The romance of the FA Cup came late, but in abundance. With two minutes of extra-time remaining a 19-year-old substitute settled the fourth-round replay in Everton's favour. Dan Gosling's shot deflected off Alvaro Arbeloa and Martin Skrtel to beat José Reina. That was the last and conclusive blow in the series Liverpool had to absorb.
Their midfielder Lucas was sent off after 75 minutes for a second booking when he brought down Joleon Lescott. The visitors' manager Rafael Benítez may well brood most on an injury. Steven Gerrard had to be taken off with a hamstring strain in the 16th minute. It seems inevitable that he will miss next week's England friendly in Seville, but the true fear for Liverpool is that they will lack him for a period in their bid for the Premier League title.
No one, however, could begrudge Everton the glory of this win. It is merely the third victory David Moyes has enjoyed over Benítez. There is a discrepancy of means between these clubs and the effect is obvious, but Everton overcame that on this evening. When each side still had 11 players, Leon Osman had struck a post following a pass from Tim Cahill.
Opportunities had been rare. Moyes hinted beforehand that he wished to field a side with more firepower. That ambition was highly laudable and equally difficult to fulfil. Of his five recognised forwards, three were injured and Jo, the Brazilian striker taken on loan from Manchester City, was ineligible. That left Victor Anichebe nominally available, but he had been dropped on disciplinary grounds.
Containing the firepower of the visitors was the priority at the outset. Liverpool, buoyed by the weekend win over Chelsea, initially dominated territory with confident passing. Significant relief for Everton came with the departure of Gerrard.
They were still disadvantaged, but often thrive on that situation. They had just drawn at Anfield in league and Cup against moneyed Liverpool. The visitors had sufficient experience to shrug at the hostile nature of the Goodison environment. Their one vaguely experimental note was the inclusion of Lucas. His silly concession, as a substitute, of the penalty that presented Wigan with a draw in the league exasperated fans and they will not have warmed to him after this outing.
Still, Liverpool looked a little more poised before the interval. Dirk Kuyt took over the role that Gerrard had been filling and Yossi Benayoun operated towards the right. The Israeli made an impression after being introduced against Chelsea on Sunday. Space was tougher to locate here. Fernando Torres' goals against Chelsea confirmed his talent, too, but in the opening 45 minutes at Goodison there was no team-mate who could release him.
As a derby match, this was predictably an unkempt affair then. The referee may have been conscious of the need to stifle incipient disorder when booking Cahill, a little harshly, for an aerial challenge on Jamie Carragher. There could be no quibbling, though, over the caution for Steven Pienaar for a late challenge on Lucas.
The second half had barely opened before Phil Neville became the third Everton player to be cautioned. Lucas soon collected a yellow card, too.
Moyes himself must have also been disappointed, since he withdrew the £15m Marouane Fellaini and, crucially, introduced Gosling in his place. The attrition, all the same, was not wholly distasteful to Everton. They are a good and well-organised side but they cannot afford the talents at Benítez's disposal. Endurance and patience are key qualities in this line-up.
Tim Howard, Phil Neville (Andy van der Meyde, 106), Tony Hibbert, Joleon Lescott, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Marouane Fellaini (Dan Gosling, 52), Tim Cahill, Steven Pienaar (Jack Rodwell, 60), Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta
Liverpool Jose Manuel Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa, Andrea Dossena, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Albert Riera (Javier Mascherano, 80), Steven Gerrard (Yossi Benayoun, 16), Lucas Leiva, Xabi Alonso, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres (Ryan Babel, 101)
Referee Wiley, A
Venue Goodison Park
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