Carroll 71, Suarez 82
Rodwell sent off 23
Goals from Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez gave Liverpool victory in a feisty Merseyside derby that saw Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell sent off in the first-half by referee Martin Atkinson.
Louis Saha returned to David Moyes’ starting line-up but once Rodwell saw red, the Frenchman was forced to plough even more of a lone furrow than usual. Liverpool included captain Steven Gerrard as a substitute, with the England international continuing his return to fitness with a second-half cameo.
The game began as an open and even affair, staying just the right side of competitive, but when Atkinson intervened and dismissed Rodwell, it became largely a matter of time until Liverpool went ahead. Dirk Kuyt received a golden chance to breach the Everton defence from the penalty spot after Suarez was fouled in the first-half but Tim Howard made a fine save.
Everton’s defending was resolute but after playing nearly an hour with a man disadvantage, the home side were caught on the break for Carroll’s opener. Sloppy defending thereafter eventually allowed Suarez to double Liverpool’s lead. The Toffees threatened from long range, with Saha and Leighton Baines both firing in shots from distance, but Pepe Reina was barely troubled in the 70 minutes from Rodwell’s departure. Everton’s best chance of the game came early, when Reina athletically tipped Cahill’s header over the bar.
The media-perpetuated belief that this game is the friendly derby was further shown to be more myth than fact as Carroll’s celebration in front of the Everton fans was met with a hail of objects hurled his direction, while the Liverpool supporters taunted Phil Neville with shouts of ‘Munich’ in reference to his Manchester United past. The Evertonian retort of ‘murderers’, in reference to the Heysel disaster of 1985, was equally unpalatable. There were also skirmishes in the crowd as Liverpool supporters sitting in the home end could not contain their emotions.
Not since Mark Clattenburg, however, has a referee raised the ire of the Everton crowd as much as Atkinson. Rodwell’s game-changing sending off aside, Atkinson was on the receiving end of Everton vitriol for a series of decisions, most notably the reluctance to show Lucas Levia a second yellow card for a late foul. Kenny Dalglish responded by withdrawing the Brazilian midfielder.
Liverpool were nevertheless decisive winners, hitting the post in the dying minutes as well as the crossbar on the stroke of half-time. For the 20 minutes the sides were equal it was a much more balanced contest. Suarez had the first chance of the game but headed meekly at Howard’s knees, while the aforementioned Cahill header and some neat Sylvain Distin footwork gave Everton decent openings during a sustained period of pressure.
The difference between the sides in the end was as much the financial disparity as the numerical one. Dalglish was able to call on not least the £58m duo who got on the score sheet, but also from the bench Craig Bellamy, whose pace opened up the Everton defence for the crucial opening goal. Dalglish’s compatriot, Moyes, could only turn to 19-year-old Apostolos Vellios. Everton were thus condemned to consecutive 2-0 Premier League defeats while Liverpool made it two wins from their last two league games.
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Hibbert (Vellios 78), Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman (Drenthe 59), Fellaini, Rodwell, Osman (Neville 69); Cahill; Saha
Liverpool (4-4-2): Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Skrtel, Enrique; Kuyt, Lucas (Henderson 88), Adam (Gerrard 67), Downing (Bellamy 67); Carroll, Suarez
Did you know… This is the fourth time in as many seasons that the derby game played at Goodison has ended in a two-goal victory.