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5 May 2013
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 44991
Steven Gerrard did his utmost to forge a win for the home side but the visitors were strong and resolute in their defending. A draw is a fair result but Liverpool fans may feel they could have edged it with the chances they had. That'll be all from me, Tim Poole, folks. Next up is Manchester United - Chelsea - and make sure you stay right here on Goal.com for that. What a game it promises to be.
So that's it, a tense affair finishes goalless with neither side prepared to over-commit in search of a winner. Although Everton boss David Moyes is still without a win at Anfield, he will be the happier of the two managers as Everton maintain their five point lead over Liverpool in the table. Surely that has guaranteed them sixth place.
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME! The whistle blows and Jamie Carragher's final ever Merseyside derby ends in a 0-0 draw.
90' + 2'
FREE KICK TO EVERTON! Sylvain Distin launches forward - and so does everybody bar Howard. This looks to be the last chance of the game...
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Leon Osman
90' + 1'
The ball pings around the Everton defence before a desperate clearance sends the ball out for a Liverpool throw.
Three minutes of added time here and it's the away side who look closest to grabbing a winner!
Yellow Card Fabio Borini
Are we going to see yet more late Merseyside derby drama?
ALMOST!! Anichebe thumps a long hit towards the box and it crashes against the bar after a touch from Reina. The visitors waste their corner, though, and Sturridge advances up the other end.
More passes being strung together in the middle of the park as a second draw of the season between these sides looks likely. I have, of course, just jinxed it haven't I?
A midfield battle for possession ensues as both sides look to assert some sort of superiority over the other. The truth, though, is that they are very, very even.
ANOTHER CHANCE! How close do Liverpool want to get before they finally score? Or will this simply end goalless? Sturridge lofts a delightful ball to Enrique, who smashes a low hit across goal. No Red shirt can get on the end of it, however, with any Liverpool touch virtually guaranteeing a goal.
CHANCE! The Gerrard-to-Agger combination this time almost pays dividends as the Denmark defender heads agonisingly wide. He's landed awkwardly and may need some treatment, though he wouldn't have cared had that gone in!
It's the hosts' turn to apply pressure as they win a free kick in a dangerous position. Gerrrard looks set to swing it in but not before Martin Skrtel comes on for Stewart Downing in an interesting change.
Everton pressure is put to the sword after a solid Reds clearance but they win the ball back and have the home side on the ropes once again. Baines then delivers a penetrating cross into the box but Reina is able to dive down and catch it before it causes any more trouble.
A late goal would surely create tremors here - but who will be the side to get it?
ANOTHER BIG CHANCE! It's that man (although he is surely superhuman) Gerrard once again. Sturridge plays him into the area with a fantastic low pass and the Reds captain rounds Howard and finishes from a low angle but a great challenge from a Blue shirt stops it from going in.
Appeals for a free kick at the other end as Enrique brings down Mirallas. The free kick would have meant a sending off as the Spaniard was the last man - but referee Oliver viewed the situation as not serious enough to award the foul.
Gerrard's ball to Agger is left unmet once more - the Reds skipper is going all out today, as he always does in Merseyside derbies. But he hasn't been able to force a breakthrough against a resolute Everton side quite yet.
Not quite... Gerrard's corner is cleared by Gibson. But they now have a free kick down the right after a foul from Mirallas.
Downing wins a corner in front of the Kop! Could this be the moment for the home side?
Gerrard whips a long free kick into the Everton area, meanwhile, but Agger cannot make the most of the opportunity. The ball then finds its way back to the Reds skipper, whose effort from distance is blocked by a Blue shirt.
CHANCE! But not taken well by Fellaini! After good work from Anichebe in using his strength to hold the ball up - his specialty - the Belgian fires wide from a tight angle, which is greeted by jeers from the home faithful.
Is this game going out with a whimper? Brendan Rodgers looks determined to ensure that it won't and on comes Fabio Borini. Making way for him is Jordan Henderson - who has not put a foot wrong but is perhaps understandably fatigued after his efforts.
Osman has a shot at the other end, meanwhile, which drags harmlessly wide.
Gerrard and Sturridge continue to persevere in their attempts to break down the Everton back-line but they are looking very difficult to beat at the moment.
Coutinho now comes close for the home side as normal service resumes. A great ball in from Johnson reaches the Brazilian and his low effort tests Howard at the near post.
That event brought about the first yellow card of the game and - if you're a big fan of statistics - the first key event of the match. Liverpool may be slightly disappointed not to have been the first side to net.
