The Reds won yet another Merseyside derby at Goodison thanks to goals from Owen and Murphy. The Reds didn't play superbly well on the day but with all the pre-match hype about Rooney it was the original boy wonder who opened the scoring. Everton had a lot of the ball but rarely troubled the Reds who early doors looked like they wee falling like flies as Biscan left the pitch injured and then Dudek pulled up with an injury too. The home side did get back in to the game with a penalty but as they looked to get back on top in the game Danny Murphy scored a goal which sums up his season - superb.
The Reds got the game underway and attacked the Everton fans in the first half in the Gwladys street. The first few minutes saw an almost blanket bombardment by the blues on the Liverpool goal with Rooney being the one most fired up to put one over his rivals. The Reds temporary set up at the back of Biscan and Traore were a bit shaky to start with and it gave Everton even more heart. Biscan injured himself in one movement with Rooney and was forced to leave the field for treatment after just six minutes. Salif Diao was introduced for Biscan who couldn't continue after just eight minutes. Diao slotted in to right back, a role he's used to with Senegal and Carragher moved in to the heart of the defence with Traore and from this point on the Reds' defence just looked so less shaky.
Dudek pulled up with a muscle strain two minutes later after taking a goal kick and you wondered if the Reds would have any subs left but Dudek recovered after treatment although didn't take another goal kick all game. The Reds really hadn't got started at all in the game. Everton were forcing all of the play as you would expect from the home side but the Reds just didn't seem to be able to diffuse the situation. Dudek was called into action on nineteen minutes. After a free kick was awarded referee Durkin moved the ball ten yards and booked both Hamann and Gerrard for dissent. The free kick was now in range and Naysmith hit it goalwards but Dudek was up to the task and deflected it round for a corner.
The Reds suddenly seemed to wake up a little and started getting hold of the ball and passing it about a bit which of course meant the home side reverted to old style and hacked away a bit. Gravesen was soon in the book for a poor challenge. Against the general run of play a bit the Reds took the lead on thirty one minutes from Michael Owen. Owen picked the ball up on the left side and he cut inside two men before hitting a superb shot at the near post which Wright couldn't keep out and the Reds were in the lead with the first shot on target. It was Owen's 98th league goal.
The goal turned the match a little as the Reds started to take heart from the goal and dominated possession of the ball. It was the Reds now who had the upper hand in midfield and it stopped being one way traffic. That said though, like the blues, Liverpool never really did enough to force a goal after this and it was no surprise that the half ended 1-0 tot he Reds. Everton saw three more bookings in the first half before it ended as Naysmith, Weir and Stubbs all saw yellow. The first two would prove very costly later in the game as the Blues ended with nine men.
Everton got the game underway in the second half and it was a case of all Everton attack again. The Reds didn't have much of an outlet for the ball. In Heskey who should be able to hold the ball up it simply bounced off him all the time. Everton went extremely close six minutes in to the half but Gravesen pulled his shot just wide of goal with Dudek caught flat footed.
Everton got an equaliser from a penalty after fifty eight minutes. A ball played through for Naysmith in the area was played and as he reached the ball easily Carragher then bundled him over for a clear penalty that even Carragher knew was coming. Bizarrely Carragher escaped a booking though which was lucky. Unsworth stepped up and hit the penalty high over Dudek and into the roof of the net for a deserved equaliser.
Again somewhat against the run of play the Reds managed to grab a lead in the game again and this time they wouldn't let it go. Hamann strode forward but as he ran into two defenders and lost the ball it fell kindly for Murphy who took one touch to control it and then bent a superb shot around the onrushing defender and past the outstretched arms of Wright for the goal of the game. Murphy was so excited by the goal that within a minute of the game re-starting he nearly bettered it with a stunning volley from thirty yards but it sailed just wide with Wright beaten.
El Hadji Diouf was brought on for Baros after sixty six minutes play which saw Heskey move up front as Diouf went right sided midfield. Two minutes later Everton revealed their last tactics for the game as they brought on Ferguson for Watson. Ferguson signaled aerial bombardment in to the Reds penalty area but as it turned out the Reds coped quite easily.
Naysmith appealed for a second penalty on seventy one minutes but he went looking for it too much and referee Durkin waved play on. With just nine minutes left the home side were reduced to ten men as the Red started to play on the counter attack more. Gerrard motored down the inside left position but was brought down from behind by Weir. Possibly a bit harsh but it was a bookable offence and with Weir having been booked earlier in the game he was off.
Heskey should have tied the game up with six minutes left as he rose well for a header in the box but he couldn't direct it on goal enough. Everton tried the aerial bombardment right to the end but never really put the Reds under intense pressure as they ran out of ideas. Everton were reduced to nine men in the final minute as Naysmith was sent off for his second booking of the day. Diouf picked the ball up near half way and went past Naysmith who had a hack at him. Referee Durkin(praised as ref choice by the blues before the game) shown Naysmith Yellow then red and he was off.
Overall the Reds didn't exactly play the greatest game of football on the day but when it mattered they were the side who could put the ball in the back of the net and how well they did it. Everton had a lot of pressure on the Reds' goal but rarely troubled Dudek in fairness as the Reds central partnership played really well.
MotM : Jamie Carragher - moved into centre back and ensured the Reds were tight all game. The penalty alone he was solid throughout and was also well accompanied by Traore.