Posted by admin | 8 years ago | 2,245 times
Phil Jagielka scored a stunning stoppage-time equaliser as Everton hit back to draw 1-1 with Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
Captain Steven Gerrard’s 65th minute free-kick appeared to give Liverpool a third Premier League win of the season until centre-half Jagielka thumped home a leveller in the second minute of added time.
Everton midfielder Gareth Barry endured a torrid start to the game after being booked inside the first minute before almost conceding a penalty when the ball struck his raised arm and then bringing down Mario Balotelli.
Liverpool looked more threatening as Tim Howard saved from Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, while Everton lost Kevin Mirallas due to a hamstring injury.
The second half finally sprung into life 20 minutes after the break when Balotelli was fouled just outside the box and Gerrard curled a free-kick over the wall and just beyond Howard.
Romelu Lukaku had an immediate chance to equalise, but glanced a header straight at Simon Mignolet, and then Balotelli’s volley from six yards out brushed Howard’s face before striking the crossbar.
Brendan Rodgers’ side appeared to be comfortably holding on to the win until Jagielka’s first-time shot from 25 yards swerved away from Mignolet and rocketed into the top corner.
There was a surprise in the Everton team, with veteran full-back Tony Hibbert making his first league start since December 2012 in place of the injured Seamus Coleman.
Midfielder Muhamed Besic made his first league start for the visitors while Liverpool were again without influential striker Daniel Sturridge, who had targeted a return in this game from a thigh injury.
The Merseyside derby has not disappointed in recent years, although the red half of the city has had much the better of it. As well as going 15 years without a win at Anfield, Everton were looking for a first derby win of any kind in four years.
The game started at a frenetic pace and referee Martin Atkinson might have given two penalties and a red card in the opening 10 minutes.
Barry was booked for a foul on Lallana inside the first minute and the Liverpool fans were baying for blood when he brought down Balotelli, but Atkinson kept his cards in his pocket this time.
Everton were the first to appeal for a spot-kick when Alberto Moreno appeared to bring down Lukaku but Atkinson said no, as he did four minutes later when Sterling's shot struck Barry's arm.
The hosts were attacking with verve and lots of pace, keen to get on top of Everton's leaky defence early on.
Following Barry's second foul, Balotelli drew Howard into a first save with a deflected free-kick, and from the corner the American reacted brilliantly to keep out Lallana's header.
The boyhood Everton fan looked particularly bright, and the space down the flanks created by the visitors’ narrow midfield was giving full-backs Moreno and Javier Manquillo plenty of space to attack into.
Applying the finishing touch was the problem, though, and Balotelli lacked the necessary conviction on a number of occasions as he sought his first Premier League goal for the Reds.
Everton's attacks were ponderous in comparison, although Leighton Baines did get away down the left and rolled the ball across goal, where it was scrambled clear by Dejan Lovren.
The visitors were dealt a blow on the half-hour mark when Mirallas appeared to pull a hamstring in full flight and was carried off to be replaced by Aiden McGeady.
The good news for Everton was the league's worst defence was holding up well and, when Liverpool did get through, Howard was on form, keeping out shots from Jordan Henderson and Sterling as the half drew to a close.
Liverpool were straight on the attack after the break and James McCarthy did superbly to foil Lazar Markovic as he looked to convert a Sterling through ball.
On the hour mark the Serbian was taken off to be replaced by Philippe Coutinho, and five minutes later Liverpool finally made the breakthrough.
Baines was judged to have brought down Balotelli 22 yards out and, although Howard got a hand to Gerrard's free-kick, he could not keep it out.
Two minutes later it should have been two as Sterling got away down the left before crossing for Balotelli, who hit the top of the bar from six yards.
Martinez responded by sending on 20-year-old Tyias Browning for his debut in place of Hibbert, while Samuel Eto'o came on for Besic in a final throw of the dice.
Everton piled on the pressure without really looking like finding a leveller until Jagielka's dramatic intervention, and Barry could even have won it with a late back-heel.
No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.