Steven Gerrard revealed how the disappointment of dropping points to Aston Villa at Anfield last time around spurred Liverpool to one of their finest Merseyside derby victories in front of the Kop.
Gerrard seized Tuesday night’s encounter by the scruff of the neck, surging forward to meet Luis Suarez’s pinpoint corner before hurtling past the Anfield Road end in euphoric celebration.
Daniel Sturridge then struck twice in quick succession to seal a first-half performance that contrasted starkly to the one produced against Villa, where Liverpool shipped two goals to trail at the interval.
Suarez ensured there would be no Everton revival when he ran half the length of the field before finishing calmly to make it 4-0, and afterward, Gerrard reflected with pride on the big win.
“We wanted to get back to being ruthless at home, and I thought we were superb,” the 33-year-old said. “We think back to our last game against Aston Villa, and we let the fans down with probably our first bad performance of the season at home.”
Liverpool could have had more on the night — such was the unrelenting manner in which the Reds took it to Everton from start to finish.
When Raheem Sterling was brought down in the penalty area by Tim Howard, minutes after Suarez clinched the Reds’ fourth, Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot, and Anfield held its breath in anticipation of a fifth.
At this point, Gerrard, unselfishly, chose to relinquish his penalty-taking duties, giving Sturridge the chance to hit a hat trick against the Blues, but the 24-year-old fired over the bar.
“I told him to take the penalty,” the skipper said. “Daniel was disappointed, but he was absolutely world class and destroyed Everton in the first half. The third goal deflated Everton and knocked the stuffing out of them.”
The win puts Liverpool four points clear of their Merseyside rivals, and Gerrard reiterated that his team’s aim is to be in the UEFA Champions League spots come May.
“The aim all season has always been the top four, and we are very much in that now,” he said.