Kuyt rises above the red mist to floor Everton

Liverpool 1 Everton 0: Dutchman keeps his head in an ill-tempered clash to make it a derby double for improving Liverpool

And this used to be the friendly derby, at least off the pitch. Not any more. A rancorous 213th collision of the Merseyside rivals produced a deserved home win, courtesy of Dirk Kuyt's 50th goal for the Anfield side, but also red cards for Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Steven Pienaar of Everton.

Their dismissals took the total of sendings-off in the fixture since the inception of the Premier League in 1992 to 19, more than any other game. Kyrgiakos' exit left Liverpool to play nearly two-thirds of the match a man short but Everton, who lost Marouane Fellaini on the stretcher after his clash with the Greek defender, never looked capable of exploiting their advantage. Pienaar's banishment in stoppage time merely sealed a wretched afternoon for David Moyes' team.

The three points, secured by Kuyt early in the second half, took Liverpool's tally to 17 out of 21, and in those seven matches only Stoke City, with a scrambled last-gasp equaliser, have beaten Pepe Reina. That the Spanish goalkeeper was scarcely called upon to make a save worthy of the name until the 89th minute, when he dived to tip over Yakubu's shot, was an indictment of an Everton side who had not lost in nine games since a 2-0 defeat in the previous derby.

Liverpool were particularly well served by Jamie Carragher, a boyhood Evertonian, who switched from right-back to central defence following Kyrgiakos' departure. His bone-shuddering but legitimate challenge on Pienaar in the first 10 seconds left the South African nursing a sore shoulder, and possibly a grievance, while reminding colleagues from further afield and with less experience of the fixture what to expect.

Even without three of Rafael Benitez's most creative performers, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun and Glen Johnson, Liverpool had the edge while it was still 11 against 11. Fellaini's ankle injury, which X-rays showed was less serious than first feared, allowed Everton to introduce Mikel Arteta, who has not played a full match for more than a year, but even his dancing feet could not trick them into carving out a clear opening.

Tim Howard had an early warning of the set-piece prowess that would bring Liverpool their winner with a whipped-in free-kick after four minutes that the Everton goalkeeper punched clear with difficulty. Daniel Agger also fired over when well placed, yet the first half rapidly descended into a series of fouls and altercations, with the referee, Martin Atkinson, struggling to maintain control. Liverpool were more sinned against than sinning – there were bad challenges by Leighton Baines on David Ngog and Fellaini on Kuyt – but when Kyrgiakos ploughed into Fellaini with his feet off the ground in the 34th minute, Atkinson issued a straight red. Fellaini had also gone over the top in the tackle but to the Kop's consternation, none of the officials spotted it.

Everton's best chance came late in the first half, when Tim Cahill, whose last eight goals have all been headers, dived to head narrowly over after an untypically intricate move. But the Liverpool 10 were not simply sitting back, and Steven Gerrard, still without a League goal in 2010, clipped Howard's bar from a free-kick. However, when the Liverpool captain swung in a 55th-minute corner, Kuyt, unperturbed by Phil Neville's attempt to pull him back, headed his 10th goal of the season and fourth in derbies.

Fog swirled above the pitch, and as the card count kept rising – it finished on six yellows plus the two reds – Moyes pointed to his watch while Liverpool dug in. Pienaar, fortunate to stay on after a shocking lunge on Javier Mascherano on the half-hour, finally ran out of luck when he jumped into Gerrard and walked a gauntlet of baying Liverpudlians on his way off.

Attendance: 44,316

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Carragher.

Match rating: 7/10

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'