All square in Merseyside derby

Kenny Dalglish gets first point in second stint as Liverpool manager as Manchester United go top with draw at Spurs.

Dalglish’s return is hugely popular but he has yet to win his first league match for Liverpool [GALLO/GETTY]

Kenny Dalglish went through the full range of emotions in the Merseyside derby at Anfield as Liverpool took the lead against Everton, trailed 2-1, then saved a point with a Dirk Kuyt penalty.

On an emotional return 20 years since leaving the club, interim manager Dalglish leapt in celebration after Raul Meireles gave his side a deserved half-time lead.

But he ended up grateful for Kuyt’s 68th-minute spot kick after goals by Sylvain Distin and Jermaine Beckford in the first seven minutes of the second half had Everton ahead.

“The players’ attitude and desire to get back in the game was really something,” said Dalglish, whose first two games ended in defeats by Manchester United and Blackpool.

“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.

“There is a lot of belief coming back into the players and that is great for us.”

United draw

Manchester United survived the late dismissal of Rafael Da Silva to draw 0-0 at Tottenham Hotspur.

United’s eighth draw in 10 away games took them top on 45 points from 21 matches, ahead on goal difference of Manchester City, who beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 on Saturday and have played two games more.

EPL results

Saturday January 15

undefined Chelsea 2-0 Blackburn
undefined Man City 4-3 Wolves
undefined Stoke City 2-0 Bolton 
undefined West Brom 3-2 Blackpool
undefined West Ham 0-3 Arsenal
undefined Wigan 1-1 Fulham

Sunday January 16

Birmingham 1-1 Aston Villa
undefined Sunderland 1-1 Newcastle
undefined Liverpool 2-2 Everton
undefined Tottenham 0-0 Man Utd

Arsenal are third on 43, Chelsea fourth on 38 and Spurs fifth on 37. Liverpool stay 13th on 26 points, behind Everton on goal difference.

Tottenham went into Sunday’s game with high hopes of securing their first win over United in 20 attempts spanning 10 years but they never did enough to unsettle the impressive visiting defence.

Peter Crouch shot just wide in the breathless early exchanges and Rafael van der Vaart sent an exquisite curler just over the bar once the game had settled.

Brazilian fullback Rafael collected his second yellow in the 73rd minute for a hotly-disputed trip of Benoit Assou-Ekotto but though Spurs threw men forward they never looked like ending United’s unbeaten record this season.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thought it was a decent point for his team.

“It was a tough game, they didn’t make many chances against us, we were a bit careless with our use of the ball,” he said.

“Our defenders were particularly good but when we were in the final third maybe we needed a better pass.”

The day’s two other derbies also finished level, both 1-1.

Asamoah Gyan scored deep into injury time to secure Sunderland a home point against Newcastle United, who had beaten them 5-1 in October. Kevin Nolan had put Newcastle ahead with a back-heeled goal after 52 minutes.

James Collins came off the bench to rescue a point for Aston Villa at Birmingham City, who led through Roger Johnson after Villa had hit the woodwork four times.

Full of fire

Liverpool are a long way from challenging for their traditional top-four berth but they hit the ground running on Sunday with a shot by Fernando Torres after 10 seconds as the Spaniard, unlike in most games this season, looked full of fire.

After 16 minutes he carved through the Everton defence but saw his shot hit a post, Kuyt sweeping the rebound over the bar.

It was one-way traffic and no surprise when Liverpool went ahead after 29 minutes when Tim Howard blocked two Kuyt efforts only for the second rebound to fall to Meireles to rifle in his first goal for the club.

It was the least Liverpool deserved and they could have had more as Everton were pinned deep in their own half for long spells, barely testing Pepe Reina.

However, within seven minutes of the restart, Everton were ahead.

Poor marking allowed Distin to reach a deep Mikel Arteta corner and head the equalise a minute into the second half, then neat play by Leon Osmond set up Beckford to sweep him the second.

Liverpool restored parity with Kuyt’s penalty after Howard brought down Maxi Rodriguez.

Source: Reuters