Mascherano celebrates "my goal".
(Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Tireless Liverpool FC earned slice
of luck in Mersey derby win
Comment by Ian Rush - Liverpool Echo
When you show the kind of spirit and
desire Liverpool did at Goodison on Sunday, then you deserve
a bit of luck.
Maybe we were fortunate to win but getting the three points
was all that mattered. We had to really fight for what we
got and the work ethic of the side was tremendous.
They say luck evens itself out over the course of the season
and there’s no doubt we were due a break.
There have been a number of games, like Lyon away, where we
deserved a lot more.
With our deflected goal, the chances Everton missed and that
stunning double save from Pepe Reina, hopefully it’s a sign
that our luck is starting to change.
The derby win could really kick-start our season.
With Villa, Spurs, Man City and Arsenal all dropping points,
it was a good weekend.
Last week it was all doom and gloom but now we’re only two
points off the top four.
Of course going out of the Champions League was a setback,
but not qualifying for next season’s competition would be a
much bigger blow.
With Fernando Torres and Albert Aquilani to come into the
side I’m sure performances will improve over the coming
weeks and I’m confident we’ll finish in the top four.
Reina has received a lot of praise for his performance on
Sunday and rightly so. As far as I’m concerned he’s the best
goalkeeper in the Premier League and he proved that against
His double save came at a crucial time in the game and he
also made a key save to ensure we held on against Debrecen
Two clean sheets in a row will certainly help to build
We defended really well at Goodison and hopefully the
problems from set-pieces we’ve seen this season are behind
us. We certainly looked a lot more assured.
We can start going into games now thinking if we score one
we can win.
I was always confident we would do the business on Sunday
and even made a few quid out of it.
I had a £1 on us to win 2-0 at 9/1!
It was a good day all-round and now we’ve got to build on
that at Blackburn on Saturday.
Jamie Carragher was outstanding in Sunday’s derby.
He epitomised the attitude and commitment in the Liverpool
side and you could see how desperate he was to get the three
He put his head in when it hurts and was everywhere,
fighting for possession, determined to ensure Everton didn’t
get back in the game.
I bet Carragher was shattered when he woke up yesterday
because he put in a tremendous amount of hard work.
He took some stick earlier in the season but Sunday proved
he’s back to his best.
Mersey derby can turn
around season – for both
Comment by Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post
Everton and Liverpool went into Sunday’s
Merseyside derby as clubs in the midst of a something close
to a crisis – and I think the game reflected that.
There was a real fear in the air and it made for a nervy
game in which whoever got the first goal was always likely
to emerge victorious.
But it also contained signs that both clubs can emerge from
it and resurrect their seasons.
Liverpool, of course, badly needed a win to get their
Premier League campaign back on track but they don’t need to
just look at how they played, but how others around them are
The fact of the matter is, amidst all this doom and gloom,
the media packs from London coming up to hunt for Rafael
Benitez’s head, the exits form the Carling Cup, Champions
League and, it’s fairly safe to say, the title race, nobody
has actually managed to capitalise.
We have to work on the basis now that qualifying for the
Champions League will be Liverpool’s chief aim and I think
they have to be favourites to preserve their top four
In fact, the best price I got against that the other day was
11-10 so that tells you everything.
Manchester City, Tottenham and Aston Villa have all showed
signs that they are ready to pounce on Liverpool’s poor
form. But despite the fact that Benitez’s team have been
dropping points left, right and centre, they’re still in
fifth and very well placed to claw back their place in the
Champions League elite.
Tottenham are flaky when you get at them, Villa are a good
counter-attacking team but sides have worked out how to play
against them and City just don’t have that balance – or
indeed an ability to close out a game for victory.
And none of those sides have one of the best strikers in the
world to come back from injury.
When Fernando Torres does make his return, Liverpool will be
in a position to strike at the pretenders to their throne.
The other sides have all been improving but they will all
struggle with the weight of expectation as the pressure
Liverpool have been there before and, as they showed on
Sunday, they are ready to fight it out.
Everton can also be encouraged by their performance.
Bilyaletdinov should have scored in the first half and then
Marouane Fellaini would have equalised if it wasn’t for Pepe
Reina’s miraculous save.
At the moment the luck just isn’t going for them, but they
didn’t look like a side who had conceded six goals in a week
and had been humbled by Hull days earlier.
They are still struggling for results but it was a
performance of promise rather than desperation.
And one that they can build on when they welcome Tottenham
to Goodison Park this weekend.
But the players need to tune in to the message their manager
sent out last week about walking to the ground with the
punters to appreciate how they are feeling.
They need to stop thinking they can coast through games just
because there are a few out injured.
