Liverpool 2-0 Everton: Mo Salah, Gakpo Strike To Ease Pressure On Reds Boss Klopp

One hit and run and one mugging and Liverpool had this Merseyside derby won.

Jurgen Klopp’s team were superior by a comfortable distance to an unambitious Everton side who remain deep in trouble.  If Sean Dyche, the new Everton manager, hoped Liverpool’s recent poor form would help his team here he was desperately wrong

Everton had to contribute something too but did not. Liverpool made all of the running, played all of the attacking football and scored all of the goals.  The first, just before half-time, came from a lightening raid. Everton hit a post and Liverpool fled the scene to score spectacularly and thrillingly in front of the Kop through Mo Salah.

End to end in 15 seconds. Wow.

Then, early in the second period, Everton’s Alex Iwobi was relieved of the ball by three Liverpool players and had barely climbed to his feet by the time Klopp’s team had sped away to provide Cody Gakpo with his first Liverpool goal in front of an Everton away support who were beginning to recognise the unfolding of a familiar horror show.

Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez provided Salah with his goal and was a buccaneering threat all evening. Captain Jordan Henderson led his team with courage and energy.

In the second half, once the second goal was secured, Liverpool attacked with some of the cavalier confidence of old.  Everton? Well let’s just say these are the not the games they will have to win if they are to stay up and it is just as well.

Dyche’s team were never really in it as an attacking presence and their manager erred in selecting young Ellis Simms up front for only his third Premier League game. Simms has played most of his football on loan for Sunderland in the Championship this season and, hard as he tried, it showed.

Had James Tarkowski’s header gone in just before Liverpool’s first goal then Everton would have led and Klopp’s players, low on confidence recently, may have panicked.   But that feels like a slender straw to cling to after a night when Everton were outplayed and outrun.

Their gameplan was clear and maybe understandable. They attempted to slow the game down whenever possible, stay in the contest and wait for Liverpool to grow frustrated. For a while they may have considered it to be working but it wasn’t really.

Liverpool were not at their recognisable best in the first half hour. They have struggled for form so terribly recently that they were never going to play with that instinctive confidence of old. Liverpool were still better, though.

The momentum of the game was still theirs and when they broke to score it was with a counter-attack that could have been taken straight from their imperious form of last season.  Everton won a corner on the left in the 36th minute and when it dropped on to the forehead of Tarkowski at the far post, the defender could have added to the goal he scored in Dyche’s first game in charge at home to Arsenal.

This time, though, the ball came back off the upright and when Dwight McNeil’s follow-up was cleared, Liverpool were in business.  How many times have we seen them break upfield like this? Certainly better teams than Everton have suffered at their hands in this way.  Here Nunez collected the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and swapped passes with Salah before setting off down the left-hand side.

With Everton outnumbered, Nunez had two men in the centre to aim at. The ball may well have reached Gakpo and it was the Dutch forward who Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford seemed to have his focus on. Salah was the one who reached it first, however, and with Pickford out of position to his right, he side-footed the ball into the empty goal from 12 yards.

It was a classic Anfield moment, a fire and brimstone goal. In an instant all of Everton’s hard work had been undone and within four minutes of the second half starting their challenge – such as it had been – was extinguished.

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