Gerrard's hat-trick takes all glory away from Moyes


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The Independent Online

By Ian Herbert

For David Moyes, the pursuit of a win at Anfield goes on after what is now 11 visits. Reflecting this week on the fact that Liverpool did not call for him two years ago, Moyes said he "would have loved" to inherit Steven Gerrard. The midfielder's 400th appearance for Liverpool was up there with the best. His was the first hat-trick in the fixture in the league since Ian Rush's in a 5-0 win at Goodison in 1982.

If the 186th Merseyside league derby revealed one thing it was how hard Liverpool's journey will be when Gerrard, 31 now, and Luis Suarez – the creator of all three of his goals – are no longer available for selection.

The match actually presented Liverpool with the opportunity to accomplish something new at Anfield – to beat Everton under floodlights in a midweek league match – and there was a symbolism about the way Gerrard and Jamie Carragher ran out a full five yards ahead of anyone else. It took just over five minutes for the captain to become the advancing presence from midfield without which Suarez has looked so isolated. Gerrard, the one player who understands the Uruguayan's game, raced to seize a ball that Suarez, his back to goal, turned around the corner in the area. A low shot was saved sharply by Tim Howard and Jack Rodwell cleared.

The sight of Victor Anichebe vanishing over a hoarding – nudged on his way by Carragher – told you something about the fear of God with which Moyes has made ordinary players giants. Steven Pienaar fired over after Leighton Baines carved out space. But Liverpool then built a goal which epitomised the counter-attacking style Dalglish has created.

Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique ferried the ball to Suarez whose pass was deflected into Martin Kelly's path off Gerrard's knee. The right-back had two attempts before Gerrard, lurking 15 yards out, placed the ball over Howard.

Gerrard's second revealed the same sense of understanding. Suarez hared after a ball Kelly played into the right channel, took it round Tony Hibbert and after he cut back past Rodwell, Gerrard took it off his boot.

Hibbert was left on the pitch as Suarez ripped past him again and levelled for Andy Carroll, who fired a shot wide. Moyes introduced three substitutes on the hour, but a slip by one of them, Royston Drenthe, allowed Gerrard to race away, exchanges passes with Suarez and complete his hat-trick.