Unfortunately for the complete success of the great match at Goodison Park, the weather broke down about an hour before the time appointed for the kick off, and though there was a satisfactory gate, the attendance would have been considerably augmented had the conditions been more enticing. Those who did attend witnessed almost one-sided game, in which one team displayed form worthy of the championship, whilst the other never got above the dull level of mediocrity. Before entering upon a more detailed criticism of the rout of the Anfield eleven, it is only fair to the latter to extend some sympathy towards them in being deprived of the services of Perkins for this trying encounter. Just at present the authorities at Anfield can only boast one reliable custodian, and though Marshall, who hails from a junior club at Garston, has done good services with the reserves team since he joined their ranks a few weeks ago, still, he was altogether unfit to face such an ordeal, and to enter First League Football from a comparatively unknown region, vis an Everton-Liverpool game, was to tax his-or any other player's for that matter-abilities to the highest degree of tension. It was another instance of the wretched luck that has dogged the steps of the Livverpool eleven this season, and there can be no doubt that the absence of the clever keeper from the accustomed post exerted a detrimental effect upon the rest of the side. The backs knew they had an untried man behind them, and one who was out of touch with their methods of defence - what wonder therefore, that, with this extra responsibility thrown upon them, they should have become over anxious for their side's welfare, with a consequent diminution in their customary efficiency. This matter should not be forgotten in considering the nonsuccess, which attended the efforts of the Liverpool players throughout the game. Placing the doings of the respective teams in juxtaposition, some odious comparisons are bound to be noticed, and whereas one can apportion nothing but praise to the victors, it is impossible to concede to the vanquished any meed of reward. Liverpool were not simply beaten; they were routed, completely over-played, and over whelmed by the superior methods of their rivals. On one side was noticed a well marked plan of campaign, evidently thoroughly understood by each Everton player; the method of attack was carried out on excellently designed principles with the half back line as the base of every movement. Lying well on to the opposing backs, Young was the pivot on which most incursions devolved, and the ball was deftly lodged with him from right and left halves and backs. Thence the whole attacking machinery was set in motion and with wide sweeping movements the Everton forward line bore down with merciless persistency on the Liverpool defence, like wolves on a fold. The Everton centre fairly surpassed himself for not only was his footwork tricky, thus enabling him to baffle Raisbeck with repeated frequency, but he placed to the wings most judiciously, and fulfilled his part in the game with consummate skill. His display was far ahead of anything seen from him since he came into the team, and must have opened the eyes of many. Indeed the Everton front rank altogether performed splendidly, their go-head methods, their dash and combination, and their deadliness near goal combining to make them a terror any set of defenders.
But what of the Liverpool forwards. Is it any use continuing to play the sort of game that they appear to be despite in-finessing with the ball, pottering about as if they were in a maze, knowing not which road to take, and at the finish, when they do perchance arrive near goal, shooting as if they were afraid of damaging the goal posts? The short passing game was absolutely useless on Saturday, with the ground in such a state; but there was evidently no recognised method of a advance among the forwards; the ball was touched hither and thither in a haphazard fashion, and a great deal seemed to be left to providence. It may be that Raybould, who received a nasty injury to his knee, and Walker whose leg again gave way affected the play of the remainder, owing to their misfortunes; but apart from this; the fact remains that the Everton forwards always looked like scoring when they got possession; but the Anfield front rank never conveyed the impression that they would ever trouble Kitchen. At half back, Everton were seen at their best; for not a single weakness was noticeable in this line during the whole course of the game. The trio were most aggressive in their tactics, not only breaking up with ease the Liverpool forward movements, but being beautiful in touch with their own quintette, whom say they most assiduously and judiciously kept ever on the advance. This was a granite wall of defence to the visitors and whereas Abbott completely swamped Robertson and McGuigan. Booth attended to right and left with equal efficiency, and Wolstenholme to the delight of the home section of the crowd, shadowed Cox most persistency, and what is more, kept going to the final blowing of the whistle. Everton fairly excelled themselves in this department, and better half-back work could not be desired. Further behind, Balmer played a capital game, and Sharp, after a most inauspicious quarter of an hour at the start steadied down and shaped remarkably well. His timing of the ball, and well-judged returns were alike worthy of praise, and he appeared to be under some hypnotic influence with Abbott, for the pair worked together with almost mechanical accuracy.
Returning now to the Anfield defence, one has yet to continue the deprecatory tone, which has been adopted in speaking of the forward division. Raisbeck who was once the life of this line, was altogether off colour; his recent indisposition, no doubt, was the cause to a large extent, and it was a painful surprise to many to see him out manoveured first Settle and then by Young with such ease. Even the fine headwork was wanting, and Anfielders will rejoice when the popular skipper is himself again, both in health and ability on the field. Fleming worked like a Trojan, but he has a bad habit of completing his otherwise dashing work by passing straight to the opponent. The full backs kicked very well, and under the depressing conditions, which prevailed, came out of the ordeal creditably. In one sense, Marshall could not be blamed for the big debit account against him, but there is this difference between the class custodian and the novice the former anticipates a shot and is in the position for receiving when the ball does come goalwards, thereby saving many a well meant effort from the invaders; the less experienced player only makes a start for the ball when it is too late to prevent it reaching the net. The absence of Perkins, therefore was a tremendous blow to the Liverpool possibilities of success and it is to be hoped this player will be ready for the Cup-tie a fortnight hence. On Saturday's form, Everton appear to posses a rare chance of securing final honours in the League journey for the team are keen on the accomplishment of this desirable object, and Sunderland have to come to Goodison Park yet.
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