Dismal Reds show Henry the extent of his problems

Everton 2 Liverpool 0

It must have been in the boardrooms of Wall Street that John W Henry developed his poker face as a useful tactic in closing big deals, and at Goodison Park yesterday it came in handy concealing the true emotions of a man who had just spent £300m on a team that is shot to bits.

There was no other description for a Liverpool side whose performance was so far from the level required for this match and this stage in their tumultuous history – not to mention their precarious league position – that at times it was hard to believe.

There have been some bad moments in the life of this club in the last two years but now that the hated Tom Hicks and George Gillett have gone, who do the supporters take to the streets to protest against? Roy Hodgson appears to be in a state of denial. Fernando Torres looks like he would sooner be playing for Recreativo Huelva. Steven Gerrard wears the expression of a man who needs a phonecall from the Samaritans.

After eight games of the season, the most successful club in British football history are 19th in the Premier League with six points from eight games, only above West Ham by virtue of a better goal difference. The Everton fans saw off their illustrious neighbours with the chant "Going down" and ludicrous though that sounds it is by no means an impossibility.

The man from Boston has been carried in to his new club this week on a wave of optimism and understandable hope that the storm – to borrow a familiar line – had passed. Unfortunately Liverpool walked straight out from under that rain cloud into the perfect storm at Goodison Park, where they were ambushed by a team that looked more coherent, more confident and much more capable than Hodgson's players.

As the hand-wringing goes on this week over Liverpool it will probably be forgotten that David Moyes' team found themselves in a familiar position before yesterday's game. They too had only six points before yesterday and were languishing near the bottom of the Premier League without a bountiful new American owner to celebrate, but they approached this Merseyside derby very differently to their neighbours.

Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta took their chances well and, when they had to defend for long periods of the second half, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka were excellent. For all their own false dawns over the years, Everton have never been engulfed by the torpor afflicting Liverpool now. They are bad at the moment and Joe Cole is having the season from hell.

Hodgson will unfortunately be obliged to take most of the flack from an appalled Liverpool support. It is a pity because in a profession that often favours the bully, the Liverpool manager is virtually incapable of a harsh word. He tried to admonish a Norwegian journalist for asking questions about Torres' fitness but never quite built up the head of steam for a proper monstering.

The trouble with Hodgson's decision to claim that this was a good Liverpool performance – or at least the best during his time in charge – is that it was so evidently a tactic designed to protect his players. This was a dreadful Liverpool performance and everyone knew it, none more so than Hodgson's players. There was no capital in defending them. No one would have blamed Hodgson for calling it as he surely must have seen it.

If Hodgson really thought this was a decent performance then Liverpool's problems really do run deeper than even Henry had first presumed. The American has said that he has no intention of getting rid of Hodgson but his club is fast reaching the point when critical decisions will have to be made. Liverpool have fewer points than Hull City did at the same stage of the season 12 months ago.

It did not look too clever as early as the first few minutes when Jamie Carragher shouted at Torres to make a run in order to receive a pass and Torres responded by putting his finger to his lips. Increasingly there is the feeling that Torres is doing Liverpool a favour by turning out every week and that the club have become a millstone for him rather than a great platform on which to perform.

There was a moment in the first half when Gerrard's ball over the top to the right wing to Torres that put him in a race with Distin that he never looked like winning. All of a sudden Torres looks like a newly-arrived foreign player who does not want to cope with the physical demands of Premier League defenders rather than the man who, two seasons ago, was the best striker in the division.

Everton's first goal was made by the impressive 22-year-old Seamus Coleman, a £60,000 signing from Sligo Rovers, who went down the right wing past Lucas Leiva and held off Paul Konchesky long enough to get the ball across for Cahill. The ball took a deflection off Konchesky that Hodgson said was responsible for it eluding Martin Skrtel and presenting Cahill with the chance to score from close range.

The goal was a reward for the pressure that Everton had in the early stage when the game was at its most intense. That it never really threatened to boil over was only because Liverpool's confidence had all but disappeared by half-time. Arteta and Cahill both left a bit on Gerrard in one surge forward from the Liverpool captain in the first half but Gerrard had bigger problems to worry about than a row with those two.

Five minutes after half-time Sotirios Kyrgiakos only managed a weak clearing header from Leighton Baines' corner and the ball fell nicely for Arteta on the edge of the box. He struck it on the half-volley and the shot came quickly through a crowd of players. It was close to Pepe Reina but the ball was past him so fast he could not react in time.

A comeback was never really on the cards. Henry, who chose not to go back into the Everton directors' suite at half-time, stayed stoically to the end. It was not the way that the new era was supposed to begin. It could be worse from Liverpool's point of view – they could still have Hicks and Gillett in charge – but that is about all the comfort that could be taken.

Match facts

Subs: Everton: Bilyaletdinov (Osman, h/t), Hibbert (Heitinga, 72), Beckford (Arteta, 73). Unused: Mucha (gk), Gueye, Mustafi, Baxter. Liverpool: Ngog (Lucas, 71), Babel (Cole, 80), Jovanovic (Rodriguez, 84). Unused: Jones (gk), Aurelio, Spearing, Kelly. Booked: Everton: Cahill, Beckford. Liverpool: Meireles, Rodriguez, Torres. Man of the match Distin. Possession Everton 45% Liverpool 55%. Shots on targetEverton 7 Liverpool 10. Referee HWebb (South Yorkshire). Att 39,673. Match rating 6/10.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits