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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 16:59 GMT
Everton hold Liverpool
Radzinski (centre) celebrates his goal for Everton
Radzinski (centre) celebrates his goal for Everton
Liverpool 1-1 Everton
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Everton halted Liverpool's title bandwagon in its tracks as they earned a battling draw in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Walter Smith's strugglers threatened to spring a major shock when substitute Tomasz Radzinski put them ahead early in the second half.

But Nicolas Anelka's first league goal for Liverpool provided the final flourish to a neat move after 71 minutes to earn a deserved draw for the championship chasers.

Liverpool dominated possession and created a number of second-half chances - but Everton's tough and resolute approach merited a reward to ease their relegation fears.

Scott Gemmill of Everton is challenged by Liverpool's John Arne Riise
The match was full of midfield confrontations
Liverpool once again failed to capitalise on home advantage as - as against Fulham, Southampton and Bolton - they let two vital points slip.

Liverpool and Everton were expected to leave out Michael Owen and David Ginola respectively - but both were included in the starting line-ups.

Everton packed midfield with combative tacklers, which frustrated Liverpool but also removed almost any trace of attacking threat from Smith's side.

And for Liverpool, the opening period was a familiar tale of failure to pierce a stubborn wall of resistance erected by opposition at Anfield.

We have got to be happy with a point - and I thought that was a fair result over the piece
Everton manager Walter Smith
Anelka, given an opportunity with Emile Heskey rested, offered Liverpool occasional moments of hope.

He beat Everton keeper Steve Simonsen to Gary McAllister's astute pass but was unable to find the target - and wasted another opportunity after a blistering turn of pace left Everton defender David Weir trailing.

Everton's only chance came when Lee Carsley tested Chris Kirkland.

And the stalemate nature of the first half forced Everton boss Smith into a bold interval change, removing Ginola and Tobias Linderoth for Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen.

It reaped almost instant rewards when Radzinski gave Everton a dramatic lead after 52 minutes.

Everton carved Liverpool open down the left, and when Alessandro Pistone crossed from Gary Naysmith's pass, Radzinski sliced a right foot finish past Kirkland.

It was the signal for a Liverpool tactical reshuffle, with Heskey replacing defender Stephen Wright.

Liverpool were suddenly pouring forward for the first time in the match - and Owen should have put them level in a spell of intense pressure.

David Weir confronts Michael Owen
David Weir confronts Michael Owen
He shot over the bar from close range, and then should have hit the target with a 64th minute header after a perfect cross from Heskey.

Caretaker manager Phil Thompson went for broke seconds later when McAllister was replaced by Vladimir Smicer.

Everton's decision to sit on their lead looked doomed to failure - and so it proved as Anelka equalised for Liverpool with 19 minutes remaining.

Liverpool finally put together a slick passing move, and when Owen's pass was dummied by Heskey, Danny Murphy played in Anelka, who beat Simonsen with ease.

We totally dominated it from start to finish and felt we thoroughly deserved three points instead of one
Liverpool assistant manager Phil Thompson
Everton were penned in their own half, and they were grateful to a brilliant save from Simonsen as he acrobatically turned Murphy's header over the top from Riise's corner with five minutes left.

But Everton broke the shackles seconds later and almost snatched a late winner in the next attack, Kirkland saving brilliantly from Radzinski's snap-shot.

Liverpool: Kirkland, Xavier, Henchoz, Hyypia, Wright (Heskey 55), Murphy, Hamann, McAllister (Smicer 66), Riise, Owen, Anelka.
Subs Not Used: Arphexad, Biscan, Litmanen.

Everton: Simonsen, Clarke, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Gemmill, Carsley, Linderoth (Gravesen 45), Naysmith, Campbell, Ginola (Radzinski 45).
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, Unsworth, Pembridge.
Booked: Clarke, Gravesen.

Att: 44,371

Ref: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill).

BBC Sport's Alan Green
"Liverpool have now dropped sixteen points at home"
Everton boss Walter Smith
"The draw was a fair result"
Liverpool assistant coach Phil Thompson
"We controlled the game from start to finish"
Referee Daivid Elleray
On being the man in charge of a derby
See also:

23 Feb 02 |  Eng Prem
Liverpool lose ground
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