New Liverpool era begins with 2-0 loss at Everton

Liverpool rid itself of unpopular owners but not relegation form

as local rival Everton inflicted a 2-0 loss on the side in front of

new owner John Henry on Sunday.

Goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta either side of the break

left Liverpool off the bottom of the Premier League standings only

on goal difference after eight matches.

Liverpool looked devoid of guile and attacking threat at

Goodison Park, quickly banishing hopes that ousting Tom Hicks and

George Gillett Jr. in favor of the owners of baseball’s Boston Red

Sox would solve their troubles.

”It’s unfortunate for such a good game of football that

everything revolves around the fact Liverpool didn’t win it – this

was always going to be a difficult game to win,” Liverpool manager

Roy Hodgson said. ”This would have been the ideal opportunity to

really turn things around on the back of the positive entry of the

new owners. To win the game would have been utopia.

”There’s no point attempting to analyze dreams. We had to play

a game of football.”

While Liverpool’s legal team won a week of court battles to oust

the previous owners, the players couldn’t replicate their success

on the pitch.

And the extent of Liverpool’s worst start for more than 50 years

was all too apparent to the watching Henry and New England Sports

Ventures chairman Tom Werner.

They saw a side contained inside its own half from the outset as

Everton confidently piled on the pressure.

The home side squandered the best of its early chances when Phil

Jagielka shot over after Arteta’s free kick came off the wall.

”We suffered at the hand of an early onslaught, which you

invariably do here at Goodison,” Hodgson said.

Managing his first Merseyside derby was becoming an

uncomfortable experience for manager Roy Hodgson as he berated

sloppy Liverpool play from the sidelines. Werner had earlier said

that Hodgson’s job was safe.

It took almost 25 minutes for Liverpool to get sight of goal,

with struggling striker Fernando Torres flicking in a header that

was turned over by United States goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Henry had his head in his hands and the joy from completing the

takeover on Friday was fast diminishing when in the 34th minute

Cahill broke the deadlock.

Pepe Reina’s low diving save had thwarted a Yakubu Ayegbeni

shot, but he couldn’t stop Cahill from lashing the ball inside the

near post.

Seamus Coleman did all the hard work, forcing his way down the

left flank to the byline and then cutting the ball back for

Cahill.

Liverpool was unable to penetrate Everton and the deficit was

doubled after the break when Arteta picked up Leighton Baines’

corner on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a fierce

volley past Reina.

”I refuse to accept we were in any way outplayed or in any way

inferior,” Hodgson said. ”In the second half that’s as good as I

have seen a Liverpool team under my management. I thought we caused

them plenty of problems.”

While the second goal did rouse Liverpool into a more assertive

approach, its attacks fizzled out.

Torres lashed over after latching onto Maxi Rodriguez’s

throughball, with the Spain striker looking a shadow of the player

who netted 34 goals in 2007-08.

”Fernando is going through a bad time, he needs a goal, his

confidence is low,” Hodgson said. ”He got battered during the

World Cup and mentally he is probably a bit low.”

While Everton moved up to 11th, Liverpool remains in the bottom

three with just one win from eight matches,

”We’re not trying to disguise the fact this is a predicament,”

Hodgson said. ”For any team to take six points from eight games

from the start of a season, is a predicament.”

Hodgson, though, still believes that a top-four finish – and

lucrative Champions League qualification – should not be ruled

out.

”Thirty games to go, 90 points to play for, we’d have to do

something a bit special I suppose,” Hodgson said. ”I thought

there were signs that the quality of football is there.

”We think there’s a lot of things that still need sorting out

in the club. When it comes to playing, we’ve got the squad of

players we’ve got, we will have to keep working with them.”