Tag Archives: mersey

Jamie Redknapp"s team of season so far… more Stoke players than Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal!

My team of the season so far… and why I've picked more Stoke players than from City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal!

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UPDATED:

11:47 GMT, 31 December 2012

Sportsmail's dream teams

Click below to read:

Neil Ashton's London 2012 team

Martin Keown's Arsenal/Spurs XI

Dominic King's Mersey stars of 2012

It's never easy picking these teams – and I'm sure you'll tell me where I'm going wrong!

How can I possibly leave out the exciting and entertaining Santi Cazorla or the powerful and productive Marouane Fellaini Both would get into most teams, but I would argue I have better players and I need to have some balance too.

Joe Hart is, in my opinion, the best goalkeeper in the world, but he has not been in the best form – and nor has Manchester United's David De Gea. Stoke have been defensively excellent and their goalkeeper, who may well move to a bigger club soon, has been very good. And so has their captain, Ryan Shawcross.

Santi Cazorla

Marouane Fellaini

You're out: Sorry Santi, sorry Marouane… there's just no room in my team for you two!

And here's how it breaks down, team-by-team…

Stoke – 2 players
Manchester United – 2 players
Swansea – 2 players
Manchester City – 1 player
Everton – 1 player
Chelsea – 1 player
Liverpool – 1 player
Spurs – 1 player

If you had told me at the start of
the season, I would be picking a half-term team with more Stoke players
than Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs or Arsenal, I would have asked for
the smelling salts.
Swansea too have two players, as do Manchester United.

There are no Arsenal players in my XI. No Wayne Rooney. No Sergio Aguero, or David Silva.
But my team has goals: Michu in midfield, Bale, Suarez and Robin van Persie in attacking positions and Michael Carrick to supply the passes.

I have two attacking full-backs, including the excellent Leighton Baines. Imagine Baines, Bale and Mata lining up for a free-kick.

So here's my line-up (4-3-3) …

Goalkeeper:
Asmir Begovic (Stoke)

Asmir Begovic

Defenders (right-left):
Pablo Zabaleta (Man
City)
Ashley Williams (Swansea)
Ryan Shawcross (Stoke)
Leighton Baines (Everton)

Pablo Zabaleta

Ashley Williams

Just try and get past this fab four: (clockwise from top left) Zabaleta, Williams, Baines, Shawcross

Ryan Shawcross

Leighton Baines

Midfielders:
Michael Carrick
(Man United)
Michu (Swansea)
Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Passed it: Michael Carrick

Passed it: Michael Carrick

Michu

Goal threat: Michu

Juan Mata

Spain in the neck: Juan Mata

Attackers:
Gareth Bale (Spurs)
Luis Suarez
(Liverpool)
Robin van Persie (Man United)

Gareth Bale

Luis Suarez

Fearsome: Bale, Suarez and Van Persie would form a mouthwatering forward line in my dream team

Robin van Persie

Leon Osman proved he was international class for England – Mersey Beat

After years in the shadows, Osman finally emerged to prove his international class

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UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 16 November 2012

It was a game he will remember forever more. A capacity crowd, a sparkling new stadium and a goal fit to grace any occasion.

But while the world and his wife were left speaking about Zlatan Ibrahimovic following the staggering strike on Wednesday evening, Leon Osman was able to come away from England’s contest with Sweden feeling equally content.

Of course, the Everton midfielder’s efforts were not as spectacular, or as game-changing, as the enigmatic Ibrahimovic but, in his own, understated way, Osman proved a point in Stockholm’s twinkling new Friends Arena.

Stepping up: Leon Osman eased into the England team against Sweden

Stepping up: Leon Osman eased into the England team against Sweden

More from Dominic King…

Mersey Beat: Rodgers must overcome the curse of Goodison Park
26/10/12

Mersey Beat: Once a Blue… once more a Blue Rooney's Everton career might not be over
19/10/12

Mersey Beat: Owen ready for another uncomfortable afternoon back at Liverpool
05/10/12

Mersey Beat: Everton have blown glorious opportunity to win silverware with Leeds defeat
28/09/12

Mersey Beat: The lure of the English Clasico
21/09/12

Mersey Beat: Legends like Rush, Fowler, Hunt, Liddell… but now there's no Liverpool No 9
07/09/12

Mersey Beat: Has the first major shift in power since 1937 happened on Merseyside
24/08/12

Mersey Beat: Rodgers can talk the talk… now he must deliver results at Liverpool
18/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Many had wondered why, at the age of 31, Roy Hodgson had called Osman into his squad. This is a transitional period for the national team and the emphasis is on blooding new, young players who will potentially be the mainstays for major tournaments in 2018 and 2020.

