This. This is what rivalry is all about. If anyone asks me why I’ve grown to love the Premier League, I’m going to point to this game as the example. A game that divides a city twice a year. Red vs. Blue. The passion on display from both sides.
After giving up a goal within the first five minutes, Everton was looking up the entire match. Leighton Baines connects with Kevin Mirallas to level the match. Then, Luis Suarez hits a shot past the wall & Tim Howard that I think only seven people in the world can hit.
The big sticking point in this match had to have been the Mirallas challenge on Suarez. Studs up challenge that gets a yellow from referee Phil Dowd. This comes up big later on, as Mirallas was instrumental in getting Everton two goals.
Leighton Baines leaves the game with a foot injury and is replaced by… Gerard Deulofeu? Seemed like a weird decision, but the brilliance of Roberto Martinez substitution patterns continued. This allowed for the mounting pressure on Simon Mignolet to continue. This led to multiple chances for both Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku.
It was only a matter of time until there was breakthrough found. With Baines out, there was an element of surprise on who would take the free kicks and corners. With a free kick opportunity in the 72nd minute, Lukaku steps up and gets a shot on goal, only for the rebound to go to Mirallas, who gets the ball back to Lukaku for another equalizer.
Baines missing pops it’s head again with a corner in the 82nd. Mirallas takes the corner and delivers a great ball to Lukaku for a perfectly placed header. Goodison Park blows up and the atmosphere is insane… up until Daniel Sturridge makes his presence felt with a surprise header in the 89th to get the draw on an amazing 94 minutes of play.
With the back and forth happening during the match, a draw seemed possible, but man… after Lukaku hit the header, three points looked great. Sturridge bails out Liverpool and keeps them in 2nd on the table. On a positive note, this experience can only help get the confidence of Deulofeu up even more, Ross Barkley is dangerous in the midfield, and Lukaku has the scoring touch once again.
This makes the next Merseyside Derby at Anfield even more anticipated at the end of January.
Next week, the Toffees host Stoke City at Goodison. Hanging out in 5th is not bad, but after that opening, getting a draw was almost a relief.