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Liverpool 3 - 1 Everton

Half-time: 1 - 1


Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 2000-01 – Game #11
3pm Sunday 29 October 2000
Anfield, Liverpool
Att: 44,718
Newcastle United (a) Ref: Paul Durkin Aston Villa (h) »
[ Matchday Calendar ] League Position: 14th Results &  Table  ]
 MATCH SUMMARY
Kevin Campbell

Preview 
from Colm
Kavanagh

After good performances away from home, and abysmal ones at the late lamented Fortress Goodison, many hoped Everton would have more going for them in this derby than may otherwise be expected.  New player Idan Tal started and Gary Naysmith was used to freshen things up as Ball tired, and Kevin Campbell played his part despite being only 75% fit.

The match was disappointingly moved to a Sunday but not televised except via closed-circuit tv to the inadequate screens at Goodison Park.  And the normally high derby temperature was elevated a few notches higher than usual with the first appearance of Nick Barmby against his old team-mates. 

Everton started well with Mark Pembridge through on goal after just 4 mins lifting the ball over Westerveld but wide of the post when he really should have scored.  Then, after Pembridge had a go at Barmby and got booked, from the resulting free-kick, who should score.... but Nick Barmby!

Everton went right back up the other end, where Pembridge again missed another sitter!!  But just a few minutes latter, a great corner by Idan Tal was nodded back over by Weir and Kevin Campbell planted a smart header past Westerveld: 1 - 1!!

Some great football ensued for the rest of the first half, with Everton more than holding their own against the evil red horde.  But early in the second half, a speculative long-range effort by Heskey flew past shot-stopper Paul Gerrard, and suddenly it was 2-1 with Liverpool increasingly dominant as Everton's midfield started to lose its shape.

The final nail came with 15 mins left, when Naysmith missed a long ball and Gravesen was forced to foul Smicer for an instant red card.  Berger converted the ensuing penalty to make it an unassailable 3 - 1.

And the ridiculous lock-in never materialised, thanks in no small part to the collective efforts of the Everton Internet community online.  A victory for the common sense of the fans over the mindless bureaucracy of the Suits!

 

  

 MATCH FACTS
   GOALSCORERS  
Liverpool: Barmby (11'), Heskey (55'), Berger (pen:78').
EVERTON: Campbell (17')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
Liverpool: Westerveld, Gerrard (85' Carragher), Ziege, Hyypia, Babbel, Berger, Hamann, McAllister, Barmby, Fowler (68' Smicer), Heskey. Arphexad, Traore, Murphy.
EVERTON: Gerrard; Watson, Weir {c}, Xavier, Ball (55' Naysmith); Gravesen (77' Sent Off!), Nyarko, Tal (65' Moore), Gascoigne, Pembridge; Campbell.
Unavailable: Alexandersson, Cleland, Ferguson, Gough, Jeffers, Pistone (injured).
Simonsen; Unsworth, Gemmill.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Liverpool: Red shirts; red shorts; red socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; blue socks. 4-5-1; 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Liverpool:
EVERTON: Pembridge (10') Gravesen (77')
 Sports.Com Detailed Match Stats and Full Match Commentary  

  
 MATCH REPORTS
 REPORTS BY EVERTON FANS
Rob Burns Seating with the Enemy
Mickey Blue Eyes Raindrops keep fallin' on me 'ead
Nick Williams Midfield is the key
 NEWSPAPER REPORTS
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Heskey keeps Liverpool glowing
by Henry Winter
THE TIMES Barmby quick to add insult to Everton's injury
by Matt Dickinson
 LINKS TO NEWSPAPER REPORTS
THE INDEPENDENT Link to Match Reports
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited
DAILY POST Link to Daily Post Report

LIVERPOOL ECHO Link to Echo Report

 LINKS TO OTHER INTERNET REPORTS
EVERTON FC SITE Link to Official Match Report

BBC SPORTS Link to BBC Sports Match Report
SKY SPORTS Link to Sky Sports Match Report
SPORTING LIFE Link to PA Sports Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report

 
 Seating with the enemy
Rob Burns
 
Hard enough to take charity from the Redshite a former friend supplied my ticket which gave me the privilege of sitting in the home of the narrow-minded school of philosophy.  The sinking feeling that a desperate shrunken-headed Brummy was unable to see his red beauties this afternoon really hit home as I took my seat on Row 2 of the Kop.  