Good footballers, however, never go out of fashion, not matter how old they are. And, that, in a nutshell is precisely what Osman showed on Wednesday night. Dovetailing well with Steven Gerrard, Osman kept England’s engine room ticking over with his assured range of passing.

Those who have been watching him over the last two years will not have been surprised that he fitted in so neatly but to see him make a contribution to the best football England have played under Roy Hodgson was nonetheless so pleasing.

‘We were all genuinely made up when we heard that he had been picked,’ said Leighton Baines, Osman’s Everton colleague and a man whose performances mean that Ashley Cole has genuine competition for his left-back spot.

‘The manager (David Moyes) had pulled me and Jags (Phil Jagielka) before he got everyone together to say he’d heard there was a chance Ossie had been called up but he didn’t want to say too much in case it never worked out.

‘But when he called us around to tell us, everyone was over the moon for him. It’s brilliant and fully deserved. He has had to wait a long time for this and some people will be wondering why he has been called up but he is a footballer’s footballer.

Fitting right in: Osman did not look out of place on England duty

Fitting right in: Osman did not look out of place on England duty

‘He’s so skilful and his passing is brilliant. He has got goals in him too. He has definitely got the talent to stay in the squad and he is someone who won’t look out of place. He doesn’t get lots of headlines but footballers and people within the game appreciate the role he plays and the things he does.’

That may be true but there is a feeling that Osman would have made his England debut long before Wednesday night, had he played for a more 'fashionable' club. This is not being detrimental to Everton. Far from it.

Yet there are players who have played for southern based sides in recent years that have lacked Osman’s technical and tactical proficiencies. Put it another way, had he spent his career at Tottenham, say, he would not be one of England’s oldest debutants.

Stuck at the Toffees: Everton have enjoyed Osman's talents for years

Stuck at the Toffees: Everton have enjoyed Osman's talents for years

Encouragingly, though, there are signs from Roy Hodgson that Osman will not join the ranks of players such as Mark Walters, Kevin Richardson, Michael Ricketts and David Nugent, who wore Three Lions on their chest once but never again.

‘It’s very good for me to know that a player like Osman, someone I’ve thought a lot of for a number of years since coming back to English football, can be brought in relatively late in his career and do the job he did,’ mused Hodgson.

‘The next time I put a squad together I can’t make guarantees but one thing is for sure: I believed in him and gave him a chance and he took the chance. He’s certainly a name we will be discussing very seriously the next time we get together.’

And there, if Osman needed any, was the proof he could be comfortable being referred to as an international class footballer.

Wayne Rooney"s Everton career might not be over – Dominic King

Once a Blue… once more a Blue Rooney's Everton career might not be over

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UPDATED:

12:28 GMT, 19 October 2012

Secrets don't keep where football is concerned. Early in 2002, there were rumblings that a young player was emerging at Goodison Park who was something out of the ordinary.

Before an FA Youth Cup tie that February, the then Manchester City Academy Director Jim Cassell had expressed his confidence that his side would make it through to the semi-finals but his outlook was tempered by reports he had received back from Merseyside.

'There is a kid called Rooney who plays for Everton who has big reputation already,' Cassell said. 'Keep an eye on him.'

United front: Rooney has now spent eight successful years at Old Trafford

United front: Rooney has now spent eight successful years at Old Trafford

More from Dominic King…

Mersey Beat: Owen ready for another uncomfortable afternoon back at Liverpool
05/10/12

Mersey Beat: Everton have blown glorious opportunity to win silverware with Leeds defeat
28/09/12

Mersey Beat: The lure of the English Clasico
21/09/12

Mersey Beat: Legends like Rush, Fowler, Hunt, Liddell… but now there's no Liverpool No 9
07/09/12

Mersey Beat: Has the first major shift in power since 1937 happened on Merseyside
24/08/12

Mersey Beat: Rodgers can talk the talk… now he must deliver results at Liverpool
18/08/12

Mersey Beat: Carroll would never have imagined this after strong Euro 2012
20/07/12

Mersey Beat: All change at Liverpool but Shankly tradition must remain
18/05/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Sure enough, his prediction came true. City did indeed acquit themselves well, scoring two very good goals. The only problem for them was that Wayne Rooney was operating on a different level that evening, scoring two of his own and setting another two up as Everton won 4-2.

