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Liverpool 2-1 Everton – Three talking points from Anfield

Jake Jackman

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Liverpool

The FA Cup third round weekend started with an entertaining Merseyside derby as Liverpool scored a late winner to beat Everton at Anfield. This was the second meeting of the two clubs in less than a month and it was a more ambitious Toffees’ team as they played higher up the pitch and tried to cause problems for the home side. They did remain well organised at the back, but they were more willing to commit men forward and that made for a good spectacle.

The headlines will be taken by Virgil van Dijk. After a long-protracted transfer saga, the Dutch international finally made his debut for the club and he produced the winning goal to see his new team into the next round. There were a lot of positives to take from the game for Jurgen Klopp as several players put themselves in contention for more game-time. The Reds will want to take this competition seriously and try to secure their first piece of silverware under the German. This was a good start to the campaign. Here are three talking points from Anfield:

Virgil van Dijk was worth the wait

It is too soon to judge the defender, but he has gotten his Liverpool career off to a great start with a very impressive performance. The Dutchman was slotted straight in at centre-back and looked the most composed man on the field for the majority of the match.

It was encouraging to see the rest of the back four look more confident and composed with the new signing alongside them. Andrew Robertson and Joe Gomez both produced excellent performances. The leadership of Van Dijk is already having a visible effect.

The 26-year-old is one of the best at competing in the air and he showed that on his debut as he won five aerial duels. In defence, he looked assured in everything that he did, with three ball recoveries and three clearances to stop Everton attacks. The threat that he poses from set pieces was talked about and it was on show on Friday night. There was a warning for Everton as he came close to scoring before his winner. He has a huge presence in the box and produced the deciding moment as he headed past Jordan Pickford. It was a great debut and gives him something to build on.

Everton need to spend money this month

During the match, Everton announced the signing of Cenk Tosun and they will need to provide Sam Allardyce with more signings if they are to re-establish themselves as a threat to the top six. They may have been willing to commit more men forward, but they didn’t cause Liverpool with a lot of problems. The visitors managed only four shots during the entire game.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was a willing runner and showed good pace, but there was too much being asked of him. Wayne Rooney was more interested in showing passion than playing football and Yannick Bolasie didn’t look fit. The Everton attack lacked ideas and quality. The options on the bench showed the lack of quality in the squad and why they’ve regressed during the last 12 months. Ademola Lookman is a talent, but he is unlikely to change a game against Liverpool.

Even the defence showed the problems that Allardyce has inherited, as Jonjoe Kenny and Mason Holgate showed their inexperience at times. The latter was lucky to stay on the field after an incident with Roberto Firmino. The young players at the club have all showed their talent in recent weeks, but it is clear they need more established talent. Tosun is a good start, but more have to follow.

Andrew Robertson is the long-term solution at left-back for Liverpool

The headlines will be taken by Virgil van Dijk and rightly so after a great debut. However, it could be argued that the man of the match was Andrew Robertson. The left-back arrived under the radar after the relegation of Hull City, but he could prove to be one of the shrewdest transfers made by the club in recent history.

He was excellent at the back today and seemed to benefit from playing alongside Virgil van Dijk. The left-back completed six tackles and made four clearances. Robertson won the battle with Yannick Bolasie and was playing like a seasoned professional. He never looked flustered and his decision making was flawless all night.

Robertson was signed for his attacking quality and that was on show against Everton. He whipped in a couple of excellent crosses and came close to scoring as his shot was well saved by Pickford. The movement to get into the final third was very impressive and showed the intelligence that he already possesses at the age of 23. Liverpool need to nurture his talent and develop him into a leading Premier League left-back. This performance showed that he has it in his locker.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Everton

£3m Roberto Martinez project Shani Tarashaj thrown on to Everton scrapheap

The Swiss talent has not developed into the star Everton’s former boss hoped he would.

Mathew Nash

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It appears as though Shani Tarashaj is finally on his way out of Everton for good. This morning he completed a loan move back to his former club Grasshoppers Zurich, with a view to a permanent move next summer.

With the potential of a permanent move to Grasshoppers, it would bring the curtain down on a move that simply never worked out.