No surprises that in front 6 seats were occupied by an olive skinned group conversing in a Latin tongue; along to the left, modelling the latest bobble hat styles from the Anfield shop, was a group of our Northern European colleagues; whilst behind sat members of the cast of west midlands sitcom 'The Grimleys' who realised immediately that "Gazzur just a fat has-boin whose never ploiyed in a reul dorboi" obviously frustrated at the lack of a Birmingham City v Villa contest for so many years.  Sadly Ladbrokes refused odds on 'spotting a scouser'.

The heavens opened just before kick-off and I was apprehensive that this could turn out to be another of 'those derbies' with players sliding across the pitch like Torville & Dean closely followed by a card-happy referee.  But Durkin did well through the majority of the game with only a couple of notable mistakes.  The early momentum was with Liverpool.  Barmby played down the right and the well-mooted contest between he and Ball looked on.  As it happened, young Michael kept his head and it was Barmby who committed the first sin with a late challenge after Ball had played for touch.  Mark Pembridge showed his intentions to have a big influence on the game when he slid through the treacherous Judas minutes later, collecting a yellow card as the price of vengeance.

Pembridge could have had even greater effect as he found himself clean on goal with only Westerveld to beat from Gravesen's slide rule pass he chipped the keeper but the ball dropped inches wide of the far post.  Minutes later he found himself again with time in the area and again shot wide of the goal how Franny would have buried them.

Liverpool drew first blood, however.  A cross from the left possibly the only effective Liverpool cross in the first half took a deflection as Xavier dived in.  The ball dropped long and as Fowler shoved Weir to the floor Barmby collected on his head at the far post and put the ball home.  I will be writing a letter of complaint regarding the script writer.  

Everton remained unfazed and given the opportunity of a corner at the other end we were set to make problems.  Weir managed to wrestle his marker and head back from beyond the far post and Campbell's determination forced the ball home as he stooped in the middle of the goal.  I leapt with delight as the Brummies fell silent searching desperately for the words 'twat, blue shit and bastards' (despite plenty of practice throughout).  

Everton gave a good account of themselves and, given the rub of the green, could have gone in 3-1 at half time.  As it was all square the game was very much for the taking in the second half.

Starting slowly, Everton failed to cope with 10 minutes of pressure.  Naysmith entered the fray for Ball a disappointing swap for me as I hoped for Naysmith to cause extra trouble on the left, following the efforts of a lively and improving Idan Tal in the first half.  But then who am I to ask Walter to mess the positions around?  

Naysmith looked unfazed by the occasion and looked solid in the main.  Unfortunately his reckless challenge on Smicer led to the second Liverpool strike as the defenders seemed to pause, assuming a free-kick.  The referee played a good advantage and Heskey, with time to untie his laces from each other before teeing up a shot, hit the back of the net from 30 yards.  Gerrard seemed to dive late but may have been unsighted.  2-1 but very much in the game, although a little shell-shocked. 

Everton continued to attack and look for the goal.  Gascoigne was as good as ever, using the opportunities from a retreating red midfield to look up and play some superb combinations with Pembridge, Gravesen and Watson whose performance on the right was as good as I have seen him both defensively and moving up the flank.

Xavier swept up virtually everything that came from the middle and allowed Weir to maintain the confidence that he found only last week in the North East.  We simply HAVE TO KEEP THIS PAIRING for as long as possible as I feel that there are few sides who will unlock them in our league.  Xavier's talking was impressive and he ensured that the defence played as a unit and was unafraid to cover out of position, with distribution second to none as an added bonus.  Up front, Campbell worked hard and won everything in the air again missing his partner Jeffers, Moore joining later in place of Tal but too late to make a difference.