It was apparent then that Rooney would go on to play at the highest and within six months he had made his senior debut; 10 years ago, of course, he scored his first ever Barclays Premier League goal, bending a wonderful effort past Arsenal's David Seaman to announce his arrival.

Rooney's emergence a decade ago came at a time when Everton were emerging from a spell in the doldrums and he was seen as the shining light who would lead them into a brave new era. That moved on within two years to Manchester United still leaves many Evertonians with a bitter taste.

He could have been spoken about in the same reverential terms that are reserved for Sharp, Gray and Steven, Kendall, Ball and Harvey, as he had a talent to span the ages. Rooney was destined to play for one of Europe's superpowers but it is argued he could have stayed a Blue a little longer.

Without Rooney, Everton's development has not been checked. In the eight years since he left for Old Trafford, David Moyes and Bill Kenwright have worked in tandem to take the club forward and this year they are dark horses to push for a Champions League spot.

Magic moment: Rooney burst onto the scene with that memorable goal against Arsenal

Magic moment: Rooney burst onto the scene with that memorable goal against Arsenal

Wayne's world: Rooney celebrates victory over the Gunners

Wayne's world: Rooney celebrates victory over the Gunners

Rooney, meanwhile, has collected a haul
of medals that his talent deserve and he is still young enough to become
England's all-time leading scorer. He is a fantastic player and will
continue to play an integral role for United.

But what happens a couple of years down the line Would there ever be a time in the future when Rooney pulls on a Royal Blue shirt again He wanted to this summer but a pre-season friendly with United against Barcelona prevented him playing in Tony Hibber's testimonial.

'It says everything about Wayne that he was willing to do that,' said Hibbert at the time. 'He probably would have got a bad reception but he is not fazed about that. He loves Everton. Deep down he is still an Evertonian. I know for a fact the still goes to (Everton) games.

'He will do anything for Everton. It was a great honour for me that he wanted to play in the game. I was surprised when he asked whether he could play and if I would like him to. I jumped at the chance but obviously he has other commitments.

When asked whether finishing his career at Goodison was possible, Hibbert said: 'I think it is. If Wayne says it, then I think the club would be stupid not to welcome him back. I think there would be a few moans but for us to get a player like Wayne Rooney would be massive.'

There has been a noticeable softening
towards Rooney from some Evertonians in recent years and his every
touch when he returns to Goodison does not generate the same growling as
it did in the seasons that followed his departure. He is also far more
diplomatic when celebrating United goals.

Never say never: Rooney's links with the blue half of Liverpool run deep - a bedroom window at his old house was adorned with Toffees memorabilia

Never say never: Rooney's links with the blue half of Liverpool run deep – a bedroom window at his old house was adorned with Toffees memorabilia

Never say never: Rooney's links with the blue half of Liverpool run deep - a bedroom window at his old house was adorned with Toffees memorabilia

So
here is the question: could there ever be a reunion It will not happen
any time soon but, if the prospect were to arise in the future, it is
something both parties would certainly explore.

To adapt the line from that famous t-shirt: Once a Blue… once more a Blue

Charlie Adam to be sold to Stoke, Everton, Fulham for 5m

Liverpool welcome bidding war between Fulham, Everton and Stoke for Adam

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UPDATED:

08:46 GMT, 28 August 2012

Liverpool are prepared to let Charlie Adam leave the club for as little as 5million, opening the door for a sensational switch across the Mersey.

Stoke and Fulham have already lodged their interest in the Scotland international, meaning a three-way fight with Everton for the out-of-favour midfielder.

Bidding war: Fulham, Everton and Stoke are all keen to sign Charlie Adam

Bidding war: Fulham, Everton and Stoke are all keen to sign Charlie Adam

Adam only moved to Anfield a year ago following Blackpool's relegation from the Premier League. Despite an impressive start, the 26-year-old's form and fitness dropped markedly and he his surplus to requirements under Brendan Rodgers.

Adam missed the weekend draw with Manchester City as the club and his agents mulled over the propositions.

One of those comes from Goodison Park where David Moyes – with money to spend after Jack Rodwell's sale to Manchester City – is back in for a player he first missed out on before the Scot chose Anfield.

In London, Fulham would welcome the inclusion of Adam in any deal for Clint Dempsey, but insist on the his value not been less than the 5m asking price.

