Everton 0 Liverpool: Robertson and Origi settle a tense derby to tighten the gap on Manchester City… then toss Toffees into the drop zone
Frank Lampard did his best Jose Mourinho impersonation for 62 minutes, frustrating the hell out of Anfield.
Everton had had 13% ball control by the time Andy Robertson finally broke the deadlock, but they should have got a penalty and Liverpool should have been reduced to ten men.
So, while Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing side continues to trail Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, this triumph was not gained with the fish-in-a-barrel, cow’s-a**e-with-a-banjo simplicity we had expected.
You virtually expect Liverpool – and championship rivals City – to beat, if not smash, pretty much any other Premier League team these days. And especially a team that has been as terrible as Everton recently.
Everton’s 68-year tenure in the Premier League may be in jeopardy, but Lampard and his side deserve praise for enraging Liverpool’s players, fans, and fan-boy Sky pundit Jamie Carragher.
There were obvious parallels with Mourinho’s Chelsea side – which included Lampard and Mo Salah – derailing Liverpool’s title bid with a 2-0 victory and a defensive masterclass in the infamous Demba Ba match in 2014, when Mourinho’s Chelsea side – which included Lampard and Mo Salah – derailed Liverpool’s title bid with a 2-0 victory and a defensive masterclass.
Despite this, Liverpool won their 12th consecutive league game at Anfield, and they are now only a point behind champions City with five games remaining.
For years, the notion of this being “the friendly derby” has been a farce, yet it could hardly have been more tense if it had been played out by 22 snarky Scousers.
For his part in a major first-half brawl, Sadio Mane should have been sent off, and Everton should have been awarded a penalty kick for a Joel Matip foul on Anthony Gordon early in the second half.
After annihilating their most vehement adversaries, Manchester United, five days prior, it appeared as if Klopp’s team would do the same to their nearest rivals.
Everton has not won a derby in front of a crowd since 2010, or in front of an Anfield audience this century, despite winning this match behind closed doors during Liverpool’s lengthy slump last season.
Liverpool supporters mocked their opponents by enthusiastically screaming the name of Rafa Benitez, who is now even more revered by the red half of the city for leading the blue half of the city to the Championship.
After his fellow Brazilian Fabinho brushed his fingers against the Everton forward’s face, Richarlison enraged Anfield with his antics.
Lampard borrowed Mourinho’s bus-parking strategy, and it took Klopp’s team 21 minutes to get a shot on goal, a Mane long-ranger that flew just wide.
When Anthony Gordon collided with Naby Keita, Everton thought they had a penalty, but Attwell properly punished the teenager for diving.
While Liverpool controlled possession, Diogo Jota side-footed over from a Robertson cross, and Abdoulaye Doucoure was sent clear through but dragged his attempt wide.
Richarlison – the classic ‘kid who cried wolf’ – stayed down after Thiago Alcantara walked on his foot shortly before halftime, causing a crisis.
This infuriated the home team’s players and fans, especially Carragher, who began chanting ‘Gerrup! Gerrup!’ as though he were standing on The Kop.
The type of ‘cool down, calm down’ mob handbags you’d expect to see outside a Merseyside pub erupted when play was eventually stopped after Doucoure fouled Fabinho.
And Mane was incredibly fortunate to escape with a yellow after he shoved Allan in the face and then appeared to try to gouge Mason Holgate’s eye out.
Everton broke quickly in the second half, and another wolf-crier, Gordon, was floored by Matip, but Attwell waved it away, and his VAR, Darren England, refused to intervene.
Liverpool were enjoying some remarkably generous officiating, having not conceded a Premier League penalty in almost a year.
Then, as if to add salt to the wound, Liverpool quickly took the lead.
On the hour, Klopp made a double substitute, replacing Keita and Mane with Divock Origi and Luis Diaz, who both had an immediate impact.
Salah exchanged passes with Origi before chipping for Robertson to score at the far post with a downward header.
Diaz then regained possession of the ball with a soaring back-heel, much to the joy of the home crowd.
Salah volleyed barely over after Holgate attempted a headed clearing off the line.
Everton still had life in them, with Demarai Gray shooting barely wide and Lampard’s side threatening on the break.
But Origi, who loves a derby goal, put the game out of reach five minutes later with a close-range header.