Sunday, 24 November 2013

SAS Combine In Merseyside Derby

After a packed international break, Liverpool's stars returned to league focus for the Merseyside derby away to Everton yesterday afternoon.

Rodgers made two changes from the last match with Allen and Flanagan coming in for Enrique and  Sturridge with the latter on the bench, Everton started the better of the two sides as McCarthy threatened to open the scoring after a drive from the middle.
 
Liverpool countered with style as in the fifth minute they took the lead as Gerrard swept in a corner that Suarez flicked for Coutinho to control past Howard from close range. The lead lasted barely minutes as Everton equalised in the eighth minute as Mirallas connected to a loose ball in the Liverpool area to hit past fellow Belgian, Mignolet to level the score.

Mignolet was called into action again within minutes as he had to react quickly to deny another fellow Belgian, this time Lukaku who had broke through the defensive line but was skillfully denied by the Liverpool 'keeper. Liverpool regained the lead in the 19th minute as Suarez coolly swept in a free-kick that sailed past Howard and stunned the home fans while delighting the travelling reds.

Everton looked to repeat their earlier comeback and Mignolet was required to push a Barkely attempt past the post with Mirallas looking to seal a brace from distance only to see it fly wide. Mirallas was lucky to remain on the pitch minutes later after a bad challenge on Suarez just after the half-hour with the result being a booking for the Belgian and a cut leg for the Uruguayan.

Liverpool were happy at the break as they went in 2-1 up but Everton looked to change that early in the second half as Deulofeu replaced Baines and the Spaniard found massive space by a pinpoint ball from Mirallas but the focused Mignolet stuck a foot out to prevent the danger.

Liverpool could have all but sealed the win just on the hour when Allen found himself in front of goal with an unmarked Suarez in his sights but strangely went for goal and missed the target to the disgust of his teammate.
 
Mignolet denied Everton again by blocking a chance from Lukaku as Moses replaced Allen to try and increase the lead for the visitors but the ongoing battle of the Belgian's saw the attackers capitalise as Lukaku hit a free-kick against his international teammate and followed up with an equaliser amid a goal-mouth scramble. 
 
Liverpool looked to lead for a third time as Gerrard gave Suarez a great chance to head past Howard but the American denied him with a reflex stop which soon saw Sturridge come off the bench to replace Lucas.
 
Mignolet made a double stop from Deulofeu as the Spaniard raced down the left and from a resulting corner, Lukaku hit his second goal by rising highest to head past Mignolet and send the home fans wild and surely win the game for Everton.
 
Recent years have seen a twist in the final seconds and this year was no different as Gerrard swept in a free-kick which the in-form Sturridge headed home to the delight of an ecstatic travelling crowd as he salvaged a point. 

But there was still time for Suarez to have one last chance as he tested Howard and Liverpool did have the ball in the net for a fourth time but sadly it was rules out for offside with the last action of the game coming from Mignolet as he denied Deulofeu for one final time.

So an exciting Merseyside derby as always but a shame that a draw became a fair result which could have been very different had Allen been a team player when he had the chance to square to Suarez but enough of ifs and buts as we still sit second and that is still a massive achievement.