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January 28, 2014
• Anfield, Liverpool
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 44450
S. Gerrard 21'
D. Sturridge 33', 35'
L. Suárez 50'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls. Thanks for joining me for what was yet another thrilling Merseyside derby. Liverpool cement their place in fourth with victory tonight, while Everton remain in sixth, two points ahead of seventh-placed Manchester United.
FULL-TIME: LIVERPOOL 4-0 EVERTON – Despite seeing far less of the ball than their opponents, Rodgers' side blew Martinez's men away with a blistering display of counterattacking football at Anfield this evening. Gerrard opened the scoring with a bullet header in the 21st minute, before Sturridge added two sublime goals before the break. Suarez made it 4-0 with a wonderful individual effort in the 50th minute, and there was even time for Sturridge to pass up a chance to complete his hat-trick by blazing a penalty over the bar.
90' + 3'
And there, after a hugely impressive 90 minutes of football from Liverpool, is the final whistle.
90' + 1'
Cissokho whips a forward pass straight out of play. The left-back is athletic, I'll give him that, but his passing for one leaves a lot to be desired.
The fourth official signals for three minutes of added time at Anfield...
Kelly upends Baines in front of the Everton faithful and there is barely a reaction from the fans in the stands. In the first half they would have been baying for blood but their enthusiasm for this game has been deflated by a clinical performance from the home side.
The same Liverpool player takes on a difficult shot from a tight angle on the left side of the box, but rather than curling it into the far corner in the manner of Thierry Henry, he hooks an effort into the near side netting.
Moses wants a free kick after juggling the ball on his forehead like a seal on the left wing, but Mr Atkinson is having none of it as he waves Everton's counterattack forward.
Stones wastes a chance to net a consolation goal for the visitors as he heads Baines' corner straight down Mignolet's throat.
REVEALING STAT: Everton have completed 400 passes compared to Liverpool's 223. The Reds have been ruthless in front of goal though and their counterattacking has been top notch.
Naismith tries to flick the ball round one side of Skrtel and collect it on the other but he does not have the pace to do so, as the Liverpool centre-back calmly breezes past the forward and prods the ball back to Mignolet.
On the other side Mirallas does superbly to jink past Gerrard and Kelly before passing inside to Osman. The Everton sub then slips the ball to McCarthy inside the box, but his arrowed effort towards the far corner goes just the wrong side of the post.
Jagielka dispossesses Moses well on the far side as the Nigeria international tries to dash down the wing.
Rodgers makes a second change hot on the heels of the first, as Flanagan trudges off and Martin Kelly sprints on.
STAT: Sturridge had scored in 11 of his 14 Premier League appearances this season, before tonight, but never twice in one game. He managed two brilliant goals in one half in this game.
That's Sturridge's last contribution of the game, which means he won't complete his hat-trick. He is replaced by Victor Moses for the final 20 minutes or so.
SUAREZ IS SEETHING! Liverpool break three on two and Coutinho slips Sturridge in on the left rather than Suarez on the right. The England international overcooks his first touch and should then look for his team-mate, but instead he dribbles the ball wide and attempts a ridiculously audacious dink – cue some wild arm-waving and cursing by Suarez.
Not for the first time this evening Alcaraz misjudges a long ball forward and Sterling is nearly in one-on-one with Howard. The American goalkeeper gets his timing right on this occasion though, as he comfortably beats the diminutive winger to the bouncing ball.
Mirallas vents his frustration towards the referee after being fouled by Gerrard on the near side. Barry, who was booked shortly before the break, is another that takes umbrage at the decision not to book the Liverpool captain, which results in a talking to for the on-loan midfielder from the man in black.
Having said that Everton have boasted 80% of possession in the last five minutes. It is when they lose the ball that Liverpool have looked at their most deadly though, three of their four goals have come from a counter attack or a quick pass forward from defence.
But his curling strike fails to beat the wall. Suarez is the man that blocks the rising free kick, as Liverpool snuff out a rare foray forward from the visitors.
