St Dom-index Player Ratings for the Everton vs Liverpool game on Saturday 23rd November 2013.
Sylvain Distin -8
The Blue Match Review
The stage was set for a win, the atmosphere was electric and we fielded a very strong team, but the Goodison crowd were soon brought down to earth when Liverpool scored within the first few minutes. Disappointingly their goal could easily have been avoided with Coutinho left unmarked and with plenty of time to pick his spot.
We certainly bounced back quickly, dominating the possession and deservedly levelled the score within minutes, the much improved Kevin Mirallas poking home at the back post. Despite been well on top, the Blues were unable to take a grip on the game and further sloppy defending presenting Liverpool with the opportunity to re-take the lead.
A free kick, conceded by an overzealous tackle from Gareth Barry left Suarez sizing up the goal from 25 yards out. The wall wasn’t positioned correctly and the Uruguayan was able to bend the ball between players and he successfully found the bottom right corner of Tim Howards net.
Despite appearing to be in control of the game and playing nice football at times Everton found themselves up against it at the break, trailing the Reds 2-1 in an enthralling Merseyside derby. The second half response was superb, with Martinez again showing his excellent in-game management to transfer the game back in Everton’s favour.
Everton were well on top now and it appeared a matter of time before the Liverpool defence would buckle. However, the more chances Everton missed, the more it began to feel like it wasn’t a Blue day. Finally the game changed, with Lukaku, who up until that point had endured a poor game, popping up to level the score.
With the scores level, both teams pushed for a winner, both keepers making excellent saves to keep the tie level. However the true sign of a world-class striker is even when they are having a bad game they remain dangerous and Lukaku demonstrated this perfectly, towering above the Liverpool defence to power home a header from a Mirallas corner.
The Blues now only had 10 minutes to hold out, but with the earlier tactical changes leaving Everton wide open, it was no real surprise when Sturridge flicked a head at a Gerrard free-kick and celebrated ecstatically as the ball settled in the Park End net.
Mirallas is slowly but surely getting back to his old self, he looked bright in spells, and put in a few good crosses, however Steven Pienaar was my man of the match. He wanted the ball throughout; every time we were stuck at the back he made space for himself and was always willing to receive the ball, even in difficult areas. In possession he was running riot and on several occasions brushed past Johnson like he wasn’t even there.
A draw wasn’t a fair result in my opinion, we had much the better chances, dominated the possession and there are a lot of positives to take away from our performance, roll on Stoke!