Liverpool sell Alberto Aquilani to Fiorentina

Aquilani's Mersey hell finally over as Liverpool agree deal with Fiorentina for Kop flop

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UPDATED:

12:10 GMT, 3 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle says the Serie A club has signed Alberto Aquilani from Liverpool.

The Italy international failed to settle on Merseyside after moving there from Roma in 2009 fora fee of 20million.

Thanks for nothing: After three miserable years, Alberto Aquilani has left Liverpool

Thanks for nothing: After three miserable years, Alberto Aquilani has left Liverpool

Aquilani had two loan spells away from the club, first at Juventus and then last season at AC Milan.

The 28-year-old has, though, spent the pre-season with Liverpool, but has flown back early from the club's tour of North America to complete his move to La Viola.

Also in Italy, newly-promoted Sampdoria will start its first season back in Serie A with a one-point penalty for match-fixing after its plea bargain was accepted on Friday.

Serie B club Bari has been deducted five points and fined 68,000. Atalanta defender Andrea Masiello has been banned for 26 months for offences during his time at Bari.

Former teammates Alessandro Parisi, who is now with Torino, and Marco Rossi, now at Cesena, have been suspended for 24 months and 20 months, respectively.

More to follow….

Andy Carroll would not have imagined leaving Liverpool – Mersey Beat

Carroll would never have imagined this after strong Euros

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UPDATED:

14:26 GMT, 20 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

It should be so different. After finishing last season with a surge, then acquitting himself well at Euro 2012, Andy Carroll would have envisaged reporting back for pre-season training with a spring in his step and a glint in his eye.

Instead, Carroll will cross the Atlantic this weekend harbouring insecurities and a degree of frustration that the writing appears to be on the wall for his time on Merseyside: any club willing to meet Liverpool’s 20million valuation will be able to buy the England striker.

Unforeseen: Andy Carroll returns to a bleak Liverpool future

Unforeseen: Andy Carroll returns to a bleak Liverpool future

More from Dominic King…

Mersey Beat: All change at Liverpool but Shankly tradition must remain
18/05/12

Mersey Beat: Andy Carroll from zero to hero – times have changed for Liverpool No 9
11/05/12

Mersey Beat: Why Aquilani's Anfield return would not be the worst outcome for Liverpool
27/04/12

Mersey Beat: The return of Roy Hodgson – but what reception can he expect
20/04/12

Mersey Beat: The knives are out, but King Kenny must be afforded more time at Liverpool
30/03/12

Mersey Beat: Rodwell needs a slice of luck to realise his undoubted potential… and it must happen soon
23/03/12

Meresy Beat: Liverpool must build on derby delight to bring REAL glory nights back to Anfield
16/03/12

Mersey Beat: As Moyes marks 10 years in the job, Everton must cherish his every extra moment in charge
09/03/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Inevitably, the indications that
Liverpool are ready to let Carroll go just 19 months, 56 appearances and
11 goals after his 35million move from Newcastle has caused a huge
stir around the red half of the city and the majority believe he at
least deserves an opportunity to shine for Brendan Rodgers.

Rodgers, who has made a huge impression on the Liverpool players he has worked with during his first few weeks at the helm, has a vision in mind for how he wants his side to play, rat-a-tat-tat passing and pressing to torment the opposition.

From the signings he has made and is attempting to make, it is clear to see who will slot into which holes in his preferred 4-3-3 formation. The engine room should contain Steven Gerrard, Lucas and one other from a group including, among others, Joe Cole, Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam.

Leading the attack will be Luis Suarez and he will be flanked by Fabio Borini and Stewart Downing. Clint Dempsey would obviously feature if Liverpool’s attempts to pluck him from Fulham are successful, while Craig Bellamy will also feature if remains at Anfield.

Where, then, would Carroll fit in If he is only going to figure sporadically, then Rodgers is being fair to the player. If he can’t promise him regular football – which Carroll needs to be at his best – then honesty is the best policy and Liverpool have to protect their investment.

Calling the shots: Brendan Rodgers does not need the striker

Calling the shots: Brendan Rodgers does not need the striker

The thing is, though, Carroll has done
more than hint that he is ready to make a difference in a Red shirt and
who is to say he couldn’t fit into a front three anyway Would it not be
possible for him to play centrally with Suarez, who loves cutting in
off the flanks, and Borini peeling off him

It is sometimes easy to forget that Carroll is only 23 and if Liverpool do offload him, to Newcastle, West Ham or Aston Villa, they would be ushering out the door a player who has yet to fulfil his potential. Some would say it is brave. Others would label it a gamble.

