Liverpool secured another three points on Sunday after a last-ditch goal from Divock Origi handed them victory in the Merseyside derby.
A game of missed chances
The first half between the Merseyside clubs could, and possibly should, have ended with multiple goals after numerous chances at both ends were squandered due to a lack of composure or goalkeeping genius. Yet, somehow the sides went in goalless at the half.
From the fifth minute Everton showed they were right up for the challenge with Ecuadorian centre back, Yerry Mina, heading a huge chance wide of the post with Liverpool’s keeper rooted to the spot. This then sparked an end to end the encounter and it was Sadio Mane who wasted the next opportunity, firing over the bar from close range on the 11th minute. Arguably the biggest chance of the game though fell to Andre Gomes on the 20th minute and Everton really should have gone one up. A long ball into the Liverpool box was met by Theo Walcott who precisely headed the ball into the path of Gomes, who inside the six-yard box could not miss; yet Alisson spread himself wide and made a world class save to deny the Toffee’s the opener. The Brazilian’s save did bounce back off Gomes but it was Liverpool’s Joe Gomez who cleared the ball away from danger to keep the scores level.
Ten minutes passed by and a mistake from Idrissa Gueye gifted the ball to Mo Salah whose pass to Shaqiri was not capitalised on as the Swiss was quickly closed down by Jordan Pickford who made a quality save to keep the scores tied. There was a feeling that it was to be the keepers day as again Everton were denied by some smart goalkeeping by Alisson. Theo Walcott rounded the keeper with minutes to go in the first half yet a small fingertip was enough to put the Englishman off, forcing him to run the ball out of play.
Both sides went into the break knowing they could make amends in the second half; which to the disappointment of the neutral, created minimal chances on goal. It became a very cagey affair where risks were no longer being taken and the game was not as free-flowing as we had been accustomed to in the first half.
Both managers had intervened, making substitutions and tactical changes halfway into the half and it was possibly Klopp who was the more aggressive in his substitutions, clearly searching for the match winner. It was Divock Origi who missed the chance of the match as he hit the bar from a yard out but the Liverpool substitution duly made up for this before the final whistle.
Another late Liverpool goal vs the Toffee’s
On this day three years ago Divock Origi scored a league cup hattrick in a 6-1 win against Southampton under Jurgen Klopp. Since then, he has been used little by Jurgen Klopp and an ankle injury, which he suffered against Everton back in 2016, was a huge setback for the striker. The Belgian did score in that game in a 4-0 win and was on the scoresheet again in 2017 with a 3-1 win. Low and behold, it was Origi again who stole the show and took all three points from Everton’s grasp.
This wasn’t all his own doing though and in fact, the series of events that led to that final moment were quite frankly; bizarre. A Liverpool freekick was lumped into the box and cleared by an Everton defender only to be met by Van Dijk who, on the volley, hit his effort fly high and wayward, much to the relief of the Everton faithfull. However; as the ball descended towards the Everton goal, Pickford attempted to catch the ball which bounced off the crossbar twice and eventually found Origi who stabbed the effort home. Understandably, the Everton players were distraught and in total disbelief and despite deserving a point, it was all taken away from them. Liverpool have now scored more 90 minute plus goals against the Toffees than any other opposition which will not make for happy readings for Toffee’s fans.
Mane the man as front three struggle
Sadio Mane was the only real bright spark in Liverpool’s attack on Sunday and the display from Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah will have surely been a disappointment to many. Countless times during the derby, Mane carried the Reds forward, pushing back to Everton defence in search of a breakthrough. He did miss some of his sides’ biggest chances in front of goal yet his desire to score for his side is a credit to his performance.
He linked up very well with Robertson throughout the match and despite not being able to take advantage of his chances, he has been the main man for the Reds this season with Mo Salah taking more of a back seat. Liverpool fans will want to see more from the Egyptian king as well as Roberto Firmino and this is crucial if they are to continue challenging Manchester City at the summit.
Andre Gomes impresses
In short, what a player Andre Gomes is becoming for Everton. The 25-year-old, on loan from Barcelona, has not quite made his breakthrough yet his performance at Anfield was his best in an Everton shirt to date and his inclusion will be pivotal for the Toffees. The Portuguese midfielder has stepped into the Premier League with ease and he looked comfortable on the ball all afternoon.
There were moments in the derby where he was the best player on the pitch and his ability to stop the Liverpool break and begin Everton attacks is a crucial asset of his game. His range of passing and strength were top attributes too and it would be no surprise if Everton were to sign the midfielder permanently in January or Summer.
Jurgen Klopp ‘s derby joy
Everton’s last win against Liverpool was in 2010, with goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta securing a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park. Since then, 18 games have now gone by where Everton are yet to taste that sweet derby victory. Jurgen Klopp has now been involved in seven fixtures against Everton, in all competitions, winning five and drawing just two. Liverpool fans all over the city will be hoping this continues for many more seasons.
Liverpool have just three days before traveling to Burnley for their next Premier League clash as the schedule starts to become more gruesome on the lead up to Christmas. Everton have the same amount of time before welcoming Newcastle to Goodison Park in a match which they will want to win to get right back on track.