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Everton staged a late-match comeback and fought to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool in the latest installment of the Merseyside Derby! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the live-blog and feel free to leave comments below.
If the Merseyside derby weren’t already heated enough, Liverpool and Everton will face each other twice in the span of the next six days, first for league supremacy and then for advancement in the F.A. Cup.
Liverpool come into this match having dropped points to Stoke and having lost their hold on first-place to Manchester United. The team has experienced some instability as of late as Rafa Benitez has rejected the team’s latest contract offer, skipper Steven Gerrard has been arrested for assault (allegedly, because he took exception to the music selection at the bar where the incident occurred), and rumors surrounding player movement have affected the likes of Daniel Agger, Jermaine Pennant, Ryan Babel, and Robbie Keane. The good news for Liverpool is that they’re getting back their star striker, Fernando Torres, right as their rivals are either getting hit with injuries (Manchester United) or undergoing internal turmoil (Chelsea).
As for Everton, they’ve steadily crept up the standings after a slow start and are threatening overtake Arsenal for fifth place. They’ll be without star midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, and Joseph Yobo is questionable after sustaining a hamstring injury. Despite losing their best goalscorer, Yakubu, to a season-ending injury, Everton have scored 5 times in the last two Premiership matches. Then again, those efforts came against Sunderland and Hull. They’ll be facing a much tougher test this time.
Will Liverpool continue their recent dominance over Everton? Or will the Toffees break through and put a dent in Liverpool’s title hopes? Tune in and find out!
Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Aurelio, Kuyt, Gerrard (c), Alonso, Riera, Keane, Torres.
Subs: Cavalieri, Dossena, Benayoun, Arbeloa, Babel, Mascherano, Lucas.
Well, Liverpool are going for it here. Three changes from the side that drew, 0-0, with Stoke last weekend as Mascherano, Lucas, and Benayoun willl sit out. Alonso will reclaim his spot, starting in central midfield with Gerrard, while the big news is up front where Keane and Torres will start. Agger, who’s been linked with AC Milan, will miss out with an injury.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Neville (c), Pienaar, Cahill, Anichebe.
Subs: Nash, Van der Meyde, Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Gosling, Kissock.
Everton will make one change from the side that defeated Hull, 2-0, last weekend as young striker Victor Anichebe (great first name, btw) will come in for the suspended Fellaini. No Yobo for Everton, as he has evidently failed his fitness test. No Saha, either. In other news, England is cold in the wintertime.
90′ + 3 There’s the whistle and we’re done! Liverpool fans are NOT happy and they’ll have a lot of work to do if they want to win the league. Thanks to everyone who followed along! See you next time!
90′ + 2 Baines clears it away, but Lucas catches him on the foot and is called for the foul. Everton fans are jubilant, and this would be a great result for them, if it holds.
90′ + 1 Liverpool fans are leaving. Come on guys! The match isn’t over yet! You still have Gerrard. I guess they’re pissed off about the last goal, and I can’t blame them.
90′ Babel is on for Riera.
89′ They show the replay of the goal, and Liverpool simply forgot to mark Cahill. Reina had raised his hand and pointed to Cahill, hoping someone would pick him up, but no dice. Terrible. I guess you can put that one on Reina, then. He should be more vocal in there.
87′ GOAL! Arteta swings it from the edge of the box and Cahill gets in front of Hyypia and simply nods it past Reina! Wow! Arteta strikes again with a great dead-ball play. Terrible marking from Liverpool that could cost them the points here.
86′ Lucas fouls Anichebe. Well, that didn’t take long, did it? Lucas seems determined to disprove the stereotype about Brazilians being great in soccer. Benayoun fouls Anichebe deep down the left flank and he’s lucky he didn’t get booked as it was a really rash tackle. Let’s see what Arteta can do here.
85′ Good challenge from Benayoun as he cuts out a through-ball to Baines from Arteta. Goal kick to Liverpool and Torres comes off to a nice ovation. He’ll be replaced by everyone’s favorite Brazilian, Lucas.
