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Liverpool 2, Everton 1: First Thoughts

Virgil van Dijk achieves instant legend status with a debut Merseyside Derby winner.

Liverpool v Everton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool 2: Milner (P) 35’, Van Dijk 84’
Everton 1: Sigurdsson 67’

  • Pre-match Thought: Fuck. After a week of Philippe Coutinho transfer drama, it’s nice to see Liverpool take the pitch, yeah? Even more so because it’s a Merseyside Derby. The big news of the night is the inclusion of world-record defensive signing Virgil van Dijk. No pressure, lad. As expected, Mohamed Salah is out with injury, and Coutinho is out with “injury.” Still, it’s a very strong line-up from the Reds, and it should be an exciting match!
  • A couple of rough challenges from Everton early. Are there cards dished out? Of course not.
  • Oh! There’s a card! Rooney goes into the book for a late challenge. Six minutes in, and it could easily be his second.
  • Twenty minutes gone, and neither team has created much going forward, although Everton at least show some willingness to get forward, unlike the last time out.
  • Liverpool creates the first real chance of the night after Joe Gomez picks out James Milner with a long, diagonal pass into the box. The experienced midfielder fired the shot just wide of the target.
  • The Reds seem to be showing their exhaustion from the busy holiday season. They’re a bit sloppy all over the pitch, especially in the final third.
  • Penalty! Adam Lallana is impeded in the box by Mason Holgate, winning a penalty for the home side!
  • GOAL! Milner steps up to the spot, and hits it right down the middle, into the space that the keeper vacated. Unlucky.
  • Van Dijk, who has had a decent little debut so far, decides to have a crack from about 35-yards. It appeared to be headed on target, though Roberto Firmino was in the way.
  • Now things are getting chippy, after Holgate shoved Firmino into the crowd after the ball was out of play. Bobby was furious, having to be held back by the ref and teammates. Somehow no cards were given.
  • Halftime Thought: It is so unpleasant playing a Sam Allardyce squad. That said, Liverpool have been far from their best, but have managed to get their noses out in front nonetheless. The way things are going, I’d be shocked if this ended with all 22 players on the pitch. Rooney should have about 4 yellows all by his lonesome.
  • Andrew Robertson is having a legitimately great game. Everton haven’t created much, but that’s largely due to Yannick Bolasie being in Robbo’s pocket. Then he steps up early in the second half and cuts out a very dangerous cross.
  • Allardyce makes an early sub, taking off Wayne Rooney for 20-year-old Ademola Lookman. If ever there was a “throwing in the towel” moment, it’s this.
  • Liverpool are on the ascendency in the second half, looking the far more dangerous side. You can almost feel that second goal coming at this point.
  • Van Dijk nearly makes a dream debut Derby goal! He gets his head to a free kick, heading it down and on target, but too close to the keeper.
  • Goal. Ooof. That was bad. Liverpool get caught out on a counterattack from a corner, and Gylfi Sigurdsson cooly finds the target from the top of the box. Was it their first shot on target? You betcha.
  • Kloppo makes his first change, bringing Georginio Wijnaldum on for Lallana.
  • Klopp makes two more subs with 15 minutes to play: bringing on Dominic Solanke and Trent Alexander-Arnold for Milner and Gomez.
  • GOAL!! WELCOME TO FUCKING LIVERPOOL VIRGIL VAN DIJK!!! The world record signing gets his debut goal after going close earlier. The Dutch international gets his head on a corner, and finds the back of the net. And with 5 minutes of regular time to play, it might just be a match winner.
  • Final Whistle Thought: Three 1-goal wins in the space of a week? What is this world coming to? Another hard-fought win when Liverpool were not at their best. Most importantly? No replay. Oh, and it sets a record: 16 match unbeaten streak against the Blues.

We’ll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today’s game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven’t already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we’ll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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