Romelu Lukaku’s equaliser ensured Everton avoided defeat against Liverpool in a 1-1 Merseyside derby draw on Sunday, the sixth stalemate from the last seven meetings between the two local rivals.
Simon Mignolet made two excellent saves in the first half, moments which the visitors capitalised on when Danny Ings headed home the opener.
Lukaku equalised in first-half stoppage time after a mistake from Emre Can, before a second half ensued which failed to match the first for drama.
There were flashpoints between the two teams in a match that certainly was not lacking in passion, even though goalmouth action was at a premium after the break.
The result means Everton extend their poor derby record – they have now won only one of their last 18 clashes with Liverpool in the league.
Liverpool, meanwhile, have only one victory from their last six outings in the Premier League after a performance that is unlikely to ease the pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers.
The big team news ahead of kick-off revolved around players who were not passed fit to play, as both sides named the same line-ups as in their previous league matches.
Seamus Coleman and John Stones were both unavailable for Everton, while Christian Benteke did not make it back in time to play for Liverpool, who started with Daniel Sturridge after he was rested in the Europa League on Thursday.
Liverpool started the brighter of the two teams, Martin Skrtel off-target with a header and Ings lashing a shot narrowly over the crossbar, before James Milner forced Tim Howard into a low save after a clever one-two with Philippe Coutinho.
Everton had not produced an early attacking threat but came closest to opening the scoring when Ross Barkley’s free-kick was headed towards goal by Steven Naismith, with only an excellent one-handed save from Mignolet denying him.
Mignolet was at it again with a good diving stop from James McCarthy’s drive as the home side started to move into the ascendancy.
But the first goal arrived at the other end on 42 minutes. Milner’s corner found Ings unmarked just three yards from goal and the forward netted with a simple header.
However, Everton mounted an instant response in first-half stoppage-time. Emre Can made a poor clearance from Gerard Deulofeu’s cross and Lukaku converted with an accurate low finish for his seventh goal of the season.
Tyias Browning had a header just over the crossbar as the second half started more quietly than the frantic finish to the first, while a curling effort from Barkley dropped just past the post.
The home side were looking by far the most likely to find a winner and a right-footed Lukaku shot was repelled by Mignolet.
Coutinho cut inside and shot straight at Howard and Milner headed wide from a decent opportunity as Liverpool finally threatened, but the match ultimately finished level after a second period that failed to match the first.
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