Everton 1-1 Liverpool

The Merseyside derby spoils were shared for the sixth time in seven meetings as Romelu Lukaku struck in first-half injury time to cancel out Danny Ings’ opener.

Everton had been looking to move four points clear of their opponents but fell behind when Liverpool’s derby debutant headed in on 41 minutes.

That lead would only be momentary however as Lukaku capitalised on a defensive mix up involving Martin Skrtel and Emre Can to earn the Blues a deserved point in what was a fiercely contested – and sometimes heated – 225th meeting of the city’s two clubs.

There was disappointing news for Everton boss Roberto Martinez in the hours before kick off with the discovery that John Stones and Seamus Coleman were both lacking the fitness required to play a part.

It did mean that the Spaniard could name an unchanged team to the one that won 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion, with Ramiro Funes Mori and Tyias Browning the players to deputise for the absent duo.

EL

As well as Funes Mori, there was also a first taste of the Merseyside derby for Brendan Galloway, while Gerard Deulofeu retained his spot on the wing having looked so impressive at the Hawthorns.

Liverpool, too, headed into the fixture on the back of a victory against Aston Villa in their last league outing and it was they who started the quicker of the two teams. On six minutes, a slip by Steven Naismith, the hat-trick hero in Everton’s last home fixture, allowed Daniel Sturridge the visitors’ first real sight of goal. Fortunately, the fit-again striker, scorer of a brace against Tim Sherwood’s men, dragged his shot well wide of the upright.

Two minutes later, Sturridge must have thought he had made amends but after Skrtel squared the ball to him eight-yards out, Phil Jagielka came from nowhere to brilliantly block his goalbound attempt.

And the Everton skipper demonstrated his importance again moments later, this time stretching a leg to prevent Ings latching on to a ball over the top.

Ings then flashed a half-volley over the crossbar, before James Milner played a clever one-two with Philippe Coutinho, only to see his attempt to feed the ball under Tim Howard spurned by the American at this near post.

The tide needed to turn and, on 27 minutes, Everton’s first sniff of goal so nearly brought a breakthrough.

EL2

Given responsibility for a free-kick in a fairly central position 30 yards from goal, Ross Barkley went straight for the danger zone – playing the ball towards the penalty spot. At the same time, Naismith turned and left Mamadou Sakho flat-footed, though frustratingly the same could not be said for Simon Mignolet, who threw himself to brilliantly tip the Scot’s header over the crossbar.

Three minutes later, the Belgian stopper was at it again as James McCarthy’s thumping snapshot was palmed past the post.

A disagreement between Barkley and Can saw both players booked with 11 minutes of the half remaining and the latter was perhaps fortunate to see the first period out after his attempted overhead kick saw Gareth Barry take a boot to the head.

And with both teams having had their spells in a frenetic first half, they shared a goal apiece in the final five minutes before the interval.

Liverpool struck first when Ings got between Barkley and Jagielka inside the six-yard box to nod home a simple header, before the Deulofeu and Lukaku partnership – so effective against West Brom – combined again to drag Everton level.

Skrtel and Can failed to deal with the Spaniard’s cross from the right and the in-form Belgian made them pay, firing an instinctive first-time rocket low into the Park End net.

EL3

Having got the goal at such a timely moment, Everton would have hoped to have picked up where they left off once play resumed.

However, it took the hour-mark introduction of Aaron Lennon in place of Deulofeu to give the Blues a foothold again, the substitute seeing one threatening cross hacked clear before Barkley curled a long-range effort just wide of the post. Lennon’s clever pass than fashioned an opening inside the box for Lukaku, only for the Belgian’s shot to be beaten away by his international colleague, Mignolet.

There was another likely talking point on 78 minutes as Lucas Leiva, having already been booked, appeared to trip McCarthy. Only a free-kick was awarded by referee Martin Atkinson however, and within seconds the Brazilian was replaced by Joe Allen.

Everton pushed for the winner, with Lukaku in particular running himself into the ground in search of glory.

It was to prove elusive but the point leaves Everton unbeaten in seven, with Manchester United up next at Goodison Park on the other side of the international break.

After the game, Liverpool announced they had terminated the contract of manager Brendan Rodgers, ending the Northern Irishman’s three-year stint in charge of the Reds.