The Reds came away from Goodison with all three points and bragging rights for a while. The Reds didn't play great on the day but two stone wall penalties was enough to get them past an own goal from Sami Hyypia. Everton finished the game with ten men but still felt aggrieved when a last minute penalty claim was waved away.
The Reds took to the pitch with Gerrard getting a free midfield role, safe in the knowledge that he had both Mascherano and Sissoko behind him to mop anything up. Kuyt was partnered by Voronin up front as Fernando Torres failed to beat injury and make the final 16.
Everton got the game underway and the first ten minutes of the game saw a good start from the Reds. Inside the first two minutes Benayoun had threaded a ball in for Gerrard but his first touch was heavy and the ball went out.
A couple of minutes later and Benayoun was in behind a dithering Hibbert. He set Voronin up for a shot on goal but his shot was parried by the keeper and Kuyt didn't react before Howard could get on the ball again.
Everton slowly adjusted their lineup to counteract the Reds and it suddenly meant that the Reds looked very ordinary. The play was all very narrow from the Reds and Everton more than made up for that by getting Lescott free down their left hand side. That in itself forced Voronin to track back all the time which in turn left us very lightweight up front.
The game became very dull to watch as the middle of the pitch became so congested and the Reds in particular lost their way. Everton were at least trying to get the odd cross in. Osman shot over with a half volley and Anichebe hit the roof of the net with a header but you could have been forgiven for falling asleep.
The whole game was turned on its head when Everton grabbed a lead on thirty-eight minutes. A corner was swung in deep and it was half cleared deeper. Stubbs returned the ball back in and as the ball fell Hyypia swung a boot at it and scored what would have been a great strike had it been at the other end. It sent the home crowd wild and Sami needed a hole to crawl in to.
The second half saw the Reds out first and waiting for Everton to return. They were sent out to get right back in to the game.
Just six minutes in to the half and the Reds were back in it after they broke from an Everton corner. The ball was cleared by the Reds and Voronin was on it like a shot. He fed Gerrard who had the run on Hibbert having started at the edge of his own box. As he neared the area and was ready to shoot he went flying as Hibbert got hold of him. A stone wall penalty and a Red card offence. No question. The only debate seemed to be when Mark Clattenburg initially got his yellow card out. He realised his error though and promptly reduced the Blues to ten.
Dirk Kuyt took the responsibility of the spot kick and duly dispatched it to the right with Howard going the other way.
Now you thought the Reds would control the game and win this.
Jamie Carragher was given a talking to by the ref a few minutes later as he was furious over a decision against the Reds. Gerrard tried to calm him down but Carragher was livid. Full marks to the ref though for not being swayed by the crowd and booking him. The ref was merely doing exactly as he had done to Stubbs in the first half who could just as easily have been booked for the same thing.
On fifty seven minutes Kuyt broke free down the right and when at the bye line he pulled a ball back for Riise but typical of the Norwegian he insisted on using his left foot which put him out of shape and he duly skied the shot.
On the hour mark the Reds had a double chance as Kuyt saw a shot blocked by Yobo then Voronin had one saved before Kuyt headed over but you really started to believe a win was on the cards now.
On sixty-three minutes the Reds were fortunate to stay with eleven on the pitch as Dirk Kuyt lost possession and then flew through the air towards Phil Neville. Neville avoided any contact which was probably the only reason Kuyt saw yellow and not Red.
The Reds made a switch on sixty_seven minutes when Babel came on for Benayoun down the right.
Three minutes later and another switch was made but this one stunned the away end as Gerrard was taken off for Lucas. Gerrard was having a better game compared to what he has of late.
Time started to tick on though and the Reds were still the better side but just couldn't work that clear opening. McFadden came on for Everton in place of Yakubu.
The more the clock ticked though the more it looked like it was going to end one a piece.
Pennant was thrown on at the end in place of Sissoko as a last throw of the dice.
Carragher and McFadden were both booked near the end as they both had a bit of a grapple near the halfway line.
Drama hit though in the final minutes of the game when the Reds worked an opening and the ball fell to Lucas for a free shot on goal. The ball was destined for the back of the net when Neville handled it. He had little choice really but it left the ref with no choice as a result and he was shown Red.
Dirk Kuyt stepped up once again and sent his shot the same way and scored again, although Howard got a hand to this one.
It sent the Reds wild in celebration and now it was just a case of holding the ball and taking the points.
There was one more scare at the end of the match though as Lescott fell backwards under pressure from Carragher. They had been doing it all day and the ref just waved play on. Carragher's hands were certainly there but he went down far too easily for me. What it did do though was give the Blues a new ref to vilify in the Derby.
MotM : Jamie Carragher - played really well at the back and more than made up for his nightmare of last season.