Liverpool closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to a single point with second-half goals from Andrew Robertson and Divock Origi securing a 2-0 win in the Merseyside derby.
The result ensures that Everton remain in the relegation zone courtesy of Burnley’s victory over Wolves earlier in the day. Despite this, the Toffees’ performance was spirited, with Frank Lampard’s side frustrating their superior opposition for an hour, before Liverpool’s quality shone through.
The early stages of the game were dominated by a running battle between Anthony Gordon and Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Everton man got the better of his opposite number eleven or twice and might have been awarded a penalty when he tangled with the Liverpool full-back.
Referee Stuart Attwell was unmoved however, and a few minutes he brandished Gordon with a yellow card for simulation.
This saga was probably the most interesting thing about the first half, with goalmouth action at a premium due to Everton sitting deep and soaking up pressure. Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah both spurned half-chances for the hosts while Abdoulaye Doucoure had the best opportunity before the break, guiding an effort past the far post.
On the stroke of half time, there was sizeable on-field failures sparked by Richarlison – not for the first or last time – attempting to halt the game so he could receive treatment for an ‘injury’. After Liverpool refused to kick the ball out, Abdoulaye Doucoure took matters into his own hands, hacking down Fabinho, which sparked a near 22-man brawl.
The early patterns of the second half were similar to the first with Liverpool being allowed to have the ball by their visitors. Gordon continued to cause issues and rolled an effort just wide before the hour mark, while Naby Keita powered a shot the wrong side of the post from the edge of the box.
All of Everton’s great defensive work was undone just after the hour when a neat combination in the box allowed Salah to find Robertson with a pinpoint cross at the back post and the Scot made no mistake.
Salah nearly turned from creator to scorer soon after. Several of his teammates helped keep the ball alive from a corner but when it eventually dropped to the Egyptian his volley went over the bar.
Demarai Gray, who had been quiet beforehand, then nearly equalized, driving an effort a few inches the wrong side of the post.
Aside from this Everton struggled to troubled their hosts and Liverpool made sure of the points five minutes from time through Merseyside derby specialist Origi. Luis Diaz acrobatically squared the ball his fellow substitute and the Belgian could not miss from close range.
Alisson (GK) – 5/10 – Nothing to do in for the vast majority of the game. Almost made a hash of one free kick.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 4/10 – Gordon caused him issues throughout. He was booked for hacking down the fellow Scouser in the second half.
Joel Matip (CB) – 7/10 – Forced it with his passes a tad when he stepped into midfield. Defensively though, his performance was near-perfect.
Virgil van Dijk (CB) – 7/10 – Effortless at the heart of defence.
Andrew Robertson (LB) – 8/10 – Always ensured his team did not drop the intensity and got his reward with the goal.
Thiago Alcantara (CM) – 6/10 – Some of his crossfield passes were a joy to behold. He struggled to unlock a stubborn Everton defense.
Fabinho (CM) – 6/10 – Pretty dominant in midfield, keeping the ball moving all game.
Naby Keita (CM) – 6/10 – Spanked an effort narrowly wide early in the second half. He always looked to make something happen before being subbed.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 7/10 – He was extremely quiet but delivered a much-needed assist for his side when it mattered.
Diogo Jota (ST) – 5/10 – Tried to keep Everton guessing with his movement but his influence was largely subdued.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 3/10 – Foolishly raised his hands to Mason Holgate’s face during the failures and might have been punished. Not his day from him.
SUB: Divock Origi (ST) – 8/10 – Came on and immediately got a pre-assist for the goal. He went on to pad his already fearsome record against Everton.
SUB: Luis Diaz (RW) – 7/10 – Added impetus to the Liverpool attack. Got a spectacular assist too.
SUB: Jordan Henderson (CM) – 7/10 – Played his part in the second goal.
Jordan Pickford (GK) – 5/10 – Left stranded for the Robertson goal. Genuinely not much else to do.
Seamus Coleman (RB) – 6/10 – Played his role in Everton’s determined rearguard action, chipping in with seven clearances.
Mason Holgate (CB) – 6/10 – Hoovered up a string of crosses and through balls to keep the scores level before Liverpool finally broke through.
Michael Keane (CB) – 6/10 – Came in for Ben Godfrey, who was injured in the warm up. He has endured a poor season but was solid here.
Vitaliy Mykolenko (LB) – 6/10 – Dealt well with Alexander-Arnold and Salah, getting stuck in when he had to without being reckless.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – 6/10 – Lost his head in the first half, hacking down Fabinho and sparking a mass brawl. He kept his shape.
Allan (CM) – 5/10 – First on the scene when things kicked off. He completed just one out of five passes in the first half, which is quite something. Full of aggression but he did not always harness it appropriately.
Alex Iwobi (CM) – 6/10 – Broke out of shape on a few occasions to try and drive his side forward.
Demarai Gray (RW) – 5/10 – Nowhere near as threatening as Gordon on the opposite flank but did come close to netting a second-half stunner.
Anthony Gordon (LW) – 7/10 – Had the better of Alexander-Arnold but sullied a strong start by getting booked for diving. He remained threatening on the counter.
Richarlison (ST) – 3/10 – Excuse the dad joke, but I’ve spent more time rolling around on the ground than standing up in the first half. Very isolated.
SUB: Dele Alli (CM) – 6/10
SUB: Salomon Rondon (ST) – N/A
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