Hyypia: No room
By Jimmy Rice - LFC Official Website
Sami Hyypia has warned there is no room
for complacency in the race for fourth despite the
five-point cushion established with victory in Sunday's
The Finnish veteran put in another defensive masterclass to
thwart in-form Yakubu and help the Reds secure a 1-0 win
over their nearest rivals.
But, with tricky away fixtures against the likes of Arsenal
and Tottenham to come, Hyypia told Liverpoolfc.tv that
Champions League qualification is far from in the bag.
"It's not over until May 11," he said. "We need to make sure
we get enough points to be in that fourth spot until May
Hyypia has nearly a decade of derbies under his belt, and
while some point to the lack of Scousers who now appear in
this fixture, there's no doubting how much it means to the
He said: "Of course it's sweet. Derby games are always
different. I know what it means to all the fans, so now all
the Liverpool fans, players and staff can be happy.
"I think it was a fair result. We had the game under
control. It's a pity we didn't score more than one goal but
one goal is enough.
"We didn't give them many chances and it was comfortable.
"The Man Utd loss brought us down a little bit but we still
had the confidence to go into this game. We had the
opportunity to go five points clear of Everton, so from that
point of view the win is very important."
Winning the physical battle
was key to derby victory
Comment by Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
If one moment encapsulated the 207th
Merseyside derby, it was no surprise that Steven Gerrard was
at the centre of it.
A block tackle on Phil Jagielka sent him running into the
corner with nowhere to turn and little hope of getting out
alive – just the way his Everton team-mates spent most of
yesterday afternoon at Anfield.
Gerrard, with a shuddering sliding challenge, landed the
inevitable killer blow to his opponent, which is where the
similarity with the game as a whole ended.
Liverpool should have finished Everton off much earlier than
at the final whistle such was their dominance.
But if the scoreline for a long time failed to reflect the
pattern of play, moments like Gerrard’s ruthless
swallowing-up of Jagielka couldn’t have summed it up better.
Hard but fair, the Everton centre-back would have been
better off forgetting the football, hurdling the hoardings
and running straight into the Kop. It would have been a
safer place at that point.
Because the physical battle Liverpool were waging was key to
ensuring there was no repeat of the pettiness that has
marred recent derbies.
No need to rely on refereeing decisions, or to resort to
‘small club’ insults.
Rafael Benitez’s ill-advised phrase of a year ago proved how
much Everton had got under his skin – this time he made sure
his players got inside their opponents’.
Liverpool played some fine football when they were in
possession, but it’s how they came to have so much that was
It was a trait obvious in the opening goal, as Xabi Alonso
refused to let Yakubu shake him off and got the vital prod
to the ball that allowed Dirk Kuyt to tee up Fernando Torres
to score on his derby debut.
It was if Liverpool knew they had to get stuck in from the
off and lay down that kind of marker.
Although Everton’s need was perceived as greater ahead of
the game because they had the deficit to claw back,
extending it to five points was of paramount importance to
the Red mission for fourth place given the respective
fixtures that await next weekend.
So they set out determined to ensure they secured it and
that early vibrancy knocked Everton into a stunned state
they stood little chance of recovering from.
Especially with only one fit centre-forward in the 16, a
situation that demanded they be up for the battle too – but
they didn’t apply themselves to it as cleverly as their
Lee Carsley, Phil Neville and Steven Pienaar were all booked
for mistiming their attempts to impose their own physical
stamp on the game.
But Liverpool had the cold calculation to go with their
commitment, with Kuyt, Lucas and the blossoming Martin
Skrtel all channelling their aggression into good
Gerrard even risked a kick in the face (accidental) from
Jagielka to send Torres away on a counter-attack which was
infuriatingly interrupted by the whistle.
And the line of stewards at the Everton end after the game
couldn’t have provided a more impressive barrier than Kuyt
when he raced half the length of the field to box in Tim
Howard and prevent him launching a desperate late search for
But while some things in football are predictable – like
Steve Bennett’s ‘watershed’ decision to send off Javier
Mascherano last week being almost ignored completely by
every official subject to dissent and disrespect over the
weekend – others are less expected.
