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Monday, 17 January 2011
LIVERPOOL 2-2 EVERTON MATCH REPORT
Such a massive Merseyside derby this one, biggest in years regarding League positions and now with the return of Kenny Dalglish to Anfield this match became even more anticipated. With Liverpool so in need of a win after two defeats under Kenny's leadership. This could be a great lift for the club if they could win this match. With Everton in a decent run of form this would be a really tough test for Liverpool.
Good to see Kenny trying to keep a settled defence and seeing Kelly getting a run in the team. I think everybody was surprised to see Jay Spearing in the team but a great chance for him. The rest of the team selection was no surprise for me.
As expected the atmosphere was unbelievable for the return of Dalglish. Liverpool were obviously lifted by the tremendous home support as they started at a lightning pace. With only 30 seconds on the clock Torres tested Howard with a volley after Kuyt had flicked on an Agger pass. Then Everton had an early chance when Coleman hit a low shot wide of the target. Spearing showed early nerves when he misplaced a pass straight to Beckford who shot from long range and into the Kop. The game was frantic as both teams went for the opener. Kelly made a surging run down Liverpool's right before sending over a dangerous cross which was well defended. Then Torres looked to have given Liverpool the lead after a strong run into the Everton area when he curled a shot which unfortunately hit the far post, Kuyt jumped on the rebound only to see it deflected over. Liverpool were starting to dominate and took a deserved lead on 29 minutes when Kuyt was denied twice byTim Howard from close range before Meireles crashed a shot into the top left hand corner of Howard's net. Anfield erupted at this goal and it drove Liverpool on for more as they almost scored again soon after when when Torres hit a thunderbolt which Howard blocked only to rebound to Maxi but he couldn't keep his shot down. Just before half time Meireles almost scored again when Kuyt slipped a clever pass through but Howard saved once again. So at the half Liverpool went in 1-0 up and looked in control. Liverpool had to make a change at half time when Agger felt unwell so Kyrgiakos replaced him. But after all Liverpool's great work in the first half it was wiped out within a minute of the restart. Everton scored from a corner kick when Distin got above Skrtel and powered a header down into the ground past Reina, Johnson could only header off the underside of the bar and into the net as he tried to clear. It was such a shock for the home side and it got worse in the 52nd minute when Anichebe outjumped Kelly who's header found Osman and he slipped a pass into Beckford who found space to steer a low shot past Reina and give Everton the lead. This was a major blow for Liverpool who had been so dominant in the first half and they had to now show what they were made of. Then in the 68th minute Skrtel's miscued shot resulted in Howard bringing down Maxi for a penalty. Kuyt equalised from the spot sending Howard the wrong way. Great relief for Dalglish but now Liverpool wanted the winner, both teams attacked for the winner, Liverpool's best chance coming when Torres was put through but his chip was just too high and the game ended 2-2. Liverpool can take a lot of positives from this performance although disappointment at not getting the three points.
I thought it was a tremendous game, one in which Liverpool dominated for long spells and created many chances. The passion and commitment that was shown by the players was impressive and you can see this attitude has been installed by Dalglish. Great to see Meireles scoring his first Liverpool goal and Kelly is looking superb at right back another strong game from him. Lucas and Spearing battled brilliantly in midfield while Maxi's movement was superb. Kuyt had a better game as he made some telling passes and was a big factor at the first goal and kept his cool well to score from the spot. Agger going off was a major disruption to our defence. But I thought we were very unlucky with the goals we lost, the first Everton goal came from a corner when it should have been a goal kick. In the lead up to the second Everton goal Martin Kelly took a nasty collision with Anichebe and was floored but the referee played on when many referees would have stopped the play. But I feel this is the way our luck is going at the moment. Great character was shown from the team after going behind. Although we didn't win the three points I believe this could be a major performance for us and a start in the right direction.
Man Of The Match - Torres - I thought he was superb, caused all sorst of problems to the Everton defence as he looked more like the Torres of old. Unlucky not to score. A constant threat.