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Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool
Premier League
 Sunday 4 October 2015; 1:30pm
Everton 
1 1
 Liverpool
 Lukaku 45'+1
Half Time: 1 - 1
Ings 41' 
Attendance:39,598
Fixture 8
Referee: Martin Atkinson

Match Report

Another derby, another draw; honours even and bragging rights postponed for another day. As always, the point will do but with Liverpool struggling for form and the pressure mounting on the soon-to-be-sacked Brendan Rodgers, this was another opportunity for an arguably superior Everton side to claim a first victory over the reds for five years that went begging.

As has become customary in the wake of the Blues' poor derby record, the psychological aspect of this fixture dominated the build-up to this Goodison derby all week. While the inferiority complex is gone, however and with it the mental hang-up that has paralysed Everton teams against Liverpool in the past psychology did play a role in Blues' performance today in that they allowed themselves to be dragged into a scrap when they didn't need to be.

The absence of Steven Gerrard and Liverpool's well-publicised lack of Scouse talent in their starting XI meant that this had the potential to be the least "derby-like" derby in recent memory but, feee=ding off the crowd's fevered energy, Roberto Martinez's men lapsed into a frenetic demeanour when you just felt that a more considered approach more akin to the Catalan's usual modus operandi would have served them better.

Part of it was likely down to an apparent instruction from the manager to hit Romelu Lukaku early with quick balls from the back and midfield but many of those attempts to prey on any weakness in Rodgers' back three often resulted in possession being given away and Liverpool mounting attacks of their own.

The upshot was that it was the visitors who looked the more composed of the two sides early on and who had the better of the first half hour, forcing man of the match Phil Jagielka into a number of crucial interventions at the heart of an inexperienced back four that included three players making their first starts in a derby.

Ably assisted by Gareth Barry, who had another excellent game patrolling in front of and inside his own penalty area, Everton's youthful defence repelled almost everything that was thrown at them in the first half, in the face of determination from Philippe Coutinho and James Milner to strike the first blow for the beleagured Rodgers.

It was no surprise that it was that pair who carved out the visitors' best chance of the half in the 26th minute, with Milner latching onto the Brazilian's impressive pass towards the six-yard box, only to be foiled by Howard's foot which prevented the ball from sneaking inside his near post.

That sparked some overdue activity at the other end where Everton finally benefited from a refereeing decision by Martin Atkinson in their favour when Barkley was tripped by Emre Can in a central position. A controversial appointment to begin with given his appalling history taking charge of this fixture, Atkinson was gallingly one-sided all afternoon but Barkley almost profited from the rare free kick by depositing the resulting set piece onto Steven Naismith's head. The Scot was denied by a superb one-handed save by Simon Mignolet, however, and the Belgian 'keeper was on hand three minutes later to push James McCarthy's goalbound shot past his post despite being partially unsighted by Brendan Galloway in front of him.

With Liverpool winning a succession of corners as a result of dogged Everton defending, there was always the danger that the Blues' fallability from dead-ball situations might be their undoing, and so it proved four minutes before half time. Danny Ings, hitherto a largely benign threat apart from one early shot that he flashed over the bar, dropped off Barkley as the corner was floated in and, with Howard static and rooted to his goal line, he had the simple task of nodding past the American to hand the reds the lead.

In every derby in which a goal has been scored since Everton last won, Liverpool have scored the first goal and the Blues were once again forced to chase the game. Thankfully, the equaliser was swift and it came from what was perhaps Gerard Deulofeu's only meaningful contribution during his 55 frustrated minutes on the field (if you don't count the fact that it was his profligacy in possession that required emergency action from the impressive Ramiro Funes Mori in conceding the corner that led to Ings's goal).

The Spaniard whipped a ball on from the right that confused Can into a botched clearance that bounced off Martin Skrtel and sat up invitingly for Lukaku to rifle past Mignolet and send Goodison wild and set the game up perfectly for Everton to step up a gear in the second half in an effort to go on and win.

It had become clearly during the first half that that sheer exuberance was not going to be enough to see the Blues through and while they were a bit more measured in their approach after the break, they would find chances frustratingly hard to come by. While Lukaku was running himself ragged up front and Everton looked at their best when Barkley was trying to orchestrate things in the middle, there was, unfortunatrly, a noticeable lack of quality in their approach that underscored on this occasion how sorely missed were Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines. While Tyias Browning and Galloway acquitted themselves well in defence (imperiously in the latter's case), neither could offer the guile and unpredictability that the first-choice fullbacks can often produce and it hampered the Blues' attempts to break Liverpool down.