Like Everton succumbing to an opponent that initially looked
like they wanted it more.
In truth, the way Liverpool applied themselves would have
made it difficult for most sides at Anfield.
But, rather like in Florence, when the occasion demanded it,
Everton seemed strangely subdued and unable to bring the
qualities that have served them so well this season to the
The challenge for David Moyes now is to extract them from
his players for one final push.
That might not necessarily lead to Champions League
football, of course. They can realistically make up ground
next weekend but if hopes that Liverpool’s distractions
cause their league form to suffer will only happen in tandem
with them extending their run in Europe. Which, if
ultimately successful, will secure them the final ticket
into the continent’s premier club competition regardless of
what happens on the domestic front.
But if Everton can take enough points from the final six
games to even finish fifth, it will be still be an admirable
achievement given the endless stream of injuries and
adversity that even they couldn’t overcome when it mattered
And, crucially for any manager obsessed with progress, it
will also mark an improvement.
Improving their record in derbies at Anfield, however, is
still so frustratingly beyond them.
My derby debut delight
By Ian Doyle - Liverpool Daily Post
Derby matchwinner Fernando Torres saluted
the unique inspiration of the Kop after strengthening
Liverpool’s claims for a top-four finish.
The Spaniard struck within seven minutes of his derby debut
yesterday to earn Rafael Benitez’s men a 1-0 win over
Everton at Anfield in the 207th meeting between the teams.
It moved Torres on to 21 Premier League goals for the season
and pushed Liverpool five points clear of their neighbours
in the race for fourth place and the final Champions League
The striker has netted 19 of those top-flight goals on home
soil of which a remarkable 15 have come in front of the Kop.
And an ecstatic Torres said: “To score the winner in my
first derby is fantastic.
“But the victory was the most important thing and Everton
are further away than before, and we are on target for the
top four and can concentrate on the Champions League now.
“I always feel confident that I can score at Anfield. I’ve
got 19 Premier League goals here now which is fantastic for
me, and I seem to score most of those in front of the Kop!
“I don’t know why that is, but I’m always scoring at that
end. It must be something about the stand, it is just
“I think that’s now 15 of those 19 goals have come in front
of the Kop, and I always feel confident when I’m facing that
end of the pitch.”
Torres, who now has 28 goals in all competitions, was making
his first appearance in the Merseyside derby after missing
the October clash at Goodison through injury.
And the Spain international added: “It was amazing. The fans
are very happy now. There was very good support for both
“A derby game is always different from the others. It’s an
important game for the fans, and you can feel all through
the week building up to the game that it’s a special game.
Beating Everton always makes the fans happy.”
The victory gave Liverpool only their sixth league double
over Everton in the last 35 years.
Torres believes it was the perfect response from Benitez’s
side after their seven-game winning run was halted by the
3-0 drubbing at Manchester United last Sunday.
And the forward reckons Liverpool can take the confidence
from their derby triumph into Wednesday’s Champions League
quarter-final first leg at Arsenal.
“Whenever you have a bad result, you always want to bounce
straight back with a win,” said Torres.
“We have confidence again now, and we have the confidence to
go and win against Arsenal.
“We’ve forgotten the United result now. It was a bad game
for us. Now we have Arsenal away, and we know it will be a
big game. We have six league games to come too and we can
concentrate on them.”
Benitez hits out over
By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post
Rafael Benitez hit out at sections of
Everton’s support following the Merseyside derby victory at
The Liverpool manager led his side to the second Premier
League double over their city rivals during his four-year
But he revealed he was more pleased for the supporters and
for the players he felt were “disrespected” by chants from
the away end.
Benitez caused controversy last year when he labelled
Everton a “small club” following their 0-0 draw at Anfield.
And with Everton players also being singled out for insults
from the home supporters – something clearly not lost on
David Moyes when he shrugged in response to Benitez’s
criticism – the Spaniard risked fanning the flames once
Asked how he felt about overcoming Everton, Benitez said: “I
think it is more for our supporters and for the team because
we have three more points and the gap is five points.
“I am sure some of the players will be very pleased because
I do not like to hear some of the things I heard.