Liverpool’s recent history is littered with big money forwards who have flopped – Robbie Keane, El Hadji Diouf, Djbiril Cisse and Ryan Babel underwhelmed at a grand total of 55million – but Carroll, for all the difficulties he endured, is not someone The Kop want to give up on.

‘I’ve spoken openly and honestly with Andy in terms of where he is at, but I have done the same with all of the players – I have spoken to all of them,’ said Rodgers, who will be in the dugout for the first time on Saturday as Liverpool manager against FC Toronto.

Options: Carroll could work nicely in a front three

Options: Carroll could work nicely in a front three

‘It gets highlighted more with Andy because he is a young player. Maybe others may not see him fitting in with me, but for me he is an important part of the group. There is talk of him going on loan, but there is absolutely no way I would be looking to loan a player like that.

‘But his condition will be the same as every player. If an offer comes in for any player at the club we would either look at it – or dismiss it – and Andy’s no different to that.’

Listening to the impressive Rodgers speak, he is adamant that only a few tweaks are needed to make Liverpool competitive again in the future. Whether that future contains Andy Carroll remains to be seen.

Steven Gerrard happy to be England captain

Gerrard happy to lead England at last after being overlooked for captain's role in past

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 25 May 2012

Steven Gerrard will skipper England at Euro 2012 just three months after fearing he would never lead his country again after being overlooked for the role by caretaker boss Stuart Pearce.

Pearce preferred to give the armband to Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker rather than the far more experienced Gerrard for the friendly international with Holland at Wembley.

Leading role: Roy Hodgson (left) trusts Steven Gerrard (right) with the captaincy

Leading role: Roy Hodgson (left) trusts Steven Gerrard (right) with the captaincy

But the arrival as new England head coach of Gerrard's former Liverpool boss, Roy Hodgson, has seen him made permanent captain for the first time and he will the side against Norway on Saturday.

Gerrard said: 'I was disappointed not to skipper against Holland. Stuart Pearce said I wasn't going to be captain. I said: “Okay”, but I was disappointed.

'It's not easy when you're told you're not going to be captain.

'He just said he wanted to go with someone else, Scott Parker. Scott's a great player who's done a great job, so I accepted him and the first thing I did was go to him and congratulate him.

'But I thought that was it with the captaincy after that. At the time, I thought maybe Stuart Pearce might be the manager at the Euros so I wouldn't be the captain.

'That's why it was so nice and I enjoyed the phone call I got off Roy Hodgson.'

Gerrard has often been overlooked for the top job – usually at the expense of Rio Ferdinand or John Terry.

Mersey beat: Hodgson speaks with Liverpool players Andy Carroll and Gerrard

Mersey beat: Hodgson speaks with Liverpool players Andy Carroll and Gerrard

He stood in at the disappointing World Cup in 2010, only to relinquish power afterwards.

That is why this feels extra special to him.

He added: 'It feels like the first time I've been official captain. All the other times, I've known the armband was going to go back, either after the tournament or individual games.

'(Former manager) Fabio Capello decided to go with other people – Rio and JT – which was fine because they're fantastic captains.

'Fabio always had belief in me as a player but it was quite clear he didn't have total belief for me to be the official captain.

Smiles better: Gerrard thrilled to get the armband back

Smiles better: Gerrard thrilled to get the armband back

'This manager has come in and done that. It's very nice and good for my confidence and belief as well.'

Gerrard is adamant he will relish the extra responsibility of being Hodgson's on-the-field lieutenant.

He said: 'You've got to relish it. I'm sitting here as England captain. It's fantastic. It's something I've always dreamed of.

'When the manager phoned me and told me I was over the moon. I have to relish it and not take it as a pressure.

'I'm an experienced player, I've been in this set-up for a long time, so I feel as if I'm big enough to handle this responsibility.'

Gerrard has seldom operated in his preferred attacking role behind the strikers with England, but refuses to use that as an excuse for not always being at his best.

He said: 'I'm not going to make excuses for some of the poor performances in an England shirt.

'Every time I've been picked, I've had the chance to go out and perform well.

Role reversal: Scott Parker (left) takes instruction from Gerrard

Role reversal: Scott Parker (left) takes instruction from Gerrard

'It's no manager's fault or where I've been asked to play. You can't use that as an excuse. That's my fault. But it's difficult to perform well at this level.

'So, in an ideal situation, you want the manager to put you where you're most comfortable and where you can impact the game to the best of your ability.'