Mirallas lines up a deliciously-positioned free kick 25 yards from Mignolet's goal...
STAT: Everton have won none of their last 13 Premier League visits to Anfield, drawing seven and losing six in that run, which does not look like coming to an end this evening.
VITAL TOUCH FROM ALCARAZ! The Everton defender makes up for giving the free kick away by poking Gerrard's enticing cross behind for a corner under pressure from a sea of red shirts.
Alcaraz cynically blocks Sturridge 20 yards from goal to stop the attacker going past him and Liverpool have another set piece to try and test Howard from.
He's moving gingerly, but looks set to continue, which is good news for the home side.
Cissokho is down off the ball clutching his left ankle. The left-back was caught by Stones as he cleared the ball for the hosts and he looks in a fair amount of pain.
WOEFUL PENALTY! That's not an adjective I was expecting to use when describing Sturridge's play tonight, but that spot-kick was exactly that. His left foot effort went high over the bar.
Missed Penalty Daniel Sturridge
What is Howard doing?! The Everton shotstopper sprints from his line and upends Sterling inside the box. Liverpool have a penalty and a chance to make it five.
Yellow Card Kevin Mirallas
4-0 to Liverpool, with 38 minutes left on the clock. This could get even uglier...
Goal Luis Suárez
SUAREZ MAKES IT FOUR WITH A SUPER SOLO EFFORT! A heavy touch from Jagielka gifts Suarez possession inside the Liverpool half, and though the Uruguayan still has so much to do, he does it all with consummate ease. Controlling the bouncing ball he darted into the Everton half, held off the challenge of Jagielka for about 20 yards and then slipped a clinical finish into the far corner from the left side of the box.
There's an early set piece for the Toffees on the left that Baines swings towards the penalty spot, but Liverpool are able to clear the ball through Cissokho after MIrallas' initial header looped up into the air.
Osman certainly looks up for this one! The sometime England international has demanded the ball four or five times since coming on, and has used it wisely on each occasion.
Martinez makes one change at the break – Leon Osman replaces Pienaar in midfield for the visitors.
Liverpool get the second half going at Anfield...
So, where do Everton go from here? Make big changes and go for goals, or retreat into their shell and opt for damage limitation. Martinez has got a tough call to make in this second half, particularly in a game of such magnitude.
HALF-TIME: LIVERPOOL 3-0 EVERTON The Toffees ventured to Anfield with high hopes this evening, but that first half is one they will wish to eradicate from their memories as quickly as possible. SASAS – Sturridge and Suarez and Sterling – have been magnificent in the final third for the hosts in the opening 45 minutes. The Uruguayan supplied the assist for Gerrard's opener, before Sturridge scored two wonderful goals in quick succession. Everton have not been helped by a makeshift backline missing Distin and Coleman, and also an early end to the evening for their main goalscoring threat, Lukaku, who was subbed off through injury immediately after the hosts took the lead.
45' + 4'
And there is the half-time whistle! Phew...
45' + 3'
Barry finds his way into the referee's little black book after catching Sterling as the attacker tried to break forward. There didn't look to be much in that one, Barry has every right to look as upset as he does.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Gareth Barry
45' + 2'
That's not what Everton need. Barkley arrows a shot towards the bottom corner that Naismith blocks en route to goal.
The fourth official signals for three minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
Barkley attempts to wriggle his way into the Liverpool box, but he is dispossessed by Skrtel, who immediately flings the ball right to Sterling. The youngster shifts through the gears to glide past one challenge, and then when faced with a retreating Alcaraz tries to curl a cross into the penalty area rather than taking on his opponent. The cross clips the defender's thigh and bounces out for a throw.
Sterling's pace is absurd. The Liverpool wideman appears to be playing in fast-forward whenever the ball gets to him, such is the gulf in speed between him and Everton's defenders.
GREAT PLAY FROM MIRALLAS! The 26-year-old has been a rare ray of blue light in an otherwise turgid first half for Martinez's men. On this occasion he dances past Cissokho on the right side of the box and only a good recovering challenge from the full-back stops the attacker from really testing Mignolet.
