TWO red cards, seven yellows and bags of controversy - the 213th Merseyside derby certainly lived up to its billing.
Dirk Kuyt's second-half header was enough to secure Liverpool a priceless victory in their pursuit of Champions League qualification and complete the league double over their neighbours from across Stanley Park.
The Reds overcame the sending off of Sotirios Kyrgiakos for a two footed lunge on Marouane Fellaini before the break with a performance full of grit and character.
Kuyt broke the deadlock when he nodded home Steven Gerrard's corner and they endured few scares as Everton failed to make their numerical advantage count.
The visitors' frustration boiled over in stoppage time when Steven Pienaar was given a second yellow card for a foul on Gerrard.
The Blues haven't won at Anfield since 1999 when Kevin Campbell got the winner and they will be kicking themselves about this missed opportunity to end that barren run.
Defeat for David Moyes' side ended a nine-match unbeaten league run stretching back to the 2-0 derby setback the Reds inflicted at Goodison back in November.
Both managers had pleaded for cool heads in the build up to this game but their words fell on deaf ears.
Jamie Carragher made his intentions clear inside the opening seconds with a crunching tackle on Pienaar.
It set the tone for a predictably frenetic contest with the Reds dominating possession early on and looking the more likely to break the deadlock.
Inside three minutes Gerrard burst down the left before being upended by Phil Neville on the edge of the box.
The Reds skipper picked himself up and from an acute angle unleashed a curling free-kick which was beaten away by Tim Howard. It dropped kindly to Emiliano Insua but he lashed the rebound over.
The Reds continued to threaten with Daniel Agger firing over after the Blues had failed to deal with Gerrard's corner.
Both sides had half hearted appeals for a penalty waved away. First Kuyt's shot appeared to strike Pienaar's arm, while at the other end Sylvain Distin claimed he was shoved to the ground by David Ngog.
The tackles flew in with Tim Cahill and Javier Mascherano both fortunate to avoid punishment before referee Martin Atkinson finally reached for his notebook after 20 minutes.
Kuyt was yellow carded after bringing down Landon Donovan 25 yards out and from the ensuing free-kick Pepe Reina had to tip over Leighton Baines' effort.
Liverpool were left fuming moments later after Kuyt and Fellaini clashed.
Kuyt was brought down by Pienaar and as he lay on the ground Fellaini's boot caught him in the head.
The Dutchman was incensed but Atkinson took no action against the Blues midfielder.
Pienaar was cautioned for a foul on Mascherano soon after and then Carragher followed him into the book for chopping down the South African.
Just past the half hour mark the Reds counter attacked to good effect with Rodriguez and Gerrard combining to tee up Ngog. However, the young French striker dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.