Liverpool win derby to keep four-time bid on track and add to Everton woes

Liverpool’s 2-0 victory in a grueling 240th Merseyside derby kept their four-time bid on track while moving Everton one step closer to their first relegation in 71 years.

Andy Robertson’s second goal of the season produced the vital breakthrough after 62 minutes of fierce resistance from the visitors and Divock Origi reinforced his derby legacy with his sixth goal in nine long distance games.

It was far from the humiliation many had predicted – and Toffees fans feared – as Everton showed they could be organized and put up a fight, but the one thing manager Frank Lampard couldn’t fill was the chasm in class.

The victory reduced the gap to leaders Manchester City to one point, while leaving their close neighbors now two points from safety.

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

An injury to Ben Godfrey in the warm-up meant the visitors took to the pitch after changing both centre-backs from the midweek draw with Leicester, Michael Keane replacing him late alongside Mason Holgate with Yerry Mina s fully rested after coming back against the Foxes after two months with a thigh problem.

But that didn’t change their tactics, which were naturally obvious from the start: getting behind the ball in a 4-5-1, eating as much time as possible on replays and frustrating their opponents’ lives.

It could have been an approach straight out of the playbook of Lampard’s former mentor Jose Mourinho, who came here in 2014 with Chelsea to derail a Reds title bid.

It certainly worked for 45 minutes as they limited Liverpool to just three shots, none of which were on target, despite 86 per cent possession.

The fact that Everton completed just 32 passes in the first half – the fewest by a team in the opening period of a Premier League game since Watford’s 30 in November 2006 – was of no consequence on the overall game plan.

Richarlison, who was frequently on the ground and took a long time to seek treatment, and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who collapsed to the ground like a tired marathon runner after 26.2 miles each time he collected the ball with both hands, drew most of Anfield’s anger.

Young Anthony Gordon also walked a fine line, with his booking for a dive into the penalty area from a non-existent Naby Keita defying his worst offence.

Half of the 12 Premier League bookings for the simulation this season have been for Everton players, including three against Liverpool. But it was all part of the ploy to disrupt and disturb and their hosts fell into the trap of frustration.

The game had a more old-school derby feel to it, with Diogo Jota and Seamus Coleman involved in a showdown that saw the Liverpool man shove a hand in the defender’s face in retaliation for a challenge, and Sadio Mane at the middle of a scrum. of 21 players after Abdoulaye Doucoure was cautioned for taking down Fabinho.

Incredibly, Everton had the better chances early in the second half as Gordon and Alex Iwobi both headed wide attempts.

Prior to that, Joel Matip’s entanglement with Gordon inside the box appeared to have risked a penalty, but referee Stuart Atwell wasn’t the least bit interested.

Jurgen Klopp sent on Luis Diaz and Origi just before the hour mark and the latter, who has taken to making his own personal derby history, combined with Mohamed Salah to send Robertson home unmarked at the far post.

The deluge seemed to start with Diaz and Salah stealing chances before Demarai Gray whistled a shot past Alisson Becker’s right post to show the visitors were not yet finished.

Robertson then proved his worth at the other end with a vital block to prevent an equalizer from Iwobi.

Fittingly, Origi, who has barely featured this season, finished things off with a close-range header five minutes from time.

The party continues at Anfield, with a Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Villarreal on Wednesday, but things don’t get any easier for Everton with Chelsea at Goodison this weekend.

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