Gerrard's hat-trick destroys Moyes

Liverpool 3 Everton 0

Anfield

There was a rather aching reflection this week from David Moyes who, in the course of explaining that Liverpool did not come calling for him two summers ago, said that he would have "loved to inherit" Steven Gerrard. A caveat followed quickly and diplomatically, when he named a few of his own players who were "the heartbeat for us" but there has been no one quite like this. The irony of Gerrard scoring the hat-trick which destroyed Moyes's hopes of marking a decade at Everton today by finally "grasping" at the club who have eclipsed him, as he has put it, is that he did not cost a penny of those millions which Moyes has always said hands Liverpool an unfair advantage.

The Everton manager is still without a win at Anfield after 11 visits and the chant from the Anfield Road end – "10 years" and winning what might be politely called "f-all" – would have hurt. Gerrard said of Moyes's decade in his programme notes that "he'll want to mark the occasion with a victory. That's something we have no intention of letting them do." Even by his own standards, marking a 400th Premier League appearance with the first hat-trick in a Merseyside derby since Ian Rush's four goals at Goodison, in Kenny Dalglish's pomp 30 years ago, was "Roy of the Rovers" stuff.

It is those good old days which Dalglish wants to restore now, though if the 186th Merseyside league derby revealed one thing then it was how bleak the future landscape would look without Gerrard – not at his physical peak, aged 31 – and Suarez, the creator of all three of last night's goals, who must decide in a few months whether the trouble of this season justifies another one on Merseyside.

Dalglish was reminded last night why all that Suarez trouble was worth it. The equations are not as simple as when he was scoring 81 goals in 110 Dutch league matches for Ajax because he is working in more areas of the pitch. Too many areas. Dalglish, whose club's other acquisitions again didn't burn with promise last night, needs to find others to help. The club are currently advertising their "new summer collection" but look in need of a collection of midfielders when the buying time starts. Gerrard has seen too many false dawns to allow a derby win, even this one, to obscure the gulf between Liverpool and the best. "We're going from one extreme to the other at the moment and we need to find a level of consistency," he reflected late last night.

The display did not bear out the Kop banner which proclaimed "Liverpool FC: the benchmark", though let nothing take away from Dalglish's marvellous knowledge of what his club's people crave and his ability to deliver it. The Carling Cup was the insurance policy for the season and now, amid the first genuine mumblings of discontent about the 10 points separating Liverpool from fourth place, there was this. Dalglish hardly seemed bound to the dressing room with anxiety beforehand. He was strolling around the foyer distributing tickets to friends half an hour before kick off. If David Moyes's team selection, with Tim Cahill and Leon Osman on the bench amid six changes, suggested divided loyalties between this game and an FA Cup quarter final with Sunderland which awaits on Saturday, Dalglish's own revealed that this big week had been built entirely around last night.

There was a symbolism about the way Gerrard and Carragher, both left out for Saturday's dismal defeat at Sunderland, ran out on to the field of play a full five yards ahead of anyone else in red and it took just over five minutes for the captain to become the advancing presence from midfield without which Suarez has often looked isolated since Raul Meireles's departure to Chelsea. Gerrard raced to seize a ball which Suarez, his back to the goal, turned around the corner in the area. His low shot was saved sharply by Tim Howard and Jack Rodwell cleared before Jordan Henderson could take the rebound.

The sight of Victor Anichebe vanishing out of sight over an hoarding advertising outdoor pursuits – nudged on his way by Carragher – told you something about the fear of God with which Moyes has made ordinary players giants over a decade. But just as Everton had started to make their way into the game, Marouane Fellaini fatefully conceded possession to Dalglish's strong counter-attacking side. Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique ferried the ball to Suarez whose pass was deflected off Gerrard's knee into the path of Martin Kelly. He had two cracks on goal before the ball fell back to Gerrard, to arc over Howard from 15 yards out.

Gerrard's second illustrated the same telepathy with Suarez who raced after Jordan Henderson's ball into the right channel, and rounded Sylvain Distin on the byline before Gerrard virtually removed it from his boot to drive home. Moyes tore his side up, introducing three substitutes on the hour, though one of them – Royston Drenthe – slipped to let Gerrard race away, exchange passes with Suarez, and complete the hat-trick. "I'm not educated enough to add what anyone else has said about Steve," Dalglish concluded late last night. But his football wisdom will tell him that he needs Gerrard and Suarez to hang around and finish what they have started.

Match facts

Substitutes

Liverpool Kuyt (Henderson, 72).

Everton Jelavic (Anichebe, 61), Drenthe (Coleman, 61), Osman (Straqualursi, 61).

Booked

Liverpool Enrique.

Everton Pienaar, Baines, Drenthe.

Man of the match Gerrard

Match rating 8/10

Possession

Liverpool 53%

Everton 47%.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week