Everton took a share of the spoils after an entertaining 2-2 draw at Anfield.
The game, billed as “The Return of the King” by the biased media in the pre-match build up, saw Everton cast as the enemy to be swept away by the returning messiah in Kenny Dalglish.
With banners in the Kop declaring “Kenny is cooler than The Fonz” amidst other things, the Everton players may have been forgiven for finding the situation hilarious rather than feel intimidated by the occasion.
However, there’s no doubt that the Toffees that kicked off the game were indeed overawed by the big occasion, as Liverpool dominated the first half in a way unimaginable to Everton supporters before kick-off.
Coming off the back of two good results featuring seven goals, Evertonians expected the Blues to get at Liverpool who had came into the fixture after two straight defeats and the massive expectations of a baying crowd.
Despite Moyes employing a 4-4-2 with Anichebe and Beckford up top, Everton promptly went into their shell, not closing down the opposition and being swamped by wave after wave of Liverpool pressure down both flanks.
Unfortunately for Everton, this game saw a return to form of sorts for Fernando Torres, and it was he who saw the early chances come his way as he tormented Distin with intelligent runs in the channels.
The opener was on the cards when Glen Johnson found the ball on the wide left, ran at Phil Neville who backed off, curled a ball to the far post for the head of Dirk Kuyt. The Dutchman had a header and a shot beaten away before the ball arrived at the feet of Meireles who fires a stiff shot beyond Tim Howard.
In truth, Everton could have been three or four down at the interval, but they hung on till half time to only trail by one goal.
Deflated Evertonians everywhere could never have expected what happened only one minute after the break. A dubious corner decision went the way of Everton. The ball was swung in to the back post, Distin climbed high and powered a header inside the post as Glen Johnson swung a wild leg in a desperate attempt at a clearance.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
Everton scored with their first shot on target, and Liverpool fans would have had every right to feel aggrieved. Five minutes later, it got even worse for the Kopites.
Anichebe knocked down a long ball to the feet of Leon Osman in the box, he shifted his feet superbly, squared for Jermain Beckford who fired an unerring right footed drive underneath Pepe Reina to give Everton the unexpected 2-1 lead.
Barely deserved, but very welcomed for the visiting fans who went ballistic. Everton picked up the pace and began to pressure Liverpool who seemed to collapse under the wave of pressure to get a result.
Unfortunately, a moment of madness from Tim Howard gifted Liverpool the equaliser.
The American shotstopper had a fine game before making the ill-fated decision to lunge at the legs of Maxi Rodriguez in the box to give away a stonewall penalty.
Dirk Kuyt stepped up on the 68th minute to cooly slide home the spotkick and level things up.
David Moyes, often criticised for his negativity during games, decided a point would do and went 4-5-1, with James Vaughan instructed to chase down the defence. It nearly backfired, as Everton saw the Reds charge down on them with regularity, with only the brilliant defending of Fellaini and Distin keeping them at bay.
In the end, Everton settled for the point. On a day where Everton badly underperformed, Liverpool fans should be alarmed by how bad their team were as well. On another day, Liverpool could have put the game to bed as half time. But they didn’t, and Everton come away from “King” Kenny Dalglish’s coronation comfortable in the knowledge that whilst they didn’t exactly achieve the dethroning they wished, at least they dented the aura of delusion running rife around Anfield at the moment.
Man of the Match: Marouane FELLAINI – Not many Everton players covered themselves with glory throughout the 90 minutes, but Fellaini did well in breaking up play and securing a share of the points.