Points shared on dramatic derby day

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Daniel Sturridge heads in for Liverpool to make it 3-3 against Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Daniel Sturridge heads in for Liverpool to make it 3-3 against Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Daniel Sturridge snatched a late equaliser for Liverpool to deny Everton victory in an enthralling Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, which ended 3-3.

Sturridge’s 89th minute headed leveller came just 10 minutes after he was sent on as a substitute in one of the most pulsating clashes between these local rivals in recent times.

Everton had fought back from 2-1 down to lead 3-2 thanks to two Romelu Lukaku strikes which had the Blues within touching distance of their first derby win for three years only for victory be snatched away right at the end.

Liverpool made the perfect start to the game when Philippe Coutinho found himself unmarked from a Steven Gerrard corner to slot home in the 5th minute.

Everton struck back immediately when Kevin Mirallas, like Coutinho, found himself free in the box following a set-piece. The Belgian finished past his compatriot Simon Mingolet to bring his side level with just eight minutes played.

The explosive start to the game continued when Luis Suarez put Liverpool back in front in the 19th minute with a trademark free-kick which was expertly curled through the gap in Everton’s flimsy wall and beyond the reach of Tim Howard in goal.

Suarez was in the thick of the action again not long as he was on the receiving end of a contentious high tackle from Mirallas. The Everton winger seemed lucky to escape with only a yellow card from referee Phil Dowd, leaving Liverpool relieved that the tackle didn’t do significant damage to their Uruguayan striker.

Everton started the second half impressively, with substitute Gerard Deulofeu and Lukaku forcing Liverpool’s man of the match, goalkeeper Mingolet into some impressive one-on-one saves.

However, Joe Allen missed a golden opportunity to put Liverpool 3-1 up midway through the second period when he side-footed wide from just yards out after Suarez had slalomed through Everton’s defence.

That miss came back to haunt Allen and Liverpool as Lukaku eventually got the better of Mingolet to draw Everton level for the second time in the match. The on-loan Chelsea striker fired home after neat build-up play on the left between Gareth Barry and Mirallas.

The bullish striker then got his second of the day to put the Blues in front, powering in a header from another Mirallas delivery – this time from a corner – to send Goodison wild.

However, Liverpool were not giving up and Sturridge, who didn’t start the game due to his exertions for England in midweek, glanced in a fine delivery from captain Gerrard to make sure the sides would share the points.

One of the main talking points after the game was the Mirallas tackle on Suarez. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers wasn’t happy about the challenge and said: “Mirallas should have been sent off. We don’t want to see players sent off and it was 11 v 11 and great attacking end-to-end stuff, but if someone should be sent off then that’s what should happen”

Everton manager Roberto Martinez didn’t agree with his opposite number, saying: “I don’t think it is a red card because it is not a malicious incident, he tries to win the ball but gets there late. I think a yellow card, bearing in mind the emotions you bring into a derby, was the right decision. But I can see why, if that had been against my team, I would’ve been thinking it would have been a red card.”

About Niall Dudley, JMU Journalism