What was billed as the most important Merseyside Derby since the 1980s fell flat for the neutrals, though Liverpool supporters will certainly come away from the match delighted. They were dominant at Anfield on Tuesday night, laying a 4-0 beating on Everton that they might struggle to recover from in the race for fourth place.
Liverpool started strong, getting off all of the good early chances. Tim Howard had to make a trio of tough saves in the opening 20 minutes, coming up with a stop on Raheem Sterling on two occasions, as well as one on an early Jordan Henderson volley. The home side's persistence eventually paid off with the opening goal in the 21st minute, scored by Steven Gerrard with a header from a corner.
The goal represented just a small portion of Gerrard's excellent first half performance. Filling in for the injured Lucas Leiva as a lone holding midfielder, Gerrard was surprisingly adept at holding his position and breaking up play, effectively marking Ross Barkley out of the game for large portions of the first half.
Unfortunately for Everton, the goal they conceded wasn't the only bad result of that 21st minute corner. Gareth Barry accidentally bumped into Romelu Lukaku, causing his ankle to turn awkwardly. He was unable to continue and was replaced by Steven Naismith.
Everton responded well with a nice flurry between then and the 33rd minute, but a quick Liverpool counter completely altered the game. The Liverpool defense got burned by Daniel Sturridge, who finished comfortably from 15 yards off a through ball by Philippe Coutinho.
The Toffees didn't regain their focus after that goal and fell victim to another direct attack less than two minutes later. Phil Jagielka and Antolin Alcaraz were caught napping as Sturridge split them to get on the end of a ball over the top, which he followed up with an excellent chip over the head of Tim Howard from 20 yards to complete a brace.
Luis Suarez added insult to injury just five minutes into the second half, erasing any hope that Everton might have had of getting a result. Once again, Everton's central defenders failed to execute their high line well and were absolutely torched by Suarez, who finished comfortably from inside the box after a long run.
Sturridge missed an opportunity to complete a hat trick from the penalty spot five minutes later, following a foul in the box by Howard, but his poor take ultimately had little consequence. Both teams seemed resigned to their respective fates after that and a relatively uneventful conclusion played out.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Cissokho, Skrtel, Toure, Flanagan (Kelly 73'), Coutinho (Alberto 79'), Gerrard, Henderson, Sterling, Sturridge (Moses 72'), Suarez
Goals: Gerrard (21'), Sturridge (33', 35', pen miss 55'), Suarez (50')
Everton: Howard, Baines, Alcaraz, Jagielka, Stones, McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar (Osman 45'), Barkley (McGeady 76'), Mirallas, Lukaku (Naismith 25')