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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Saturday 23 November 2013; 12:45pm
3 3
Mirallas (8'),
Lukaku (72', 82')
Half Time: 1 - 2
Coutinho (5'), Suarez (19'),
Sturrige (89')  
Attendance: 39,576
Fixture 12
Referee: Phil Dowd

Match Report

The television executives have doubted the power of the Merseyside derby to thrill and entertain in recent years but if the goalless edition at Anfield in March had provided supporting evidence, this pulsating first all-Merseyside clash of the post-David Moyes era at Everton showed that his meeting between two old rivals still delivers.

Last season's Goodison derby was a rollocking affair that had offered up four goals before half time as the teams played out a 2-2 draw but that was surpassed today by a game that almost everything passion, drama, full-blooded challenges, six goals and, thankfully, no red cards, although Kevin Mirallas should have received his marching orders for an ugly, if fully-deserved, studs-up challenge on Luis Suarez in the first half.

For Everton, having benefited from Phil Dowd's cool head (if only for not being swayed by fourth official, Martin Atkinson, the villain of the 2011 Goodison derby) and roared back from behind to lead 3-2, this was a massively disappointing draw. Three goal conceded weakly from set-pieces proved to be their undoing, most crushingly after Romelu Lukaku had powered home his second goal to give them the chance at pricless victory.

Substitute Daniel Sturridge proved to be the recipient of slack marking as he steered a Steven Gerrard free kick past Tim Howard in the 89th minute and Roberto Martinez had to be content with a point from his first derby experience.

Though question marks over his defence's frailty from dead-ball situations will dominate the aftermath of this game, the Spaniard deserves credit for a positive approach to this game, both in terms of initial selection Ross Barkley was rightly reinstated to the starting line-up in place of Leon Osman and the youngster was electric for much of the contest and his substitutions. When Leighton Baines was forced off through injury five minutes after half time, he introduced Gerard Deulofeu and deployed Gareth Barry at left back.

The result was enough clear-cut chances to win the game handily and but for some disappointing finishing and an inspired display by Simon Mignolet, the Blues would surely be toasting victory this afternoon.

The game kicked off in frentic fashion, more evocative of derbies past than the more recent editions, albeit without the usual dangerous, borderline-legal challenges that often set the tone of these occasions they would come later.

Everton, unfortunately, shot themselves in the foot at the first corner of the game, Baines allowing Suarez to out-muscle him as the ball came in and that allowed it to come through to Coutinho who had the freedom of Goodison at the back post where he prodded home.

The Blues' reaction was to take the game by the scruff of the neck, though, and hit back almost immediately from a set-piece of their own. Seamus Coleman floated in a free-kick, Barkley knocked the ball down and Mirallas stabbed home at the back post. 1-1.

Having steadied the ship, Everton then retained control of proceedings and set about trying to break Brendan Rogers' side down again. Lukaku was almost put in on goal by the lively Steven Pienaar but Mignolet got just enough on the ball to deflect it back onto the marauding Belgian's leg and it ricocheted behind for a goal kick.

Barkley was scintillating going forward at times for the home side and looked the most likely player in Blue to carve Liverpool open and, in the midst of a promising spell of possession, it looked like Martinez's men had the platform on which to turn the screw and find a goal that would have put them ahead.

Instead, it was more self-sobatage at the back that saw the reds re-take the lead. Attempts to pass their way out from the back had produced mixed results in the first quarter hour with insufficient movement from the likes of Barry and James McCarthy to show for the pass. One such incident saw possession gifted to Liverpool in midfield and on the resulting attack, Barry tripped Suarez in a dangerous area.

Anyone who had seen any of the Uruguayan's highlight reel knew exactly where the free kick was going and yet Everton left a crucial gap in the defensive wall between Baines and Pienaar and Suarez exploited it with deadly accuracy, Howard diving in vain as the ball crept inside the post.

It was wholly against the run of play but though Everton would edge possession for the remainder of the half, they struggled to carve open another clearer chance until Mignolet, seeing it late, tipped Barkley's shot around the post at the last moment with 20 minutes gone. Mirallas then drifted a right footer across the Liverpool goal and Barkley dipped one over as the Blues tried their luck from distance.

It was around the half-hour mark that the home faithful got the welcome sight of Suarez hobbling badly following a collision with Phil Jagielka and signalling to his bench that he probably couldn't continue. He was already a passenger at this point but Mirallas decided to exact some revenge for the Uruguayan cheat's cynical stamp on him here last season by clatting through him with his studs planted firmly on Suarez's knee. The Belgian was hugely fortunate to only pick up a yellow card and he would go on to add an assist to his goal in the second half.

