Barclays Premier League – 19th October 2007. Result.
Everton 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool’s 2-1 win in today’s derby didn’t come about without a lot of controversy, in the way that derbies often do.
Everton gave away two penalties, one for a professional foul on Steven Gerrard, the other for Phil Neville’s cheating deliberate handball stopping a certain goal. Neville joined Hibbert in going down the tunnel early with a . Dirk Kuyt scored both spot-kicks.
Although Everton fans will find it difficult to accept otherwise, a last-minute penalty claim by Everton was certainly not cut-and-dried. Replays did not show any meaningful contact by Jamie Carragher on Lescott, and it did look to some extent like the blues defender had gone down a little easily.
Everton had gone ahead in the first half after Sami Hyypia scored an own goal, and Liverpool looked to be heading for defeat until a wonderful ball from Voronin set captain Steven Gerrard on a run towards the Everton goal. Hibbert brought Gerrard down and as he was the only defender the referee had no option but to send him off.
Reds boss Rafael Benitez was asked if Liverpool deserved the three points: “I think so. They were playing long balls and sometimes winning the second ball. We were trying to pass. We were trying to go forward, creating chances with the ball on the ground. They were using long balls and trying to keep the ball high. It was difficult.”
Rafa hinted that Lescott had taken a dive, saying afterwards: “In England you don’t like to see players diving so it was a surprise to me.”
With the clock at ninety minutes and scores level it looked like Rafa was heading for some criticism after he’d taken Steven Gerrard off, uninjured, with 20 minutes left to play. Gerrard looked confused at his substitution. In the end Rafa’s decision paid off – it was Gerrard’s replacement Lucas who had taken the shot that Phil Neville chose to save with better technique than Paul Robinson. The resulting penalty won the game for Liverpool. But why had Rafa replaced his captain when the scores were still level? He said: “In this game, sometimes you need to play with the brain and we were playing with heart. We needed to keep the ball and pass the ball.”
Rafa was speaking to Sky Sports. Everton boss David Moyes wasn’t. He didn’t come out of his dressing room after the game, no doubt dwelling on the refused penalty and other decisions that Everton will say were wrong. Mark Clattenburg will be as welcome as Pierluigi Collina or Clive Thomas in certain parts of the city tonight.
In a later interview, Rafa said: “That was for all our fans. Our supporters are always fantastic and I dedicate this win to them. We thought we deserved to win the game. Our two penalties were both very clear. We had a lot of chances during the game but didn’t take them. We kept going and got the win.
“We weren’t keeping the ball very well and were in too much of a hurry sometimes with our final pass. I put Lucas on because he is a very good player who can pass the ball well for us. In the end, Lucas helped us win the game by having the shot that led to our winning penalty.”
Jamie Carragher was delighted with the win, running Istanbul-style towards the official section of Liverpool fans at the game’s end. Everton won’t be bringing a DVD out of this game.
Everton: 24 Howard, 2 Hibbert, 4 Yobo, 15 Stubbs, 5 Lescott, 6 Arteta, 16 Jagielka, 18 Neville, 21 Osman, 22 Yakubu (11 McFadden, 77),28 Anichebe (3 Baines, 84)
Unused subs: 33 Wessels, 20 Pienaar, 26 Carsley
Bookings: McFadden 89
Sent off: Hibbert 53, Neville 90
Goals: Hyypia 38 o.g.
Liverpool: 25 Reina, 3 Finnan, 23 Carragher, 4 Hyypia, 6 Riise, 8 Gerrard (21 Lucas, 71), 20 Mascherano, 22 Sissoko (16 Pennant, 88), 11 Benayoun (19 Babel, 68),10 Voronin, 18 Kuyt
Unused subs: 30 Itandje, 15 Crouch
Bookings: Kuyt 64, Carragher 89
Goals: Kuyt 54 (pen), 90 (pen)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg