EPL: Everton hold Liverpool to a draw at Anfield

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Liverpool came from behind to share the spoils with Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday as Kenny Dalglish’s emotional Anfield homecoming ended in a 2-2 draw.

Dalglish appeared to be heading for his third consecutive defeat since taking over from Roy Hodgson after two second-half goals in seven minutes from Sylvain Distin and Jermaine Beckford gave Everton a 2-1 lead.

But Liverpool, who had taken a first-half lead through Raul Meireles, fought back to secure a draw courtesy of a Dirk Kuyt penalty on 68 minutes after Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard upended Maxi Rodriguez.

The atmosphere inside Anfield had been electric before kick-off as the Kop roared out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to mark Dalglish’s return to the home dugout for the first time in 20 years.

Dalglish later praised the character of his players for coming back after trailing early in the second half.

“After five minutes of the second half, we were 2-1 down but the players attitude and desire to get back in the game was really something,” Dalglish told the BBC.

“It was fantastic. We could have been more than one up but we were really pleased with the way we played and that’s great credit to the players who have had to adjust to the new ways of playing and training.”

Liverpool, missing the suspended Steven Gerrard and injured Jamie Carragher, started on fire and might have taken the lead when Fernando Torres smashed a shot off the post, only for Kuyt to just fail to reach the rebound.

But the Anfield crowd did not have long to wait for the goal they craved, and it came on 29 minutes through Meireles.

Howard pulled off a superb double save from Kuyt, but could clear only as far as Meireles on the edge of the area who lashed a swerving shot high into the net sending Dalglish leaping off the bench in delight.

Meireles was to test Howard shortly before half-time after being played in by Kuyt, only for the Everton keeper to save at the near post.

But Liverpool were rocked in the opening minute of the second half, when Distin nodded home at the far post to level.

And it got worse for Liverpool six minutes later, when Leon Osman slipped a deft pass to Beckford who curled his shot beyond Pepe Reina to silence the Kop and leave Dalglish shaking his head in disbelief.

Beckford’s strike left Liverpool shellshocked, and Everton got on top as Liverpool struggled to regroup.

Yet on 68 minutes, Liverpool were level. Howard bundled over Maxi in the area for a certain penalty and Kuyt stepped up to roll in the spot-kick.

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