STAT: Before tonight 64 per cent of the goals Liverpool have scored this season have been netted in the first half; the highest proportion of any team in the Premier League.
Yellow Card Steven Pienaar
Pienaar says something that upsets Martin Atkinson as he lines up the set piece, which prompts a yellow card from the referee. The South African eventually whips the free kick into the box, but it is comfortably headed clear by Toure.
Everton win a free kick over on the left. A chance to test Mignolet, and a chance to take a breather from what has been a relentless half of attacking play from Liverpool.
The Reds are rampant at Anfield as we approach half-time. Is this game already over as a contest?
Assist Kolo Toure
Goal Daniel Sturridge
EVEN BETTER FROM STURRIDGE!! Minutes after scoring his first the England international adds a sumptuous second with a first-time lob over Howard from 20 yards after Everton's defence had gone missing.
Goal Daniel Sturridge
STUNNING FROM STURRIDGE! The Liverpool forward takes a neat pass from Coutinho in his stride before loping into the area and flicking a fine finish high into the net past Howard. It's 2-0 to the hosts, and it is a deserved two-goal lead.
SO CLOSE FROM MIRALLAS! The Belgian attacker nearly beats his compatriot with a fizzing strike from 18 yards that goes a matter of inches wide of the left-hand post.
SUPER SAVE FROM MIGNOLET! The corner falls invitingly to Jagielka, and despite losing his footing as he strikes the ball with his left foot the ball looks destined for the top corner, only for Mignolet to throw out an iron forearm and block the ball away.
Mirallas shimmies his way past Cissokho on the right to win a corner for the Everton. Can they make the set piece count without their main aerial threat, Lukaku?
Suarez throws his arms in the air in disdain at an overhit pass from Cissokho and still manages to win a throw off the legs of Jagielka. The Uruguayan can do no wrong at present it seems.
Gerrard blocks from Barkley up one end and then within a few blinks of the eye Sturridge is curling an effort just over up the other end. It is riveting stuff at Anfield this evening!
And there is that change. Naismith replaces Lukaku, whose night ends after just 25 minutes because of injury. That is a big blow for the Toffees – Lukaku had scored four in his previous four league games against Liverpool.
The Belgium international is helped off the pitch by the Everton physios, and as he receives treatment Steven Naismith begins to warm up by the dugouts.
Just to add to Everton's woes it looks like Lukaku picked up an injury while trying to defend that corner...
STAT: Gerrard has now netted eight Premier League goals against Everton (all from open play). No player has netted more in Merseyside derbies.
Assist Luis Suárez
Goal Steven Gerrard
GERRARD PUTS THE HOSTS AHEAD!! The Liverpool captain loses his marker to meet Suarez's vicious corner with a firm header that rockets into the top left corner.
Liverpool win a corner after more vibrant attacking play. Whenever the ball goes near Suarez the Everton defence is panicking, and his latest involvement, which involved a neat one-two with Coutinho, has won them a set piece on the left.
STOP IT STURRIDGE... The former Chelsea man juggles the ball nonchalantly midway into the Everton half and then plays a perfectly-judged throughball on the volley to Sterling. The nippy winger gets the wrong side of Jagielka to meet the pass, but can only shoot into the body of Howard, who is off his line quickly to meet the attacker.
GERRARD SWINGS A SHOT WIDE! The Liverpool captain is allowed to roam forward with the ball at his feet and then spank a shot from 30 yards that goes a couple of yards wide of Howard's right-hand post.
POOR FROM PIENAAR! The ball sits up nicely for the South Africa international about 20 yards from goal, but his effort with his right foot is wayward as it whips into the midriff of Toure, which probably does the attacker a favour as it was going well wide.
The hosts are pressing Everton so quickly whenever they get the ball. Their defenders in particular are being given absolutely no time to think when they get possession, and it is forcing a couple of errors as the match reaches the 15-minute mark.
