Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard struck a hat-trick to give his side a comfortable 3-0 victory in Tuesday's Merseyside derby at Anfield.
The result belied the two team's contrasting recent forms, which had seen Liverpool lose three premier League games on the trot, while Everton were without a defeat in nine matches in all competitions.coming into the contest.
Yet, despite their recent results and most recently a 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday, Everton boss David Moyes elected to make six changes to the side.
Seemingly prioritizing Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final against Sunderland, Moyes' alterations included relegating captain Phil Neville, Tim Cahill and Nikica Jelavic to the bench.
And Everton played like a side lacking in cohesion and with their minds elsewhere. Liverpool, in contrast, were inspired by their passionate home support and seemed determined to put in a good performance to give them some momentum going into the last 10 games of the season.
The Reds came close to taking an early lead when Gerrard's shot was parried to the feet of Jordan Henderson by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard. But a desperate block by Jack Rodwell prevented a certain goal.
Liverpool continued to push forward, though, and they got their reward just past the half-hour mark. Martin Kelly burst forward from right-back and really should have done better with his shot that went straight at Howard. But the Everton keeper spilled the shot from his grasp and the ball was only cleared as far as Gerrard who met it with a sublime curled chip over Howard on his weaker left foot.
Everton were again the masters of their own downfall when they fell two goals behind six minutes after half time. Luis Suarez was allowed to cut in from the right, beating first Sylvain Distin then Phil Jagielka far too easily, before Gerrard took over and slammed the ball into the roof of the net.
And Gerrard again had Suarez to thank for a generous assist for the midfielder's third goal of the evening. The skipper played the ball through to the Uruguayan front man but, rather than shoot himself, Suarez laid the ball square to Gerrard who had the simple task to side-foot the ball home with Howard stranded.
Given Liverpool's impressive display, it is hard to say that Everton would have won the game had Moyes stuck with the same team that performed so admirably at the weekend, however it is hard to imagine they wouldn't have given a better account of themselves than the side on-show at Anfield.
For Kenny Dalglish, a derby victory is a perfect tonic following an awful run that had begun to see some fan's questioning if he was the right man to take the club forward.