Everton 1-1 Liverpool: Honours even after frenetic derby
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 04/10/15 8:34pm
Romelu Lukaku equalised after Danny Ings opened the scoring as the Merseyside derby ended 1-1 at Goodison Park.
Liverpool, who sacked Brendan Rodgers just hours after the final whistle, took the lead with four minutes remaining in the first half when Ings headed home unmarked from James Milner's inswinging corner.
However, Liverpool were not ahead for long as Everton hit back through Lukaku, the Belgian taking full advantage of Emre Can's inability to clear a Gerard Deulofeu cross.
The result leaves Everton a point ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League table and just three points off second place.
The game started at a frantic pace and rarely slowed during the first half. Liverpool were on top in the first 10 minutes and twice Everton needed to be alert to prevent an opening goal.
First, Tim Howard rushed out to slide tackle Milner after the midfielder was played through by Daniel Sturridge down the inside left channel, before Martin Skrtel squared the ball for Sturridge who was only denied by Phil Jagielka's well-timed challenge.
Ings hit a dipping half-volley from the edge of the box before the quarter-hour mark before Everton began to come back into the game.
However, it was Liverpool who got in again as Philippe Coutinho scooped a lovely pass over the defence to Milner but his near-post effort from a tight angle was blocked by the legs of Howard.
Soon afterwards, though, it was Howard's opposite number who was forced into action - Simon Mignolet denying first Steven Naismith, then James McCarthy with two excellent saves.
The first came after Naismith got free of Mamadou Sakho and headed goalwards from eight yards only to be denied by a brilliant reaction stop by the Belgian 'keeper and less than two minutes later Mignolet flung himself to his right to push away McCarthy's powerful hit from the edge of the box.
With Everton in the ascendancy, tempers flared just after the half-hour with Can and Ross Barkley squaring up to one another as the German refused to give the ball back for an Everton throw. Milner stepped in to hold back the centre-back just as things threatened to boil over and before long players from both sides had piled in.
The result was a yellow card apiece for Can and Barkley. The latter fortunate not to be sent off having escaped a booking for kicking the ball away earlier in the game.
The breakthrough came less than five minutes before the break with Ings left unmarked in the six yard box to nod a simple head past Howard from Milner's corner.
Everton responded well, though, and kept Liverpool pegged in their own half for the next five minutes until they found their equaliser.
In the end it came courtesy of a defensive error. Deulofeu's cross from the right was a good one but Can's clearance at the far post certainly was not.
He hit it along the ground and into Skrtel. The ball then sat up perfectly for Lukaku to hammer it beyond Mignolet into the far corner.
Everton remained buoyed by the goal even as the second half began and they got on the front foot early on.
Tyias Browning saw his header deflected over the bar before Mignolet had to get down well to intercept Lukaku's low cross with Deulofeu waiting at the back post.
The Toffees' front man was starting to cause real problems for Liverpool's centre-backs and he helped create the space for Aaron Lennon and Barkley to get in down the flanks and put in dangerous balls that Skrtel did well to clear.
Barkley threatened again for Everton as he benefitted from some slack Liverpool passing to break through the centre of the pitch. He reached the edge of the box unchallenged but then curled his shot just wide of the post.
Lukaku tested Mignolet with another shot from inside the box before Everton were left fuming after Lucas escaped a red card.
The Brazilian had been booked earlier in the half for a foul on Barkley and, when he tripped McCarthy, a second booking seemed a formality. However, Martin Atkinson kept his cards in his pockets and Lucas escaped before being substituted soon afterwards.
Coutinho then had a shot blocked by Barry as both sides pushed for a winner.
There was still time one final flash point in the last minute.
Sakho and Lukaku clashed inside the Liverpool box and had to be dragged apart by their team-mates with both seemingly intent on a heavyweight showdown.
A yellow card each was the result and despite more Everton pressure late on it ended all square.
Everton: Howard (6), Browning (6), Jagielka (8), Fures Mori (7), Galloway (6), McCarthy (7), Barry (6), Deulofeu (6), Barkley (7), Naismith (6), Lukaku (8).
Subs: Lennon (6), Kone (5).
Liverpool: Mignolet (7), Can (6), Skrtel (7), Sakho (7), Clyne (5), Lucas (6), Milner (7), Coutinho (5), Moreno (7), Ings (7), Sturridge (6).
Subs: Lallana (6), Allen (6).
Man of the match: Romelu Lukaku