Yellow Card Victor Anichebe
BIZARRE! Everton have the ball in the back of the net, with Distin heading home from the corner. Yet Referee Michael Oliver is having none of it, ruling it out for a foul from that man Anichebe - who is then booked for basically shoving Enrique out of the way.
Everton now have a corner, though, and Anichebe is being spoken to by the referee for his shoulder-to-shoulder antics with Enrique.
A limp attack from the visitors comes to an underwhelming end as Fellaini is dispossessed but the Belgian then wins the ball straight back, although - after a few passes - possession goes straight back to the home side.
The Reds this time approach from the right, with Gerrard and Johnson combining well before the ball is switched to Agger through the middle.
It has been all Liverpool so far in this second period and Jose Enrique and Henderson are simply storming up the left flank at will.
The hosts are cranking up the pressure! Another great run down the left-hand side sees a superb cross whipped into the area but Howard is equal to the delivery.
CHANCE! Sturridge is set free inside the Everton area by a fantastic through ball from Coutinho (who else?) but Howard smothers the young striker in possession before he then regains possession and fires into the side netting.
The hosts are straight out of the blocks, forcing Sylvain Distin into a defensive clearance before Henderson then raids down the left-hand side.
WE'RE OFF! The home side get us underway for this second half. How they need a win here if they aim to finish above their bitter rivals come the end of the season.
The second half is minutes away... Can you feel the tension?
There hasn't been too much goalmouth action but there have been feisty challenges galore, while the likes of Gerrard and Leon Osman have covered every blade of grass for their respective sides. Another tense 45 minutes surely await after the break - but you would expect goals in this one.
So no goals during that first 45 but plenty of action and plenty to suggest this game means a lot to both sides. Everton, of course, can finish above Liverpool for two consecutive seasons and a win here would virtually guarantee that. The hosts have come closest though - with Daniel Sturridge and captain Steven Gerrard being blocks away from unleashing goalbound efforts.
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME! The whistle blows and it's all square here at the break. It's been a tense affair.
One minute of injury time will be played.
Enrique plays a long ball harmlessly into the path of Howard and the players look as though they are looking forward to the half-time break.
The ball finds its way into the Liverpool area before being cleared as far as Gibson, who fires a shot in from distance that is deflected out for an Everton corner. That corner leads to another one...
ANOTHER BIG CHANCE! Fancy footwork inside the area from the home side sees Henderson play the ball into Sturridge but he is dispossessed by resolute Toffees defending.
It is Gibson who takes it, however, and his free kick sails over the bar. Not the best effort you will ever see from the Irishman.
Baines looks like he might be about to take it...
Mirallas whips an in-swinging free kick in from the left but nothing comes of it. Everton advance once again, though, and this time get a free kick with a clear sight of goal after a clumsy challenge from Daniel Agger.
Gerrard and Sturridge have been the home side's standout performers so far today, while Coutinho and Downing (particularly Downing) have also been terrific. For the visitors, meanwhile, the presences of Fellaini, Osman and Baines have been as strong as ever.
Everton's plan looks clear: they are sending the ball to Victor Anichebe time and again. The Reds almost make them pay for their transparency after intercepting a long ball and fashioning a counterattack but Henderson is well challenged on the edge of the visitors' penalty area.
Gerrard come close again - but not as close this time as his free kick sails a few metres wide of Howard's goal.
BIG CHANCE! Fantastic work from Downing down the right (where the winger actually outclasses Leighton Baines!) results in the ball being launched into the area and headed down to the skipper. He unleashes his shot but it blocked - it looked goalbound.
Reina is on the ball once again after collecting a Leon Osman cross. His distribution is lengthy as ever as he then sends the ball deep into the away half. However, the ball ends up out for a throw-in once again as Jamie Carragher blasts into the stands somewhat needlessly.
Things have settled here as Reina is allowed to walk several yards outside of his penalty area with the ball at his feet - demonstrating the slow pace of things at the current state of play.
Pienaar is involved again as he sends in a cross of his own but the talismanic Gerrard is there to intercept it and send the ball upfield to Coutinho. The Brazilian is brought down and a free kick is given - but the Anfield faithful were begging for the advantage to be played.
The delivery is whipped in and makes its way to Steven Pienaar! The South African takes a tumble on the ball, however, and sends his shot miserably wide.
Everton come through that battle unscathed and now win the first corner of the game! This is a tight encounter so far.
Nothing comes of it, though, and a midfield battle for possession ensues. Gibson, Leighton Baines of Everton and Johnson of Liverpool are involved.
The hosts now have a throw-in deep into the Everton half! Gerrard inspires a surging counterattack with a great ball to Downing, who uses his pace to force a Toffees defender into conceding the throw.