Gerrard knows England have seldom performed to their best in tournaments. But he has urged England to take encouragement from the likes of Liverpool in 2005 and Chelsea last weekend in achieving success – in their instance in the Champions League – when not expected.

He said: 'We've got a responsibility to improve our level of performance.

'If we perform like we did in South Africa, we're going home early.

'If we want to do well here, and achieve what Liverpool did in 2005 and Chelsea this year, we have to perform better but also do what those sides did well to get to the finals.

'It goes to show in these tournaments, when you know you're not the favourites and there are other top sides about, you need to battle hard and need to go where it hurts to get the big prizes.

'If you think you're going to turn up in these tournaments and come back successful, it doesn't happen like that.

'I don't think I've ever won a big trophy and it's all been pretty and nice even against sides where we've been massive favourites.'

Wolves 0 Everton 0: Fantasy world cheers Wanderers

Wolves 0 Everton 0: Fantasy world cheers Wanderers in dead rubber

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UPDATED:

20:19 GMT, 6 May 2012

Ignore the scoreline — actually Wolves won 2-0, the day after Everton had lifted the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday. That, according to both sets of fans, was the alternative version of a dull afternoon at Molineux.

Early in the second half the home fans on the South Bank got tired of waiting for something to end their dismal home run and decided to make their own entertainment.

‘Let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal,’ they sang before leaping together in joy. And a couple of minutes later they did it again, before bursting into song: ‘We’re winning two-nil.’

Good luck: Everton's Jelavic gives Jagielka a pat before kick-off

Good luck: Everton's Jelavic gives Jagielka a pat before kick-off

MATCH FACTS

WOLVES (4-4-2): De Vries 6; Zubar 5, Stearman 6, Berra 6 (Elokobi 54min, 5), Ward 6; Kightly 5 (Forde 71), Edwards 6, Henry 6, Hunt 5; Doyle 5, Fletcher 5 (Ebanks-Blake 62, 5).

Subs not used: Ikeme, Johnson, Milijas, Jonsson.

EVERTON (4-5-1): Howard 6; Hibbert 7, Jagielka 7, Heitinga 6, Distin 6; McFadden 5 (Stracqualursi 60, 5), Osman 5, Cahill 6 (Gueye 68, 6), Fellaini 7, Pienaar 7; Jelavic 6.

Subs not used: Mucha, Barkley, Coleman, Duffy, Baxter.

Man of the match: Marouane Fellaini.

Referee: Lee Mason 7.

Attendance: 25,466

Two Everton fans later ran on the
pitch to start a lap of honour with a shiny silver paper cut-out of the
trophy that their Mersey rivals Liverpool had failed to collect the day
before. It was so much more lively than the real world.

Interim Wolves boss Terry Connor said: ‘I heard the fans singing for 2-0. I’m glad they enjoyed themselves.’

After the match, however, Wolves
chairman Steve Morgan was signing autographs and chatting with fans when
one supporter came up and insulted him. There was an exchange of views
before Morgan drove off in his car.

The visitors had the better
of the chances and twice had the ball in the back of the net, but
Nikica Jelavic and Denis Stracqualursi were both denied by offside
flags.

Despite the scoreline, it was an open
game with chances for both sides, and arguably the best of the
first-half opportunities came in only the fifth minute when Marouane
Fellaini's flicked header landed at the feet of Tim Cahill 10 yards out
but he shot straight at Dorus De Vries.

Jelavic had scored six goals in his
last four league games and he had his first sight of goal in the 14th
minute when he was found by Phil Jagielka's long diagonal pass, but
Richard Stearman stayed with the striker and did very well to block his
shot.

Fall guy: Everton's Marouane Fellaini (centre) is tackled by Christophe Berra

Fall guy: Everton's Marouane Fellaini (centre) is tackled by Christophe Berra

Kevin Doyle and James McFadden both
snatched at chances while Leon Osman wanted a penalty when he went down
under a challenge from Michael Kightly, but referee Lee Mason was
unmoved.

It would have been a very memorable
day for Tony Hibbert had he netted his first goal for Everton after more
than 300 games, and his fierce volley would certainly have tested De
Vries had Stephen Ward not got his body in the way.

Wolves had their best opening in the
26th minute when Stephen Hunt's free-kick was header just over by
Christophe Berra, but Everton, and Steven Pienaar in particular, were
starting to take a grip on the game.

