Javier Mascherano pulls back the trigger and sees his shot deflected in
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Goodison Park
Liverpool took the honours in the Merseyside derby as Javier Mascherano's deflected first-half shot and Dirk Kuyt's late strike gave them victory at Everton.
The home side dominated for long periods but paid the price for failing to turn possession into goals as Liverpool took full advantage of their rare moments of attacking threat.
Mascherano enjoyed a huge slice of luck as Liverpool opened the scoring after only 12 minutes when his 25-yard shot ricocheted off Joseph Yobo's leg and flew beyond Everton keeper Tim Howard.
And Yobo was at fault when the Reds wrapped up the points with 10 minutes remaining. Steven Gerrard retrieved his sliced penalty area clearance, and when Howard could not hold Albert Riera's powerful effort Kuyt was perfectly placed to turn in the rebound.
In between Everton were left to rue their own carelessness in front of goal and the heroics of Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina as a traumatic week at Goodison Park - with the proposed move to a new stadium in Kirkby rejected by the government - ended with the pain of defeat in the 212th Merseyside derby.
Everton's £10m Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scuffed an effort wide from just eight yards with only Reina to beat just after Mascherano's goal.
Jo, playing as Everton's lone front man, twice had the ball in the net as Everton kept Liverpool under constant pressure in the first half, but both goals were rightly ruled out for offside by referee Alan Wiley.
And the crucial moment came when Reina made a stunning double stop after 70 minutes, saving brilliantly from Tim Cahill's header and then recovering instantly to block Marouane Fellaini from the rebound when he looked certain to equalise.
Kuyt then added insult to injury with the second as Liverpool put some gloss on a disappointing week after their Champions League exit.
Benitez relieved after derby victory
For all Everton's defiance, they now have only one win in 11 games and face the real prospect of a season of struggle after the riches of fifth place in the Premier League and an FA Cup Final appearance last term.
Rafael Benitez's side were poor for much of a frantic encounter, but victory was the only item on his agenda as he seeks to push Liverpool back into the top four and he will be delighted with the win, no matter how it was achieved.
Everton boss David Moyes produced a surprise in his line-up when Jo got the nod ahead of Louis Saha and Yakubu, who were named on the bench. Saha has been struggling with a calf injury and Yakubu is on his way back from a serious Achilles tendon problem, and their inability to start presented a major problem for Moyes.
And yet Jo emerged as a central figure in an eventful first half dominated by Everton, but one which ended with Liverpool taking the lead.
It came in fortuitous circumstances after 12 minutes, when Mascherano's speculative long-range effort took a crucial touch off Yobo and flew tantalisingly out of the reach of Howard.
Everton responded with real spirit to their ill-fortune and Bilyaletdinov was guilty of a wasting a glorious opportunity to restore equality, sweeping a half-hit effort wide with the goal at his mercy as Liverpool struggled to defend a throw-in.
Moyes proud of players despite defeat
Jo then thought he had drawn Everton level when he turned home a finish as Everton continued to press, but Fellaini was clearly in an offside position and Goodison Park's celebrations were cut short.
South African Steven Pienaar was comfortably the most composed player on the pitch amid a typically frenetic derby atmosphere, and he was at the heart of all the good things Everton were doing.
But Liverpool almost broke the shackles to double their lead five minutes before the interval when Emiliano Insua arrived on the end of Glen Johnson's cross, but his header brought a fine reflex save from Howard.
Everton had the ball in the net again on the stroke of half-time, again through Jo, but the Brazilian was in an obvious offside position as he stood directly in front of Reina.
Reina had an anxious moment after 57 minutes when he allowed a powerful shot from Pienaar to slip through his grasp, but he was able to recover before the ball slid over the line.
Everton boss Moyes finally introduced Saha for Jo with 25 minutes left in the hope that the striker's undoubted class could overcome his lack of fitness.
Liverpool were unable to pose any sustained attacking threat to Everton, and they were grateful to Reina for a fine double save that kept them on terms with 20 minutes remaining.
Cahill's header from John Heitinga's free-kick looked bound for the bottom corner until Reina dived to his left to save before recovering to block the follow-up effort from Fellaini.
Liverpool made a double change as they attempted to close out what had been an anxious afternoon, sending on Yossi Benayoun and Riera for David Ngog and Fabio Aurelio.
The move reaped rewards as Riera fired in the shot that was too hot for Howard to handle, allowing the lurking Kuyt to pounce from six yards and seal Liverpool's victory.
Riera almost added a third for Liverpool when his shot was saved by Howard - but that would have been cruel on Everton who matched their rivals and more for long spells.
Everton boss David Moyes: "You have to earn your luck. We worked really hard and I was hoping we'd earn that luck but we didn't. It was disappointing. But we also missed some chances.
"The game was tight and I thought we were in the ascendancy in general. But after the game in the week, the players were asked to show great attitude and endeavour and it was there in abundance."
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez: "It was a great victory - everybody is really pleased. Today we worked so hard - they were tough and pushing and we did our job in defence and we had to play counter-attack."
90:00+3:13 The referee brings the game to a close.
89:44 Louis Saha produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.
88:06 Albert Riera takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard. Short corner taken by Leiva Lucas.
86:42 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Carragher by Ayegbeni Yakubu. Jamie Carragher restarts play with the free
85:26 Substitution Lucas Neill on for Joseph Yobo.
83:15 Daniel Agger restarts play with the free kick.
83:15 Booking The referee shows Johnny Heitinga a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
83:09 Johnny Heitinga challenges Leiva Lucas unfairly and gives away a free kick.
82:58 Jose Reina fouled by Louis Saha, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
82:07 Free kick awarded for a foul by Dirk Kuyt on Marouane Fellaini. Joseph Yobo takes the free kick.