84′ Osman tries a shot from long-range that seems to catch Liverpool off guard. Luckily for Liverpool, Reina is more than equal to it.
82′ Arteta swings it in, but Liverpool clear it away. Cahill tried to go up for it, but Skrtel got away with a hold and kept Cahill from elevating it. Otherwise, that might have been a chance for Everton.
81′ Benayoun fouls Baines along the left flank. We’ll see what they can come up with here.
80′ Neville gives it away and Torres goes on the counterattack. Jagielka steps up and Torres loses the ball. I really don’t see how Everton are going to get back in this match, though. They haven’t really come close to scoring all match long.
77′ Neville prepares to throw it in, and he gets serenaded by a cascade of boos from the Liverpool fans. At least they didn’t spit on him.
76′ Pienaar slips away from Alonso and makes a nice run down the left. Neville gets it and tries to send a cross into the box, but Carragher heads it away.
73′ Well, this one will be controversial if the result holds. Seconds after Anichebe was clearly shoved down by Skrtel in the box, Gerrard comes back the other way and buries it. David Moyes is infuriated and I can’t blame him.
72′ Kuyt gets it deep in his attacking half and he sends a cross across goal to Torres. Neville has him marked, though, and heads it softy back to Howard.
68′ GOAL! Anichebe shoves Alonso down the left flank and makes a move into the box. He is shoved down by Skrtel, but no call from the ref. Back the other way and Gerrard takes a shot from a good thirty yards away and he beats Howard for the score! Wow! What a shot! Say what you will about the man, but how many times has he put his team on his shoulders like that?
67′ Benayoun comes in for Keane, and Keane is not happy about it. Well, can’t blame Benitez for making that move. Keane didn’t do anything today.
66′ Another strong play from Baines as he cuts out the pass to Kuyt along the right flank. Poor clearance from Jagielka as he slips on the pitch. Baines is there to cover, though, otherwise it could have been trouble for Everton.
64′ Arteta keeps it from going out, but gives it away to Kuyt. He starts the break and Riera then tries to thread it into the box for Torres. Lescott is there to knock it away, though.
63′ Anichebe is limping after colliding with Hyypia. Not sure who they’d replace him with. Luckily for David Moyes, Anichebe looks like he’s okay.
62′ Kuyt gets it on the edge of the box. Lescott and Baines knock it away, but it bounces to Torres, who fires one from the edge of the box. It’s just over the crossbar, though, and Everton fans breathe a little easier.
61′ Nothing doing on the corner as Baines knocks it away for another one. Gerrard sends in another corner and it’s knocked away for a throw.
60′ Kuyt gets a nice pass from Carragher and breaks into the box. Pienaar knocks the ball away for a corner. The fans wanted a penalty there as Kuyt went down, but it was clean tackle.
58′ Everton with some good pressure, but solid defense from Liverpool to deny them. Torres tries to take it on the counterattack, but a good tackle from Neville puts a stop to that.
57′ Hyypia with a miscue in his own end (must have been upset about that miss), but nothing doing as Everton can’t convert it.
56′ Gerrard gets a great chance from the top of the box that forces a diving save from Howard. Hyypia tries to pounce on the loose ball, but Baines makes the great defensive play to close him down and Hyypia’s shot is well wide of the near post. Great save from Howard and an ever better defensive play from Baines.
55′ Torres sends a cross from deep down the right flank, and it’s off Lescott for a corner. It looks like it may have hit his arm, but no call from the ref. Corner goes in towards Riera at the far post, but Everton are able to clear it.
54′ Arteta goes for goal and he gets it past the wall. It takes a bounce on the pitch, but Reina is able to handle it. Not a bad effort from Arteta.
53′ Howard punts it deep towards Osman and Skrtel pushes him down for the foul. Everton will have a chance from about 35 yards out or so.
52′ Baines with another dangerous cross from deep down the left that Cahill nearly gets on the end of. Reina is able to collect it, though, and Everton seem to be having some success down that left flank.
