Kuyt penalty saves Liverpool in Dalglish return

Written by: Pti
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London, Jan 16 (AFP) Liverpool came from behind to sharethe spoils with Everton in the Merseyside derby today as KennyDalglish''s emotional Anfield homecoming ended in a 2-2 draw.

Dalglish appeared to be heading for his third consecutivedefeat since taking over from Roy Hodgson after twosecond-half goals in seven minutes from Sylvain Distin andJermaine Beckford gave Everton a 2-1 lead.

But Liverpool -- who had taken a first-half lead throughRaul Meireles -- fought back to secure a draw courtesy of aDirk Kuyt penalty on 68 minutes after Everton goalkeeper TimHoward upended Maxi Rodriguez.

The atmosphere inside Anfield had been electric beforekick-off as the Kop roared out "You''ll Never Walk Alone" tomark Dalglish''s return to the home dugout for the first timein 20 years.

Liverpool, missing the suspended Steven Gerrard andinjured Jamie Carragher, started on fire and might have takenthe 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 thegoal they craved, and it came on 29 minutes through Meireles.

Howard pulled off a superb double save from Kuyt, butcould clear only as far as Meireles on the edge of the areawho lashed a swerving shot high into the net sending Dalglishleaping off the bench in delight.

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

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

And it got worse for Liverpool six minutes later, whenLeon Osman slipped a deft pass to Beckford who curled his shotbeyond Pepe Reina to silence the Kop and leave Dalglishshaking his head in disbelief.

Beckford''s strike left Liverpool shellshocked, andEverton got on top as Liverpool struggled to regroup.

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

Earlier today, an injury-time goal from Sunderland''sGhanaian international Asamoah Gyan denied Newcastlehome-and-away victories over their northeast rivals asBirmingham and Aston Villa drew at St Andrews.

Newcastle, seeking to bounce back from their shock FA Cupexit to lowly Stevenage last week, looked to be heading to a1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light after aKevin Nolan goal put them ahead.

But with the game deep into injury time World Cup starGyan scrambled in a fortunate equaliser to make it 1-1 anddeny Newcastle a famous win. (More) AFP SHN

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