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By Football Talk.

Liverpool 1 – 0 Everton

Match Report:

The first half was a fierce and fiery affair with very little quality football on show. Players from both sides were flying into tackles with several bad challenges on show, you got the feeling there was going to be at least one red card today.

Not surprisingly Jamie Carragher set the tone for the afternoon with a crunching yet fair tackle into Steven Pienaar. Both sides exchanged some early set-pieces but it was Liverpool who made the first chance of the game. Leiva blasting over from 12 yards following a corner.

More crunching tackles flying about with Macherano, Fellani, and Carragher heavily involved. Neither side is giving the opposition time on the ball and the game is largely being played through set-pieces.

Landon Donovan is tripped by Kuyt on the edge of the Liverpool box and finally the referee has had enough and the Liverpool man goes in the book. Baines forces Reina into a decent save from the resulting free-kick.

Pienaar is luck to stay on the field after a late tackle on Macherano, the referees opting for a yellow despite heavy pressure form Liverpool players. 30 seconds later Carragher goes straight through the back of Pienaar, a clear case of retribution, and gets a booking for his troubles. The game is really on a knife-edge.

Amid the bad tackles, Ngog sends a low effort wide and Saha is close to being through on goal but Reina is off his line quickly and clears.

The games big talking point arrived after a nasty clash between Fellani and Kyriakos. Both players went for a loose ball, with the Greek sliding in two-footed and catching Fellani’s ankle to send him flying. The referee has no choice but to send him off, but replays show that Fellani stands on the Liverpool man’s ankle as well and could have seen red himself. A difficult situation for the referee but Liverpool may feel hard done by as both players were guilty there.

Fellani is stretchered off and replaced by Arteta while Kyriakos needs stitches following the clash. Both Rafa Benitez and David Moyes will need to calm their players down to avoid further dismissals.

Gerrard wins a free-kick in a dangerous position. He sends the resulting free-kick crashing against the top of the bar. Everton waste the best chance of the half when Cahill sends a header over the bar from 6 yards. He should really have done better there, he was unmarked and should have at least made Reina work.

An explosive first half ends goalless but Liverpool are down to 10 men.

Early second half chance for Everton but Cahill shoots straight at Reina. Then Donovan shoots wide from long range. Early pressure from Everton but Liverpool are defending well.

Now it’s Liverpool’s turn to apply some pressure with a succession of corners. Gerrard delivers a great ball in and Howard is beaten to it by Kuyt who heads into the empty net. Liverpool lead despite being down to 10 men.

1-0 Liverpool – Kuyt (55)

Gerrard goes close with another 25-yard free-kick but Howard gathers it cleanly. Everton go searching for the equalizer but Liverpool are defending well and slowing the game down.

As you would expect with a man advantage, plenty of possession for Everton but they are creating very little, while Liverpool are dangerous on the break. The game has lost the fiery edge that the first half had but its making for a less entertaining spectacle.

Free-kick 30 yards out for Everton but Arteta wastes it with a poor delivery that was easily cleared. David Moyes sends on Yakubu and Anichebe for Saha and Osman with 20 minutes remaining.

Everton have been very disappointing considering they have a man advantage. They have only produced one shot on target and are showing very little urgency. Liverpool have defended comfortably to be honest.

Finally Everton put together a succession of passes but just when it looked like they had worked the ball in behind the Liverpool defense Steven Gerrard comes racing in to bloke the cross and behind for a corner.

Anichebe and Gerrard are at the centre of a row that threatens to boil over, both men are booked for their troubles. The clash started after Gerrard followed through on Pienaar. It was a strong but fair challenge.

Reina is called into action after Yakubu turns and fires in a left footed effort but the Liverpool keeper tips it over for a corner. Anichebe wastes a great chance after turning Carragher in the box the Everton man delays his decision and Leiva gets back to make a vital block.

In the dying moments Pienaar receives a second yellow for an innocuous challenge on Gerrard. The Everton midfielder was unlucky there, he simply jumped up with Gerrard and there was really nothing in it. Liverpool see the game out and take the derby spoils once again.

A low quality game but Rafa Benitez will be delighted at how his Liverpool side played while down to 10 men. Liverpool move above Tottenham into fourth, with Spurs playing at 5.30pm it may only be temporary though.

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