“It showed a lack of respect for some players. So I am
really pleased, especially for some players.
“So I am very pleased we did the double against Everton for
our supporters and it was really important for the team and
Benitez also had a thinly-veiled dig at referee Steven
Bennett, who a week earlier sent off Javier Mashcerano
against Manchester United.
The Argentinian received a second yellow card – that ruled
him out of the derby – after protesting against Fernando
Torres’s booking for dissent.
Torres was booked for the same offence by Howard Webb
yesterday but Benitez said: “This referee is a good referee
who does not want to be arrogant and be the star.”
But Benitez was in far more praising mood when quizzed on
his team’s performance, particularly bouncing back from the
3-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
He added: “It was important for us to show character and be
well organised. You could see that the team with balance and
trying to do things right that we were practising in
“At the end of the first half we’d had a lot of chances.
When you are winning 1-0 you feel that you may concede a
goal from a corner or a free-kick so we needed a second
“But, although we couldn’t score again, we won and we are
now in a better position but we need to keep winning if we
want to finish in the top four.
“We have to play against Arsenal away and Everton play Derby
– so it could be different next week so we need to work hard
until the end.
“The team showed character, especially in the first half
where they showed quality too so we know we have these
things and important to see them in every game.
“After the defeat at United it was good to beat our rivals
and that will allow us to face Arsenal with more
Benitez also paid tribute to Pepe Reina, who beat Ray
Clemence’s club record for the most clean sheets in the
first 100 games of an Anfield goalkeeping career.
“It was also a good day because of Pepe Reina’s 54th clean
sheet,” added Benitez.
hails Torres' impact
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez was unstinting
in his praise for Fernando Torres after the Spaniard's 21st
league goal of the season settled matters in
the Merseyside derby.
Everton started the 207th game between the two clubs at
Anfield just two points shy of their neighbours, but were
far from at their best in falling to a 1-0 defeat, which in
truth flattered them.
It came as no surprise that Torres scored the game's
decisive goal, as he struck in the first period to put
Liverpool in almost complete control of the final UEFA
Champions League spot in fourth.
"We have said before we have a lot of confidence in Fernando
and we are pleased that he scored today," Benitez said.
"For him to score so many in his first season is great for
him and for us so we are very happy for him. The
understanding between Torres and (Steven) Gerrard is very
Benitez admits Liverpool's failure to find a second goal, as
a number of chances went begging, left him somewhat uneasy
on the touchline as the game entered its final stages.
"In the first half we had other chances but didn't get that
second goal and in the second half we played more on the
"When you are winning by just one goal the opposition could
always get a corner or a free-kick so we had to keep our
concentration levels high.
"The win was important and we are in a good position but we
have difficult games against Arsenal, Tottenham and
Blackburn to come yet."
rues blunt Toffees
David Moyes lamented a lack of thrust in
the final third but refused to give up on fourth spot
following Everton's 1-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Everton arrived at Anfield trailing their Merseyside rivals
by just two points but their performance rarely raised
itself above one of lethargy as Liverpool eased to victory.
Moyes was considerably hamstrung in having only Yakubu
Aiyegbeni as an option in attack; with a bench that included
two left-backs indicative of a threadbare squad.
And it is a situation Moyes accepts hindered his side: "We
lacked penetration when we got into good positions around
the penalty area but we handed Liverpool an early advantage.
"We gave them the first goal which is a disappointing start
and Yakubu has to take responsibility for giving the ball
away, but I am also concerned that we didn't pick up Torres.
"But I thought we played well in the second half and
"Unfortunately we've had a few injuries at the business end
of the season. We're not running out of steam - it's more a
case of not having enough bodies."
While Liverpool now appear odds-on to hold onto the final
UEFA Champions League spot in fourth, Moyes is refusing to
accept the race is already over.
"There are still games to be played so it doesn't change
things for us," he added. "We're still positive about the
rest of the season. Five points is a big gap but we won't be
were always comfortable
By Paul Eaton - LFC Official Website
Steven Gerrard insisted Liverpool were
fully deserving of all three points after the Reds completed
the league double over Everton with a 1-0 victory at
Fernando Torres was the matchwinner, slotting home in the
sixth minute after Yakubu had lost possession on the edge of
his own area.
