Everton 2 Liverpool 0
Everton ended a run of three Merseyside league derby defeats with a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.
Goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave the Toffees a deserved victory in a typically fiery encounter.
Liverpool, watched by new owner John Henry, were second-best for most of the game and remain rooted in the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
Tim Cahill’s fourth Barclays Premier League goal of the season put Everton ahead at half-time in the 214th Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
The Australia international hooked home the Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman’s near-post cross to give the hosts a deserved lead in the 34th minute as Liverpool’s new American owners watched from the stands.
In keeping with most derbies, the first late tackle took just 11 seconds to arrive, with Ayegbeni Yakubu fouling Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
Mikel Arteta’s challenge on Lucas was even heavier and earned a stern talking to from referee Howard Webb.
The home side’s physical approach was by no means hindering their play as they gained an early grip on proceedings.
Martin Skrtel’s tackle on Yakubu on the edge off the penalty area presented Arteta with the opportunity to capitalise but he hit his free-kick straight into the wall.
When the breakdown was eventually played back into the area by Leon Osman, Skrtel could not clear properly but Jagielka blazed over from 14 yards.
Moments later the ball dropped to fellow centre-back Sylvain Distin in a similar position and his shot was deflected wide by Skrtel.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was also given a talking to after going in late on Arteta as Webb tried to keep a fiery encounter under control.
Rodriguez’s late lunge on Leighton Baines, however, earned him the first yellow card in the 19th minute.
It took the visitors 23 minutes to register anything resembling an attack but it almost produced a goal when Torres’ header from Joe Cole’s cross was tipped over by Tim Howard.
Yakubu forced the first real save out of Jose Reina after a driving run from the halfway line but the Spain goalkeeper collected comfortably.
At the next break in play Webb then booked Tim Cahill for a foul on Gerrard which had happened minutes earlier.
Torres won Liverpool’s first corner off Baines in the 31st minute and although Gerrard’s delivery was poor Raul Meireles’ piledriver was blocked by a crowd of blue shirts.
Seconds later the Portugal international was booked for stopping Yakubu launching a counter-attack.
But just when it seemed Liverpool were clawing their way into the game a slack piece of defending by Lucas and Konchesky in the 34th minute allowed Coleman to run to the byline and cross for Cahill to hook home at the near post.
It immediately sparked chants of ’going down’ from the home fans, with Liverpool entrenched in the relegation zone even before the start of play after their worst start to a season since 1953 – when they were relegated.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov replaced Osman for the second half, which was only four minutes old when Everton went 2-0 up.
Kyrgiakos’ headed clearance only reached the edge of the penalty area where Arteta was lurking to smash home a brilliant swerving volley.
Manager Roy Hodgson had spoken in the build-up of his hope of seeing his side not have to chase a game – which had cost them in previous matches – but now they had a mountain to climb.
Meireles’ 30-yard shot failed to cause Howard any difficulty while Torres’ effort from inside the area landed in the top tier of the Gwladys Street stand.
Cole’s inability to control a pass from Reina, allowing the ball to run out of play, summed up Liverpool’s performance.
Everton continued to create the chances and Jagielka fired over from a corner in the last 15 minutes before substitute Jermaine Beckford had claims for a penalty turned down after falling under a challenge from Martin Skrtel.
By contrast, Gerrard was woefully off target when teed up by substitute Ryan Babel on the edge of the penalty area while Torres shot straight at Howard when he should worked the goalkeeper more.
Beckford had chance to finish in style in added time but drilled his shot over.
This derby was billed as the most significant in three decades, considering the club’s league positions.
Seasons do not succeed on fail on such occasions but it will prove a useful point of reference for Liverpool’s new owners.