If the first period had fizzled out from Everton's perspective, the second was much more promising from an attacking point of view, particularly once Deulofeu had added more counter-attacking threat. The Spaniard suffered a bout of stage fright within five minutes of coming on, though, when he was put clean through on a lightning break but he fired straight at Mignolet who had raced out to close him down.

More slack defending at the other end, almost put the game beyond the Blues on the hour mark, though. Liverpool carved them right open and Joe Allen was presented with the reds' third goal on a platter but he somehow side-footed wide with the goal gaping either side of Howard.

Everton kept up their momentum in the attacking third, though, and great, determined work by Lukaku ended with the striker being thwarted once more by his international teammate, Mignolet, the 'keeper stopping his goal-bound shot with an out-stretched arm as he rushed out to close down the angle.

Lukaku would best his compatriot just a few minutes later, though. With Baines off the pitch, the on-loan forward elected to take a 25-plus-yard free kick himself and though Mignolet beat away his smashed effort, Everton kept the ball, worked it down the left side of the box and Mirallas cut it back where McCarthy's out-stretched leg pushed it on to Lukaku and he side-footed home via the goalkeeper's glove.

A great chance to take the lead then evaporated when Lukaku wasted a three-on-two break by ignoring Mirallas who was completely open on his left and rolled the ball inside straight to a red shirted defender and Mignolet again had to be at his best to deny Deulofeu as he greedily eschewed the cut-back in favour of a shot at the near post.

It was the Barcelona teenager's jinking run along the byline and refusal, again, the cut the ball back into the danger zone that forced the corner from which Everton took the lead for the first time in the game. Lukaku rose ahead of Glenn Johnson to meet the delivery from the Blues' left and powered an unstoppable header into the net to send the Gwladys Street into bedlam.

There was to be one more frustrating defensive lapse, though, with less than two minutes remaining. Distin raised an unnecessary boot on a Liverpool player in the left-back position conceding a needless free kick in a dangerous area and Steven Gerrard, as usual, took license with the placement of the set-piece before despatching it onto the head of Sturridge who did the rest.

So, much to admire and much to rue in the final reckoning of what was a cracking game of football, albeit one whose thrills are dulled to a large degree by Evertonian frustration that we couldn't hold on at the end. To give up the two points that would have brought us level in the table with Liverpool was desperately disappointing but defeat was, at least, avoided.

Importantly, though it took a while, the Blues have rediscovered some of their attacking Mojo and it was pleasing to see Lukaku back on the goal trail with two really well-taken efforts. Additionally, while a couple of slips too close to his own area and his propensity to over-elaborate in the opposition third, Deulofeu showed that he is capable of playing in the same team as Mirallas. The Belgian, meanwhile, looked a good deal more threatening when gven the license to operate across the front with Lukaku rather than pinned to the touchline.

That will bode well for the upcoming challenges against Manchester United and Arsenal, of course, but there will rightly be concern about the manner in which those three goals were conceded.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Summary

Ross Barkley started the first Merseyside derby of the Roberto Martinez era, with Deulofeu and Osman on the bench. The first corner for Liverpool was easily converted by Coutinho all alone at the far post to give Liverpool a shocking early lead. But Mirallas equalized very strongly inside 3 minutes, powering in at the far post. Then a foul by Distin on Suarez set up a free-kick that the Uruguayan curled brilliantly around the Everon wall and beyond Howard, just inside the post. After relentless Everton pressure in the second half, Lukaku, who had been poor, finally drove the ball past Mignolet. And 10 mins later, off a brilliant corner, Lukaku powered home an excellent Duncanesque header. It looked like this was the winner but Sturridge came on and glanced home another silly free-kick given away by Distin to level the scores in a tremendous game that Everton should have won.

Roberto Martinez selected Ross Barkley to start the first Merseyside derby of his reign as an Everton manager.

McCarthy went on a good early run, but with Lukaku holding wide right, as Everton set the tone with some early pressing; however, a long Gerrard pass won the first corner for Liverpool that was easily converted by Coutinho all alone at the far post to give Liverpool a shocking early lead.

Everton were stunned but on the first real opportunity. Baines floated in a good deep free-kick and Barkley seemed to get enough on it for Mirallas to force his way in at the far post and hook it into the Liverpool net, a great early response from the Blues, who continued to press the Reds back into their own penalty area.

Barry stood on Suarez's foot in a very dangerous spot and from the free kick, Suarez curled the ball around the wall and just inside Howard's post to put the Reds back in the lead after 19 mins.

A fantastic curled ball in by Barkley had to be tipped around the post late by Mignolet but Distin pushed Agger out of his way and drew a foul on the corner. Distin then had to give up another corner as Suarez threatened.

Everton were trying to get the ball forward to Lukaku with more urgency, but he was being well covered and unable to get clean possession but Mirallas got a second ball and lashed his shot across Mignolet's goal. Barkley was playing superbly and looked to shoot, but it flew well over.

