Liverpool returned to Anfield after the international break, determined to reignite their Premier League title fight following two consecutive league matches without a win. Jurgen Klopp entered the fixture with the possibility of surpassing Rafael Benitez’s record of eight Merseyside derby wins – and three points would momentarily guide the Reds to the top of the table.
Everton entered the game in better form than their local rivals, having won two of their last three games. Sean Dyche’s side had struggled for goals all campaign, but Liverpool’s inability to keep clean sheets and the fact that Everton have the second-best xG in the Premier League would give them confidence entering this notoriously difficult fixture for the men from Goodison Park.
LIV: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Tsimikas, Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Gravenberch, Salah, Jota, Diaz
EVE: Pickford, Young, Tarkowski, Branthwaite, Mykolenko, Harrison, Garner, Onana, McNeil, Doucouré, Calvert-Lewin
The game began as many would have expected, with Liverpool dominating possession and having the better of the chances, making Everton work hard to secure any result. This was perfectly demonstrated in the third minute, as a sliced effort from Mohamed Salah was deemed offside following wonderful buildup from the Liverpool midfield.
Liverpool should have taken the lead in the 12th minute, as Luis Diaz wasted the chance on the counter from an Everton corner. Four Liverpool players were bearing down on goal, but Ashley Young managed to get his body in the way of Diaz’s effort.
The closest that Mohamed Salah got to scoring in the first half was a 26th-minute effort from the edge of the Everton penalty area, with that strike flying over the woodwork.
Ashley Young made the task of securing points more difficult for the Toffees, as he received his second yellow card of the match in the 37th minute – resulting in his fifth career red card and forcing Everton to see out the remainder of the match with ten men.Embed from Getty Images
Everton finally had their first real effort of the game in the 40th minute from a Dwight McNeil shot that was deflected over the bar.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Liverpool dominating the ball and Everton well-structured in defence. However, this solidity was questioned when the ball fell to Salah on the penalty spot in the 52nd minute, but it was fantastically deflected away from goal by a last-ditch block from James Tarkowski.
VAR would prove a major talking point once again in a Liverpool game, as in the 71st minute of the game, Nathan Patterson’s clumsy challenge on Diaz would not be deemed a foul – but one minute later, a penalty would be given for a hand ball by Michael Keane from a Diaz cross.
Salah would step up to blast the ball home from the spot past Jordan Pickford to give Klopp’s side the lead in the 75th minute, as he got his sixth Premier League goal of this campaign.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool almost doubled their lead in the 86th minute as substitute Darwin Nunez crossed the ball across the box, though Jarrad Branthwaite turned the ball just past the Everton post for a corner.
In the final minute of normal time, substitute Harvey Elliot almost secured all three points as his long-range effort looked to be destined to hit the back of the net, only for Pickford to deny him superbly with a strong left hand.
The game was wrapped up in stoppage time as a Liverpool breakaway from an Everton throw in Nunez ran into the space vacated by the Blues before squaring the ball to Salah for the Egyptian to slot the ball into the net.
In a forgetful Merseyside derby with the main talking point being Ashley Young’s red card, Liverpool came away with all three points to send them to the top of the table – while Everton suffered their sixth defeat of the campaign to send the Toffees right back down into the relegation battle.
Liverpool will host Toulouse at Anfield in the UEFA Europa League in their next fixture on Thursday, while Everton will look to move on from this defeat next week with a win as they play West Ham next Sunday afternoon.