Tuesday 23 January 2018

Goodison's manager curse strikes again as 'Grim Reaper' arrives

Everton 1-1 Liverpool

Romelu Lukaku (centre) puts away Everton's goal
Romelu Lukaku (centre) puts away Everton's goal
Liverpool's James Milner attempts to wrest control of the ball from Brendan Galloway
Liverpool's Emre Can (right) and Everton's Brendan Galloway get into a confrontation
Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori (left) battles Alberto Moreno for control of the ball

Mark Ogden

The last time Goodison Park proved to be a graveyard for a high-profile manager, David Moyes was stalked by a figure decked out as the Grim Reaper as his brief reign at Manchester United came to an end in April 2014 after a 2-0 defeat.

There was no such ordeal for Brendan Rodgers as his Liverpool team surrendered a 1-0 lead to draw at Everton yesterday but, dressed in a black suit with a black tie, it was as though the Northern Irishman knew what was coming anyway.

Evertonians relished the end of Moyes at United, less than a year after he had traded Goodison for Old Trafford, but there will be an even greater sense of joy at claiming the scalp of Rodgers, if only due to the fact that the former Swansea City manager came so close to restoring Liverpool to the summit of English football with the title near-miss two years ago.

Rodgers almost made Liverpool great again, so there will be undoubted satisfaction that his plans were buried under the rubble at Goodison - a stadium which also hosted Carlo Ancelotti's final game as Chelsea manager prior to his sacking in May 2011.


Everton can now claim to have seen off two Liverpool managers following a draw at Goodison Park, with Rodgers joining Kenny Dalglish, who resigned after a 4-4 FA Cup draw in January 1991, on that particular list.

Rodgers' dismissal - announced three hours after the final whistle - suggested that the outcome of this derby would have made no difference to the manager's prospects.

The point they eventually emerged with, after Romelu Lukaku's first-half goal cancelled an opener by Danny Ings, moved Liverpool to within three points of the top four - and four points clear of champions Chelsea.

Rodgers was clearly a dead man walking, but Everton were unable to force the victory which would have at least given Liverpool's decision to sack their manager some credibility. After all, who sacks a manager after a draw?

Had Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet not produced crucial saves from Steven Naismith, James McCarthy and Lukaku, Everton may have earned their first derby victory since 2010.

That wait goes on, but the head of Rodgers will probably do as a consolation prize at the end of a derby low on quality, but ultimately high on significance.


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