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Poor finishing, bad marking, but no need to panic.


By Chris Kirwan
August 30 2003

The Blues paid the price for poor finishing and loose marking as Liverpool took 3 points from the Goodison derby. Just like last season the Blues failed to perform in the derby, and while they were not outclassed, they were out-scored 3-0.

Rooney and Radzinski had a couple of chances each, and Ferguson hit the bar with a cracking free-kick. Liverpool had better luck with Owen taking his couple of chances with ease, and Kewell looking a lot more dangerous when playing on the left.

Moyes stated after the game: “We lost our discipline at times. At this level, you must not concede poor goals, particularly the two in the second half, and when you get your chances you have to be clinical at this level.

"It's a recipe for disaster if you give them away at one end and fail to score at the other.''

The loss will no doubt trigger plenty of criticism for the lack of new signings by the club, but the only way to go forward is to maintain the aim of signing substantially better players than those presently on the club’s books. Holding out for Davis is essential.

While the likes of Sinclair, Reyna, and Holland are all good players who could have added to Moyes’ side they are not players around which Moyes can build a side. Spending for the sake of spending managed to bring Carsley and Linderoth into the club for a combined fee of £4.5m.

The current Everton midfield has it’s limitations, but it also has its qualities. As the midfield showed against Fulham they are good enough to pick up points against the teams from the top five down. The problem wasn’t only the quality of the players out on the pitch, it was their underperformance.

Moyes’ best quality is that he gets the best out of ‘average’ players, but a side build on this premise will always be faced with the odd struggle when their players under perform. Against the lesser sides the cracks can be papered over, but against the divisions better teams they become apparent.

While Simonsen made a couple of fine saves he made a huge error for the third goal, and didn’t exude confidence. Wright has plenty of critics, but he is under no pressure from the other keepers in the squad. Moyes may have to follow up his interest in Nigel Martyn to pressurise Wright for the keeper’s jersey. Iain Turner is highly rated by Chris Woods, so perhaps signing a veteran would provide the opportunity to send out the young Scot to the lower leagues to pick up some valuable experience.

Unsworth also had a poor game. Gary Naysmith may deserve the chance to play in the leftback position that he craves. The Scottish international has made a good start to the season, and was one of the better performers today. He crunched Diouf with a cracking foul, and superbly denied Michael Owen the chance to score a hat-trick. Another option would be Pistone shifting flanks with Hibbert returning.

It’s frustrating that, like last season, the Blues saved a poor performance for the home game with Liverpool. But the Blues just need to keep the picking up points against the teams in the middle and bottom thirds of the league. The only way that the Blues can get to the stage where they are competing more fiercely with the clubs who are around the European spots week in week out is if Moyes sticks to the policy of signing top quality players. Middlesbrough and Tottenham indicate that signing plenty of ‘not bad’ players doesn’t necessarily push you above the mediocre.

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