Liverpool 2-0 Everton: Reds Win Against fierce neighbors

Liverpool’s 2-0 win in the 240th Merseyside derby kept their quadruple campaign on track, as Everton edged closer to relegation for the first time in 71 years.

After 62 minutes of tenacious resistance from the visitors, Andy Robertson’s second goal of the season provided the crucial break, while Divock Origi added to his derby legacy with his sixth goal in nine cross-city clashes.

This was far from the humiliation many expected – and Toffees supporters dreaded – as Everton showed their ability to be organized and put up a fight, but manager Frank Lampard was unable to overcome the class divide.

Victory closed the deficit on leaders Manchester City to one point, while leaving their near neighbors two points out of safety.

They began the game in the bottom three after Burnley’s win over Wolves, and things only got worse for them before the ball was even kicked at Anfield.

Due to an injury to Ben Godfrey in the warm-up, the visitors took the field having changed both center-backs from the midweek draw with Leicester, with Michael Keane coming on as a late replacement alongside Mason Holgate, and Yerry Mina being rested completely after his comeback against the Foxes after two months out with a thigh problem.

But it didn’t change their tactics, which were obvious from the start: get behind the ball in a 4-5-1, burn up as much time as possible at restarts, and annoy their opponents.

It may have been a strategy right out of Lampard’s former coach Jose Mourinho’s playbook, who memorably came here with Chelsea in 2014 to disrupt the Reds’ championship attempt.

Despite having 86 percent possession, they were able to restrict Liverpool to only three shots, none of which were on target, for 45 minutes.

The fact that Everton completed just 32 passes in the first half – the fewest aside in the first half of a Premier League game since Watford completed 30 in November 2006 – was insignificant to the overall game plan.

Richarlison, who was repeatedly on the ground and took up a lot of time for treatment, and goalie Jordan Pickford, who dropped to the ground like a tired marathon runner at the end of 26.2 miles every time he caught the ball with two hands, got the greatest ire from Anfield.

Anthony Gordon, a youngster, too walked a narrow line, with his worst transgression being a caution for a dive in the penalty area after a non-existent Naby Keita tackle.

Everton players have received half of the Premier League’s 12 simulation bookings this season, including three against Liverpool. But that was all part of the plan to disrupt and upset, and their hosts became frustrated.

The game had a more traditional derby feel to it, with Diogo Jota and Seamus Coleman involved in one confrontation that saw the Liverpool player push a hand towards the defender’s face in retaliation to a challenge, and Sadio Mane caught up in a 21-player melee after Abdoulaye Doucoure was booked for chopping down Fabinho.

Everton had the better opportunities early in the second half, with Gordon and Alex Iwobi both shooting wide.

Prior to it, Joel Matip’s clash with Gordon inside the area seemed to have resulted in a penalty, but referee Stuart Atwell was unconcerned.

Just before the hour, Jurgen Klopp introduced Luis Diaz and Origi, and the latter, who has made a habit of creating his own personal derby history, connected with Mohamed Salah for Robertson to head home unchallenged at the far post.

The onslaught seemed to begin with Diaz and Salah, who volleyed over, having opportunities before Demarai Gray blasted a shot past Alisson Becker’s right-hand post to signal the visitors weren’t done yet.

At the other end, Robertson came up with a crucial block to prevent Iwobi from equalizing.

Five minutes from time, Origi, who has scarcely played this season, killed things off with a close-range header.

The celebration continues at Anfield, with a Champions League semi-final first leg against Villarreal at home on Wednesday, but things do not get any easier for Everton, who face Chelsea at Goodison Park the following weekend.

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