Liverpool 2 - 0 Everton
Reds: Salah 37’, Gakpo 49’
There are a lot of Reds dreading this Derby, but somehow I’m not one of them. I know we have a strange relationship with The Ev, but I’ve been watching Liverpool long enough to know that a confident Everton is a vulnerable Everton. And the Blues have every reason to be confident. Ergo, the funniest thing that could happen would be a resounding Liverpool win.
Anyway, given our injury-depleted squad, the lineup is more or less what you’d expect. But! Both Firmino and Jota make the bench!
The opening several minutes are nervy from both sides. Despite this looking like the Blues’ best chance at winning in front on an Anfield crowd for the first time since 1999, they certainly aren’t coming out of the traps. This, in turn, actually allows the home side to build up a head of steam, which we haven’t seen nearly enough this season.
Meanwhile, and I know this will surprise you, the ref is a bit shit. He seems to have forgotten his cards at home, and Everton have already left a couple of yellow ( arguably red) card worth challenges on Jordan Henderson and Alisson Becker.
GOAL! And what a goal it is! Everton hit the post from a header off a corner, but Darwin and Mo get a chance to counter immediately, and what a counter it is! Darwin picked out Salah, who really should’ve had a more difficult finish, but Jordan Pickford was caught in no man’s land, and it’s 1-0!
A few more rash challenges later from the Blues and the ref blows (the halftime whistle). Other than the chance from the set piece, Liverpool have kept the Blues to just a few chances from outside the box. In attack, the Reds have looked better than they have since the restart after the World Cup. Another half like that, and the home side will walk away with all three points. Well, the ones who haven’t been injured by Everton will walk away.
GOAL!! And it’s from another quick counter! Robbo breaks into space, and picks out Mo, who plays Trent in, who in turn plays a tantalizing ball across the face of goal for the easiest tap in at the back post for Cody Gapko! What a goal (and game!) to open your Liverpool account!
The ref finally produces a card in the 68th minute, for one of the more blatant “professional” fouls you’ll see, when Bajcetic was threatening to break through on goal.
Klopp makes his first change just before the the 70th minute, bringing off Darwin for Diogo Jota, who is greeted with a warm ovation from the Anfield faithful after his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
In retrospect, the second goal absolutely killed this game. Liverpool are well in control and Everton, occasional rough challenge aside, appear to be well and truly beat. It’s a beautiful thing, just enjoying nothing happening for long stretches of a match that you are winning. And a position we’ve been in frightfully few times this season.
With about 10 minutes to go, Klopp brings on a double sub: James Milner and Bobby Firmino for Henderson and Gakpo.
There’s a bit of a kerfuffle after Pickford acts the tough man and tries to shove Robbo (who simply laughed in his face). The ref ends up giving both of them a card. Because of course he did.
In the final minute of regulation, Klopp hooks Bajcetic (who was excellent once again) and Salah for Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott. The Kop breaks out into a lovely rendition of “You haven’t won a trophy since 1995.” Beautiful.
It’s been a bad season. Brutal, actually. But enjoy this moment. This was a thorough humiliation of Everton Football Club. Even when Liverpool is at its worst, the Ev is still much, much worse.