51′ Arteta with a clumsy foul on Kuyt. He kicks the ball away in frustration, and he gets booked. Not sure whether it was for the foul or for the remonstration, but the result is the same. Alonso sends in the free kick from about 35 yards out, but its cleared away from danger. Carragher gets it back and lifts a long cross from the right edge of the box to the far post for Torres. His header is weak and easily taken by Howard.
49′ Aurelio breaks into the box and gets a nice pass from Alonso. Jagielka is there to take it away, though. Good pace, so far, in this half.
48′ Torres goes down in the box after some contact from Jagielka. No call from Webb and it looks like Torres went down a little easily there.
47′ Neville looks like he handles the ball, but no call from Webb. Baines sends in a dangerous cross from the left flank that Anichebe almost gets to before Reina. Well, Anichebe certainly would have become an instant legend with the blue side of Merseyside if he had buried that one.
46′ No changes for either side as they get ready to start the second half. Liverpool kick it off and we’re underway! Carragher gets in deep down the right flank and he sends a long cross that goes out for a goal kick. Now you see why he prefers that central role…
46′ Robbie Keane has done nothing so far. Torres seems to be getting his chances, but Keane looks lost playing next to him. He’s had his best matches for Liverpool when he was up top by himself. I know he can play in a two-man front since he did so well with Berbatov last season at Tottenham. Maybe it’s not necessarily Torres that he can’t play with but Torres AND Gerrard. Gerrard plays like a withdrawn striker at times, and maybe that causes Keane discomfort. Oh well. It’s not like they shelled out a lot of cash for him or anything…
Kind of a dull match so far, as neither side was really able to establish much of a rhythm. Both sides had chances, and I’m still shocked that Torres missed his chance. Let’s see what the managers come up with in the second half to break this deadlock. Let’s hope they have something up their sleeves, because this match is a snoozer so far. See you in the second half!
45′ + 2 Cahill and Skrtel go for the ball, and Cahill hits Skrtel with a half-clothesline. Nothing serious, but enough to royally piss Skrtel off. The two have words before they eventually shake hands and make nice. There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime.
45′ + 1 Two minutes added on. Pienaar makes a run on the edge of the box and he loses the ball. He tries to get it back and collides with Gerrard. Webb calls Pienaar for the foul.
44′ Nothing doing on the corner. Liverpool go on the counterattack and set up near the Everton goal. Hibbert with a terrible giveaway and Riera unleashes a rifle a shot that just goes wide of the post. He had Howard beaten and he didn’t miss by much there.
43′ Anichebe gets it on the left edge of the box. He tries to send it into the box for Pienaar, but it’s behind him, otherwise he would have had a shot opportunity. Jagielka gets it and tries to send a cross from the right flank, but Gerrard knocks it out for a corner.
42′ Both men are up and running. Alonso loses it near the center line and Osman makes the run towards the box. He unleashes a shot from just outside the box, but Reina handles it easily.
40′ Anichebe and Alonso have a meeting of the minds, and both men are down. The players take this opportunity to take a water break, as is the norm whenever something like this happens.
39′ Reina springs Alonso, who makes a nice run towards the box. Arteta tries to foul him, but Alonso makes a nifty move to get past him. He sends it through to Torres down the left. Jagielka hits him with a clean tackle, though, and it’s out for a Liverpool throw. Great defense from Jagielka there.
38′ Baines sends in the corner, and the ball slips through Reina’s hands again. Luckily for him, Liverpool are able to clear it away. Very uncharacteristic sloppiness on Reina’s part. Everton should keep sending those crosses into the six-yard box. Maybe they’ll get lucky on one.
37′ Giveaway by Carragher and Anichebe gets it. He sends in a shot that’s deflected out for a corner by Skrtel.
36′ Anichebe does a good job to keep possession with his back to the box. He lays it off to Hibbert, who makes the run down the right flank. He lifts a cross from deep down the right wing, and Reina is out to collect it. He fumbles it, but there aren’t any blue shirts around to take advantage.
