Liverpool got the better of Everton in dramatic fashion on Friday night, as debutant Virgil van Dijk‘s late winner sealed a 2-1 FA Cup victory.
As soon as the draw was made last month, the whole of Merseyside was eagerly anticipating the 230th meeting between the Reds and their local rivals.
The match didn’t disappoint at Anfield, with a fervent atmosphere created by both sets of supporters.
There was big news in the pre-match buildup, as it was announced that Van Dijk would make his first appearance for Liverpool.
The 26-year-old started alongside Joel Matip at centre-back, as Jurgen Klopp named a strong starting lineup despite the absence of Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool’s record signing cut an imposing, cultured figure in the opening exchanges, bringing calm to a much-criticised back line.
James Milner‘s penalty put the Reds 1-0 up, and the players celebrated together following a typically cool spot-kick by the Englishman.
Everton were level in the second half, however, thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s well-taken effort, and Loris Karius cut a dejected figure.
It was to be a memorable end to the match for Liverpool fans, though, as the contest had its most fitting ending.
Van Dijk powered a header into the Kop net with just three minutes remaining, sparking wild scenes among those of a Reds persuasion.
Liverpool now have an eight-day break before their next game—the mouthwatering visit of Man City on January 14.