Everton then tried to pass their way into the Liverpool area with at least 20 passes but got nowhere, and Barkley trying the more direct approach, being apparently caught by Lucas but deemed simulation by Dowd and given a yellow card for it.

Suarez started limping badly, then Mirallas caught him late on the player's knee with his studs, with protracted on-field treatment and the Liverpool physio making the case for a red card, but it was only yellow... somewhat surprisingly!

Everton were playing the early ball, but this time it was Mirallas who could not get past Flanagan. Gerrard appeared to lead with his elbow on Barry but Dowd settled things down. Pienaar won a great ball to feed Lukaku but the big man was too slow and Lucas was there to deny him. Lukaku was making very little in the way of worthwhile possession despite the ball being supplied to him regularly.

Pienaar and Baines combined well but Baines's first-time shot on the return ball flew horribly wide to end a very lively first half that was at times more like a traditional derby than an exhibition of calm passing and building on steady possession.

Martinez made no changes at the break, with Deulofeu still sitting on the bench despite Lukaku not playing particularly well. Barry then Barkley were fouled but Baines's free-kick for the second was pathetic in the circumstances... perhaps because he was struggling with a knock. More afters between Mirallas and Suarez as the Liverpool player dived in, and Mirallas came down with a boot between his shoulder blades! Baines went off, to be replaced by Deulofeu playing on the right, with Barry moving to left-back as Liverpool wasted a free-kick.

Everton started attacking with some real vim and vigour as Liverpool were pushed back, with Barkley and Deulofeu trying to create magic but they could not chisel out any chances on goal. Deulofeu got away but his execution was very poor, playing the ball straight at the advancing Mignolet, very poor execution.

A better move again saw Lukaku out right rather than in on goal to receive a great cross from Coleman. More attacking play broke down too easily and Liverpool really should have gone further ahead when Allen had an open goal to shoot at but screwed it wide. Mirallas caught Henderson on the brow, drawing blood, then Allen caught Mirallas and saw yellow.

Mirallas and Lukaku combined to put Lukau in with a glorious chance but again, the ball was played too close to Mignolet, who made himself big enough to catch Lukaku's shot with his right arm.

Pienaar was fouled by Lucas who got a yellow card, with the ball played short but it did not open up the Liverpool defence and Barkley resorted to another desperate welly. Barkley then went on a run down the middle but looked for the foul on him rather than the obvious pass. But a great ball from Barkley in to Lukaku again saw the shot tamely straight at the keeper when he really, really should have equalized.

Barkley was fouled in a good central position, Lukaku driving through and getting a nice deflection that so nearly beat Mignolet. But on the follow-up, Mirallas dived in smartly to keep it alive on the byeline and the ball eventually came through to Lukaku for once unmarked and in the right place, in front of goal and this time he made no mistake,

A real test of nerve for Everton as they needed to keep pressing with a fantastic Goodison atmosphere behind them, but perennially exposed on the counter, Distin coming up big time and again in defence with Sturridge coming on to redress the balance. Off a Liverpool corner, Everton broke and Lukaku looked to be well placed but his layoff was simply awful and before you could blink, the ball was heading to Suarez, who powered a header in on the Everton goal that somehow Howard kept out, as the Blues defence rocked a little.

Another excellent break four on two but again, the ball played close enough for Mignolet to save. Deulofeu tried again along the byeline but could only force the corner when he should have pulled the ball back. However, a fantastic corner in from Mirallas and a perfect header from Lukaku, leaping like a salmon around the penalty spot to power it home, well away from Mignolet and over the defender on the post. Goodison went ballistic...

Pienaar was replaced by Stones in the mayhem and Everton had to defend a dangerous free-kick that Jagielka headed away as the game boiled into a fantastic finishing phase, with Liverpool now pressing hard to get back in it. Mirallas went off for Leon Osman.

Distin needlessly gave away a free kick out wide on the Everton left and Sturridge glanced home the equalizer in the final minute of normal time, Everton utterly stunned.

Another free-kick for Liverpool that Gerrard swung across and Suarez returned it for Moses to head behind when it looked like he would score the winner for the horrible Reds.

Everton finally got into the Liverpool half, but could not sustain it and the ball fell to Suarez who had a fearsome shot that Howard parried away but Sturridge drove the ball into the Everton net off the corner. However, he was offside.

More brilliant play by Deulofeu ensued but again he chose to shoot at Mignolet rather than pull the ball back for Lukaku. Another incredible spell of Everton possession in the Liverpool area saw the Blues come maddeningly close to the winner but could not create enough space for the shot in a microcosm of a quite fantastic game, with Everton sadly throwing away two points from a commanding position near the end that they simply could not sustain.

