Liverpool slump to 19th after defeat
Everton dominated the first half and deservedly went ahead after 34 minutes when a fantastic run by youngster Seamus Coleman, on his first derby appearance, took him past three Liverpool players before cutting the ball back for Cahill to power the ball home.
Mikel Arteta then made Liverpool hearts sink even further when he thundered home a fantastic strike from the edge of the area after 50 minutes to put the Evertonians in dreamland and to condemn their rivals to their worst start in 57 years.
The build-up to the 214th Merseyside derby was obviously all about Liverpool and their new American owners. With NESV and John W. Henry now in control of the club, after a protracted takeover which included everything you might expect from a HBO mini-series, Roy Hodgson will be hoping for stability for the first time in his tenure.
Everton have also had a rough ride of it recently boasting just one win all season, the same as today’s opponents, but they took some positivity into the game after becoming the first team in over a year to beat Birmingham City at St Andrews last time out and therefore taking themselves above Liverpool in the Premier League standings, albeit on goal difference and to the not-so-lofty heights of 17th.
It was Everton who bossed the opening exchanges in front of the home fans with the first real sign of danger coming from a Mikel Arteta free-kick which, after initially rebounding off the wall, found its way to Phil Jagielka who proceeded to wildly lash the ball over the bar from 16 yards out.
Minutes later and again the Toffees came close to opening to scoring. This time it was Jagielka’s defensive partner Sylvan Distin who worked his way through the Liverpool penalty area, but his attempted left-foot curler was deflected wide.
It took Liverpool until mid-way through the first half to really start to threaten after an opening 20 minutes of misplaced passes and easy dispossessions and, like with Everton’s first foray they perhaps should have scored. Joe Cole cut in from the left flank and delivered a perfect cross right onto Fernando Torres's head eight yards out but Tim Howard was equal to it as he parried the ball from under the bar for a corner.
In a high-tempo game Everton were the next to test their opposition goalkeeper as the home side broke swiftly with Tim Cahill and Yakubu exchanging a one-two before the Nigerian forced Pepe Reina into a smart save down to his right to stop a drive from the edge of the area.
With Liverpool finally showing signs of doing something positive in the game, their opponents delivered a sucker punch. Seamus Coleman picked up the ball around 30 yards out and proceeded to power his way past three Liverpool players until he reached the right-hand touchline where he cut the ball back for the galloping Tim Cahill to lash the ball home from eight yards out, high into the roof of Reina’s net on his near side.
From the restart Everton again dispossessed a Liverpool player and this time it was Leon Osman’s turn to maraud down the right flank and deliver a ball into the area but this time Liverpool decided to stop the attack and Paul Konchesky cleared the danger.
As if Everton defenders dispossessing them was not enough, Torres then managed to get in the way of Raul Meireles, as the Portuguese midfielder looked to have a clear chance for a shot on goal, which resulted in neither player getting a decent contact.
With the first half drawing to a close, Steven Gerrard finally got his teeth stuck into the game and he delivered a fabulous ball that almost released Torres down the right-hand side only for Distin to match his pace, in a never more blatant example of the Spaniard's declining form, to clear and allow another Evertonian break. This time their efforts concluded with a strong effort on target by Osman that was too close to Reina to seriously trouble the goalkeeper.
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As Liverpool came out for the second half in search for an equaliser they immediately jumped on a positive foot as winger Maxi Rodriguez struck a stinging low drive towards the Everton goal but his attempt was well held by Tim Howard.
But again the Toffees struck a sucker punch as good hold-up play from Yakubu, combining with second-half substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who came on for the injured Osman, earnt his side a corner.
Leighton Baines swung the ball in and it was headed back to the edge of the area to a completely unmarked Mikel Arteta to take one touch and hammer the ball home through a group of players and a helpless Reina into the top right-hand corner to give his side a 2-0 lead just five minutes into the second half.
With an Everton banner in the crowd that read "Agents Hicks and Gillett: Mission Accomplished" never seeming more true, the impressive Coleman again set off on another prowling run only for it to be stunted by some scrambling Liverpool defending as the away side tried desperately to get a foothold on the game.
Joe Cole, who was anonymous for the majority of the game, did manage to scare Evertonians slightly when he cut inside and let rip from 20 yards out but the ball whizzed over Howard’s bar.
It was at least a sign of real attacking intent in light of a Torres effort moments earlier that the 26-year-old blasted miles over after a neat nod-down from Maxi at the end of the area. The Spaniard’s body language suggested that he never believed he would score as he flailed his arms at his side and looked defeated in quite a sad portrayal of the previously prolific striker.
As Liverpool continued to push for a breakthrough in the final 10 minutes, Meireles had a goal-bound effort blocked by Distin before a sumptuous ball from Gerrard beat everyone but Howard as Torres lurked at the far post.
Gerrard’s influence on the game continued to grow in stature as again he was the creator when he played in Torres who, in his first positive moment in the match as the clock struck 86 minutes, checked inside Tony Hibbert and Jagielka only for his fierce low shot to be saved by Howard’s legs.
Despire Liverpool’s late efforts it was all too little too late as when the final whistle blew they found themselves in 19th position in the Premier League standings in a very disappointing start to what was supposed to be a new era at Liverpool.
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