Meanwhile, the fact that Barkley was targeted throughout as the Blues' main playmaker was compounded by Atkinson's almost shameless bias towards the visitors. The 21-year-old had become ensconsed in a spate of "handbags" in the first half in which Can was the clear aggressor but the referee took the easy way out and booked both players. And when Lucas Leiva was belatedly yellow-carded for fouling Barkley with 21 minutes to go, Atkinson bottled it when the Brazilian cynically tripped McCarthy from behind. The official would also take no action when Mamadou Sakho clattered through Lukaku in the box with minimal contact on the ball and the kind of reckless challenge that would almost certainly have resulted in a free kick had it been anywhere else on the field... and had it been any other referee.

In between, Everton had assumed the greater control of the match and, up until the last 10 minutes or so, had more or less reduced Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge to footnotes in the contest. They couldn't carve out many clear-cut openings, however, but Barkley had the best of them when he led a three-on-two counter-attack midway through the second half and elected to go it alone, curling a shot a foot the wrong side of the post with Lukaku on the shoulder of the last man.

The introduction of Lennon for Deulofeu, who had spent most of the game pinned to the right touchline and frequently run into trouble when he was given the ball, briefly threatened to open the game up in Everton's favour but a couple of decent low crosses were repelled by the reds' defence, while Lukaku forced a parrying save from Mignolet and Coutinho prompted a similar stop by Howard a couple of minutes later in front of the Park End.

By the closing minutes, fear of losing the game appeared to supercede the need to try and commit sufficient numbers forward to win the match and it petered out with honours even at the final whistle.

The disappointment at not earning the three vital points that would have lifted them into fourth place will be felt more keenly by Everton, who may have contributed to Rodgers's demise without having the satisfaction of seeing him off with a tanned backside. Having got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time, the hope was that Lukaku's goal would have spurred the Blues on to a more cohesive and purposeful second period. Ultimately, though their overall display was decent, they lacked the composure and the quality in their play and therefore had to be content with not losing the bi-annual Merseyside blood feud.

The result preserves Martinez's record of just one defeat so far this season but the nature of the performance will have Evertonians hoping for a more free-flowing and accomplished display when Manchester Unitd come to town after the international break.

Lyndon Lloyd

Matchday Updates

Ramiro Funes Mori started his first derby in place of John Stones, with superb youngsters, Galloway and Browning the full-backs. Coleman did not make the team, with Mason Holgate named to the bench. Everton were therefore unchanged with Barkley, Naismith, Deulofeu and Lukaku the spearhead.

The visitors kicked off and tried to attack but Everton pushed back and there was an openness about the first few back-and-forths, Lukaku almost releasing Naismith, while Funes Mori was required to deploy an early Row Z clearance. Early shots by Barry and Sturridge were well off target.

Browning fouled for a freekick. Skrtel got around Galloway and fired in an excellent cross that looked meat and potatoes for Sturridge but Jagielka got to it first to drive it behind for a corner. More corners followed as the Blues defence was tested, Jagielka just clipping the ball off Ings's toes.

Everton struggled a little to get fluid movement going forward and had to chase the ball while a chance fell to Ings that he lashed just over the bar. Some great step-overs for Lukaku but the pass did not reach Galloway. Everton's challenges were a little too strong for Martin Atkinson, while Liverpool could foul with impugnity, Can restraining Lukaku illegally and Deulofeu going down, as the Blues applied better pressure but could not make the crucial final pass.

Deulofeu intercepted superbly but again the ball forward to Lukaku was poor. There was a break as Skrtel required treatment on his hand (why on the field?). Atkinson then gave Liverpool a shocking free-kick decision as Milner slipped but the cross came off Skrtel at the far post under great pressure from Funes Mori.

set-piece

Coutinho put in a clever chip over everyone to Milner running in but the angle was narrowed by Howard who diverted the shot into the side netting. Everton finally got a dangerous set-piece when Barkley was fouled; Barkley took it and whipped in a fantastic ball that Naismith looked to power home with a close-range header but it was close enough for Mignolet to stick out a hand to deny him. McCarthy was next to fire in a brilliant strike that Mignolet dived across to save well.

