Lady luck smiled on Liverpool as they clinched a 2-0

victory at Goodison Park, despite Everton being the

dominant force for most of this Merseyside derby.


Joseph Yobo's deflected own goal from Javier

Mascherano's speculative shot and a late Dirk Kuyt strike

were enough to move the visitors up to fifth in the league,

as Everton slumped to their third straight defeat.


The bragging rights for this fixture had previously belonged to the blue half of the city, after Dan Gosling sent Rafa Benitez and his team crashing out of last year’s FA Cup back in February.


Although after Mascherano’s drive went in off Yobo and into Tim Howard’s goal after 11 minutes, you could sense that it would be the Liverpool fans who would be cheering come the final whistle.


Indeed they were, as David Moyes’ side had two goals correctly disallowed and missed several golden chances before Kuyt sealed the win for Liverpool, sending the visitors back across Stanley Park with the three points.


However, both teams have failed to live up to their pre-season ambitions. Liverpool were being tipped for the title and Everton harboured hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.


In reality, at the end of November Everton are desperate to pull away from the relegation zone and Liverpool need results quickly to get their season back on track, having already been knocked out of the Champions League and left struggling for form.


Moyes praised his side's commitment after the match. but given their league position, the Scot would much rather have taken the points than a solid performance.


Although a few wins on the bounce would take Everton back towards the top of the table, they cannot hide from the fact that, without Louis Saha in the side, they lack firepower upfront.


It is difficult to see where the Toffees are going to get their next win, never mind string a set of results together. Moyes’ men had opportunities in today’s game but Marouane Fellaini, Tim Cahill, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Jo all squandered fantastic opportunities.


The Blues are playing without a great deal of confidence and are clearly missing the creativity of the injured Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard has been ruled out until February and his team-mates are going to have to find their way back up the table without the 27 year-old, who has recently claimed that he could finish his career at Goodison Park.


The next month could make or break Everton’s season and they will hope to build some momentum with homes games to Tottenham, Birmingham and Burnley in December, along with a trip to Sunderland.


Moyes will also have to prepare his team for an away tie against league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge during the Christmas period and even the most optimistic of Everton fans will be dreading facing Carlo Ancelotti’s outfit. That game aside, the other four fixtures in December look very winnable.


On paper, Everton should not be sitting 16th in the table. Alas, football is played on grass, not paper. The Blues will need to improve on recent performances if they are going to head into the New Year anywhere near where they would like to be.


Granted, four wins from these five fixtures would put Everton back into the race for European football. If, however, they fail to gather enough points during the festive period they could well be sucked into a fight for Premier League survival.


It's a stark contrast in fortunes for a side that finished fifth in the league last season and runners-up to Chelsea in the FA Cup.



Losing to Liverpool hurts Everton so badly

By Gary Maiden

Sports Reporter

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