The Reds are now five points clear of their city rivals in
the race for fourth place but Gerrard believes there's still
work to be done before a place in next season's Champions
League can be celebrated.
"It was a big win for us today," said the skipper. "We knew
how important it was and hopefully now we can continue to
the end of the season and grab that fourth place.
"We started well and had chances to add to our lead, but we
didn't take them and Everton came back at us a bit in the
second half. I thought we were always comfortable though.
"We put some good deliveries into the box but no-one was on
the end of them. That's why it was harder in the second
"These games always have a big build up, it's all about
bragging rights and that's why our fans were still singing
well after the final whistle.
"We've still got tricky games to go though. We go to Arsenal
next and that's why it was so important to get the points
Terrific Torres tames Toffees
By Ben Blackmore - Setanta Sports
Liverpool have a firm grip on the final
Champions League spot after the record-equalling Fernando
Torres fired them to a 1-0 victory in the Merseyside derby
Torres needed just seven minutes of his first derby to sweep
home the winning goal, taking The Reds five points clear of
their rivals in the chase for fourth spot.
Capitalising on an Everton side who clearly had not turned
their clocks forward, ‘El Nino’ punished Yakubu Aiyegbeni’s
lack of urgency to score for the sixth successive top-flight
match – equaling a club record.
Rafa Benitez’s only complaint can have been that Liverpool
did not rack up more goals as they produced one of their
best halves of football all season, but now they can turn
their focus to a Champions League showdown with Arsenal,
knowing they are likely to be dining at Europe’s top table
again next season.
This was the 178th meeting of two clubs steeped in history,
but barely can there been a more one-sided first half as
Liverpool outclassed their opposition, with Yakubu a
frustrated figure operating as a lone striker.
David Moyes had taken a stab at The Reds before the game,
saying Everton 'don’t go relying on a sugar-daddy for
big-money signings'. Seven minutes in, he will have been
asking questions of his record signing as Yakubu gifted
Liverpool the opener.
Caught dithering on the edge of his own box, Yakubu was
pounced upon by Xabi Alonso, Dirk Kuyt fed Torres, and El
Nino had his first derby goal – slotting the ball into the
The goal encapsulated the difference between the two sides
as Liverpool snapped into challenges, Steven Gerrard leading
the way, while Everton looked like a rabbit staring into
oncoming headlights as chance after chance came the home
Torres was giving the Everton back four nightmares and Lee
Carsley’s savage attempt to stop him could easily have
landed the midfielder a straight red card.
Liverpool were utilising the flanks, particularly through
Ryan Babel and John Arne Riise, and both players delivered
crosses that should have seen The Reds extend their lead.
Kuyt missed the best chance, failing to connect with a
Steven Gerrard corner just three yards from goal, and then
the excellent Lucas was only denied a certain goal by
Carsley’s top class intervention.
Wave after wave of Liverpool attack suffocated their stunned
visitors, and Babel should have doubled the lead from a Kuyt
cross as Tony Hibbert cut a perplexed figure at right back.
Liverpool’s only fault was the fact they did not add a
second before the break, although they could hardly be
blamed for that as Gerrard’s 25-yard volley crashed off
Howard’s right post – the American well-beaten.
Everton had to improve. They could not get any worse. And in
fairness they supported Yakubu far better after the break.
A greater desire to pick up any scraps from the Nigerian
earned The Toffees a clutch of free kicks, and Leon Osman
could have equalized had he made lighter contact with
Arteta’s devilish inswinger.
Yakubu then found himself one-on-one with Jose Reina
following a lucky ricochet, but a combination of Hyypia’s
timing and the striker’s willingness to hit the deck meant
the danger was averted.
Liverpool were relying on the searing pace of Babel on the
break, and it was from one such burst that Lucas nearly
killed the game off, the Brazilian seeing his goalbound shot
superbly blocked by Yobo.
The second goal never arrived though, despite two quality
long-range efforts from Kuyt and Gerrard, but that won’t
bother anybody in Red as they secured the ultimate bragging
rights by winning both derbies in the same season.