Everton 2-2 Liverpool Match Report
Liverpool are in the middle of a hectic schedule of fixtures at the moment, with their involvement in European and domestic cup competitions, and fixtures don’t come much tougher than the Merseyside derby as Liverpool travelled the short trip across Stanley Park to Goodison to play Everton. Unusually Liverpool went into the game as underdogs, mainly due to Everton’s tremendous start to the season and Liverpool’s inconsistent start, so it would be interesting to see who would have bragging rights at the end of the day.
Liverpool had a tough Europa League match against Russian side Anzhi on Thursday night and many of the players that played were selected again to face Everton on only 3 days rest. Brad Jones deputised again in goal for Reina as he recovers from injury. The only change from the recent defensive line-up was Jose Enrique replacing Johnson at right-back, who left the field at halftime on Thursday night. Sterling, Sahin, Gerrard, Suso and Allen started in midfield with Suarez as Liverpool’s striker.
When Z-Cars rang around Goodison Park minutes before kick-off, a ferocious roar brought the stadium to life and the travelling Reds broke into You’ll Never Walk Alone only to be roundly booed amid the blur of clapping hands and pumping fists that surrounded them in each of the home sections.
Everton threatened first in the early stages when Jelavic looked to set-up Naismith at the far post, but Enrique cleared the danger. The game started typically at a frenetic pace with no time on the ball and Everton were not going to allow Liverpool to implement their passing style on the match.
But Liverpool stunned the home support when the 18-year-old Suso fed a weighted pass into the path of Enrique, who fired the ball across the face of goal towards Raheem Sterling but Baines bundled the winger to the floor. However, lurking beyond the far-post was Suarez, who took a touch before firing past Howard to where Baines diverted the ball into his own net, sending the Kopites wild.
Moments later after Everton’s Osman was shown the first yellow card of the day, the resulting free-kick was delivered by Gerrard into the Everton penalty box which was glanced past Tim Howard by the head of Luis Suarez to double Liverpool’s lead.
But Everton hit back immediately when Brad Jones rushed out to punch a corner clear but his attempt landed perfectly for Osman, who controlled with his chest before driving the ball through a thicket of Liverpool players inside the penalty area and into the net behind.
Everton’s reply galvanised the silenced home support once again as they roared their favourites on for an equaliser. Mirallas was becoming more and more of a threat down Everton’s left as the home side heaped on the pressure.
Sterling was shown a harsh yellow card in the 29th minute for a foul on Baines and some of the Everton players tried to get the youngster sent off after he committed another foul seconds later, but referee Marriner saw sense.
Everton peppered the Reds’ goal with a combination of deep crosses, aimed mainly towards Fellaini, and balls into the left channel for Jelavic to chase.
The home side had seized momentum and they duly equalised. Fellaini turned free of Andre Wisdom and fired into the middle, where Naismith was arriving right on cue to smash the ball beyond Jones and send Goodison rocking.
Liverpool were glad to hear the half-time whistle to relieve the pressure and the chance to regroup. Rodgers brought on Shelvey for Suso and Coates for Sahin for the second half as he opted for 3 at the back and a change of personnel and tactics to try and change the pattern of play of the first half. Everton were dealt a blow with the dangerous Mirallas not returning for the second half after sustaining an injury at the end of the first half.
Minutes into the second half Enrique sent Sterling clear but his finish let him down with only Howard to beat.
Neat play from Everton left the Reds’ defence in tatters on the hour mark. Seamus Coleman and Jelavic exchanged passes before the full-back whipped the ball into the heart of Jones’s penalty area but no blue shirt was advancing on the six-yard box and Wisdom cleared.
Everton were still the more dominant side in the second half but Liverpool looked more dangerous at counter attacking than they did in the first half, mainly due to Shelvey’s influence with his passing range and willingness to make runs forward when given the chance.
Everton’s best chance to take the lead looked to be from free-kicks around the penalty area, and Liverpool were obliging in gifting Everton many of these set-piece situations in the second half, with committing too many clumsy fouls. One of these free-kicks led to Coleman drove a tantalising cross in between Jones and his defenders and Jelavic was lethal in his movement but wasteful with his finish as he sent a blistering header into the Park End from yards out.
Both teams were looking for a winner and Phil Jagielka stretched a leg to deny Gerrard on 82 minutes after substitute Jordan Henderson won the ball back and squared it to him. Moments later, Suarez skipped past several Everton defenders but Jagielka was down bravely again to block his effort.
For all the effort both side put in to the match it looked like they would both have to reluctantly settle for the draw. But late drama was witnessed in the final minute of injury time when Suarez found the back of the net from a Coates knock-down and was wrongly ruled out for offside.
It was a brilliant match with two rivals going at it hammer and tongs for 90 minutes. Merseyside derby debuts for so many of Liverpool’s youngsters and to come away from Goodison with a positive result was tremendous, especially after sustaining long periods of pressure from the home side. Suarez was brilliant and Everton’s defence couldn’t handle him and as he scored two tremendous goals. A few of the youngsters will learn a lot from the experience as I felt Suso, Sahin and Andre Wisdom struggled a bit against a strong Everton side. Wisdom had a tough time against Mirallas, but he will be better for it, Suso and Sahin struggled to get into the match as the pace was frenetic. Sterling struggled in the first half and was put under pressure by receiving a yellow card, he had a really good second half when he was played through the middle and created problems for Everton. Disappointed to lose a two goal lead, but losing a goal so soon after doubling the lead gave Everton the momentum and Liverpool had to withstand intense pressure especially in the first half, Agger and especially Skrtel were like rocks in the heart of the defence. A poor punch by Jones led to Everton’s first goal and Everton’s second goal came from a throw in which should have gone Liverpool’s way. Credit to Brendan Rodgers, who changed things at half-time after watching Everton dominate the first half. Bringing on Shelvey to bolster the midfield and Coates to add height to the defence made a huge difference in the second half. Rodgers also replaced Wisdom for Henderson in the second half as the youngster was enduring a difficult match. Suarez could have been in trouble for his “diving” goal celebration but Moyes made light of the celebration in his post-match comments. But Moyes felt Suarez could have been shown a red card for a foul on Distin when he appeared to rake his studs down the back of the defender’s leg, resulting in the Uruguayan receiving a yellow card, I thought it was accidental and Suarez’s reaction in apology proves this. Drama at the end with another officiating decision going against Liverpool when Suarez looked to have snatched a late winner only to be ruled out wrongly by an offside flag. Overall, a draw was a fair result and Liverpool should be happy with the point and the resilient performance shown.