For a change, luck was on Liverpool's side, and the Reds used it to brush aside Merseyside rival Everton, 2-0, on Sunday. The Toffees controlled
play for most of the match but lost for the third straight game, leaving them only three points out of the relegation zone.
The game's turning point came in the 12th minute when Javier Mascherano
's shot from 25 yards took a deflection off Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo
and beat American Tim Howard
to give the Reds the lead.
"The deflected goal took the sting out of us," said Everton manager David
. "I don't know how many times Liverpool had been in our half up to that point but it wasn't many. I thought the players reacted great. They kept going and I thought in the main we kept
Liverpool quiet. The game was tight and we, in the main, were trying to set the tone and make it difficult for them."
Everton had its chances, but Russian Diniyar Bilyaletdinov
missed twice, and Liverpool goalie Pepe Reina
did well to stop Tim Cahill
and Marouane Fellaini
With 10 minutes to play, Liverpool put the game away when Dirk Kuyt
scored on a rebound after Howard parried
's shot. Yobo was to blame for the goal, failing to clear a ball that Steven Gerrard
picked up and fed to
The win, which came just five days after Liverpool was knocked out of the UEFA Champions League, was comfort to Liverpool manager Rafael
"It was a clearly a difficult game from the beginning," said Benitez. "They were playing a direct and also a set-pieces game. It was very difficult to control that
because they are strong in the air but we showed character and were trying to play counterattack -- sometimes with good possession, sometimes not so good."