Liverpool 0 Everton 0

Last updated : 31 January 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Two virtuoso goalkeeping displays somehow managed to restrict this action-packed game to a goalless draw.

Shot after shot rained in from both sides in a match that, but for Nigel Martyn and Jerzy Dudek, could have finished five apiece.

Both teams were desperate for three points, as well the pride of winning the 170th derby and it showed in the dedication and passion on the pitch.

In typical style it took just 30 seconds for the first foul to be conceded with a solid tackle from Bruno Cheyrou on Thomas Gravesen.

But it was a much more entertaining and open footballing game than either set of fans had a right to expect.

Steven Gerrard was the driving force behind the Reds' moves and for most of the game he had Everton's Gravesen in his pocket and could have scored a hat-trick.

His first clear effort came in the 23rd minute when Gravesen lost the ball ten yards inside the Liverpool half. The England midfielder pounced and set off on a devastating run on to the edge of the Toffees penalty box.

Having left three Everton players in his wake he had space to shoot and launched a dipping drive that Martyn managed to get a hand to and clear away.

Then, ten minutes later, he was released into space 15 yards out. One-on-one with Martyn he should have given his side the lead, but again his powerful shot was dealt with by the impressive keeper.

But it wasn't all Liverpool, as the visitors played with a more attacking formation than their hosts.

Whilst Michael Owen was left for long periods on his own up front Everton had Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski supported by Wayne Rooney on the right wing.

And the youngster - desperate to grab his first derby victory - provided the first glimpse of his talents in the seventh minute.

Picking up the ball from Tony Hibbert on the right byline he turned, beat one defender, and then dribbled past another - but his cross was poor and the Reds gained possession.

Cheyrou tried to cross but had it blocked, with the rebound falling to Dietmar Hamann, who fired in a 20-yard shot that Martyn was again equal to.

Liverpool's next near miss came from Owen. He broke to the goal line and squared the ball, but to Everton's relief no one was there to pick it up.

After the first quarter of an hour the visitors started to take control. Radzinski and Kevin Kilbane combined to fashion a chance on the edge of the box, but Kilbane's shot cannoned off a defender.

Radzinksi was next up, released by Hibbert he raced into the box but lost control as he shaped to shoot.

Then Gravesen had an effort blocked by Dudek. Picking up the ball on the left wing, he beat two men before releasing a shot easily dealt with by the Liverpool keeper.

Controversy is never far away in these matches and it raised its head in the 33rd minute.

Hibbert launched a long ball to Radzinski who managed to get away from Sami Hyypia. Both players seemed surprised and as Hyypia turned to catch up, he caught Radzinski's heels, leaving him in a heap on the floor.

The Blues fans cried for a red card but referee Steve Bennett kept his hands firmly in his pockets.

Everton kept up the pressure until the half-time whistle. Rooney gave Duncan Ferguson a chance and again Dudek was equal to his glancing header.

In the 44th minute the Polish keeper pulled off a really special save to deny Alan Stubbs - the defender's bullet header looking certain to give the Blues the lead until Dudek seemed to defy gravity and hang in the air to palm the ball away.

But in the second half it was the Toffees on the defensive and only the outstanding form of Martyn kept them in the game.

The visitors' hopes were raised just twice throughout the second period. First, three minutes in, Rooney showed another glimpse of his ability and set off on an impressive run.

He had been isolated at times on the right wing, but picked up a ball and beat two men in stunning style before disappointing the Toffees faithful with a shot that sailed over the bar.

Then on 59 minutes Stubbs blasted in a low 30-yard free-kick, but again Dudek managed to keep the ball out.

Everton were forced on to the back foot again as Gerrard provided the inspiration behind Liverpool's stream of attacks, going close himself in the 49th minute with an effort that fizzed narrowly wide of the target.

Anthony Le Tallec and Cheyrou combined to fashion the Reds' next effort when the teenager crossed into the box, but his compatriot's header was off target.

Then Owen broke free in the 63rd minute and even the visiting fans thought he would slot home.

In plenty of space, with just Martyn to beat, he looked up and fired, but he managed to pull his shot across the goal and past the post.

Martyn came to the rescue again with a stunning save from a Gerrard free-kick, judging the flight of the ball to perfection despite it taking a deflection off Harry Kewell.

The one time he was beaten he was saved by Hibbert, who was on hand to clear off the line from a looping header by Le Tallec.

With the clock running down, Jamie Carragher tried to fill the role of derby hero, but his stinging 20-yard shot was blocked by that man Martyn.

It was honours even when the final whistle blew, and for the football fans of Merseyside bragging rights were shared.

Man of the Match A stunning display from Nigel Martyn just edged the honours from his opposite number Jerzy Dudek.