. Perhaps those comments cemented in his mind that he is an elite goalkeeper, there to be shot at, and he appreciated Pickford’s bravery in taking a swing.
Onto his performance today then and he very much acted like an elite goalkeeper. It seems to me his presence at this club is growing every game as his saves become more and more important. The first against Gomes was incredible. The way he spread himself reminded me of Manuel Neuer in the peak of his powers. It still needed sharp reactions from our Gomez to prevent the goal which is fitting perhaps. As our back line is very much a combination of keeper and centre backs, more so than what I see in other teams and have seen in our own side in the past. This is evident in the most impressive aspect of our defensive displays this season, our high line at set pieces and crosses. The defence back the keeper’s ability to come and clear and vice versa. They showed this again today as they caught Mina offside for Everton’s first chance of the game. Despite it not being given, this was an excellent example of our back line (including goalkeeper) acting as an impeccably organised unit.
I also have to mention the save denying Walcott and winning the goal kick in the process. That was brilliant goalkeeping. Walcott is no slouch and the pass from Sigurdsson was magnificent and seemingly came from nowhere. The reactions to get out to prevent the shot from such a quick and unexpected move that was also against the run of the play should not go unnoticed. I feel that if he gets out slower and saves Walcott’s shot and Everton win a corner, he gets much more praise i.e the T-Rex versus Shaqiri at the other end.
To finish up, the Reds have got a really top keeper on their hands, the importance of which was shown today as lacking in this area was the Ev’s undoing in the end. Liverpool are on course for conceding only 13 goals in the league this season which would be a record in the Premier League era beating 15 held by Chelsea in 2004/05. While we’ve still got a long way to go to achieve this feat, this stat shows how impressive Alisson and the boys have been so far at that end of the pitch.
A midweek fixture at Burnley next for the league’s best defence. May we go there in high spirits following today’s events.
Merry Christmas, Everton.