Tottenham could be there for the taking if they go for it –
and with Goodison rocking once again, they need to take the
best bits form the derby and throw them at Spurs from the
Mark Lawrenson was talking to NICK SMITH
Mascherano claims goal
By Carl Markham - Press Association Sport
Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano
believes he should be credited with the opening strike in
Sunday's 212th Merseyside derby despite it going down as a
Joseph Yobo own goal.
The Argentina captain let fly from 30 yards and although his
shot appeared to be heading just off target it took a wicked
deflection off the Everton centre-back and went spinning
past goalkeeper Tim Howard.
That goal gave Liverpool something to hold on to and they
defended resolutely under increasing Everton pressure until
Dirk Kuyt scored the second after Howard half-saved Albert
Mascherano, however, is determined to claim the opener,
which would be only his fourth career goal after hitting
just one for Liverpool and two for Argentina.
"I think it's my goal because I tried to score with the
shot," said the 25-year-old, whose celebration in front of
the visiting fans at Goodison Park showed just what the
strike meant to him.
"It was a really important moment for me because I want to
do my best.
"This season some people have criticised my shooting but I
am trying hard to improve it and I am happy."
lucky, Everton didn’t
Comment by David Prentice - Liverpool Echo
Given the afternoon he’d endured, David
Moyes’ reaction was understand- able. “Do you want this
leaving on?” enquired an eager to please press officer, as
the Blues boss trudged into the press room while Sir Steven
Redgrave and Kelly Smith were still plucking balls from the
“No,” he rapped, probably fearing a third round trip to
Melchester Rovers with Roy Race on a hot scoring streak.
He needn’t have worried. Carlisle at home was a good draw.
But it was the only thing which went right for him all day.
David Moyes got all the running he demanded from his
players, and a little bit more.
He got commitment and character. And he got the best
performance his side has produced in a derby match under his
But he didn’t get that other quality which wins football
That was the bottom line at Goodison Park yesterday.
Liverpool got lucky, Everton didn’t.
And as a result the huge injection of confidence that a
derby win can bring was pumped into red veins, not blue.
Rafa Benitez’s post-match suggestion that Everton played “a
direct and set-pieces game” was perhaps designed to deflect
from his own side’s deficiencies.
True, Everton’s best chance of the game came from three
headed flick-ons, but the Blues mixed their game up
impressively and it is still baffling to work out how they
failed to win, let alone came away beaten.
But lose they did, leaving their fans with the hollow taste
of defeat, and their manager scrabbling around for
At least this time David Moyes didn’t have to look far.
Marouane Fellaini’s peerless performance showed that he
should be left to grow into the holding midfield role,
rather than lumped up front every time Everton lack a little
He was the platform on which most of Everton’s attacking
moves, considerable in the first 45 minutes, were
He had willing accomplices in Steven Pienaar, comfortably
the game’s most outstanding individual until he tired late
on, and Tim Cahill, who showed signs of returning to his
role of spiky little penalty box nuisance once again.
But while they were the plusses, there were a couple of
minuses – and both were predict- able. There were two
players whose appearance on the teamsheet made the home fans
Sadly both were involved in pivotal moments of the match.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s ability to cope with the intensity
of a derby clash was queried ahead of the match, and he
horribly scuffed Everton’s best chance of the day just five
minutes after Liverpool’s fortuitous opener.
Incongruously compared to Pele after his right footed finish
for Russia a fortnight ago, his right foot this time showed
all the elan of a house brick.
Then there was the real Brazilian, real in birthplace at
David Moyes raised an eyebrow or two when he declared
afterwards that “Brazilian Jo played really well” (is the
prefix always used to differentiate him from Nigerian Joe?
Or because so many find it difficult to believe he actually
hails from the country of Kaka and Robinho?) Either way Jo
led the line adeptly enough, but always seemed back on his
heels when the half-chances came calling.
He didn’t quite react quickly enough to Pienaar’s
defence-splitting pass, he didn’t quite connect with a
left-footed first half volley and he didn’t quite keep
himself onside when he finished impressively with the
outside of his right foot.
It is to be hoped the youngster doesn’t become a whipping
boy of the home fans, but there were signs all around the
ground of growing frustration at his display.
Those groans apart, the Blues fans gave their side admirable
backing until Dirk Kuyt finally ripped their heart out 10
minutes from time.
That came after Joseph Yobo’s second decisive miskick of the
In echoes of Howard Kendall’s decision to haul off Gary
Stevens in the first derby FA Cup final, Yobo was replaced
Moyes’ frustration was palpable, but the Blues boss is not
exactly blessed with central defensive options at present,
and in hindsight perhaps he could have chosen not to
undermine the player’s confidence any further.
One man who never sufferes from a lack of confidence is
referee Alan Wiley. Happily this time his self-confidence
was not misplaced.
There were widespread groans when it was revealed he was
taking charge of the derby.
