Liverpool overcame local rivals Everton 2-0 at Anfield yesterday, to move back within a single point of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. Second half goals by Robertson and Origi made the difference. Here’s a review of the match.

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° Lineup. Jürgen Klopp made two alterations to the side that thrashed United last Tuesday. Naby Keita got the nod over Jordan Henderson in midfield whilst Diogo Jota was restored to the attack with Luis Diaz making way.

The manager didn’t look too far forward with his selection. It was pretty much as strong as he could go. Everton’s lineup looked attacking on paper with Gordon, Iwobi, Gray and Richarlison all starting. As it turned out, their whole game plan was to sit deep and look to frustrate.

° Dull start. There was no fast start this time round, and unlike United, Everton were well drilled in their shape. They kept numbers back and asked the Reds to break them down. It took the home side a while to get to grips with their setup. The Toffees also carried a threat on the counter.

° First real chance falls to Everton. Richarlison robbed Thiago of possession and quickly played a pass in behind Van Dijk for Doucoure to latch onto. The Frenchman pulled the trigger but dragged his shot wide of Alisson’s far post. It was a let off for the Reds.

° Lots of possession, little penetration. First half the Reds didn’t do enough to break Everton down. There was no real tempo to the game and everything was done at a slow pace. The Everton defence stayed resolute as they weren’t pulled out of position by any quick interplay.

Liverpool had the lion share of possession but it was all infront of Everton. There wasn’t enough movement in the last line, with the Reds going in at the break having not registered⁰ a single shot on target. The away side actually recorded a higher xG in the first half. 

° Reds get drawn into a battle. Lampard’s side must have been studying Atletico Madrid games as they pulled out all the dark arts. There was the timewasting by Pickford on every goal kick, the feigning of injury by Richarlison, the diving attempts by Gordon and the niggly fouling by Coleman and Allan.

They wanted a battle and the Reds gave in to their antics. There were three different stoppages due to players on both sides clashing. It was surprising to see the Reds drop to Everton’s level. Liverpool usually rise above the occasion and play their game but not so yesterday. They didn’t create anything clear cut all half.

° Everton penalty appeal. Early in the second period, Liverpool went too gung ho and left themselves open to the counter. Everton had a few openings on the break with the lively Gordon causing problems. He went down in the box after tangling with Matip. There was a huge appeal but Stuart Atwell wasn’t buying it.

It certainly looked clumsy on Matip’s part as he went tumbling over the prone Scouser. The contact always looks worse than it actually is when the defender goes tumbling over the attacker after he has gone down. The referee might have had a closer look had he not booked Gordon for diving earlier in the game.

° Double substitution. Jürgen Klopp made an early change when he sent on Diaz and Origi for Keita and Mané on the hour mark. It led to a switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation (or 4-2-4 if you will). Everton had loads of men back defending so the extra attacker was necessary to try and break them down. 

° Deadlock is finally broken. Salah exchanged passes with Origi in the box and clipped a cross towards Jota. It was too high for Diogo who couldn’t connect but Robertson came flying in from behind him and connected sweetly, heading the ball into the ground and past Pickford for the crucial opener.

° Diaz is a delight. The Colombian was only on for half an hour but he left his imprint on the game. An outrageous piece of control has made several highlight reels but beyond that, he offered penetration as he constantly drove into the box past Coleman. He provided a spectacular assist to top off a lively cameo.

° Origi is inevitable. There was a feeling of inevitability about Divock finding the net against Everton again when he came on. It didn’t matter that it was his first league appearance since a late cameo against Leeds a month ago. He duly obliged in the 85th minute, heading home from close range.

Divock Origi has scored more Premier League goals against Everton (6) than any other side in his career.

Divock Origi has now scored 11 goals as a substitute for Liverpool in the Premier League, the outright most in the club’s history, overtaking Daniel Sturridge’s 10.

° Another Thiago masterclass. The Spaniard wasn’t afforded the freedom of Anfield like Tuesday night but he still managed to dictate proceedings. Bar that loss of possession to Richarlison, he didn’t put a foot wrong all game.

Thiago for Liverpool against Everton:

• 138 touches (1st)
• 121 passes attempted (1st)
• 119 passes completed (1st)
• 100% shot accuracy
• 100% tackle success rate
• 98% pass accuracy (1st)
• 43 passes in final third (1st)
• 8 duels won (1st)
• 8 long balls attempted
• 7 long balls completed (2nd)
• 3 aeriel duels won (=1st)
2 ball recoveries
• 2 fouls suffered (1st)
• 2 tackles won (=2nd)
• 1 successful dribble
1 chance created
1 shot

° Gulf in class. Jürgen Klopp’s side now sit a scarcely believable 50 points above their city rivals. The Blues are currently nestled in the relegation zone. The manager spoke before the game about how he wants Everton to stay in the league. I’m not sure he still feels the same after their antics yesterday.

° Title race. It is as you were in the title race. City played first this weekend and heaped pressure on the Reds by beating Watford. For the next three matchdays, Liverpool play first. That could be a psychological advantage if the Reds can win their games.

° What next? The title race will be put to one side for the mean time as attentions turn to the semi final of the Champions League. Villarreal visit Anfield on Wednesday night for the first leg encounter.

Unai Emery’s men have knocked out Juventus and Bayern Munich and will pose a huge threat to Liverpool’s chances of making a third Champions League final under Klopp. It’s the latest huge game in a month full of mammoth clashes.


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