33′ Aurelio tries to play it over-the-top to Torres, but they have some miscommunication, and it’s out for a goal kick. Looks like Torres is rusty.
32′ Pienaar gives it away and Kuyt sends it to Gerrard, who lays it off to Alonso. He tries to thread it into the box, but Arteta is there to take it away.
31′ Alonso wins a free kick and he tries to take it quickly. Cahill is there to take it away, and he tries to catch Reina off his line from a good 50 yards away. It’s wide of the post and off target, though.
30′ Long pass from Alonso, this time to Keane. He can’t get there in time, and Jagielka tries to clear it. Kuyt slams into Jagielka with his butt and he’s called for the foul. Well, that’s one way to attack an opponent.
28′ Torres splits the defense after getting the long pass from Hyypia. He looks like he’s going to bury it in the back of the net, but he pulls his shot just wide. Liverpool fans are in disbelief that he missed that one. So am I, quite frankly. He was putting those away last season.
27′ Pienaar catches Torres with a forearm shot to the mouth. He gets booked for the first card of the match.
26′ Cross from Hibbert from the right edge of the box goes to Cahill. He heads it on target, and Reina just barely gets a finger to it. That looked like it was going in.
25′ Hibbert with a long cross from the right edge of the box, but it’s cleared away. Back the other way, and Torres makes a fantastic run into the box, beating defenders left and right. Arteta and Pienaar looked pretty bad on that play. Torres tries to lay it off to Alonso, but Everton manage to clear it.
23′ Jagielka fouls Keane on the edge of the box, and Liverpool will have another chance.
22′ Gerrard sends in a long free kick to Kuyt but it’s easily dealt with by Everton and cleared.
21′ Neville and Kuyt collide and Nevile looks a little worse for the wear. He’s up, though, and he should be good to go. Liverpool fans, I’m sure, are less than pleased about that.
19′ Arteta with a good takeaway, this time, as he picks Torres’ pocket. Liverpool are back on the attack, but Keane gives it away.
16′ Poor giveaway from Arteta and Liverpool go on the counter-attack. Torres hits the pitch, but no foul call from the refs.
15′ Poor touch from Lescott gives Liverpool half a chance. Riera sends a cross into the box for Keane, but Keane can’t handle it.
13′ Lescott is down after challenging Torres. Looks like he’ll be okay, though.
12′ Gerrard’s free kick takes a deflection and bounces right to an unmarked Kuyt. He takes a little too long setting up his shot, and it’s easily blocked. I think even Kuyt was surprised that he was that wide open.
11′ Gerrard’s free kick hits the wall. Maybe the wall wouldn’t change it’s playlist. He gets the ball back and runs toward the box, where he gets fouled by Arteta. Liverpool will get an even better free kick chance from 25 yards out or so.
10′ Lescott fouls Alonso and Liverpool will have a free kick from about 35 yards away. Let’s see what they can do with it.
9′ Alonso sends a long cross to Riera down the left flank, but it’s too long and out for an Everton throw.
8′ Osman whips in a cross to Anichebe from the right edge of the box, but Skrtel knocks it away.
6′ Dangerous cross by Keane from the right flank towards Torres, but Lescott heads it away.
5′ Neville and Gerrard go up for it, and Neville elbows Gerrard in the back. That won’t endear him to the Liverpool fans. Free kick for Liverpool and Gerrard sends it into the box towards Skrtel. He can’t get a clean header on it, and Everton break the other way.
3′ Keane wins a throw-in as he makes a run down the left. Quick throw and Alonso sends a deep cross from the left flank to the far post. It’s too far, though, and it’s out for a goal kick.
2′ Osman comes back and wins a corner for Everton. Arteta swings it in from the left. It’s deflected out for Neville, who mishits it and pops it up near Reina. He tries to handle it, but he’s impeded and it’s a free kick for Liverpool.
1′ Everton kicks off and we’re underway! Howard Webb is our ref. Anichebe with a nice half-volley from the edge of the box, and he fires a shot that actually makes Reina work a little. Nice start for the young Nigerian.