Crunch point came with about 10 or 15 mins to go as concentration slipped.  A header well saved by Westerveld was quickly converted into a long throw.  A simple interception was misjudged by Naysmith and the ball bounced clear.  Only Gravesen found the legs to get near Smicer, and with Gerrard rooted to the goal line he was forced to make the challenge.  The weak forward fell easily and Tommy was millimetres away from hooking the ball back.  But a straight red was shown and the game was over from then as Redshite dominated easily.

To add some humour to the occasion, the boneheads chanted "Gazza, what's the score?" he saved them the bother and showed them with fingers.  He also obliged by adjusting his collar to demonstrate his tits met by a round of applause by the home fans.  Gascoigne has certainly grown in mind and his handling of the crowd was creditable.  It is probably a little soon to be sure but the risks associated with the whole phenomenon seem to be evaporating fast.

Heart should be taken from our performance this afternoon which would have seen a result in most other games.  The Red bastards can gain a little bit more undue confidence from today and frog-eyes can be vindicated after victory in our cup final.  The hardest thing about a Derby defeat is the fact that after coming second in the game, you then have the double whammy of 3 points dropped.  But continuing to build on this, there are many more points to be had from an improving and rejuvenated team.


   Up to Reports Index ]
 Raindrops keep fallin' on me 'ead
Mickey Blue Eyes
 
Derby matches make you realise the truth of what the fascist American banker J P Morgan once said: The working class?  I can always pay one half to kill the other half.  Since he said this before the First World War, it is easy to see someone paid him a measure of serious attention and acted accordingly.  You only have to listen to the more absurd fans phrases like, You insult my club and you insult me to see where it leads, eventually.  We all know where that is.  None of us want to go there ever again.

It was impossible to avoid these pre-match thoughts with the Barmby transfer nonsense still hanging in the air.  You prayed nothing stupid would happen.  In the end it didnt.  Nobody I know likes Barmby very much.  The best thing to do is ignore him.  Odd mad moments aside, thats what happened.  It was a great relief.  Murdochs gobshite press must have been badly disappointed.

It was much discussed in the Black Horse match preamble as an assortment of steaming winter wear piled in to order oceans of beer to shake off the steady, cold drizzle and grey skies looming over the city.  Everyone was in good heart and up for it.  Its the only way with derby games.  Take it head on or walk away, a bit like the Kiwi Hakaa.  Walk away, and you obviously dont want to take part...

Given our dubious prospects, Blue Bellies were full of optimism.  It never ceases to amaze me.  I distributed match tickets with all the patronage of an American president and couldnt resist gleefully waving them under the few redneck noses who were there before passing them on to rabid Blue Bellies.  Cruel really.  Tee hee. You cant resist it on occasions like this, though.  They do the same to us.  And quite right too.  You shouldnt join up if you cant take a joke.

When we got outside, the rain had become a steady downpour.  The Copperas Hill Boys (yes, the ones who tried to put a congratulatory ad for Man Uniteds last championship win in the Echo, the one the local journos shit themselves over and refused) were meeting someone else down at the Royal Oak, Spellow Lane, and so we all trooped out.  

The Oak was ROCKING!  Wall-to-wall Bellies again, all singing their heads off.  A few morose rednecks sat around sulkily and stared into their beer.  Everywhere, Bellies were practising the most appallingly obscene songs about Barmby and his nearest and dearest.  To me, it was quite obvious what was going to happen in the match where the little shit was concerned...  

Needless to say, it did.  We emerged into yet more pitiless rain and walked up to and around Stanley Park, and then up Anfield Road, water squelching out of every lace hole and pouring off unprotected heads.  Then we were at the ground.

Theres something distinctly odd about the redneck set-up these days, both the look of the ground and the air about the place.  Dont ask me to put my finger on it because I cant.  Its just odd.  Its easy to see why.  Considering theyve rebuilt the place, its sort of half-arsed in its looks.  Theres something badly missing.  Their fans just arent the same either.  You might as well be at Stoke City or Derby County.  Pity.

