London: Kenny Dalglish went through the full gamut of emotions at Anfield Sunday as Liverpool took a deserved lead against Everton, trailed 2-1, then salvaged a Premier League point with a Dirk Kuyt penalty.
On an emotional return to Anfield, interim manager Dalglish was delighted after Raul Meireles gave his side a deserved halftime 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 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.
Manchester United, knocked off the top of the standings by Manchester City’s 4-3 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, visit fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur later Sunday (4:05 p.m. British time).
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.