Liverpool See Off Poor Everton

Before the game started, there was a touching tribute to Liverpool club legend Ronnie Moran, following his recent passing. The atmosphere was electric and you’ll never walk alone rang around Anfield as beautifully as ever.

Going into today’s Merseyside derby, I predicted a close game – It was anything but. Liverpool dominated the majority of the game, taking an early lead through Sadio Mane.

Everton surprisingly left Gareth Barry on the bench following the injury to Morgan Schneiderlin. Everton were completely outnumbered in midfield and struggled to get to grips with the game. Mane opened the scoring in the eighth minute after playing a neat one-two with Firmino, the Everton defenders were not close enough, Mane calmly stroked the ball through Pennington’s legs and into the bottom corner.

Referee Anthony Taylor had a busy game, he should have booked Ross Barkley for an early challenge on Emre Can. Taylor decided to give the England man the benefit of the doubt. Not long before that, Clyne got away with one, after pulling Leighton Baines back rather blatantly, again Taylor kept his cards in his pocket.

Liverpool were winning the key battles, the reds were the first to everything. It was far too easy for Liverpool, Everton were playing into their hands. Coutinho had a decent effort half saved by Robles, the Everton Keeper got a hand to the Brazilians effort, the ball was looping toward the top corner before Jagielka intervened. With Everton looking a shadow of themselves, they managed to draw level. A corner from the left was flicked on by Jagielka, Williams’ effort was blocked and it fell kindly to youngster Matthew Pennington to smash home from close range.

Everton were level for just three minutes, Coutinho picks up the ball around 40 yards out, he skips away from Gueye’s challenge, the Brazilian then gets into the box and cuts inside Pennington before curling a shot into the far corner. Pennington probably should have done better and not allowed him to get inside, but it was a fantastic finish.

I was hugely disappointed with Everton throughout the game, I fully expected them to offer more. Barkley who was lucky to escape a yellow card in the early stages of the game, was shown a yellow for a horrible challenge on Dejan Lovren – In my eyes, it looked like a tackle worthy of a red card, he over-runs the ball and then catches Lovren on the shin.

Liverpool went in at half time with a 2-1 lead, a thoroughly deserved lead at that. The only time Everton looked like being a threat was from set-pieces, Liverpool seemed to panic every time Everton won a set-piece. Liverpool lost Sadio Mane through injury, the striker looked to twist his ankle as he tried to win the ball. Liverpool fans will be hoping it isn’t a long lay off for Mane, who has been a key player for the reds this season. Mane’s replacement was Origi, it didn’t take him long to make an impact on the game.

Origi got the third for Liverpool, he had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes. It was poor defensively from Everton and really poor from Robles. Coutinho was involved again as he slipped a pass past Williams for Origi, whose shot is straight down the middle of the goal from the edge of the box, and somehow beat the keeper. Everton threatened sparingly, Lukaku was rarely involved – Matip and Lovren did a fantastic job on the Belgium man. It was the quietest I have seen Lukaku for a long time, which is certainly a testament to Lovren and Matip.

The game finished 3-1 and maintained Liverpool’s top four challenge and all but ends Everton’s. If I can offer any positives for Everton fans, it’s that they certainly can’t play any worse. Liverpool deservedly picked up the three points. The post-match thoughts will be about Mane and how bad of an injury it is, he will be a huge loss if it’s a long layoff. Everton will have to wait another season to break their Anfield hoodoo.

Comments welcome.