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After crashing out of the Champions League, Liverpool won the Merseyside derby 2-0 thanks to a Joseph Yobo own goal and a late Dirk Kuyt tap-in.

With both sides having a disappointing season so far, there was more than just pride at stake in the 212th Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. So it was no surprise that the opening exchanges were a scrappy nervous affair. Both sides could argue they have had their fair share of bad luck so far this season, but Liverpool’s fortunes were turned on their head 12 minutes in, when Mascherano let fly from 25 yards. The ball was swerving wide but took a wicked deflection of Joseph Jobo and flew past the wrong-footed Tim Howard. Liverpool were 1-0 up.

Everton came flying back at Liverpool and enjoyed the best of the first half after the opening goal. Striker Jo twice had the ball in the back of Liverpool’s net, with both correctly disallowed for off-side. Liverpool were riding their luck, an Everton equaliser looked on the cards. A cross from the right found Bilyaletdinov unmarked 6 yards out but he sliced the ball wide of Pepe Reina’s goal. The Russian winger also had a shot saved, while the lively Pienaar went close twice as Everton pressed for a deserved equaliser. A rare Liverpool attack resulted in a fine save by Howard from a close range  Insua header.

The half ended 1-0 to Liverpool and Everton would feel they deserved to be level at the very least. Liverpool had defended well enough, but hadn’t offered much else so far, but found themselves somehow leading at the break.

The second half began in similar fashion to how the first half ended, Everton attacking. David Moyes replaced Jo with Saha on 66 minutes to try and force an equaliser. With Everton pressing Liverpool hit them on the break and Yobo had to deflect a Ngog effort wide. The key moment of the match arrived mid way through the second half when Reina made a superb double save, firstly from a Cahill header and then from the rebound Fellaini found himself free 6 yards out but he hit his shot straight at the Liverpool keeper.

With 15 minutes left Benitez brought on Benayoun and Riera to add some spark to a lackluster Liverpool attack, and within 5 minutes his decision paid off. Gerrard found Reira inside Everton’s box, he curled a decent effort at goal which Howard could only parry into the path on Kuyt who pocked home from 8 yards to seal the game for Liverpool.

A much-needed 3 points for Rafa Benitez’s men, but it was hardly a performance that showed Liverpool were back. Everton were unlucky not to have got something from the game, but Liverpool showed they can play badly and still win away from home.

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