Following a chaotic first half in which Liverpool went two goals ahead through Luis Suarez, only to be drawn level by goals from Leon Osman and Steven Naismith all within the first 35 minutes, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers used the half-time interval to re-organise his team and add some stability to the fiery Premier League derby, which finished 2-2.
At half time, Rodgers took off young winger Suso and replaced him with central midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, while Sebastian Coates came on for Nuri Sahin and Raheem Sterling was moved from out wide to up front alongside Luis Suarez.
It was a bold decision considering the match was delicately poised and Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has been widely criticised for using the same formation at Eastlands with limited success.
During the post-match interview, the Liverpool coach explained the change in formations: “I had to make a tactical change at half-time as there were a lot of direct balls, no great build-up play and we had to deal with a lot of aerial balls in the box, so we flipped it to a back three and five in midfield and two up front to still give us that possibility to attack better and I thought it worked really well for us.”
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was impressed by the quick decision, and agrees that it improved the Reds’ performance.
“I think it was an off-the-cuff decision and credit to the manager for that,” said the England international.
“That’s one of the reasons why he got the Liverpool job. He’s capable of making big decisions at big times.
“Everton were very direct in the first half and were getting on the second balls. The plan in the second half was to go 3-5-2 and try to stop the long balls coming in.
“Once we stopped that we passed through Everton and looked very dangerous on the break,” he added.
Gerrard also commented on the decision to disallow Luis Suarez’s late goal.
“I’ve seen it again and we can feel sorry for ourselves because it was a clear goal,” said the Liverpool and England skipper.
“We should be taking away the three points rather than just one. There is no offside and it’s difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman.”