The absolutely huge chasm between the Merseyside clubs was there for all to see. In the red corner, Liverpool — reigning European champions and the team surely destined to pick up their first Premier League title given their big lead at the top of the table. In the blue corner, Everton — a side devoid of cohesion, tactical nous, desire and confidence. And so, when the two age-old rivals from opposite sides of Stanley Park met at the cauldron that is Anfield last night in the top-flight there could only be one winner, really.
And so, it came to pass that the Kop giants dominated their Goodison counterparts to easily win the Mersey derby 5-2. In one dugout we saw upbeat Jurgen Klopp (who made several changes to his starting line-up given the number of games his team have coming up) smiling, almost dancing along the touchline as his rampant side swatted aside the Toffees.
In the other dugout we saw Marco Silva, a broken man who is surely on the brink of losing his job after overseeing a miserable run of form that finds his team in the bottom three of the standings. Yes, relegation is a real threat — they are so desperate to turn things round that David Moyes, the former manager who left to boss Manchester United, is said to be a leading candidate when – not if — the role becomes available and the inevitable happens and Silva is booted out.
This was very much a demolition derby and it was the Reds who were doing the dismantling. And as a result, they sit top of the pile eight points ahead of Leicester City, who are in second place above last season’s champions Manchester City. The writing was on the wall for the visitors early on and Klopp’s charges effectively won the match with four goals in the first half. Divock Origi opened the scoring after just six minutes before Xherdan Shaqiri made it 2-0 10 minutes later. Then Origi added a third on 31 minutes before red-hot Sadio Mane confirmed the home side’s dominance with a fourth goal just before the half-time break. Georginio Wijnaldum completed the rout in the final minute of this absorbing encounter. In between, and not with much significance in the final analysis, Michael Keane and Richarlison scored for the Blues.
Three points, a derby day triumph and the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table when they host bottom-of-the-table Watford on Saturday means Klopp is a happy man right now and there are definitely no signs that his absolute delight will wane any time soon. As the German coach said after the pulsating 90 minutes:
“All the goals were incredible, outstanding. Wonderful goals, sensational passes, super pieces of football. I loved it a lot!”