The home side hit back now and it is that man Sturridge yet again. But yet again the striker fires his shot woefully wide of goal. The former Chelsea man looks as though he will be vital for Liverpool today - his movement and energy have been terrific so far but he has not yet found his range.
Yet another chance for the Toffees but Darron Gibson, whose shot from distance rolls straight into Reina's arms, is given offside.
Mirallas follows that with a shot that goes wide of the same post, though this one was not as close. The away side are the ones on top so far, however.
The visitors advance straight up the other end, however, and fashion the first real chance of the game! A needless free kick is given away and when it is whipped in, Fellaini gets on the end of it and stabs the ball just wide of Reina's right post. A warning for the home side there.
The creativity of Coutinho comes to the fore once more but his attempted through ball just misses out on reaching Sturridge.
Sturridge pressures Sylvain Distin but the Frenchman gets the ball to Tim Howard, who sends a long punt upfield, prompting the visitors to advance into the home half. They are met by solid defending, though and the brief move comes to an end.
Gerrard, however, has better luck finding Sturridge down the right with a pinpoint ball but the former Chelsea man again selfishly fires high and wide.
Downing lofts a high ball towards Glen Johnson but his pass is significantly over-hit and sails out for a goal kick.
Everton's first shot at goal comes through but it is equally dangerless, floating yards wide and yards over at the same time.
The first chance of the game has gone to the home side - though admittedly it was only a half-chance as Sturridge's cross enters the danger area but is cleared by a Toffees defender.
Liverpool skipper Gerrard is at his Merseyside derby best (and worst) slipping and sliding into every 50-50 challenge at the risk of receiving an early booking.
There's a lively atmosphere as you would expect during a derby day at Anfield but the crowd are biding their time during what is undoubtedly the calm before the storm.
A good passage of play from the home side ends in Sturridge firing harmlessly wide. The shot was reminiscent of the striker during his Chelsea days - a pass could perhaps have been the better option.
Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho all combine as the hosts advance into the away half for their first period of pressure but Steven Gerrard is eventually dispossessed in midfield after being surrounded by two Toffees midfielders - one of them the giant presence of Marouane Fellaini.
Kevin Mirallas exerts heavy pressure on Jose Enrique near the corner flag but the Spaniard is equal to the Belgian in terms of strength and helps the Reds defenders clear their lines.
A loose kick from Pepe Reina gives away a throw-in for Everton in the home half in the first noteworthy action the game.
And we have started! Another emotional rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone rings out and the action gets underway.
Now we are just minutes away from kick off. The big one is about to start!
Whatever happens... You know it, I know it: today will be another sensational game! And we are now just 15 minutes away from kick-off...
Let's make no bones about it: those are two attacking line-ups. And both Brendan Rodgers and David Moyes will be absolutely desperate to register a derby-day victory over their most bitter of rivals. Moyes has never won a derby at Anfield but the Reds may still be feeling aggrieved from their 2-2 draw at Goodison Park earlier this season, when Luis Suarez had a winning goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Here's how the visitors are lining up, meanwhile: Starting XI: Howard, Baines, Gibson, Jagielka, Mirallas, Distin, Osman, Pienaar, Coleman, Fellaini, Anichebe. Subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jelavic, Oviedo, Naismith, Duffy.
We'll start off with team news from the home side. Liverpool are unchanged from their 6-0 drubbing of Newcastle. Starting XI: Reina; Johnson, Agger, Carragher, Enrique; Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson; Coutinho, Downing, Sturridge. Subs: Jones, Skrtel, Shelvey, Borini, Assaidi, Coates, Suso.
Don't forget, if you want to have your say on all things to do with the beautiful game, you can leave comments here and on the LIVE! blog and get through to us on Twitter and Facebook. Even though the ever-divisive Luis Suarez won't be with us today, I'm sure there will be plenty to discuss...
I'm Tim Poole and I'll be taking you through today's spectacle, so sit tight, get the drinks and snacks ready and enjoy what promises to be another absolute belter. Over the years, Merseyside derbies have brought us such drama as late Gary McAllister winners, Steven Gerrard red cards and antics from the likes of Duncan Ferguson and Emile Heskey. And if that isn't enough for you, stay with Goal.com for live-blogging coverage of a certain Chelsea v Manchester United match later as well.
Good afternoon and a huge welcome to all Liverpool, Everton and football fans in general! Today is THE big day for all Merseysiders and yet another spectacular occasion for Premier League supporters across the world. Yes, it's time for the 220th Merseyside derby: it's Liverpool against Everton.
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