By Martyn Herman
PHIL Jagielka’s unlikely equaliser earned Everton a 1-1 draw in the 223rd Merseyside derby on Saturday after Steven Gerrard’s free kick had appeared to have secured Liverpool victory.
Liverpool skipper Gerrard beat Everton keeper Tim Howard midway through the second half with a swerving free kick that squeezed in at the near post.
Mario Balotelli should have doubled Liverpool’s lead shortly after but struck the crossbar from close range and Everton rode their luck to equalise in stunning fashion.
Everton launched one last attack in stoppage time and when Aiden McGeady’s cross was headed out it fell to Jagielka who let fly an unstoppable drive into the top corner from 25 metres.
It was a body blow for Liverpool who had been hoping to kick-start their season after successive league defeats but a huge relief for Everton who have also begun the season badly.
Liverpool have seven points from six matches with Everton on six.
In a busy Saturday programme, leaders Chelsea host third-placed Aston Villa later, champions Manchester City are away at Hull City while Manchester United will try to bounce back from the 5-3 defeat at Leicester City last week when they host West Ham United.
Arsenal host north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the late kick-off.