Liverpool victorious in the 228th Merseyside Derby

Liverpool

It was the 228th Merseyside Derby and it was held at Anfield. Everton coming into the game being the most inform side in the Premier League in 2017, though the last time they beat Liverpool at Anfield was back in 1999.

Both sides had injuries which were suffered during the international break. The key miss for LFC being Adam Lallana who got injured in the match against Lithuania, Jordan Henderson was also a major setback for the men in Red. Whereas for the Toffees they were without Coleman who suffered a horrific injury in his match against Wales; Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy and Funes Mori were the other notable absentees.

This did make the sides weaker than usual and both had to use the depth of their squads. For Liverpool in came Lucas who was the only Liverpool player in the playing 11 who had lost to Everton at Anfield, and Dejan Lovren replaced Ragnar Klavan at centre back. For Everton Ronald Koeman played 4 youngsters in the first team showing huge coverage for them to take part in a match of this magnitude.

Liverpool looked the brighter of the two sides in the early exchanges. The opening goal came early as Mane took possession and drove to the penalty area beating two defenders and firing a low shot past Joel Robles who was stationary.

Everton were struggling to grasp a foothold in the game as Coutinho’s shot was stopped by Robles and the loose ball was cleared off the line.

An Emre Can challenge on Ross Barkley allowed Baines to step up to take the free-kick which was smashed into the wall of Liverpool bodies.

Matthew Pennington was Everton’s unlikely goal scorer as the Blues grabbed one back from a corner which was poorly dealt with by Liverpool.

Pennington’s joy was short lived as in the space of 3 minutes Pennington was turned from inside the penalty area with Coutinho curling an absolute beauty past the Everton goalie.

Five minutes before the break, Barkley lunged into Dejan Lovren and was fortunate not to be sent for an early bath.

Everton had much more purpose in the second half and they could have levelled just two minutes in through an Ashley Williams header.

Sadio Mane, often targetted for some tough treatment, was unable to continue after one strong challenge too many and was replaced by the 21-year-old Divock Origi. Mane seemed in severe pain as he was brought off the pitch.

Just before the hour mark, Coutinho played in Divock Origi who smashed the ball past the onrushing Joel Robles consolidating Liverpool lead over their city rivals.

Ronald Koeman did bring on Gareth Barry and Enner Valencia for Tom Davies and Matthew Pennington. This change saw his side come close to scoring with a deflected strike from Mason Holgate saved by Simon Mignolet.

Young Trent Alexander-Arnold replaced Coutinho with the last 15 minutes to play. He was deployed in a position he hasn’t played for the senior team playing him right in front of Clyne. He could have scored in his first derby as his shot was pushed wide by Robles.

Everton made their final switch by bringing on Kevin Mirallas for Calvert-Lewin. Baines linked up with the new man down the left flank before the latter tries to skip Matip, but the defender is able to keep the Belgian at bay before poking the ball out for an Everton throw-in.

Origi picked the ball up next to the corner flag and tried to run down the clock. Liverpool won another Merseyside Derby and Everton’s misery continued for at least another year.

This concluded Liverpool’s matches with the upper half of the table. They have to pile up the points against the remaining 8 sides to secure a spot in the Champions League.