Performances: Better, Results: Need Work
An emphatic display of flags, chants, cheers, claps, waves and smiles made it clear how good it really can be for a manager at Liverpool Football Club. As one of the more moving versions of You'll Never Walk alone rang out around each of the four stands, despite Everton's best attempts at drowning it out, Dalglish appeared to have a tear in his eye.
Everybody was raring to go now, the fans, the manager and most certainly the players. The Merseyside derby was up and running.
A lively start from Liverpool caught me off guard if i'm honest, i knew Liverpool would be a more positive and attacking side under Dalglish but after getting stuck into a routine it's always nice to see the possession almost completely in the oppositions half for the best part of the first 45minutes.
Fernando Torres particularly shone with offside calls going against him, shots just over the bar and blocked attempts. One chance that stood out early on was when a weaving run from Torres led him into the box, an unfavoured angle saw him curve his effort but unfortunately hit the post. Some inspired movement and desire from the Spaniard though, he looks like he's truly back to his old self now.
Just before the half hour mark Liverpool got themselves onto the score sheet and deservedly so. A double save from Tim Howard after Dirk Kuyt's best efforts saw the ball splay out to Raul Meireles. With enough time to control the ball Meireles set himself up for the shot, a drill from just outside the box sent Liverpool ahead and started the party for the Red wearing fans in Anfield.
Everton fans and Tim Howard himself appeared utterly disgusted with their teams defensive efforts, regrettably for Liverpool, we would have some of our own defensive mishaps to compete with Everton's later in the game.
Several chances missed in the dying moments of the first half would cost Liverpool dearly, some saved efforts from the likes of Kuyt, Torres and Maxi meant Liverpool could have been 3 or even 4 nil up before the whistle. However at this stage, we looked strong, that 45minutes was the best i've seen us play in a long while, the result should have still been very much in our own hands.
A blow for Liverpool coming out second half saw Daniel Agger replaced with Sotirios Kyrgiakos. The Dane was apparently unwell and hadn't been eating properly for a few days. It's such a shame because Agger is different to Carra, Skrtel and Kyrgiakos, the pairing of himself and one of the other lads i feel adds a good balance of pace and experience although even with Kyrgiakos on i was still feeling confident.
Everton hadn't really been showing any signs of getting a goal. Some forward play from the likes of Baines was often wasted when the ball entered the danger zone, even the skillful Arteta appeared to be struggling to lift his side.
Of all the players to bring Everton level though, i wouldn't have picked Distin. A corner (which wasn't even a corner) was whipped into the area and met by the French defender. The Liverpool defence was quite literally a shambles, Martin Skrtel has completely lost the plot. I don't know what's happened and i certainly can't explain it, but for a player who used to be so reliable, it's baffling me how many mistakes he is now making.
It took just 6 more minutes for Everton to get their second and again no thanks to a poor defensive display from the Reds, an assist from Osman was allowed through to Jermaine Beckford who with a nice finish sent the away fans crazy.
The most annoying part of this goal (without falling back on excuses because to be quite honest i reckon Everton would have got themselves another goal at some point anyway) but Martin Kelly in the run up to the goal clearly suffered a head injury, his drop to the floor showed anyone watching that he'd taken a clash, still on the floor when the ball went to Osman and still on the floor when the ball reached Beckford, well why wasn't the play stopped? Forgive me for perhaps getting this wrong but last time i checked a referee is obliged to stop the game for ANY head injury or even suspected head injury. Thankfully Kelly was ok but it looked terrible from the replays.
With Liverpool now desperate to find their footing again after such an inspired first half, slowly but surely the pendulum was swinging in the favour of a Reds equalizer.
Some positive pressure eventually saw a ball in the area being chased down by Maxi Rodriguez. When Tim Howard brought down the number 17 it was a certain penalty. Phil Dowd points to the spot and a prepared Dirk Kuyt awaits the whistle.
A confident penalty from the grafter meant Liverpool had levelled up. With 20 minutes still left it was a dangerous time for both sides as both Red and Blue searched for a winner.
Jonjo Shelvey was brought on to shake things up a bit for Liverpool but even with some fresh legs on the field the lads couldn't find a winner. Thankfully neither could Everton and in the end a draw was perhaps the best result.
A hard fought game from both sides, some poor decisions no doubt but i think there are a lot of positives to take from this fixture.
I don't personally think under Hodgson we'd have got back into that game and although the defence clearly needs work i feel with Carragher to come back and some work on the training field that can be sorted. 1 point is better than none after all and although it's not 3 at least Everton can't boast of a double.
With Wolverhampton Wanderers up next it's an exciting time of the season for me because as you all know with me being skint 99% of the time i never get chance to see Liverpool play but because i work at the Molineux this Saturday i get my free ticket! Might have to sit in with the Wolves fans again but hey ho.
Didn't get to see Torres last time so really can't wait to see the Spaniard live! Also keeping my fingers crossed that Stevie and Carra come to watch the match because they'll have to come through the boardroom (where i work) to get to their seats and i shall try my utmost to get their autographs without getting sacked! Haha.
Special match preview too will be coming up in the next few days, have offered to do the "Spyin' Kop" feature for RAWK so will be using it within my match preview on here too. Stay tuned!