The usual pre-match banter engaged with more than a few shouted suggestions that Liverpool should change their club motto to Deutschland Unter Alles.  I particularly liked the unter bit.  The announcement of Barmbys name brought down a crescendo of boos which almost blew away the rain.  Somehow, I couldnt see him taking any corners at our end.  The rain was unceasing.  How, you wondered, could anybody play footy in THIS?  But they did.  It played its part in all the goals.

Smiffy named the same team which took on the Toonies, while Liverpool played whoever it is they employ these days.  It was an even first half with chances at both ends and us more than holding our own, much to my surprise.  We battled them for everything.  You could even make a case for us going in with a lead, particularly when Pembo missed the best chance of the half, clean through, left side, and only the untalented Cheesehead to beat.  It sailed over him and went just past the right hand post. 

In the meantime, the Rednecks had some chances of their own but Fowler, a mere shadow of former days, was too slow and looks even further from fitness than SuperKev.  The first goal came after they built up carefully and the ball came out to Ziege standing left outside the box; he hit a good hard ground shot (looked likely to me but well never know) and a defender got a boot to it.  It skidded, shot up high right into the air hung for a moment and then fell to the head of, guess who, the little shit and he had a simple header.  You could have made a book on it.

Straight away, we went down the other end with a left wing attack, Idan Tal closed in quickly, half the Redneck defence fell over itself and SuperKev hit a left foot volley which just missed, low down, left post.  For a moment it looked as though it was in...  

But the equaliser wasnt long delayed.  Five minutes later a Tal corner, a Weir header came skidding in from the left and seemed to bounce off a couple of redneck defenders and, with the hopeless Cheesehead floundering, SuperKev got in amongst them as usual and butted one in low down.  Game on and no mistake.

Shortly afterwards, Bally almost cut the little shit in half with an appalling tackle which mysteriously didnt even draw a lecture, let alone a card of any colour.  This tackle and Barmbys goal sort of satisfied everyone and Barmby more or less disappeared from the game afterwards, the odd flourish apart.  At six mill, I couldnt help feeling we got MUCH the better deal.  No sweat, no loss.

We didnt get the full blown Charlton Syndrome after the interval but theres no question we lost some steam.  But thankfully, there was no collapse.  The other two goals came from a hit and hope Heskey shot from about 30 m which Paul should have saved.  Instead, either he slipped or it skidded off the ground in front of his hands and it went home in a position not too far off-centre.

The other one came after a spell of pressure from us during which we might easily have grabbed an equaliser.  It got cleared down the right and Smicer closed in therefrom, pursued by The Gravedigger as the last line of defence.  They both went down; Liverpool got a penalty, and The Gravedigger had to get an early bath, no question.  One of their anonymous players, Berger, hit the pen home.  We laboured valiantly after that but we werent really in it with a chance after going down to ten men.

Overall, coming on top of last weeks good performance, this was an encouraging game.  Nothing spectacular, mind.  The point is they REALLY TRIED and DIDNT GIVE UP.  The game could have gone either way.  In the end, the conditions had the final say.

I made David Weir our best player.  His centre-back partnership with Abel was excellent once again.  New-boy Idan Tal proved an occasional handful playing wide left in the end, they had to allocate Gerrard to close mark him.  Stevie Watson and Bally didnt do anything silly and gave no change whatsoever to Heskey, whichever side he tried.  

In midfield, Gazza never ceases to amaze; the conditions were made to debilitate him but he never stopped.  Nyarko caused them some anxious moments coming forward.  Pembo was absolutely brick solid again despite missing a few easy chances.  The Gravedigger had some good moments, particularly when, as usual, he went wide right. 

Up front, SuperKev made one more stride to full fitness and clearly relished this game.  When the Little Yank came on, he added a bit more movement up front and might even have scored had he turned quickly enough at one point.

