Dejected Everton carved up at Anfield

, 28 January, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Liverpool 4 - 0 Everton

Romelu Lukaku became the latest Everton player to succumb to serious injury
Everton suffered the biggest Merseyside derby defeat since the 1980s as they fell victim to Liverpool's devastating forward line and suffered something of a harsh reality check in their quest for Champions League qualification.

Yet another serious injury was added to the insult as Romelu Lukaku had to be withdrawn after just 25 minutes with damaged ankle ligaments, further underscoring the harsh luck that is undermining a season that promised so much.

The Blues arrived at Anfield in confident mood and in better shape than many supporters had expected, with Phil Jagielka and Antolin Alcaraz both passed fit to play in central defence, while Ross Barkley and Steven Pienaar also started having recovered from a fractured foot and a groin strain respectively.

What looked on recent evidence to be a sound defensive unit was cruelly exposed, however, as the reds romped to a 3-0 half-time lead.

Steven Gerrard threw off the attentions of Gareth Barry at a 21st-minute corner and rose above Alcaraz to head home to make it 1-0. In his attempts to retrieve the situation, however, Barry lost his footing and fell into Lukaku, the Belgian's foot buckling awkwardly under the midfielder's weight. He was forced to leave the pitch for treatment and was eventually taken away on a stretcher — another player added to the catalog of medium- to long-term injuries with which Martinez has had to contend this season.

After Simon Mignolet had parried Jagielka's shot away and Kevin Mirallas had missed by inches, though, Liverpool ripped the Blues open with ease to double their lead.

Coutinho passed into oceans of space behind Everton's flat-footed defensive line, where John Stones had been caught out of position, to meet the run of Daniel Sturridge and he side-footed past the stranded Tim Howard.

Two minutes later, disaster turned to a nightmare when the visitors' defence was again caught napping, Sturridge the beneficiary of a ball over the top by Kolo Toure and with Howard racing to the edge of his area to close him down, the striker executed an impressive over-the-shoulder shot that dropped into the empty net from 18 yards.

Martinez withdrew Pienaar at half time in favour of Leon Osman and Everton at least tried to force their way back into the game but everything they tried met either a stubborn red wall or the gloves of Mignolet.

Any hope they had of salvaging something vanished, though, five minutes after the break when Jagielka tried to shift a Liverpool clearance from a corner square to Alcaraz and Suarez intercepted before racing away and sliding the ball past Howard and inside the far corner.

Abject humiliation was spared when Sturridge smashed a penalty over the crossbar after he had been felled by Howard but for all their endeavour and dominance in possession, the Blues couldn't find a way through at the other end to add some respectability to the score.

Quotes or other material sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports

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