Everton 1 Liverpool 2

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LIVERPOOL breathed fresh vigour into their Champions League aspirations after grinding out a 2-1 victory over nine-man Everton in a stormy Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

The Toffees made the more encouraging start to the match as the visitors' makeshift defence was disrupted early with Igor Biscan forced off through injury.

Gary Naysmith forced a smart save from Jerzy Dudek while Jamie Carragher had to hack the ball off the line after the Polish keeper's fumble handed Kevin Campbell a sight at goal.

Gerard Houllier's side took the lead just past the half-hour mark after the influential Danny Murphy fed Michael Owen and the England marksman darted into the area and fired low and hard beyond Richard Wright.

Everton pressed for an equaliser and reaped their reward on 58 minutes when Carragher - who had been shifted to central defence - fouled Naysmith in the box, enabling David Unsworth to smash the spot kick into the roof of the net.

The Reds were quickly back in front and inflicted only Everton's second home defeat of the campaign as Murphy curled the ball into the back of the net from 25 yards.

In a heated conclusion to the contest, The Toffees were reduced to nine men as David Weir and Naysmith were both dismissed.

Weir picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Steven Gerrard and Naysmith followed his compatriot down the tunnel after his second caution for pulling back El Hadji Diouf.