LIVERPOOL — One of the most one-sided Merseyside derbies in recent history saw Liverpool blow away neighbors Everton 4-0 at Anfield on a pulsating night under the floodlights at the famous old ground on Tuesday.
Steven Gerrard’s header midway through the first half gave Liverpool the breakthrough they needed after an even start to the match.
The Reds never looked back.
Daniel Sturridge then scored twice in quick succession just after the 30 minute mark, as his first was a cool finish before the England international nonchalantly lobbed Tim Howard to make it 3-0 before the break.
In the second half Everton threatened a brief comeback but Luis Suarez ran from the halfway line before slotting home to make it 4-0 in the 49th minute, and the contest was over. Sturridge missed a penalty for his hat trick and spurned several other chances as the Reds piled on the misery against an Everton side who looked shell-shocked.
With the famous win Liverpool cement their place in fourth and are just six points off top spot, with 46 points from their 23 games after their biggest win in the rivalry match since 1982. Everton stay in sixth and are now four points behind their Merseyside rivals in the race for fourth.
With the first attack of the game Ross Barkley surged forward and smashed a rasping left-footed effort just over the bar from 25-yards out. Moments later Jordan Henderson tried his luck from distance as Liverpool hit back, but the ball was palmed away by Howard.
The pace of the game was intense as the rain teamed down at Anfield and playing conditions suited both sides.
In the 8th minute Suarez was thwarted by USMNT ‘keeper Howard as the Uruguayan international hit a snap shot from the edge of the box that Howard tipped wide to his left as Liverpool’s first effort came in on goal.
Liverpool had more efforts on goal, but an anxious home crowd seemed wary whenever the Toffees surged forward. But all those nerves dissipated when captain fantastic Gerrard hammered home a header from a fizzing corner from Suarez in the 21st minute to send Anfield wild. Suarez was getting lambasted by the Everton fans before taking the corner kick in front of the away supporters… but he soon had the last laugh.
Cries of “Steve Gerrard, Gerrard” rung around Anfield as the home side went 1-0 up and Everton were rocking.
Everton briefly fought back and went close on two occasions as first Gareth Bary flashed an effort wide following a goalmouth scramble and then Kevin Mirallas put a low effort just wide of the post.
However in the 33rd minute Sturridge slotted home coolly following a sublime through ball from Philippe Coutinho to make it 2-0.
Then two minutes later Sturridge delivered a marvelous finish for his second and Liverpool’s third, with a marvelous lob over the advancing USMNT ‘keeper Tim Howard as Anfield erupted into scenes of euphoria.
Liverpool led 3-0 at half time, as Everton had one heck of a mountain to climb to salvage anything from the 222nd edition of the Merseyside derby.
But any thoughts of Everton fighting back were all but over within five minutes of the restart as Suarez intercepted Phil Jagielka on the half way line and ran over 50 yards before coolly slotting home to make it 4-0.
Cue scenes of utter jubilation from the home fans at Anfield.
Things should’ve been even more comfortable for the Reds in the 54th minute as Raheem Sterling was brought down by Howard for a penalty kick. However the ball was handed to Sturridge to secure his hat trick… but the red-hot striker smashed his effort high over the bar and into the Kop.
Liverpool eased into second gear for the rest of the derby, as Everton tried to get things going but were severely lacking up top after the loss of Lukaku early through injury. A barrage of corners and set pieces in the 60th minute almost saw Liverpool extend their lead as Everton somehow scrambled the ball clear on multiple occasions.
Everton had plenty of possession but just couldn’t get anything going as Liverpool’s makeshift back four of Flanagan, Skrtel, Toure and Cissokho defended resolutely.
Leon Osman made a difference in the second half but despite the Toffees best efforts, Liverpool prevailed on derby day with a massive win that made sure thier fans have bragging rights until next season.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Cissokho, Skrtel, Toure, Flanagan (Kelly, 73), Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho (Alberto, 79), Sturridge (Moses, 72), Sterling, Suarez
Goals: Gerrard (21) Sturridge (33 & 35), Suarez (49)
Everton: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Mirallas, McCarthy, Lukaku (Naismith 24), Barry, Barkley (McGeady, 75), Pienaar (Osman, 45), Stones, Alcaraz