In the thick of the action: Fellaini under pressure from Wolves' Stephan Ward (left)

Falling for it: Fellaini fells Berra

Centre of attention: Fellaini under pressure from Wolves' Stephan Ward (left) and felling Berra (right)

The midfielder might have done better
than fire over when well placed, while his clever ball found Jelavic
but he was flagged offside as he shot past De Vries in what looked a
marginal decision.

The hosts were living dangerously,
and Ronald Zubar would have been very grateful to see his header from
Hibbert's cross drop just past the post, while at the other end an
isolated Steven Fletcher blazed over the bar.

Wolves threatened right at the start
of the second half as Hunt and Fletcher combined to play in Stearman on
the left of the area but the ball had just too much pace on it and the
defender could not control his cutback.

Frustrated: Everton manager David Moyes saw his side have plenty of possession but goals were hard to come by

Frustrated: Everton manager David Moyes saw his side have plenty of possession but goals were hard to come by

Hibbert had been a real thorn in
Wolves' side down the right and another pinpoint cross should really
have been buried by Fellaini instead of placed over the bar.

De Vries was then forced into his
first real save of the match from a Jelavic free-kick 25 yards out, the
keeper plunging to his left.

Up for the cup: An Everton sends a message to Liverpool. At least they got to Wembley...

Up for the cup: An Everton sends a message to Liverpool. At least they got to Wembley…

Boss David Moyes sent on
Stracqualursi for McFadden and he was into the action immediately with a
shot that was well blocked by Ward, while Sylvan Ebanks-Blake replaced
Fletcher for Wolves.

The Scot, who is likely to be a
target for Premier League clubs in the summer, received a very warm
reception from the home fans.

Wide open: Nikica Jelavic shows his frustration as another chance goes begging

Wide open: Nikica Jelavic shows his frustration as another chance goes begging

There was a real lack of intensity
about the game but a burst from Karl Henry provided a shooting
opportunity for Kightly, who pulled his effort well wide.

Jelavic had been pretty quiet but he
certainly should have tested De Vries in the 72nd minute when he beat
the defence to a long ball only to pull his shot wide of the far post.

Gone: Wolves' David Edwards escapes Leon Osman

Gone: Wolves' David Edwards escapes Leon Osman

The visitors had the ball in the net
for a second time moments later as Jelavic's cross was turned in by
Stracqualursi at the far post but again it was ruled out for offside,
although it was Fellaini, who had also lunged for the ball, who was the
culprit.

Everton continued to press but the Wolves defence held firm to earn their first home point since December.

Heading for a draw: Ronald Zubar (right) is challenged by Everton's Osman

Heading for a draw: Ronald Zubar (right) is challenged by Everton's Osman

Kenny Dalglish: Fitting that Liverpool and Everton commemorate Hillsborough

Dalglish ready for emotional afternoon as Mersey rivals mark Hillsborough anniversary at Wembley

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UPDATED:

09:41 GMT, 13 April 2012

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes it is fitting fans from both Merseyside clubs will come together in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The two sides have not faced each other at Wembley since the 1989 final, which took place less than two months after the tragedy which claimed the lives of 96 people on April 15.

Players of both teams will wear black armbands, floral tributes will be laid by Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville and there will be a period of silence prior to kick-off to commemorate the occasion.

In memory: Liverpool players remembered Hillsborough last weekend

In memory: Liverpool players remembered Hillsborough last weekend

Dalglish believes it is almost symbolic the two clubs should meet again so respects can be paid.

'It’s coincidental that it’s Liverpool and Everton at Wembley again because that was the final that year (1989),' said the Reds boss.

'It’s going to be very emotive for everybody. The Evertonians were affected by Hillsborough as well as the Liverpool fans, with family members who never came home.

'It will be poignant and I’m sure both sets of fans will grace the minute’s silence with the dignity they’ve shown since 1989.

Emotional: Kenny Dalglish believes the semi-final is a fitting event for a tribute

Emotional: Kenny Dalglish believes the semi-final is a fitting event for a tribute

'The support the Liverpool people have had from Evertonians and vice-versa has been magnificent, and they’re a credit to the city with the way they’ve handled themselves in a dignified manner, and I’m sure that’ll continue.

'Every time both clubs have met in London both sets of fans have been an absolute credit to the city and I am sure Saturday will be another occasion when they represent the city of Liverpool and their respective clubs very proudly.'

While remembering the Hillsborough victims will be paramount prior to kick-off, once the whistle goes the two near-neighbours will go into fierce battle for a place in the final next month.