Baines and Barkley appear to get in one another's way in the centre circle for Everton but the young midfielder makes amends by throwing himself into a crunching challenge with Henderson and winning the ball cleanly.
Coutinho steals the ball from Barkley in an advanced position, but Alcaraz, who served Martinez so well at Wigan, reads the play to win the ball back for the visitors.
That will have done Stones the world of good! The 19-year-old tracks the run of Suarez on the left and times his challenge well to win the ball from the forward. He adds to that good work by then poking the ball away from Cissokho, just as the full-back looked to retrieve the loose ball.
STAT: There have been more red cards in the Merseyside derby than in any other fixture in Premier League history (20).
SUAREZ GOES CLOSE! The Liverpool striker forces Howard into making another save, with a low left-foot shot from the edge of the box. That chance stemmed from some rather jittery defending from Jagielka, as he struggled to clear a pass forward by Coutinho.
A freshly-shorn Lukaku challenges Kolo Toure to a high cross from the right by James McCarthy. The Belgian comes off second best on this occasion, but that will certainly be a battle to keep an eye on as this match unfolds.
It's been a breathless opening to this game on Merseyside, with both teams showing an admirable desire to push forward and attack. Which is absolutely fine by me.
GOOD STRIKE FROM HENDERSON!! Moments after Barkley thumps a shot just over for the Toffees, Henderson draws a smart stop from Howard with a similarly well-hit volley from 20 yards.
Phil Jagielka steps across Suarez to nick the ball away from the South American inside the box and promptly feeds the ball out to Kevin Mirallas on the right. He slips the ball inside to Barkley, who takes a couple of steps before unleashing a rasping shot that flew a whisker over Simon Mignolet's crossbar.
And away we go at Anfield! The visitors get the ball rolling and quickly give Stones an early touch of the ball at right-back. He plays it safely inside to Alcaraz, who lumps the ball upfield.
The teams are out shaking hands enthusiastically and we are just moments away from kick-off...
SUAREZ vs LUKAKU: The Uruguay international has scored in three of his four Premier League Merseyside derby appearances, while Everton's Belgian striker has scored four goals in four league matches against Liverpool.
Just a point separates fourth-placed Liverpool and their city rivals, who dropped down to sixth spot after they could only draw at West Brom in their last Premier League match. Both sides have their sights set on a Champions League place come May, which sets us up for an eyewatering clash this evening – particularly given the two teams' strength in attack.
EVERTON TEAM NEWS: John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz have been drafted in to replace the injured Sylvain Distin and Seamus Coleman, while Ross Barkley and Steven Pienaar feature in midfield having passed late fitness tests for the visitors. Romelu Lukaku, who scored twice in the 3-3 draw between these two sides back in November, leads the line upfront.
LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS: Brendan Rodgers names a typically attacking line-up for this one, as Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez complete a formidable attacking quartet. That front four will certainly be looking to test a makeshift Everton backline this evening.
SUBS: Robles, Hibbert, McGeady, Naismith, Gueye, Osman, Garbutt
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard; Stones, Jagielka, Alcaraz, Baines; Barry, McCarthy; Mirallas, Barkley, Pienaar; Lukaku
SUBS: Jones, Kelly, Ibe, Smith, Moses, Aspas, Alberto
LIVERPOOL (4-2-3-1): Mignolet; Flanaghan, Skrtel, Toure, Cissokho; Gerrard, Henderson; Coutinho, Sturridge, Sterling; Suarez
Sadly there's no Jeffers in the Everton line-up this evening, but the teamsheets are in, so let's have a quick look at those before the game starts...
The last time the Toffees won at this ground Eiffel 65 were top of the UK charts with the unforgettable Blue (Da Ba Dee). That was all the way back in September 1999. Kevin Campbell scored the winner on that occasion, which was remembered for perhaps the wrong reasons as three players saw red – Steven Gerrard and Sander Westerveld for the Reds, and Francis Jeffers for Everton.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to LIVE coverage of the 222nd Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton. My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be bringing you potentially insightful updates as the game unfolds at Anfield.
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