Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez struck late second half goals to hand Liverpool victory in the 185th Merseyside Derby and the all important bragging rights over 10-man Everton who had Jack Rodwell sent off.
Carroll broke the Toffee’s resolve in the 70th minute to give the visitors the lead before Suarez made sure of the win slotted home with eight minutes remaining to settle a captivating derby match.
The home side will consider themselves unlucky after Rodwell was shown a straight red after 23 minutes for a lunge at Suarez that referee Martin Atkinson considered serious foul play. Victory for Kenny Dalglish’s men lifts them up to fourth ahead of the three o’clock games with Scotsman managing in this fixture for the first time since 1991.
His side were certainly aided by the sending off of 20-year-old Rodwell as the Toffee’s began the brighter of the two teams in the beating sun as both sets of supporters soaked up the derby day atmosphere at Goodison Park. Marouane Fellaini had an early chance for David Moyes’ side but could only drag his second minute effort just wide. Tim Cahill then forced Pepe Reina into a save rising highest in the penalty area to direct a header towards the top corner only for the Spaniard to tip the ball over the bar.
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Managing in his 10th consecutive derby game Moyes will have been enthused by the momentum built up by his side in the opening exhanges only for it to be was dashed when Rodwell was controversially dismissed after clattered into Suarez with a fair looking tackle. The England under-21 international took the ball but referee Atkinson deemed it dangerous and promptly sent Rodwell for an early bath.
That offered Liverpool a route back into the game and they had the perfect opportunity to go into the break ahead. Suarez was again involved with the Uruguayan brought down by a rash challenge from Phil Jagielka in the penalty area and Atikinson had no choice but to award a penalty. Luckily for the Toffee’s Dirk Kuyt saw his spot kick saved superbly by Tim Howard to keep the scores level. There was still time for one last scare before the half ended with Charlie Adam cracked the bar with a long range drive.
The game opened up after the restart with Louis Saha, restored to the Everton lineup, flashing the ball wide of Reina’s goal before Carroll came alive going close with a header. As the second half wore on Liverpool’s ascendancy grew with Dalglish throwing on Craig Bellamy and Steven Gerrard in place of the ineffective Stewart Downing and Adam.
It proved to be a masterstroke as Bellamy played in Jose Enrique down the left who crossed for Carroll to lash home the opener from 10 yards. That knocked the wind out of the Toffee’s sails and it was no surprise when Suarez scored the second taking advantage of a mixup in defence Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines to slot the ball past Howard.