Yesterday’s Premier League action saw local side Everton take a step closer to European qualification as the Toffees recorded an easy 2-0 victory over relegation contenders QPR.
David Moyes’ side won this tie fairly comfortably; after a deflected Darron Gibson strike and a tidy finish from Victor Anichebe, either side of half time, secured the three points.
Everton fans would have been forgiven for perhaps thinking that their team should have been at Wembley today for an FA Cup semi-final. Any such thoughts would have been quickly swept aside with this victory.
In fact, since their heavy defeat at the hands of the Latics, the Toffees have been on excellent form, recording 10 from a possible 12 points.
The club now sit safely in 6th position with a five point lead, plus a game in hand, over 7th placed Liverpool. More significantly, Moyes’ team are just three points adrift of the top four, and face a crucial clash with the Gunners, at the Emirates stadium, this Tuesday.
David Moyes post-match reaction: “If we can go and win at Arsenal I think you can say we’ve got a chance of being involved in the Champions League, I think if we don’t then you can say we’ve got a chance of making the Europa League.
“No matter what happens I think the players have given themselves a great chance, there’s five or six games to go, we’ve been doing it for most of the season why would it change, I expect the players to keep picking up victories and trying to win every game if we can.
“They’ve got a real resilience and a toughness to them the players, and because of that we keep at it and the players know what is expected.”
Meanwhile, at the Madejski stadium, Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy produced a man-of-the-match display to deny Liverpool a much-needed victory.
The game ended as a goalless draw, providing the Reds with yet another setback in their hopes for European Qualification.
The hosts had been battered by a Liverpool side who appeared hell-bent on racking up a cricket score but simply could not find a way past McCarthy. The 23-year-old made save after save and, as his team continue to slide towards relegation, provided them with hope for the future.
Liverpool recorded 26 shots in total, compared with Reading’s seven.
In reality, this result should give the club’s fans several reasons to worry. Most importantly, it highlights the sides need for further attacking signings. Two successive “clean sheets,” at the wrong end of the pitch, for the first time in well over a year provide cause for concern.
Brendan Rodgers post-match reaction: “We created enough chances to win a couple of games. We are very disappointed we didn’t win. Their goalkeeper was outstanding and on another day the goals go in. I can’t ask anything more of the players except that we should have been a wee bit more clinical. It was as good a goalkeeping performance as I have seen in a long time. Young Alex has all the attributes to be a top, top ‘keeper. He is 6ft 5in, he has great feet and he has made a series of fantastic saves. But I have got no complaints with my team. Our creativity and movement was very good. But we just didn’t do final bit and that is to the ball in the net and that cost us.”
Liverpool are now 5 points off the pace, as they sit in 7th place behind city rivals Everton. Unless the side’s performances begin to improve, it’s hard to see European dreams becoming reality next season.