But he displayed an understanding of the occasion and a
hitherto hidden sensitivity, managing to keep his cards in
his pocket until Johnny Heitinga finally gave him no option
seven minutes from time.
In a depressing postscript, Everton’s defeat meant the
noughties have officially gone down as the Blues’ leanest
decade for derby wins.
They have managed just two League victories against their
neighbours since the millennium dawned, eclipsing even the
sorry seventies for league derby celebrations.
At least their display gave them heart they can reverse that
Moyes: Toffees deserved more
Everton manager David Moyes was left
struggling to understand how his side lost Sunday's
Merseyside derby to Liverpool.
A deflected Joseph Yobo own goal in the 12th minute and a
Dirk Kuyt tap-in close to the final whistle handed the Reds
the points at Goodison Park.
But the result did not tell the real story as Everton
dominated for the majority and paid the price for failing to
take chances against their neighbours, with Jose Reina
producing a fine double save in the second half.
Both sides have struggled to meet targets and the defeat
leaves the Toffees flailing near the Premier League
relegation zone, but Moyes could not fault his players.
The Everton boss said: "I don't feel we came off the pitch
losers. The players worked extremely hard and I felt they
deserved more than what they got in the end.
"The deflected goal took the sting out of us. I don't know
how many times Liverpool had been in our half up to that
point but it wasn't many.
"But I thought the players reacted great. They kept going
and I thought in the main we kept Liverpool quiet.
"The game was tight and we, in the main, were trying to set
the tone and make it difficult for them. It is disappointing
you don't get anything from that.
"I think the two saves by Reina [were crucial]. I felt maybe
our luck would change in the second half and we would get
the goal but maybe that double save just altered it a little
"But up until it went to 2-0 I can't remember Liverpool
having a chance apart from Emiliano Insua's first-half
"But in big games, especially, you hope you don't get
situations where there are mistakes because it is hard
enough to score a goal without making anything which leads
Benitez on the
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez believes
his side are edging back towards their peak form and fitness
after Sunday's smash-and-grab Merseyside derby win at
The Reds were second best for the majority at Goodison Park,
but their hosts failed to take chances in a tense encounter
and paid the price as Joseph Yobo's deflected own goal after
12 minutes was followed by a late, close-range finish for
Steven Gerrard started another match despite appearing to
lack match fitness as he continues to recover from a groin
setback, while Albert Riera entered as a second-half
substitute after injury.
Fernando Torres failed a late fitness test as he
rehabilitates from another groin problem but Yossi Benayoun
also came off the bench as he works back from injury, and
Benitez believes that his side are improving.
A poor season has seen Liverpool off the pace in the Premier
League and eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, but
the eventually-meaningless win over Debrecen followed by the
success at Everton has slightly steadied the ship in the
Benitez told Sky Sports News: "After the time with a lot of
injuries, some players are coming back and then we will see
the difference hopefully in the next weeks."
He added on his side's display: "It was very difficult. We
knew that it could be physical given the position of both
teams and that they needed to win.
"We were working hard and had one or two chances and were
maybe lucky with the deflection.
"But they were playing long balls and set-pieces and we were
trying to defend and working very hard.
"The defenders were really good. Their full-backs and keeper
were always kicking the ball long and it was difficult, but
we knew it would be like that.
"We were playing counter-attack because we were under
pressure all the time, but I think that we had two or three
very good counter-attacks."
Benitez is hopeful Torres will soon be back in his plans
after missing the Spain star over recent weeks.
The Anfield boss said: "He will be working very hard and we
will see if he can be available."
Alberto Aquilani, who underwent a summer ankle operation
prior to his £20million move from Roma, remained an unused
substitute and Benitez did not want to expose the Italian to
the English derby experience.
Benitez said: "Today was a very tough game so to change a
player, Lucas (Levia) (Javier) Mascherano or Gerrard, who
were working hard, was a difficult decision."
Liverpool can kick on
Jamie Carragher admits the 212th
Merseyside derby was not a spectacle - but hopes Liverpool's
2-0 win can signal the start of a renaissance.
The Reds have endured a tough time this season, with a host
of injury problems and too many defeats both domestically
and in Europe.
But a deflected goal in the first half and Dirk Kuyt's
poacher's finish ensured local bragging rights against
Everton at Goodison Park - and Carragher is now looking to
get on a winning run.
"I think we just shaded it to be honest, but it was not a
great game," he told Sky Sports 1. "It was a typical derby
game, a lot of long balls, second balls and a lot of
fighting but not a lot of quality.
"But a win is important. Results went for us yesterday so we
realised it was an important game to move up the league.
