Liverpool 2 - 0 Everton
Liverpool: Salah 75’ (PEN), 90+7’
Liverpool start their Andy Robertson-less era as they play their first of many games without the vice captain. Ryan Gravenberch also makes his first start for the team. Hopefully this early start will buck the odds and be an exciting match.
Everton have the first chance of the game early on. Calvert-Lewin meets a cross from teammate McNeil, but luckily, it’s a tame effort that Alisson is handles easily.
Tsimikas makes his presence known with a strong cross that’s unfortunately punched away by Jordan Pickford before any of his teammates could make contact. Also doing well is Trent Alexander-Arnold, taking control on the right side and forcing the Everton midfield to work to control him.
The Reds have been the better side early in this first half, but can’t break through Everton’s strong and disciplined defense. They’re clogging the center of the box, and so far managing to hold off every Liverpool break.
Ashley Young has been struggling against Luis Díaz in this whole first half, and it results in two yellows and a first half sending off. For once this season, it’s not Liverpool down to 10 men in a game! Now they just have to take advantage of the opportunity and score.
The first half ends with the game still scoreless, but with Liverpool in the better position.
The second half begins with an immediate Liverpool attack. Mohamed Salah nearly breaks through, but the shot is blocked by Branthwaite. Given their position, the Reds need to up the intensity and made this advantage count.
Another attack from Liverpool somehow ends with Onana going headfirst over the hoardings and into the Kop at a very awkward angle. Thankfully, Everton’s best player of the afternoon looks all right, if probably banged up.
It should be only a matter of time before Jürgen Klopp puts on Darwin Núñez to increase the attacking threat. Liverpool have now played over half an hour with an advantage and haven’t reaped the benefits.
And in fact it’s both Núñez and Harvey Elliott that Klopp sends on, with Tsimikas and Gravenberch making way.
Ibrahima Konaté gets a yellow card, and Klopp doesn’t chance it. He pulls Konaté within minutes and puts on Joël Matip in his place.
Liverpool have a good shout for a penalty from a hand ball in the box. VAR checks takes place and determines that it was an offense by substitute Michael Keane. Salah steps up to the spot and neatly puts Liverpool in the lead after 75 minutes. That’s a relief after so much frustration in this game.
Joe Gomez comes on for Luis Díaz in the final 10 minutes of this game to see things through.
Dominik Szoboszlai slams a strong shot towards goal, but Pickford blocks it, denying the Reds their second.
There’s a whopping nine minutes of extra time added on to the 90 as Everton look to sneak a point and the Reds fight to maintain their lead.
It takes almost until the end, but it’s Salah again, cementing his status as the highest Liverpool scorer in a Merseyside with a second goal. Finally one of Liverpool’s many breaks proves fruitful. Alexis Mac Allister passed to Núnez, who sets up Salah for the finish to put the game away for the Reds.
It wasn’t pretty, but Liverpool did what they had to do on another godforsaken post-international break early game to get the win against their Blue rivals. They are now top of the table, at least for a little while.