Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Toffees Come Unstuck Against Rampant Reds

After securing a FA Cup fifth round draw away to Arsenal, Liverpool played host to fierce rivals Everton in the Merseyside Derby with devastating results for the boys in Blue.

Only three changes were made from the team that defeated Bournemouth with Flanagan, Mignolet and Sterling returning while Brad Smith was named on the bench as Rodgers looked for a first win over Everton.

Surprisingly, Everton had the first scoring chance as Barkley collected the ball and raced forward and uleashed a powerful effort that skimmed over the crossbar but Liverpool replied and Howard was called into action by a strong volley from Henderson and Suarez and Sterling combined with the former hitting a shot that drew a comfortable save from Howard.

Howard found himself busy again as Sterling connected to a Sturridge pass and hit goalwards but was denied by the American, Henderson and Suarez exchanged passes with the Uruguayan taking a shot that was cleared for a corner, he took the set-piece himself and found his captain perfectly who hit past Howard and sent Anfield into celebration.

Everton were dealt a double blow as after the goal, star striker Lukaku went off injured and in his place came Naismith who scored a double at the weekend and Liverpool sensed a chance to go further in front and as the SAS combined, Sturridge curled a shot achingly over the bar as Everton needed a response.

They did respond and forced Mignolet into a stretching save as Jagielka tested the Belgian who was then beaten by fellow countryman Mirallas who hit an effort from 20 yards that despite beating Mignolet went wide.

Mirallas' miss was the prelude to a spectacular response as Coutinho created a superb through ball that sliced the Everton backline open and found Sturridge who took a touch and to stunning effect lifted the ball over Howard to the astonishment and joy of the Kop.

Before the dust could settle on the second goal, it was three as Toure loft the ball forward and Sturridge connected to race towards the Everton goal and lob a superb effort high into the air and accurately into the far corner as Howard was beaten for the second time in as many minutes.

Everton needed an Istanbul-type comeback to claim anything from the game and Mignolet was forced into an early save by Osman who had come on at half-time but it was to no avail as Liverpool hit a fourth as Suarez connected to a mistake from Jagielka on the half-way line and raced the length of the Everton half to finish past Howard.

Four should have been five when Sterling raced into the area and was fouled by Howard who conceded a penalty but received no further action and Sturridge was given the chance for a ha-trick by regular taker Gerrard but blazed the ball into the Kop.

McCarthy had a good chance to pull one back but Mignolet saved low from his clipped effort and at the final whistle, the Anfield faithful celebrated a superb win that is their highest in the Derby since 1982 and they move on triumphantly to West Brom on Sunday.