A clash between Barkley and Can saw lots of handbags develop, yellow cards for both, and Barkley being perhaps a little too wound up as the only scouser on the pitch. Funes Mori did well to deny Sturridge. Can then tried an acrobatic kick that caught Barry and the Gwladys Street screamed for a second yellow but Atkinson was not interested, seeing it as accidental.

Another Liverpool attack developed a little too easily and Jagielka again needed the final interception at the cost of another corner. Everton were trying to get the ball out to Deulofeu, who lost it and Liverpool broke but Funes Mori was across really well to deny Milner; however, Ings scored with a simple header from the resulting corner as Howard stood almost motionless on his line, 3 yards from the dropping cross.

Deulofeu tried his party piece step-overs but Moreno was not fooled and Liverpool attacked again, as the goal underlined their better play. Numerous times in the first half, the ball had been played up to Lukaku but the second ball rarely came off the Big man to a Blue shirt; however, it was him who benefitted from a poor clearance off a Deulofeu cross and he lashed the ball across Mignolet, to set Goodison alight, the perfect riposte just before half-time to rescue sopmething bearing all the hallmarks of another massively disappointing derby.

Everton won an early corner after the break and Browning put in a great header that was deflected behind. The Blues won a free-kick off Milner but didn't use it well, Skrtel being pushed.

Everton were not building well with any kind of fluidity, playing too many early overhit balls and squandering possession, and there was precious little continuity going forward. Skrtel finally penalized for fouling Lukaku, the free-kick not as creative this time, Naismith not getting forward to it. Deulofeu not getting room to attack the ball, three players on him.

Naismith was fouled by Lucas for a dangerous charge but no yellow card. Barkley crossed well but Lukaku was too far behind it as Lennon came on to replace Deulofeu, who could not get into the game. Lennon was much more effective with his first play, but no-one in the middle. Barkley forced a corner on the other side but it was ridiculously overhit, and it was Liverpool who eventually got another corner that Jagielka powered clear.

McCarthy was carded for what looked like a fair tackle on Milner. Everton broke well but Barkley chose to shoot rather than play in someone else and an his shot drifted wide. Naismith headed nicely right to Lukaku's feet and the ball bounced off him like a brick wall...

Lucas was booked for a poor challenge from behind on Barkley. Some better play saw a shot from Funes Morio blocked and the ball spun out to Lukaku who had space and time on the right side of the area to really test Mignolet but instead he drove the ball straight at the Liverpool keeper with the left side of the goal gaping invitingly for the winning score that simply would not come.

A dreadful foul by Sakho on Lukaku went unpunished, but Everton were trying to play Lukaku in at every opportunity. Howard had to block a Coutinho power shot. Lucas clipped McCarthy's heels but did not see yellow. Barkley's effort for the set-piece was poor, straight at the wall as Kone replaced Naismith, and for the Reds Allen replaced Lucas.

Liverpool strung together more attacks but vital blocks prevented damage. Everton looked to break but the ball would not run to Kone, symptomatic of the match. In the last 5 minutes, Everton finally started fighting for the ball and playing with a bit more desire but the visitors resisted and won yet another corner. But it was cleared and again the early ball to Lukaku came to nothing.

A much better passing move down the middle looked to have teed up Lennon but he took an extra touch. Liverpool almost broke but a brilliant interception by Funes Mori cut out the danger. Everton surged forward but the close passing was getting blocked. Sakho and Lukaku went at it off the ball, Sakho getting very upset over Lukaku showing some spirit after being held illegally.

But nothing Everton tried would come off as they mounted a final attacking sequence; it just wasn't happening. A brilliant ball into Lukaku's feet from Lennon but it just bounced off him, summing up a very frustrating game in which Everton rarely showed the required tempo, composure or inventiveness, despite edging the second half against a very beatable Liverpool side.

To sum up the gulf in expectations, Brendan Rodgers was dismissed from his post as Liverpool manager just an hour after the end.

Everton: Howard, Galloway, Funes Mori, Jagielka (c), Browning, Barry, McCarthy [Y:65'], Naismith (79' Kone), Barkley [Y:35'], Deulofeu (60' Lennon), Lukaku [85'].
Subs: Robles, Gibson, Oviedo, Osman, Holgate.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Skrtel, Sakho [Y:85'], Can [Y:35'], Clyne, Moreno, Lucas [Y:69'] (79' Allen), Milner, Coutinho, Ings (76' Lallana), Sturridge.
Subs: Bogdan, Gomez, Rossiter, Ibe, Origi

Kick off: 1.30pm
Referee:
Martin Atkinson

Michael Kenrick

No looking back for Cleverley

Tom Cleverley admits that the 13 years he spent at Manchester United will always be a big part of his life but he says he has no regrets about joining Everton.

