On Saturday at Anfield, two spectacular goals from both sides led to a 1-1 draw which will feel like a defeat to Liverpool’s fans.
Leading 1-0 heading into injury time, few could argue that Liverpool didn’t deserve to win the 223rd edition of the Merseyside derby. However, they failed to do so as Phil Jagielka hit a wonderstrike on the half-volley from 30-yards out to spark jubilant scenes among the small pocket of Everton fans at Anfield.
That goal left Livepool’s fans in disbelief, as lady luck just doesn’t seem to be with them this season.
[RECAP – Liverpool 1-1 Everton]
Liverpool are now three games without a win in the PL but certainly put in one of their best displays of the season so far and didn’t get what they deserved. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, especially when it’s your neighbors from less than a mile down the road who deny you a much-needed win. Speaking after the game, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers tried to stay positive but spoke about the disappointment of throwing away two points late on.
“It was very clear that we were much the better side today. When you concede a goal like that so late on, it epitomises the luck that went against us today. But I’m certainly very proud of the players.
“I thought the intensity was getting back up to near where we have been for 19 months. We took the lead, we should have arguably had at least two more and we should have had a penalty. It was disappointing, but I think the performance, which I’m clearly looking to at the moment, was at a much better level than we have been at.”
On the other side of Stanley Park, Everton’s manager Roberto Martinez hopes Jagielka’s late goal, which canceled out Steven Gerrard’s stunning free kick in the 65th minute, will give his team the boost they desperatley need with just one win from six PL games so far this season.
The Toffees weren’t at their best, once again, but Martinez believes his side deserved a point.
“We showed incredible belief and character and we got our rewards,” Martinez said. “We had to show a great defensive intensity and we did that, though we weren’t ourselves going forward. As a result, I’d say it’s our best of the season so far because of what it could give us. It could lift us and change the dynamic of our season.”
Jagielka’s stunning right-footed howitzer may single-handedly help to turn Everton’s season around. The central defenders superb equalizer in injury time grabbed a point for the Toffees and Martinez hailed the England international.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a better strike in live football,” Martinez said. “It had to be incredible to go in the top corner and it was. The way he adjusted his body is very impressive. And to get that power almost off the outside of his laces – it’s some strike. Phil has had a lot of unfair criticism from the outside recently and there is no better way to respond to adversity than that, because defensively he also played an important role for us today.”
Whether or not you think Everton deserved a point, the fact that they got it will leave Liverpool’s fans, players and management walking away from Anfield with a bitter taste in their mouths on Saturday. They can take heart from an improved performance but with the Reds now nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, they have a mountain to climb if they’re going to replicate their success of last season.
It’s still early days for Liverpool but this ‘Derby Day’ draw should, and will, feel like a defeat.