Liverpool destroy Everton in biggest derby win for 30 years
Reds make statement, but how will Toffees recover from mauling in game they hoped to win?
Liverpool 4 Everton 0.
Liverpool ran riot against Everton in the Merseyside derby as the Reds ran up their biggest win over their neighbours for 32 years. Two goals from Daniel Sturridge and a header from Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool a 3-0 lead going into the break, and Luis Suarez added a fourth five minutes into the second half as the Reds romped to victory.
The win means Liverpool, who remain in fourth, are now just six points behind leaders Arsenal, who were held to a 2-2 draw away at Southampton. But for Everton, the result is a major blow in what was billed by some as the biggest derby for 30 years. They will do well to recover from the hammering which leaves the Toffees still searching for their first win at Anfield this century.
"For different reasons we could not maintain the normal intensity, we became exposed and were naive," said Everton manager Roberto Martinez. "We gave the ball away far too easily. We wanted to perform so well for the fans and we have been terrific all season," he lamented.
In contrast Liverpool captain Gerrard admitted that his side had been motivated by memories of their recent draw with Aston Villla. "Against Aston Villa we let the fans down and let ourselves down, it was our worst performance of the season," he said. "But every player was superb today."
None more so than Sturridge, who scored Liverpool's second after Gerrard had headed home Suarez's corner on 21 minutes. First he ran on to Philippe Coutinho's pass to chip the ball over Tim Howard in the Everton goal and then two minutes later he was at it again, accepting Kolo Toure's pass and lobbing Howard to make it 3-0.
With Romelu Lukaku stretchered off with ankle ligament damage after colliding with team-mate Gareth Barry, and injury that could derail the Toffees' season, Everton were all at sea and Suarez added a fourth on 50 minutes. It should have been 5-0 after the Reds were awarded a penalty when Raheem Sterling was felled by Howard, but Sturridge blazed over the bar on what was the only error from Liverpool. Nonetheless captain Gerrard excused Sturridge the miss. "I've scored a hat-trick against Everton and know what that feels like and I wanted Daniel to feel it,"said Gerrard. "It was not to be, but it is my responsibility."
As for playing Suarez and Sturridge together, manager Brendan Rodgers admitted he'd thought long and hard about it. "It was a gamble to go with two strikers but that's the reason we took the risk," he said. "We got four goals and could've had six or seven. It was a brilliant demonstration of how to play under pressure."