0′ Let’s see if the fans are a little more well-behaved this year. This is supposed to be a fairly well-tempered rivalry, so it was a little jarring to see Everton fans taunting Steven Gerrard’s kids and Liverpool fans spitting on Phil Neville last season. Hopefully, that won’t be the case today. We have enough ill-tempered derbies. We don’t need another one.
0′ Howard Webb is our ref. Is it just me, or does this guy do every big match now? Hopefully, he’s not as whistle-happy as he was during the Liverpool/Arsenal match or the Manchester Derby. I thought he did a good job during the recent Manchester United/Chelsea match, though.
0′ Interesting stat, Everton’s entire starting lineup cost a fraction more than Fernando Torres.
0′ And, as my law school grades will attest to, the shotgun approach rarely works.
0′ In law school, our professors warned us about using the shotgun approach when we were taking our exams. You know, where you keep firing and spraying pellets everywhere until you happen to hit the target? I feel like Manchester City are simply using the shotgun approach when it comes to building their team. Wayne Bridge for 12 million? Craig Bellamy for 14? I’m not going to touch on the whole Kaka thing, since I think he’s staying in Milan, but how is it possible that he’s worth more than twice what Zinedine Zidane went for? I’m flabbergasted.
0′ Gerrard will probably get most of the attention today, what with his off-the-field headaches and all, but there are a lot of other subplots that bear watching. The Keane/Torres partnership has mostly sputtered so far with Torres’ injuries and Keane’s lack of form. If those two can get on the same page, then watch out. Carragher will be a player to watch, since he usually plays well in big matches (although, interestingly, he isn’t complaining about being forced to play right-back like he did whenever he put on the England shirt). On Everton’s side, young Anichebe will make his highly anticipated debut for the Toffees. Talk about a trial by fire…
0′ Should be an interesting derby. These teams meet again on Saturday for F.A. Cup action, but it looks like both sides will be fielding their strongest teams today (except for Everton, who are without the suspended Fellaini). Liverpool have had their way with their cross-town rivals as of late, including a 2-0 win in September at Goodison Park. Let’s see if Everton can reverse the trend and keep Liverpool from reclaiming first place.
0′ Happy MLK Day to everyone! And, I would be remiss if I didn’t congratulate my hometown Pittsburgh Steelers for making it to the Super Bowl! Now let’s go get title #6!
0′ Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the Merseyside Derby! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger today!
Liverpool had this match in the bag before Benayoun’s bad foul led to Arteta’s free kick that Liverpool decided to defend as if they were down a man. Rafa Benitez may have been trying to take the pressure off his players with his verbal attack on Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, but he’ll have a lot of questions to answer as his team have, once again, dropped points at home. They really should have won today, as Everton really didn’t do much on offense up to that point, and their late-match slip up could either galvanize the team or mark the beginning of the end of their title aspirations.
As for Everton, they are severely undermanned and it showed today. They lack presence up front, as Anichebe acquitted himself well, but was hardly the answer at forward for the Toffees. Their rapidly thinning bench is in dire need of reinforcements, but their bargain-basement ways will probably preclude any significant improvement in the transfer window. As such, this was a great result for them. They still have some work to do if they want to lock up that fifth spot, and their lack of depth could cause them to lose steam like they did last year. Still, I wouldn’t bet against David Moyes, who always seems to find a way to get the most out of his squad.
Man of the Match:
Gerrard provided his moment of magic, but was otherwise quiet for most of the match. Torres had his chances but proved that he needs a couple more matches before he’s back in top form. Skrtel and Carragher played well on defense, and Alonso was his usual consistent self. As for Everton, Arteta is quickly establishing himself as one of the best free-kick takers in the league while Cahill, Jagielka, and Lescott had their usual solid outings. Baines, however, really stood out, as he made a number of excellent defensive plays, including that great play to deny Hyypia an easy goal, while doing a great job attacking down the left flank.