Everton’s DVD production department will be working through the night to produce their latest title ‘The season we took a point off Liverpool‘ but the reds have only themselves to blame for failing to complete a Merseyside double over Kirkby’s next big thing.
Fernando Torres hit the post in the first half, when most of the ground thought he had fired the reds ahead, and Albert Riera should have also put his name on the scoresheet in a first half with few chances for either side. Eventually Steven Gerrard put the reds ahead before a Tim Cahill header sent Everton fans in to the delirium only they can get from taking a point at Anfield. The Hull and Stoke fans were less excited by a point at Anfield, which says a lot about the aspirations of Europe-dodging Everton.
The game started well for Everton. For at least the first 2 minutes they pushed Liverpool back and didn’t cynically foul anybody. Eventually the game settled in to the usual pattern. Liverpool saw plenty of the ball, but as has been so often at Anfield failed to have the killer punch in the final third. The last ball was sloppy and Everton found it easy to defend.
One man they never got a grip of was Torres who was a constant threat. Picking up the ball at one point on the right wing he turned three Everton defenders, avoiding their attempts to foul him to chase down on goal. The reds had their first glimpse when a Sami Hyypia through ball found Torres only for him to fire the ball at the post at the last minute.. Albert Riera had a chance from outside the box but put the ball wide.
In the second half the reds should have been awarded a penalty when Torres was tripped in the area. The referee Howard Webb performed poorly all night – stop starting the derby for inocuous fouls from both sides, but missing some of the bigger decisions.
The reds continued to start brightly in the second half and Everton themselves had a shout for a penalty. Almost immediately after this, and with Robbie Keane having been taken off, Steven Gerrard found the space to fire home in front of the Kop to put the reds ahead.
After this the reds nervousness increased and Torres was withdrawn and Liverpool began to defend deeper and deeper. Eventually Everton landed themselves a free kick outside the corner of the box and whipped in a free kick that met Tim Cahill’s head.
It was a disappointing goal to concede but for the Evertonians this was a belated Christmas present from the red half of Merseyside.
Liverpool fans left in silence.
Liverpool can’t rescue two lost points on Sunday, but they can restore some pride.
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera (Babel 89), Keane (Benayoun 67), Torres (Leiva Lucas 85).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Arbeloa, Mascherano.
Goals: Gerrard 68.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Neville, Pienaar, Cahill, Anichebe.
Subs Not Used: Nash, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Kissock.
Booked: Pienaar, Arteta.
Goals: Cahill 87.
Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).