By Anthony Stanley (TTT Subscriber Dannyluke10).
The clichéd draw that felt like a defeat, but strangely, I’m not too despondent. In fact, I’m encouraged.
To delve into another cliché, it was only ever going to be a strike of a lifetime that could rescue a point for the Blues. We looked completely in control – particularly after scoring – and Everton, to me, appeared strangely lacking in urgency.
Before that missile from Jagielka, I was writing the start of this article in my head. It felt like a turning point; that we had weathered the storm of indifferent early season form and essentially gotten away with it. The Chelsea express train may be disappearing into the distance but a victory here, considering the tricky fixtures and bedding in issues we have had to negotiate thus far would have left us nicely placed for a top four battle. With Sturridge due back – and his absence has shown how absolutely crucial he is to the team – we have to fancy our chances of picking up maximum points in our next few games which look, on paper, to be eminently winnable.
Having said all that though, the same was claimed of Aston Villa.
But there are positive signs that we’re starting to gel and that the new signings are integrating into the team well. The collective pressing that has been absent from much of our play this season was much in evidence today; okay, it hasn’t reached the levels of last year but intermittently there was some excellent hunting down in packs. Adam Lallana in particular impressed in this regard and his general work rate was a highlight. In fact, he was probably our best player and it was obvious to me – based on this display – why Rodgers had made him his number one target during the summer. He really can offer a lot to this team as he played a fairly advanced role and asked some serious questions of the Everton rearguard. It’s palpably clear that the Liverpool fans are really starting to take to him; work rate, when allied with ferocious ability, can make a hero out of a player to Kopites and I genuinely think we’re going to get a highly productive season out of the former Southampton man. His driving run at the Everton defence, practically straight from kick off, set the tone and won his team a dangerous free kick (and by rights, it should have been the first nail in the coffin of Gareth Barry receiving his marching orders).
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