Winning ways: Andy Carroll scored Liverpool's winner against Blackburn Rovers

Winning ways: Andy Carroll scored Liverpool's winner against Blackburn Rovers

'The fact it is a semi-final is big enough in itself,' said Dalglish.

'The reward is big enough, although the opponents could have been made easier for us if we had got someone other than our city rivals.

'It is a huge game. It will be what happens on the day, the run-up to any game is irrelevant.

'We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, we know how difficult it is going to be and know they will be as equally determined as we are to win.'

Jack Rodwell needs luck to realise potential – Dominic King

Rodwell needs a slice of luck to realise his undoubted potential… and it must happen soon

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 23 March 2012

Jack Rodwell had just helped England’s Under 21s get their qualification campaign for Euro 2013 off to the best possible start when talk turned to the future.

Having oozed class in a thumping 6-0 win for Stuart Pearce’s side at Vicarage Road over Azerbaijan, the Everton midfielder immediately realigned his sights on domestic affairs and made a bold prediction.

‘This is the season for me,’ he declared. ‘Last season was frustrating. I had a lot of injuries and couldn’t really get a pattern of football going. I wasn’t really fit. But hopefully that won’t happen this season and I can stay fit and I can get I can get back-to-back games.

Tough times: Jack Rodwell has endured a frustrating season with Everton

Tough times: Jack Rodwell has endured a frustrating season with Everton

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‘I had a few weeks off to reflect on the season, put it behind me and move on. The tournament (European Championships) in the summer didn’t go how I expected they would go, for us as a team and for me personally. I’m ready now. I feel fit, I feel sharp and focused.’

Rodwell’s name has been one of the most hotly debated on Merseyside in recent years and he knew the time had arrived for him to deliver. After all, Everton had just sold Mikel Arteta to Arsenal for 10million and someone was needed to take over the Spaniard’s mantle.

Initially everything went to plan. Rodwell made 10 consecutive starts after returning from the September international break and appeared to be growing into his role. Not even a scandalously received red card in the Merseyside derby – which was hastily rescinded – checked his momentum.

All over the country, people started to
take notice. Fabio Capello was so impressed that he awarded Rodwell his
first two England senior caps in the November friendlies against Sweden
and Spain. Scouts from Chelsea, meanwhile, watched intently, as they
plotted a big money January move.

Then, though, the curse that had
blighted Rodwell returned. He broke a rib in the game against Sweden,
recovered briefly to play in a 1-0 defeat against Stoke at Goodison Park
before then the serious problems took over.

Potential: Rodwell played in England's win over Spain at Wembley last year

Potential: Rodwell played in England's win over Spain at Wembley last year

Rodwell has sustained four separate hamstring injuries in the last four months, a sequence that has only allowed him to play in four further Barclays Premier League games, and once again he is being spoken of in terms unfulfilled potential.

So maddening. This 21-year-old is almost the identikit footballer for the modern age. He is tall, built like a wall, quick and strong. He can pass well, is athletic and possesses a withering shot. He should be moving impressively through the gears.

For the moment, though, questions are being asked about whether that potential will be turned into something substantial, as Evertonians are waiting to see him grab a game by the scruff of the neck and completely dominate.

Olympic duty Rodwell models the kit

Olympic duty Rodwell models the kit

Yet he failed to sparkle in the
Merseyside derby, then missed the FA Cup quarter-final with Sunderland
and the Barclays Premier League game against Arsenal in midweek.
Mystified and concerned, Everton have been running extensive tests to
get to the root of the problem.

‘He seems quite strong (mentally) and he will overcome this,’ said Everton assistant manager Steve Round earlier this week. ‘It is just a case of easing him off at the minute and easing him back.

‘Once he gets into the team and gets (another) run of games, he will improve. Jack is at the stage where he needs to be a regular. This has set him back a little bit but I have got confidence he is going to be a top player.’

As do many others at Goodison Park. Everton chairman Bill Kenwright spoke with Rodwell at length last summer to pick him up after the disappointment he suffered in Denmark – his form dipped as England flopped – while Phil Neville has always been on hand to offer advice.

Listen to David Moyes speak about him and he will tell you Rodwell is a central figure in the group of young English players – such as Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck, Kyle Walker and Daniel Sturridge – currently emerging and it is still not out of the question that he could go to Euro 2012.

How, though, he could do with that change in fortune. Rodwell has two seasons ruined by injury. The time has come for him to be spoken of for all the right reasons.