The 25-year-old, who will wear the No.15 jersey vacated by Sylvain Distin next season, arrived at Goodison Park this summer on a free transfer after being told he was surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

Aston Villa were keen to keep hold of him after seeing that impact he had during a season-long loan with the Midlanders last season but Cleverley was excited to link up with Roberto Martinez again, five years after playing for him on loan at Wigan Athletic.

"I've got no regrets whatsoever (about leaving United)," Cleverley told ESPN FC. "Louis van Gaal was always very honest with me which is the most that you can ask as a player.

"I spent 13 years there and it's been a massive part of my life. There were plenty of ups and downs and winning trophies, which I will never forget. They were some of the best days of my life and I will always look back with fond memories."

"It's exciting times for their club and I wish them all the best, but I'm concentrating on Everton now.

"I've worked with Roberto Martinez before and was excited to get back with him," Cleverley continued.

"Everton have got a great squad with great fans and a lot of history so it was a decision that was easy to make to come here."

The midfielder also reveals that Martinez feels he can contribute on the goals front this coming season even if he isn't yet clear on the exact role he will be asked to fill initially.

I think he knows that I am versatile, Cleverley says in the Liverpool Echo. I've played centre-mid, I played out wide and I played in a diamond for Villa and I played central midfield at Swindon on Saturday and I enjoyed it but we've not talked too tactically yet.

But I know he thinks I can score five to 10 goals a season and I need to show everyone that again.

I got my confidence back in front of goal towards the end of the season and hopefully I can get into those forward positions more and more and get back scoring five to 10 games a season.

Lyndon Lloyd

Match Preview

Few, if any, fixtures on Everton's calendar have become as over-analysed as the Merseyside derby. No Blue needs reminding of the damning statistics around our two most dreaded games of a given season but the three victories over Liverpool in the last decade stand as a painful reminder of first the inferiority complex and then the mental block that has developed for successive Blues sides against the enemy from across the Park.

Evertonians, and perhaps the players as well, have tried to come at derby games from various angles in recent years with justifiable confidence, with dread, with fear, with apathetic resignation but nothing has really worked. An Everton team hasn't beaten Liverpool in the last five years and it's to the point now where it would probably be best for all concerned if we didn't think about it at all and just approached it like the visit of any other "big" scalp to Goodison Park.

Like Chelsea whom we've beaten four times in the same period; like Arsenal who we hammered 3-0 in 2013-14 and should have beaten by a similar margin last season; like Manchester City who, until recently, were ritually put to the sword in L4; and like Manchester United who are now on a run of three consuective losses at Goodison ahead of their visit after this month's international break.

Thankfully, since Roberto Martinez took over, the shift in mentality that has underpinned that improving record against the aforementioned big-spending media darlings means that we can go into derby games with greater confidence that, the aberration at Anfield in January last year aside, we'll at least emerge with a share of the spoils. Indeed, the current run of just one defeat in the last six against Liverpool represents the best sequence since the mid- to late-1990s.

Added to that is the fact that with Steven Gerrard now gone and the reds likely to field a starting derby XI without a Scouser in the ranks for the first time in almost 30 years, Liverpool will be lacking both their long-standing Talisman and the local spirit that has helped them surmount the odds on the occasions in recent years when Everton have been the more fancied side.

In that sense, the stage is perhaps set for Ross Barkley to step into the void and become the Scouse hero in this fixture but for the Blue half of Merseyside not so much to take up the mantle of raging, crease-headed firebrand but as match-winner and inspiration. Certainly, the 21-year-old's form so far this season suggests that he is more apt to bear that banner for Everton, as is Romelu Lukaku who comes into this weekend's game on the back of another impressive performance.

His two goals and accompanying assist at West Brom on Monday helped the Blues come back from 2-0 down to win away from home for the first time since 1985 and it has raised hopes that the Belgian can repeat not only that two-goal display but the irrepressible one he turned in against Liverpool in Martinez's first season in charge that would have earned a famous victory were it not for a very late, heart-breaking equaliser from Daniel Sturridge in that 3-3 draw.