All in all, I saw nothing at all to be impressed about in the Rednecks game and the return derby should be VERY interesting if we have the walking wounded back.  Particularly the Big Yin.  The thought of him and a fully-fit SuperKev against the redneck defence is well worth relishing.  Add in The Ears and you get a combo to chortle about.

We need to maintain this level of determination now.  The fans will rightly expect nothing less in the wake of the other recent deplorable displays.  They have been patient long enough.  And let it be said, despite worries my own included they behaved themselves where the little shit was concerned.  They certainly behaved a whole lot better than he did.

And while we are passing out bouquets. guess what no lock-in!  Maybe the thick bastards at Rednecks r Us have actually listened to the fans.  If so, congratulations.  Whats seldoms wonderful.


   Up to Reports Index ]
 Midfield is the key
Nick Williams
 
I felt we competed very well in midfield in the first half and were unlucky not to be one up.  When we compete well in midfield (as at Newcastle) then we tend to look more solid defensively because we let the opposition get through to our defence far less often.

But in the second half, we simply stopped playing.  The midfield which had done so well in the first half just stopped and suddenly the game was played almost entirely in our half.  The majority of the blame has to fall to Nyarko.  Pembridge ran out of steam in the second half (hardly surprising given it was only his third game back); Gazza continued to play as well in the second as he had in the first but Nyarko simply disappeared.

The whole point of a five-man midfield is to deny the opposition the space in which to play.  Additionally, at least one of the central players has to get forward to support the lone striker.  In the first half, all three of them did this to some extent and they all competed well enough to deny McAllister and Hamann any space to play in.  In the second half, only Gazza got forward to support SuperKev (who became more and more isolated) and we failed to deny the Shite the space they need to play in.  From that point onwards we were shafted and goals for them just became an inevitability.

I find it baffling that Walter Smith is continuing with Nyarko.  For my money he has played well for 45 minutes, just 3 times this season away at Spurs, away at Newcastle and the first half on Sunday.  The rest of the time he just doesn't want to know.  I can't say he's rubbish because he clearly isn't.  In flashes he shows that he has the ability, strength and speed to look very impressive.  But at the same time, he just will not or cannot be a factor often enough.  In far too many games we are carrying a passenger in midfield and, in a league such as the Premiership where work rate is almost as important as talent, no team can afford to do this.

The additional fact that we have Gazza who is our most creative player, but will never again be able to compete for the full 90 minutes, means we tend to run out of steam in midfield particularly in the latter stages of games.

I think it's a real shame that we have to play Gravesen at right midfield.  To me, he looks as though he has the energy, desire and skill to play in the middle of the park.  If we had Gravesen and Pembridge and then Gazza being the playmaker, I think we'd be able to compete far more readily in most games.

We might as well accept that after 12 games we've seen all we're going to get out of Nyarko.  He clearly isn't going to adapt any more comfortably to the English game, he's always going to be a peripheral figure in the majority of games.  Gravesen on the other hand looks tailor-made for the Premiership and I really feel we're better off building our central midfield around him and Gazza (certainly for the short-term) than relying on the occasional 45 minutes worth of input from Nyarko.

I think the tragedy of Sunday was that had we continued in the second half to play the way we did in the first, we'd have certainly got a point and maybe a win out of the game.  We're dreadfully inconsistent at times but when we play properly, we're certainly as good as anybody else in the league (Man U and Arsenal excepted).  When we're bad, however, we struggle to beat the likes of Derby!  It's very frustrating obviously, but how much more consistent might we be, if we had a midfield that could at least compete for the full 90 minutes?


   Up to Reports Index ]
 Barmby quick to add insult to Everton's injury
by Matt Dickinson, The Times
 

THE reconstruction of Liverpool as an FA Carling Premiership force has demanded patience from their supporters, but yesterday there was more evidence that bits are falling into place.  After a cautious opening, Grard Houlliers team gathered momentum to return to third place in the table, behind Manchester United and Arsenal.  The minimum expectation now is for them to stay there.

