How Romelu Lukaku matched up to Daniel Sturridge in the Merseyside derby
Published 04/10/2015 | 15:51
Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge led the line for Everton and Liverpool in the 225th Merseyside derby on Sunday.
Here, Press Association Sport's Paul Hirst gives his verdict on who came out on top in the battle of the two strikers:
Lukaku put in a big shift for Everton, moving across the front third of the pitch. He was followed wherever he went by Martin Skrtel, who regularly had to foul the striker to restrict his movement. The Belgian was a real handful, unlike Sturridge. He also had a free role up front for Liverpool, but wherever he went, the Liverpool forward could not find space.
Lukaku rarely had the chance to pass to his team-mates. He tried to bulldoze his way through on his own. Sturridge was far more willing to drop deep and slip in his team-mates. The Englishman played a lovely early ball into James Milner, who was only thwarted by the quick thinking of Tim Howard, who raced off his line.
Lukaku scored his third goal in five Merseyside derbies thanks to some calamitous defending by Emre Can and Mamadou Sakho. The Belgian showed his predatory instinct by jabbing the ball past Simon Mignolet after a mix-up between the two Liverpool centre-halves. The striker was thwarted by his international team-mate in the Liverpool goal early in the second half. Sturridge had three attempts at goal. Two were blocked and one trickled wide.
Lukaku won the duel between the pair thanks to his opportunistic finishing and superior work rate. Sturridge lacked the energy and power against an under-strength home defence.