After The Match 


Liverpool-Everton 1-0 (1-0)           30.3.08                          PL
Goals: Torres (7)
Team: Reina, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Riise, Lucas, Alonso, Gerrard, Kuyt, Torres, Babel
Subs: Benayoun (Babel 82), Pennant (Torres 90),
Crouch (Gerrard 90)
Not used: Itandje, Finnan
Yellow: Torres (89)              
Carsley (8), Neville (18), Pienaar (49), Jagielka (71)
Red: None
Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 44,295
Shots on target: 3-1
Shots off target: 6-1
Blocked shots: 6-1
Fouls conceded: 13-16
Corners: 11-4
Offsides: 4-2
Possession: 49.7-50.3
Yellow: 1-4

a big win
for us

Steven Gerrard

3103: Hyypia: No room for complacency
3103: Winning the physical battle was key...
3103: Kop idol Torres: My derby debut delight
3103: Benitez hits out over ‘disrespectful’ chants
3003: Rafa hails Torres' impact
3003: Moyes rues blunt Toffees
3003: Gerrard: We were always comfortable
3003: Terrific Torres tames Toffees

Hyypia: No room for complacency

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 derby.

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 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 11."

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 towering centre-back.

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 key.

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 hosts.

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 old-fashioned ball-winning.

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 an equaliser.

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 fore.

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 most yesterday.

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.

Kop idol Torres:
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 qualification berth.

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 different.

“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 teams.

“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
‘disrespectful’ chants

By Nick Smith - Liverpool Daily Post

Rafael Benitez hit out at sections of Everton’s support following the Merseyside derby victory at Anfield yesterday.

The Liverpool manager led his side to the second Premier League double over their city rivals during his four-year reign.

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 again.

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 the club.”

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 training sessions.

“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 goal.

“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 confidence.”

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.

Rafa hails Torres' impact

Sky Sports

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 good."

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 counter-attack.

"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."

Moyes rues blunt Toffees

Sky Sports

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 responded well.

"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 giving up."

Gerrard: We 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 Anfield.

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 half.

"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 today."

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 against Everton.

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 far corner.

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 side’s way.

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.

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Thor Zakariassen ©