A run of three league victories will not easily be extended when they travel to Leeds United on Saturday, but Liverpool are in good heart after seizing control of an entertaining derby in which Nick Barmby was ecstatic to have opened the scoring against his former club.  Most upbeat of all will be Emile Heskey, whose powerful 25-yard drive was his sixth goal in four games.  The England forward barely averaged ten league goals a season with Leicester City but, with Michael Owen injured and Robbie Fowler low on confidence, he is beginning to take on the responsibilities of a match-winner.

When we bought him, so many people were sceptical and saying he was not a goalscorer, Houllier said, but I had been here over a year when I bought him and I had followed him for a long time.  I like his attitude and his workrate and he has two good feet.  He knows that he has to work hard and it doesnt come overnight, but he can be a great goalscorer.

The Liverpool manager described Heskeys 55th-minute goal as the turning point and it certainly marked the end of Evertons dogged resistance.  They had lost only one of the previous 12 Merseyside derbies and their five-man midfield looked as if it might cling to that record in a tight first half.  I was disappointed not to be in front, Walter Smith, the manager, said after watching Mark Pembridge chip wide with only Sander Westerveld to beat early on.  Not long afterwards, Everton were behind.

To the outrage of the visiting supporters, it was Barmby who scored the goal.  The England midfield players defection during the summer had not provoked quite the hysteria of Luis Figos switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid (and, at 5 million, Barmby was 32 million cheaper), but Everton fans did their best to put him off his game in a typically frenetic opening.

To their delight, Pembridge scythed Barmby down with a reckless tackle, but revenge was quick.  Within a minute, Christian Zieges shot from outside the area had deflected off Abel Xavier and veered wide of goal.  As most of Anfield waited for it to fly off for a corner, Barmby reacted smartly and turned it into a perfect cross.  His header flew back across Paul Gerrard and into the top corner.

Nick was very professional, Houllier said.  He deserves special mention because it was not easy for him.  I just told him to keep focused because he had the skills to overcome anything.

Everton had shown enough good football not to be disheartened and they deserved their equaliser within six minutes.  Idan Tal, their skilful but lightweight Israeli winger, was well-marked by the exemplary and versatile Steven Gerrard for most of the game, but it was his corner that was nodded down by David Weir for Kevin Campbell to turn in from close range.

The score was level and, for most of the first half, so was the balance of play.  Paul Gascoigne and Gary McAllister attempted to use their older heads to bring order to a match in which some colleagues could control a wet ball no easier than grasp a slippery bar of soap.  Both sides had opportunities, but the momentum changed almost immediately after the break.

Liverpools shorter passes gave instant improvement but, ironically, it was from a long clearance that they regained the lead.  Westervelds throw saw Barmby and Naysmith challenge in the air and, although the Everton substitute appeared to have committed a foul, Paul Durkin waved play on.  It was a sensible decision from the referee, who had a fine game in the loudest and most atmospheric derby for years.  It was also an invitation to Heskey to take the ball down and thump it past Gerrard, and Liverpool were easily the better team from that moment until the end.

Another clearance by Westerveld led to Liverpools third goal, in the 76th minute, when Naysmiths missed interception allowed Vladimir Smicer, on as a substitute for Fowler, to sprint into the penalty area.  Thomas Gravesen tripped the Czech in his attempt to regain ground and was sent off, without any complaints from Smith.  As he departed, Patrik Berger whacked in the penalty and Liverpool cruised to the final whistle.

There may be blips on the journey ahead, but Houllier was entitled to claim that his players are showing better mental and physical characteristics.  A season in mid-table beckons for Everton, but on the red half of Merseyside, things are looking up.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

   Up to Reports Index ]
 Heskey keeps Liverpool glowing
Henry Winter, Electronic Telegraph
 

THE RED glow spreading across the Premiership was deepened yesterday by Liverpool, who stayed within three points of Manchester United and Arsenal with victory in this compelling neighbourly spat from which Everton took much praise but no points.

Such was the visitors' excellence in the first half, when Paul Gascoigne pulled the strings like a practised puppeteer, that Liverpool had to work overtime for only their second triumph in 13 derby duels.  Four wins in a fortnight, underpinned by Emile Heskey's six goals, has now raised hopes at Anfield of a sustained challenge to the expected Premiership pace-setters.

