Pundits have hailed it as the finest Merseyside derby in years; yet the six goal thriller whilst a joy to watch, will have left both Roberto Martinez and Kop boss Brendan Rodgers disappointed they didn’t walk away with all three points.
Coutinho opened the scoring on six minutes with the ball glancing off the head of Luis Suarez and found its way to the little Brazilian who put the ball home utilising his usual silky skill coupled with a classy finish with the outside of his boot. However the Reds lead didn’t last long as Kevin Mirallas scored just minutes later to level the score.
Despite flying back from Uruguay after playing in both his country’s world cup play off matches against Jordan, Luis Suarez showed all of the desire and skill Kopites have come to love and admire. With what can only be classed as a truly world-class strike, Suarez curled the ball around the Everton’s wall and placed it perfectly into the bottom corner of Tim Howard’s goal from a freekick taken 25 yards from the Everton.
Kevin Mirallas was booked for a horrific challenge on Luis Suarez, however despite serious medical attention and the obvious wound on Suarez’s knee, Phil Dowd refused to send Mirallas off in what he will surely look at in the coming days as a wrong decision. Further outrage ensued when Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry collided with the Red’s skippers elbow leaning out, however the two collided at the hip and a free kick was awarded to the home side.
The game ebbed and flowed and Liverpool looked the more threatening just after the half-time interval, yet it was Everton who took control of the game. Joe Allen had a difficult game in his first premier league appearance the start of the season and he’ll no doubt have nightmares due to a golden opportunity missed in order to put Liverpool two goals in front; despite showing glimpses of his natural class he struggled and was taken off to be replaced by Victor Moses.
Simon Mignolet was in fine form and a battle ensued between he and his Belgian international teammate Romelu Lukaku; despite a brave performance from the Liverpool keeper Lukaku was to reap the rewards for his persistent pressure with a cool finish from the centre of the box which levelled the game for the second time.
In the final fifteen minutes Rodgers decided to gamble by taking off another midfielder, this time Lucas Leiva, and introducing another attacker, Daniel Sturridge, leaving only Gerrard and Henderson in the Midfield.
It is somewhat ironic that Mirallas, who scored the first and then almost maimed Suarez before continuing throughout the game continued to get himself into trouble with challenges the Crazy Gang would have been proud off, then provided the assist for the second and third goals as Everton took the lead for the first time in the match. Lukaku got on the end of a fine set piece delivery and headed the ball home. Liverpool fans won’t forget Lukaku’s name in a hurry and his performance will no doubt place the seed of doubt in Rodgers mind over who the best centre-back pairing is going forward.
However, after two games without a goal Daniel Sturridge wasn’t to be left out of the party and glanced a header into the goal from a Steven Gerrard free-kick leveling the match for the third and final time. Moments from the final whistle Sturridge had the ball in the net again however he was flagged as offside something which is starting to prove a familiar story for Liverpool at Goodison Park, at least this time the decision was the correct one.
Stand out performers for the Red’s include the impressive Jon Flanagan who was once again thrown into the lions den of the Premier league however he excelled himself proving many doubters (including myself) wrong that it would be ultimately he who would prove costly. Simon Mignolet was the Red’s man of the match, despite conceding three goals he was at fault for none and he saved Liverpool an embarrassing trip home over Stanley Park.
Instead the issues surrounded the Liverpool defence and once again Liverpool’s midfield showed it has a few chinks in armour. Skrtel and Agger offered little or no solution to Lukaku and Glen Johnston has his worst game in a Liverpool shirt for a very long time.
Steven Gerrard struggled throughout the match despite being topping the creativity charts for Liverpool, questions have once again surfaced as to the Captain’s influence outside of a dead ball situation.
Despite the negatives Liverpool still find themselves second in the table and in a strong position with the fixtures until Christmas. The Red’s continue to be the surprise package in the league this season, and while questions do remain as to what this team is truly capable of they’re racking up the points quickly and have a promising platform for the remainder of the season.
Man of the match – Simon Mignolet