Lucas picked up a booking of his own early in the second half, as did Everton captain Phil Neville as there appeared little chance of any football breaking out amid the physical exchanges.
Everton midfield man Marouane Fellaini had been having a nightmare, to put it mildly, and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Gosling after 52 minutes.
It took an hour for the first serious chance to be created, and it came following a mistake from the previously faultless Phil Jagielka.
He conceded possession, allowing Alonso to find Albert Riera, but Howard was swift to race off his line to block the Spaniard's effort.
Everton then came desperately close to breaking the deadlock after one of the game's more fluent moves.
Mikel Arteta played in Cahill, who set up Osman - only for the midfield man to crash a shot against the post when he should have scored.
Liverpool were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes left when Lucas, having already been given a yellow card, left referee Alan Wiley no option other than to send him off after a cynical trip on Joleon Lescott.
Everton, understandably, then had the majority of the possession in the closing stages, but Liverpool's defence held firm.
Osman was the threat again six minutes into injury-time, but Reina saved well and then recovered brilliantly to deny Gosling.
Cahill then headed the resulting corner from Leighton Baines agonisingly wide.
Torres had suffered a fruitless evening at the hands of Jagielka, and he was eventually substituted after 101 minutes.
Such was Everton's desperation to get the game won before the lottery of penalties that boss Moyes even gave Dutch outcast Andy van der Meyde a rare outing as substitute.
And it was his cross that paved the way for Gosling to settle a gruelling Merseyside derby and spark wild celebrations from the Everton fans inside Goodison Park.
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