Tarashaj joined Everton back in January 2016. Then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed the attacking midfielder Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers with the fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, around £3 million.


“I feel he is going to bring something very, very special to us. He is probably the best young talent in Swiss football.

“There are a couple of young players with a good reputation but I think he could have really good future…I feel that he’s going to get fans off their feet. He’s that type of young talent that we like to attract to Goodison.” 

  – Roberto Martinez after signing Tarashaj


Tarashaj was loaned back to Grasshoppers until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

(Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

But things quickly went wrong for Tarashaj.

Martinez was sacked, with Ronald Koeman clearly not fancying the Swiss star. A loan move in Germany went poorly. Eintracht Frankfurt snapped him up but he struggled with benign angina, severe tonsillitis and a knee ligament tear last summer compounded his misery.

Everton now face the fact they will likely lose Tarashaj next summer, without the 23-year-old ever playing a game for the club.

This £3 million gamble has clearly not paid off.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Now valued at £31.3m, Tottenham could have got Cengiz Under for £11.7m

Tottenham tried to sign the Roma winger last summer, but he headed to Italy.

Mathew Nash

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It seems that AS Roma winger Cengiz Under is a wanted man this summer. Manchester City are reportedly keen on the player, after an excellent debut season in Serie A. As reported by Calciomercato the Turkish international has a fond admirer in the form of City boss Pep Guardiola.

That has since seen his market value make the headlines. It is reported by Hurriyet that Under is valued at €35 million (£31.3 million). That report also suggests Tottenham are keen on the player. It seems unlikely and rather interesting timing, considering it came just hours after an opinion piece in the British press about Tottenham revisiting their previous interest.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Because Spurs were keen on the player last summer.

Ajanspor reported at one point that Tottenham were close to signing the player from Istanbul Basaksehir. However, he headed to Roma instead. The player himself spoke of why he decided on Italy over the UK.


“I was convinced after we heard Monchi’s plan. Monchi [Roma’s director of football] explained they were making big changes. He made it clear that he wanted me as a player for the first-team squad, not as a future prospect. He valued me as a footballer in my own right now, as a rising star with potential.”

Cengiz Under on why he chose Roma


Under has since gone on to have a great season in the Italian capital and has clearly caught the eye of other clubs.

The fee he joined Roma for was a bargain. The Giallorossi snapped up Under for a fee of just £11.7 million.

Tottenham must no doubt regret not managing to secure a deal for the player last summer. He was at a bargain price and proved to be a successful recruit.

If Tottenham want him again in the future, they are looking at paying double what they might have 12 months ago.

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Everton

Marco Silva should aim for Christian Kabasele reunion at Everton

The Belgian defender would be an astute addition for the Toffees.

Max Cohen

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Christian Kabasele
Photo: Getty Images

Everton are still without a signing this transfer window, but the side requires strengthening, nonetheless, especially in the centre-back position.

Marco Silva should target Christian Kabasele to bolster his defensive options, a player he knows well from his time managing at Watford.

Kabasele began his career in Belgium and enjoyed success at Genk before moving to Vicarage Road in the summer of 2016.

The centre-half has been capped once by Belgium, as he made the Euro 2016 squad and was cut at the last moment in the Red Devils’ World Cup 2018 team.

His international involvement and the fact he was even being considered in the star-studded Belgium set-up is a measure of his talent.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

At Watford, the defender bagged four goals in 44 appearances, illustrating his threat from set pieces.

He was also the most consistent performer at the back for the Hornets, eliciting praise from the Watford support.

Everton fans in particular will know the danger the Belgian poses, as Kabasele flicked home a powerful header at Goodison Park during a league meeting in November 2017.

Marco Silva knows the defender well, as he played in every league match when Silva was the manager, starting all but one.

And the Portuguese has praised the Belgian in the past, hailing his performance when talking with the Hertfordshire Mercury in 2017, after a 3-0 win at St. James’ Park.

“Kabasele was brilliant. He had a fantastic game. He improves every day. He had a very good game with and without the ball and even with offensive set-pieces he has improved.”

As Everton supporters wait for their first signing of the summer, the club would do well to target Christian Kabasele, a proven Premier League centre-back who is a favourite of the Toffees boss.

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