Liverpool did the thing, pulling a victory from the depths of despair against Everton in the latest Merseyside Derby at Anfield. Penaltypool returned in refreshing fashion, as the Reds were given an unlikely handball call, after the sending off of former Manchester United player Ashley Young. Darwin Nunez came on in the second half as well and manufactured the perfect chance to seal the victory, providing the assist to Mohamed Salah to score the second in stoppage time.
Now join us as we examine some of the narratives, tactics, reactions, and questions Liverpool will be dealing with and the fans will be talking about in the aftermath.
Dissecting the Narrative
It’s a Merseyside Derby, with the early Saturday kick off time, fresh off an international break. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, because you have. Out of all the Premier League teams, Liverpool have disproportionately received the most early kick off times following an international break - this week’s match being the 14th. That required some creative planning on the club’s part, considering our three South Americans had to return to the continent for their international duties, and required the earliest possible flights home to prepare. That kind of struggle definitely played out in the first hour of the match, with Liverpool able to keep possession but unable to find the back of the net until the penalty. Even when Everton went down to 10 men following Ashley Young’s sending off, they only had one shot on goal until Darwin Nunez came on in the second half. It was a slog of a match to get through, and while the South American contingent were the bright spots, it still looked like it would end in another dismal 0-0 draw for too long.
The sending off of Ashley Young - the first player to receive a second yellow against Liverpool since 2015 - was the biggest game-changer of the day. Forcing Everton into ten men, Sean Dyche went defensive to start the second half, playing four center backs to protect the draw. Kostas Tsimikas did an admirable job replacing the injured Andy Robertson, but ultimately didn’t last the full match, and Luis Diaz was moved deeper back to cover his position when the Greek Scouser was subbed off. That, in addition to the continuation of the hybrid role that Trent Alexander-Arnold was back to playing, showed a different set of tools in Liverpool’s new tool box, even if to mixed results. Diaz was the standout in Saturday’s derby though for his ability to move down that left wing even without Robbo’s help, and getting Ashley Young sent off was just the cherry on top.
What Happens Next
Liverpool are top of the Premier League table (!!!) for now, and host Toulouse on Thursday at Anfield for the next round of UEFA Europa League matches. Cody Gakpo, who missed out due to injury, will be further assessed, and Andy Robertson is looking at shoulder surgery so Tsimikas will have to step it up in his place. Otherwise, the squad is relatively unharmed - previous injuries notwithstanding.
Their next Premier League match is on Sunday, October 29, when Divock Origi and Nottingham Forest come to Anfield.