Wisely, neither Roberto Martinez nor captain Phil Jagielka have publicly lent the notion any credence of favourites for this one but in the absence of Gerrard (and, indeed, Luis Suarez), in the midst of a crisis of confidence, and as the away side, Brendan Rodgers's outfit do not come into Sunday's derby with equal billing to Everton. However, in Sturridge (even if he is still notfully fit) and Philippe Coutinho they have two very potent weapons that will require the Blues be at the top of their game defensively. Christian Benteke, omitted from the Belgium squad by Marc Wilmost, is another player who could pose a threat to the Blues' back line, is doubtful through injury but Danny Ings could play in his stead.

Martinez, meanwhile, is waiting until the last moment to make a decision on John Stones and Seamus Coleman. Both players were described by the manager last Monday as being very close to making the trip to West Brom but ultimately weren't risked but with Stones having rejoined the team's training sessions yesterday, the feeling is that he should be OK to play, with Coleman's hamstring perhaps being afforded more time to heal over the international break. Should neither make it, it will be as-you-were from The Hawthorns, with Tyias Browning, Brendan Galloway and Ramiro Funes Mori in the back four with Jagielka.

Further forward in the line-up, Martinez has some big decisions to make, mostly concerning two positions: the other forward position playing off Lukaku and right wing. Coupled with his exploits against Barnsley and Reading in the Cup, Gerard Deulofeu's crucial role in the win over the Baggies has made him almost un-droppable in many Evertonians' eyes; if the manager agrees, he should start ahead of the more defensively-minded Aaron Lennon.

Arouna Kone, meanwhile, made another crucial entrance off the bench, bagging his second goal of the season as a substitute, enhancing his claims for another start alongside Lukaku. Steven Naismith's industry, coupled with the fact that Kone has been more impactful coming on later in games could give the Scot the nod over the Iviorian, however.

Whichever starting XI is selected, Everton's players should be in no doubt that they have the form and the ability to win this game, perhaps as comfortably as in 2006 and 2010 when they were similarly superior on paper. With no locals in the opposition team, it's possible that this derby will have considerably less blood and thunder than in years past which should allow the Blues to play their football and carve out the result we all crave. With Goodison bouncing, and the players operating under the mindset of "business as usual", hopefully that will be the case.

Kick off: 1.30pm
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Predicted Line-up: Howard, Browning, Stones, Jagielka, Galloway, Barry, McCarthy, Barkley, Deulofeu, Naismith, Lukaku

Lyndon Lloyd

* Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.

Match Preview
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EVERTON (4-5-1)
  Howard
  Browning
  Jagielka
  Funes Mori
  Galloway
  Barry
  McCarthy
  Barkley
  Deulofeu (Lennon 60')
  Naismith (Kone 79')
  Lukaku
  Subs not used
  Robles
  Holgate
  Oviedo
  Gibson
  Osman
  Unavailable
  Baines (injured)
  Besic (injured)
  Cleverley (injured)
  Coleman (injured)
  Hibbert (injured)
  Pienaar (injured)
  Stones (injured)
  Mirallas (suspended)
  Garbutt (loan)
  Junior (loan)
  McAleny (loan)
LIVERPOOL (4-4-2)
  Mignolet
  Can
  Skrtel
  Sakho
  Clyne
  Moreno
  Lucas (Allen 79')
  Milner
  Coutinho
  Sturridge
  Ings (Lallana 76')
  Subs not used
  Gomez
  Origi
  Ibe
  Bogdan
  Rossiter

Premier League Scores
Saturday
Aston Villa 0-1 Stoke City
Bournemouth 1-1 Watford
Chelsea 1-3 Southampton
C Palace 2-0 West Brom
Man City 6-1 Newcastle
Norwich 1-2 Leicester
Sunderland 2-2 West Ham
Sunday
Arsenal 3-0 Man United
Everton 1-1 Liverpool
Swansea 2-2 Tottenham


Team Pts
1 Manchester City 18
2 Arsenal 16
3 Manchester United 16
4 Crystal Palace 15
5 Leicester City 15
6 West Ham United 14
7 Everton 13
8 Tottenham Hotspur 13
9 Southampton 12
10 Liverpool 12
11 Swansea City 10
12 Watford 10
13 Norwich City 9
14 Stoke City 9
15 AFC Bournemouth 8
16 Chelsea 8
17 West Bromwich Albion 8
18 Aston Villa 4
19 Sunderland 3
20 Newcastle United 3

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