Michael Kenrick


Match Preview

The first Merseyside derby of the Roberto Martinez era arrives this weekend and with it comes the usual anticipation and dread as bragging rights for the next few months are on the line. The presence of a new man in the Goodison dugout plotting Liverpool's downfall makes for an added dimension this time around, though, particularly given the complex Everton appeared to develop against the Reds under Martinez's predecessor.

Despite facing some of the worst Liverpool teams in living memory, David Moyes only managed to beat Liverpool three times in the League over the course of his tenure and Martinez faces an altogether more threatening opposition for his derby debut. Backed by the goalscoring potency of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, Brendan Rogers' side made a good start to the season and sit in second place, three points above the Blues coming into this game.

Martinez will know that his team should, at the very least, be right up alongside Liverpool – if not higher – but two successive goalless draws, the second a limp offensive display against Crystal Palace last time out, stymied their hopes of sitting behind leaders Arsenal coming into this weekend's all-Mersey showdown.

The Spaniard's task is an obvious one: get Everton's attacking machine creating chances and scoring goals again, while preserving the defensive resilience that has them approaching six hours of football now without conceding.

The latter challenge may be eased if Sturridge is ruled out with a dead leg as he and Suarez have struck up a good partnership since the Uruguayan deception artist returned from his lengthy ban this season. Though the back pairing of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin can boast that impressive defensive record thus far, it's fair to say the Blues rode their luck a little against Palace a fortnight ago and they are yet to look fully comfortable with the mandate to pass their way out from the back.

It's in the forward areas where things have gone a little off the boil lately and Everton's chances will likely rest on greater link-up and a deeper understanding between Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas... although many will argue that the return to the starting XI of Ross Barkley could be just as important. Though the teenager wasn't able to rouse Everton from their attacking torpor at Selhurst Park after coming on as a second-half substitute, Martinez's side have looked more dangerous with his precocious forward intent than without this season.

There is a chance that Gerard Deulofeu could be involved from the start, although, irrespective of Martinez's hints in the build-up, it would seem to be a slim one given that the Barcelona teenager has yet to start a Premier League game. More likely, it will be Mirallas deployed in his usual wide-right role, with Deulofeu waiting in the wings to perhaps come on and affect proceedings later in the game.

Like the Chelsea and Tottenham games before it, this derby clash offers Everton the chance to make a statement against a media-darling outfit that has, thus far at least, signalled its own intent to challenge for the European places this season. As painful as it is to acknowledge, Rogers has bought well and seems to now have a settled team that can score goals at will. There's also the added incentive that six of the top eight teams play each other this weekend which would make a win all the more precious.

More than merely beating a rival for the top four, of course, victory this weekend for the Blues could have enormous psychological ramifications given what has transpired in derby games over the past four seasons – including, of course, the calamity in the semi-final at Wembley.

As ever, a key to success will be rising above the fray, particularly in midfield, and resisting the temptation to turn the game into a fractious free-for-all. Given that both managers have placed an emphasis on passing football, that could be more possible than is usually the case on these types of occasions but it is imperative that Everton take early command and dictate the game on their terms. And, of course, give Lukaku the ammunition to bury the old enemy.

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Match Preview
Match Summary
Match Report
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2013-14 Reports Index
< C Palace (A) Stoke City (h) >
EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Baines (49' Deulofeu)
  Distin :89
  Jagielka (c)
  Barry :
  Pienaar (83' Stones)
  Barkley :28
  Mirallas : 36' (88' Osman)
  Subs not used
  Gibson (injured)
  Kone (injured)
  McAleny (injured)
  Duffy (loan)
  Garbutt (loan)
  Lucas :66' (79' Sturridge)
  Allen :61' (68' Moses)
  Subs not used

Premier League Scores
Arsenal 2 - 0 So'hampton
Everton 3 - 3 Liverpool
Fulham 1 - 2 Swansea
Hull City 0 - 1 C Palace
Newcastle 2 - 1 Norwich
Stoke 2 - 0 Sunderland
West Ham 0 - 3 Chelsea
Cardiff 2 - 2 Man United
Man City 6 - 0 Tottenham
West Brom 2 - 2 Aston Villa

Team Pts
1 Arsenal 28
2 Liverpool 24
3 Chelsea 24
4 Manchester City 22
5 Southampton 22
6 Manchester United 21
7 Everton 21
8 Newcastle United 20
9 Tottenham Hotspur 20
10 Swansea City 15
11 West Bromwich Albion 14
12 Aston Villa 14
13 Hull City 14
14 Stoke City 13
15 Cardiff City 13
16 Norwich City 11
17 West Ham United 10
18 Fulham 10
19 Crystal Palace 7
20 Sunderland 7

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