"We've not performed as well as we'd have liked this season
but we're the ones who can change that, with a couple of
wins hopefully we can do that but we still have a long way
Reds restore Merseyside pride
Liverpool restored a morsel of pride in a
disappointing season to date with a hard-fought 2-0 victory
over fierce Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park on
A match usually associated with passion and pride took on a
new edge given the struggles of both sides, but it was Rafa
Benitez's men who recorded what will be a massive win after
a Joseph Yobo own goal and a second half tap-in from Dirk
The prelude to the encounter had focused upon the cloud of
misery loitering over Merseyside, with both teams failing to
meet respective ambitions in the Premier League and
Liverpool having crashed out of the UEFA Champions League.
Everton would therefore argue that Liverpool's opener
epitomised recent luck, while their neighbours would claim
Yobo deflecting a Javier Mascherano shot into his own net in
the 12th minute was a first piece of good fortune in several
David Moyes' men responded and enjoyed the better of the
first half, having two goals correctly disallowed for
offside, but they were fortunate not to be two behind at the
interval after Tim Howard saved an Emiliano Insua header.
The second half followed suit, but was marked by the low
confidence and form of both teams as the only real moment of
quality was Jose Reina's sensational double stop from Tim
Cahill's header and Marouane Fellaini's follow-up.
Everton, who had planning permission for a new stadium
rejected by the government in midweek, were then further
punished as Kuyt applied the second goal after Howard had
failed to hold an effort from substitute Albert Riera in the
A two-goal win flattered Liverpool if the truth be told as
the Reds were second best for the majority, but Benitez
proved he is capable of selecting a team and tactics that is
capable of recording smash-and-grab wins when neccesary.
Rarely can a Merseyside derby have been played out with both
rival managers - David Moyes and Rafa Benitez - having had
to handle questions over their longevity in their jobs.
Bitterest of rivals
The 212th clash between these bitterest of rivals certainly
held the immediate futures of both seriously under-achieving
clubs. Everton, fighting to get away from the relegation
zone and Liverpool desperate to put their distressing season
back on track.
Everton made four changes from the side that lost so poorly
at Hull in midweek, Tony Hibbert, Jo, Fellaini and Diniyar
Bilyaletdinov all returning with youngster Jack Rodwell the
most notable omission with a groin injury.
Liverpool fielded the side that had won in Hungary against
Debrecen, but could not save the Reds' Champions League
And again there was no Fernando Torres in the squad, leaving
young striker David Ngog to continue his Premier League
education in the unforgiving glare of a derby battlefield.
With so much at stake, the opening exchanges were even more
ferocious than usual.
Mascherano and Cahill traded kicks and warnings from referee
Alan Wiley, with the latter finding himself dumped on the
track by the Argentina captain.
But it was Mascherano who was soon celebrating, having had a
major part in Liverpool's 12th minute lead.
Everton criminally allowed the midfielder to advance towards
their box, where he lashed in a 20 yarder that deflected off
Yobo and into the opposite corner than had been intended
with Howard hopelessly wrongfooted.
It was the lead Liverpool had craved, but one that ignited a
fierce and sustained response from Everton.
Twice they had the ball in the net before the break, but two
efforts by Jo were ruled out for offside, the second when
Fellaini blocked Reina right on the line.
But there were other chances for Everton, with Bilyaletdinov
managing to miscue wide from six yards when it would have
been easier to score.
Reina saved from Russian winger, while the excellent Steven
Pienaar was twice close as Everton surged forward in search
of an equaliser they fully deserved.
Liverpool were barely noticeable up front, although Kuyt
fired over and Howard made a fine save from Emiliano Insua's
But they were rare excursions into enemy territory for
Liverpool in a one-sided first-half.
Everton came out after the break intent on more of the same.
They hurled themselves at Liverpool's creaking defence in
which Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger were working overtime
to keep the blue waves at bay.
Liverpool were hanging on under the most searching of
examinations. Saha replaced Jo after 66 minutes, still
Everton rolling relentlessly forward.
Yobo managed to deflect an Ngog effort wide, but that was a
rare venture out by Liverpool.
Reina produced a stunning double-save from Cahill and then
Fellaini, Liverpool penned back and defending with
In all of this, Steven Gerrard was a peripheral figure.
Clearly short of pace and movement he was unable to
influence what was going on all around him, until taking a
hand in the critical second goal.
Ngog was finally withdrawn with 15 minutes to go, Yossi
Benayoun arriving to play on the right with Kuyt taking the
central attacking role. Riera was next into the fray, in
place of Fabio Aurelio, somehow Liverpool still ahead.
But with 10 minutes left, all Everton's brave efforts came
to nothing as Liverpool dealt them a sickening blow.
Reina's long clearance was headed down by Kuyt with Yobo
slashing wildly at the ball. It fell to Gerrard who set up
Riera for a shot that Howard pushed into the path of Kuyt,
who stabbed home the second.
Ayegbeni Yakubu came off for Cahill, and Lucas Neill for a
crestfallen Yobo. But it was all over for Everton, who will
never know how they lost this one.