What’s been happening in the world of football on Merseyside this week? Jennifer Jewell gives us the scoop…
Everton’s chemistry lesson
Leighton Baines hit out after last Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United, saying: “I don’t feel as though the chemistry is quite there with the team on the pitch at the moment – and it hasn’t been for a while.” He also revealed he believes that Everton may be “leaning too heavily on individuals to come up with something”.
The comments have provoked a lot of debate on Merseyside as this is what a lot of fans have felt this season. But one person who was not happy with Baines’s honesty was manager Roberto Martinez. After pointing the blame at the media for misinterpretation, the Toffees boss said his defender should also “take responsibility for those words” and surprisingly revealed the 31-year-old has apologised to him.
Klopp has a Yellow ball
A stunning rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” welcomed Jürgen Klopp back to his old stomping ground as Liverpool prepared to take on Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. Before the tie, a rumoured ‘Klopp cam’ to focus solely on the German for the whole 90 minutes was laughed off by the baffled Reds boss, who wanted to focus on the game ahead.
Liverpudlians felt the same – this is a match they have been anticipating for weeks, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. With Divock Origi netting the vital away goal before Mats Hummels equalised for Dortmund, the match set the standard for the exciting return showdown at Anfield next Thursday, April 14 … and surely another spine-tingling rendition of that anthem!
Toffees’ FA Cup travel nightmare
It looks set to be chaos for Evertonians travelling by train to Wembley in a couple of weeks’ time to watch their FA Cup semi-final. With planned work on Virgin trains on the Saturday evening, the last direct train to Liverpool leaves at 8.11pm, and should the game go to extra-time or penalties, would mean most supporters would miss the train.
Many fans are furious that the fixture has been arranged for a 5.15pm kick-off as they will now have to make arrangements to travel by road or fork out to stay overnight in London. But some good news: Everton have received additional tickets for the match due to some of the allocation of FA partners not being taken, which has boosted the club’s initial allocation of 31,997.
Farewell to Johnny King
“I can’t promise success, but I can promise a trip to the moon.”
Tranmere Rovers legend and former Everton star Johnny King was in everyone’s thoughts on Merseyside this week after sadly passing away aged 77. Toffees fans paid tribute to King – who made 48 appearances for the club – and gained three promotions for Rovers, where he is widely regarded as being the most successful manager in their history.
Supporters swarmed to his statue outside Prenton Park to lay scarves, shirts and messages of condolence in his memory. The funeral service has been announced for next Thursday at 1pm at St Peter’s Church, Lower Heswall. Any fans wishing to pay their respects will be welcome at the service. RIP, King.