It was a fine finish to a game that was otherwise low on quality, as Liverpool, clearly worn out from their Christmas travails, sank to the level of a tiresome Sam Allardyce Blues side, gifting a sloppy equalizer to Gylfi Sigurdsson after a first half penalty from James Milner had put Jurgen Klopp's team ahead.
"Playing at Anfield for Liverpool is a dream for every player". Even in the white heat of a Merseyside derby - and a knockout, winner-takes-all one, at that - the world's most expensive defender managed to attract attention.
The defensive stability he provided, especially in his first match in Liverpool's starting eleven, was quite an encouraging look into what the future holds for the Reds.
The breakthrough came five minutes after the half-hour mark when Liverpool were awarded a penalty by referee Bobby Madley.
NDSU ends JMU 26-game winning streak for sixth FCS Championship
North Dakota State came into the game looking for revenge after last season's disappointing end. "We made too many mistakes". Houston said the victory gave his team respect for North Dakota State's program and confidence it had reached its level.
A swift counter-attacking move saw Everton get an unlikely equaliser through Gylfi Sigurdsson after the interval.
Liverpool hasn't lost to Everton in 16 matches, a club record.
The most explosive incident, which could yet have repercussions, happened in the final stages of the first half after Mason Holgate shoved Roberto Firmino into - and over - the advertising boards.
Yannick Bolasie won possession and found Rooney's replacement Ademola Lookman, who showed superb awareness to break forward before he found Phil Jagielka on the edge of the box.
In that sense, what his goal here delivered was not simply a derby victory - though that, of course, was of the greatest and most immediate significance to Liverpool - and progression to the fourth round of the F.A. Cup, but time.