I'm still pretty much in shock over how that game ended. I didn't know Phil Jagielka could do that. Did anyone know Phil Jagielka could do that? Did Phil Jagielka even know Phil Jagielka could do that? Well, whether anyone knew or not, it was Phil Jagielka's ridiculous goal that secured Everton a draw in a game that Liverpool fully deserved to win. The Reds dominated the game for the most part, and were very unlucky not to come away with three points.
The first ten minutes of this game had everything. It all started with Gareth Barry getting booked for a hard foul on Adam Lallana in the first minute. After that, the game took on a rapid pace that made it seem as though this one could have loads of goals, and there should have been two of them in the first few minutes of the game. Everton should have been awarded a penalty kick when Alberto Moreno dragged down Lukaku in the box, but it went uncalled. Everton fans didn't have long to gripe about the missed call though, as Raheem Sterling's shot hit Barry's extended arm in Everton's box without a whistle just moments later.
The game began to slow down after the first quarter of an hour, and Liverpool began to gain the upper hand. Much like Dan was hoping for in his match preview, Liverpool were noticeably aggressive in their pressing, and it was very effective. Though they didn't create many clear cut chances, Liverpool had 7 corner kicks to Everton's 0, and looked the much more threatening side heading into the break.
Liverpool picked up right where they left off after half time, and continued to control the play. They would finally get their breakthrough in the 65th minute on a Steven Gerrard free kick. The kick was from the right side of the box, an area Balotelli had already taken several free kicks from, but Gerrard was clearly planning to take this one himself. He curled one in over the wall, and although Howard was able to get a hand on the ball, he couldn't keep it out. The goal was a thing of beauty, and showed once again that there's still some magic in Gerrard's boots.
Balotelli nearly made it 2-0 just 2 minutes later when his shot off a Sterling cross was just barely deflected by Howard into the bar. At the time, it felt like a bad omen, but over the next 20 minutes it didn't seem like it would be a problem. The Liverpool defense that has been so underwhelming for so long, looked like they wouldn't be beat. Everton weren't getting too many chances, and the ones they got were easily cleaned up. It was extremely unfortunate when a ball fell to Jagielka on the perimeter in stoppage time and he managed a ridiculous strike that curled away from Mignolet and into the top corner. The goal rescued an undeserved point for Everton, and left Liverpool with a sense of disappointment.
Although the result was quite heartbreaking, there were a lot of positives to take away from this one. First, Rodgers' team got back to the high pressure system that worked so well for them last year, and it worked wonders. Second, the much maligned back four finally put in a very solid performance, and deserved a clean sheet for their efforts. Hopefully the team can look past this upsetting loss of points and build on what was a very strong performance overall.