“10 More Years” was the sarcastic chant from The Kop, as the reds tore apart Everton for the 2nd time this season, and ruined David Moyes 10 year anniversary as Everton boss. Steven Gerrard scored the first Merseyside derby hat-trick for 30 years to give the reds the points, and the bragging rights.
Prior to this game Evertonians were confident of the chances – the reds had lost 2 of their last 4 matches, and were on a 3 game losing streak in the league. However the reds ran out easy victors, sealing a league double over their neighbours, and once again exposing the myth about the Everton manager’s tactical acumen.
It has been 16 days since Liverpool last won a trophy – 17 years since Everton did – and this game showed it.
The reds were able to return Steven Gerrard to the starting eleven after his injury that he sustained a fortnight ago. Charlie Adam, Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt all paid for their below par performances at the weekend, with Downing and Carroll the other replacements in the team. Glen Johnson was not fit enough to be involved, and Bellamy wasn’t even included on the bench.
With Liverpool and Everton both playing FA Cup games at the weekend against Premier League opposition – it was Moyes who decided to rest some players – no doubt angering some sections of Everton’s support and surprising given the fact he has never won at Anfield.
The reds started strongest, and dominated the majority of the game apart from a brief 10 minute spell of Everton pressure in the first half.
It was Gerrard who had the first chance of the game – bursting in to the box but Howard saved, before Rodwell put in a good tackle to stop Henderson’s follow up.
Howard was on hand moments later to save a Suarez turn and volley.
The reds opener came 10 minutes before the break when the ball fell to Martin Kelly, who had an excellent game in defence and in attack. His shot was saved, and it was Gerrard who fired the ball over the head of Tim Howard.
Five minutes in to the second half and the reds doubled their lead.
Suarez ran the ball in to the penalty area and held back at the final moment to allow the onrushing Gerrard to smash the ball in to the roof of the Kop net.
Chances were aplenty now for the reds against a sorry Everton side – Andy Carroll shooting narrowly wide with his left foot, before a cross from Downing almost found the surging Kelly in the box.
At the other end Everton did have a tame effort which Enrique cleared.
As the game entered injury time though – there was still time for one more goal – and it was Gerrard’s hat-trick strike.
Again, great work by Gerrard and Suarez combining, before Suarez unselfishly played it to Gerrard to give him the match ball.
The first hat-trick in a Merseyside derby for 30 years (since Ian Rush’s in a 5-0 win) and the first LFC hat-trick in an Anfield derby for 77 years.
Liverpudlians can enjoy the victory, whilst the team have to refocus on the weekend’s FA Cup clash which could open the door for another trip to Wembley.