Everton are everything that Liverpool must now become. John W Henry, owner of the visitors, surely arrived at this match eager to learn more about the Anfield club he now owns, but the reward was a thorough understanding of its inadequacies. While that may serve him well in the long term, Henry must also have admired the efficiency of the soundly constructed winners.
David Moyes has been engaged in this project for eight years and his employers must be amazed as they are grateful that he has not been lured away to a club of heftier means. Were it not for the uproar and animosity that would well up in the city, he might be seen as the ideal man for Liverpool to recruit.
For the time being, Roy Hodgson still holds the post, but he is unlikely to have either the length of tenure or the endorsement from the owner that Moyes can count upon from his chairman, Bill Kenwright. That trust has been earned. Everton are a mere three points in front of Liverpool, who now lie second bottom of the Premier League, but few doubt that Moyes can lead the side back to a respectable place in the table.
The proof of his acumen is seen everywhere. While Liverpool may be crestfallen that the Bosman signing Joe Cole has been vapid as he illustrates why Chelsea preferred not to hand him a lavish new contract, Everton had a true bargain here. The mere presence of Seamus Coleman ought to have seemed laughably inappropriate considering that he is a 22-year-old taken from Sligo Rovers for a piffling £60,000 at the start of 2009. He came to England as a right-back, but Moyes is now turning him into a midfielder. The rationale behind that decision was painfully clear to Hodgson's team at the opener. Coleman tore past Paul Konchesky on the right and saw his cut-back converted by Tim Cahill at the near post in the 35th minute.
The scorer had thus taken his career total against Liverpool to five, a haul unmatched by an Everton player in Merseyside derbies since the days of Dixie Dean, who joined the club 85 years ago. Despite Cahill's endeavours, the comparatively small budget at Moyes's disposal can be felt in the lack of a devastating finisher who would ensure a far greater reward for the overall work of the side.
Everton did prey on the muddled nature of Liverpool's play when extending the lead in the 51st minute. A Leighton Baines corner was headed out by Sotirios Kyrgiakos, but the centre-half had not angled the ball towards the wing and it dropped for Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard reacted to the windfall by shooting beautifully beyond José Reina.
Liverpool did not lack spirit and that, in its own way, was disturbing since it underlines the fact that the ejection of the previous owners, George Gillett and Tom Hicks, was an essential yet still modest start in the re-establishment of the club.
At 2-0 down, there was finally a sense of urgency to Liverpool and Everton had to look to men such as Phil Jagielka to marshal the defence. The centre-back, unavailable for England's goalless draw with Montenegro last Tuesday, looked entirely free of the hamstring trouble that had been affecting him.
With Jagielka around, the likelihood increased that Fernando Torres would be stifled once again. In this context, the Spaniard might almost be commended since he saw Tim Howard tip his header over the bar in the first half and drew a save from the goalkeeper when Liverpool flickered into life for a spell when their fate was already sealed.
Individualism is still the affliction of the Anfield line-up. With men such as Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano gone, there is less cohesion and focus to the play. Recognising that, a player such as Steven Gerrard can scarcely resist the temptation to attempt putting matters to rights single-handedly. He could do that in his mid-20s but it was an approach even then that spoke of the frailties in others who could not combine with him. Gerrard impressed lately while deputising for Rio Ferdinand as England captain, but it must have been revitalising to link with team-mates who are of a similar calibre.
Hodgson cannot create such a context for him at Anfield. His acumen should be beyond dispute after taking Fulham to a Europa League final a mere five months ago, via Craven Cottage nights such as a 4-1 drubbing of Juventus. All the same, his burden is heavier nowadays and Liverpool, Champions League winners five years ago, will not see him as a charismatic leader.
Hodgson spoke highly of his side's efforts here. That may have been an act of defiance intended to fend off discussion of the real state of affairs, but the trip to Naples for Thursday's Europa League fixture ensures that Liverpool's suffering and Henry's possible remedies will stay under constant discussion.
This is not a news report and may contain views expressed by the author which are not supported by GNM.