Their revival has been orchestrated by Gary McAllister, a figure of composure in the middle, as well as Heskey's goals.  Patrik Berger's hunger for the ball embodied Gerard Houllier's credo that craft is nothing without graft.  By the match, Liverpool are resembling a team of genuine potency and resilience.  "We asked the players to play for the fans who have been very supportive of us during periods of turbulence," Houllier said.

With the outstanding referee, Paul Durkin, adding to the entertainment with judicious use of advantage, a terrific match, full of speed and commitment but no malice, was allowed to flourish.

The destiny of the points was decided by the fluctuating fortunes in central midfield.  As Gascoigne stroked the ball around Anfield's sodden surface, Everton brimmed with confidence in their 4-5-1 formation.  Thomas Gravesen, a font of energy until he was sent off late on for a professional foul, and Idan Tal, the promising young Israeli, lent width to Everton's attacks.

But then McAllister and Dietmar Hamann became more influential, seizing midfield from the fading Gascoigne, so setting the stage for a rapturously received victory.  "We played with more composure and more thought in the second half," Houllier said.

Yet Liverpool, despite their initial insecurities, first edged ahead in the 12th minute.  When Christian Ziege's hammer of a left boot connected with an Everton clearance, the ball flew into the box, crashed into Abel Xavier and lifted to the far-post, where Nicky Barmby scored with a clever header.

This was the sweetest of moments for Barmby, whose every touch had brought derision from those who used to worship him.  As Barmby and Liverpool celebrated, Everton were shaking their heads with Walter Smith complaining about an offence that went unnoticed by Durkin.

"I thought the referee refereed really well but how he missed Robbie Fowler's push on Michael Ball for the first goal mystified me," said the Everton manager.  Replays revealed Fowler running into the back of Ball, whose job it was to pick up Barmby.

Responding in the best manner imaginable to this perceived injustice, Smith's well-drilled side sought and secured an equaliser within six minutes.  Tal, a neat and nimble contributor, directed his corner to the far post where David Weir, unmarked, headed back for Kevin Campbell to poach from close range.

These old rivals then exchanged move after move, tackle after tackle.  Gascoigne was a joy to watch, threading passes through the eye of the needle all match.  As Gascoigne dominated, Mark Pembridge could have had a hat-trick.

Back came Liverpool, reflecting the desire instilled in them by Houllier, a more passionate character than his urbane exterior indicates.  Barmby, running in unmarked, just failed to turn in Heskey's low cross and then Sami Hyypi saw a header saved.  Liverpool were in the mood.

Persistently punctuating the game were a string of well-judged challenges: Gascoigne on Fowler, Markus Babbel on Alex Nyarko, and Steven Gerrard, terrific at right-back, on Tal before Gravesen ended the half with a dynamic dispossession of McAllister.

McAllister's influence was growing by the minute, by the touch.  A delightful forward nudge of the ball released Hamann for a shot well-blocked by Paul Gerrard in the Everton goal.  Then, 10 minutes after the turnaround, McAllister, again the fulcrum, slipped play to Barmby who, despite being fouled by Gary Naysmith, managed to transfer the ball to Heskey, whose 20-yarder squirted past Gerrard.

"When I bought Emile, so many people were sceptical and said he's not a goalscorer," Houllier said.  "But he's only 22.  I know he can be a great goalscorer."

Back came Everton, Gascoigne playing the pass of the match through a crowded midfield to Campbell, who wasted the moment.  It proved particularly profligate as Liverpool simply flicked a foot at the accelerator again.  Sander Westerveld's long delivery was missed by Naysmith and there was Vladimir Smicer racing through, only to be brought down by Gravesen, who was promptly dismissed.

If there was no disputing the decision, there was certainly no arguing with Berger's penalty, which almost punched a hole in the net.  Houllier punched the air; local bragging rights had been snatched back.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph
 
 
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