81:45 Substitution (Everton) makes a substitution, with Ayegbeni Yakubu coming on for Tim Cahill.
79:50 Assist by Albert Riera.
79:50 GOAL - Dirk Kuyt:Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool Goal scored by Dirk Kuyt from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Everton 0-2 Liverpool.
79:47 Albert Riera produces a drilled left-footed shot from 18 yards. Save by Tim Howard.
78:55 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Glen Johnson by Steven Pienaar. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
77:44 Foul by Marouane Fellaini on Steven Gerrard, free kick awarded. Glen Johnson takes the free kick.
77:10 Substitution Fabio Aurelio goes off and Albert Riera comes on.
73:57 Jamie Carragher restarts play with the free kick.
73:57 Substitution Yossi Benayoun replaces David Ngog.
73:57 The offside flag is raised against Steven Pienaar.
Correction - 69:57 Jamie Carragher challenges Steven Pienaar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Johnny Heitinga delivers the ball, Tim Cahill
takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Marouane Fellaini takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Corner taken by Johnny Heitinga from
the right by-line.
69:57 Steven Pienaar fouled by Jamie Carragher, the ref awards a free kick. Johnny Heitinga delivers the ball, Tim Cahill takes
a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Marouane Fellaini takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line
by Johnny Heitinga.
66:18 David Ngog takes a shot. Joseph Yobo gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by Fabio Aurelio from the right by-line played
to the near post, clearance made by Louis Saha.
65:26 Substitution (Everton) makes a substitution, with Louis Saha coming on for Joao Alves Jo.
65:26 Glen Johnson takes a shot. Blocked by Marouane Fellaini.
63:13 Corner taken by Steven Gerrard played to the near post.
61:29 Corner taken by Leighton Baines from the right by-line, clearance by Dirk Kuyt. Johnny Heitinga has an effort at goal from
outside the area missing to the wide left of the goal.
59:09 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Fabio Aurelio played to the near post, Tim Cahill makes a clearance.
57:36 Shot by Steven Pienaar. Save by Jose Reina.
54:16 Marouane Fellaini takes a shot. Jamie Carragher gets a block in.
53:35 Marouane Fellaini concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Carragher. Free kick taken by Jose Reina.
52:07 Foul by Tim Cahill on Daniel Agger, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jose Reina.
48:41 Jamie Carragher concedes a free kick for a foul on Joao Alves Jo. Leighton Baines restarts play with the free kick.
46:46 Leighton Baines fouled by Dirk Kuyt, the ref awards a free kick. Sylvain Distin takes the free kick.
45:50 Unfair challenge on Jamie Carragher by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jamie Carragher.
45:01 The referee gets the second half underway.
45:00+1:07 The referee blows for half time.
42:22 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov takes a shot. Blocked by Jamie Carragher. Leighton Baines takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line
played to the near post. The referee blows for offside against Joao Alves Jo. Jose Reina takes the indirect free kick.
40:46 Sylvain Distin fouled by David Ngog, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.
40:22 Emiliano Insua takes a shot. Save made by Tim Howard.
39:16 Leighton Baines fouled by Dirk Kuyt, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Tim Howard.
38:30 Unfair challenge on David Ngog by Johnny Heitinga results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Daniel Agger.
35:32 Foul by Joseph Yobo on David Ngog, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
34:15 Dirk Kuyt takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
33:28 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Leighton Baines by Javier Mascherano. Free kick taken by Leighton Baines.
32:37 The referee blows for offside against Joao Alves Jo. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
29:28 The referee blows for offside against Fabio Aurelio. Joseph Yobo restarts play with the free kick.
29:17 Steven Pienaar takes a shot. Save by Jose Reina.
28:49 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Leighton Baines.
27:31 Joao Alves Jo takes a shot. Comfortable save by Jose Reina.
26:20 Inswinging corner taken by Leighton Baines.
25:54 Javier Mascherano gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Direct free kick taken by Diniyar
25:04 Steven Pienaar produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.
22:26 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by Jose Reina. Outswinging corner taken left-footed
by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov played to the near post, Fabio Aurelio makes a clearance.
20:48 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sylvain Distin by Glen Johnson. Sylvain Distin restarts play with the free kick.
18:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Johnny Heitinga on David Ngog. Jamie Carragher takes the direct free kick.
16:42 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov produces a right-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
15:57 Steven Gerrard takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.
14:17 The offside flag is raised against Tim Cahill. Jose Reina takes the free kick.
13:41 Foul by Leiva Lucas on Marouane Fellaini, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Sylvain Distin.
13:30 The referee blows for offside. Daniel Agger restarts play with the free kick.
11:09 Assist by Javier Mascherano.
11:09 GOAL - Joseph Yobo:Everton 0 - 1 Liverpool An own goal is scored by Joseph Yobo. Everton 0-1 Liverpool.
11:08 Javier Mascherano takes a shot.
10:38 Free kick awarded for a foul by Marouane Fellaini on Leiva Lucas. Free kick taken by Leiva Lucas.
9:08 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar by Fabio Aurelio. Free kick taken by Joseph Yobo.
5:36 Foul by Marouane Fellaini on Leiva Lucas, free kick awarded. Leiva Lucas takes the free kick.
4:45 The assistant referee signals for offside against Joao Alves Jo. Jose Reina restarts play with the free kick.
2:40 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emiliano Insua by Steven Pienaar. Javier Mascherano takes the direct free kick.
1:45 Unfair challenge on Javier Mascherano by Tim Cahill results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Jamie Carragher.
0:11 Fabio Aurelio gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov crosses the ball in
from the free kick, Steven Gerrard manages to make a clearance.
0:00 The referee gets the match started.
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