The media assessed Divock Origi‘s winner in Liverpool’s 1-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton as a moment which could spark the title push to life.
Merseyside is red!
Christmas came early for Kopites as Jordan Pickford’s howler gifted Origi a bizarre 96th-minute winner and Jurgen Klopp’s side a priceless derby-day victory.
It was an incredible end to the game, sparking scenes of wild celebration and sending Klopp sprinting onto the pitch and all four stands at Anfield into sheer mayhem.
The importance of such a huge win cannot be underestimated, with the three points keeping the Reds on Man City’s tails and it will really fuel belief for the long battle with Pep Guardiola’s side.
Here’s how the media assessed the sweet derby-day success.
The watching journalists unanimously felt it was a much better derby contest…
Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones labelled it an “absorbing derby”, noting how it was a better overall spectacle as a result of Everton’s more positive approach:
This was, for once, an absorbing Anfield derby, with Everton doing their bit to make it a spectacle.
The Blues, too often, have travelled across Stanley Park with fear and negativity in their kitbag, but Marco Silva’s side came to play here and deserve credit for their display.
Our own Joel Rabinowitz was in no doubt that it was the toughest derby Liverpool have faced in recent times:
Liverpool managed to grab the three points at the death, but this was a much tougher task than it has been for the Reds against the neighbours in recent times.
The Evening Standard’s David Lynch thought Everton’s performance showed that this fixture going forward will be far from the routine procession it has been in recent seasons:
Everton’s performance hinted that they will trouble their red neighbours more regularly in years to come under Silva – just not yet, not now.
Reporters felt Origi’s goal was a significant moment for his Reds career and Liverpool’s title push
First of all, the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce was among those to note how it was fitting Origi should emerge to score having suffered a terrible injury in this fixture which derailed his progress:
How fitting that he should announce his return to the big stage against the Blues.
His career has gone downhill since he was chopped down in his prime by Ramiro Funes Mori’s X-rated challenge in this fixture two-and-a-half years ago and hopefully this will prove to be a turning point for him.
ESPN’s Mark Ogden thinks Origi’s goal “means much more than three points” and went as far as saying that it has kept the title race alive:
Under Klopp, Liverpool are on course for their best-ever Premier League campaign, but it still might not be enough to beat City to the title.
That is why every point counts, but the value of Origi’s goal will mean much more than three points to Klopp and his players.
For Football365, Steven Chicken discussed the impact Origi’s strike could have on his confidence and noted how his rebirth hands Klopp another vital option:
What an incredible way to return to the side after 15 months away, and the effect it could have on the Belgian’s confidence is potentially enormous.
With the Brazilian somewhat out of sorts, that is vital for Klopp – especially with the congested Christmas calendar comings up, and doubly so if they somehow get past Napoli to proceed into the Champions League group stages and/or manage to put together a lengthy run in the FA Cup, which begins in mere weeks.
Lynch feels Origi, who has been linked with a move away, should be kept until the end of the season to ensure depth is maintained so the Reds can compete on several fronts:
With Dominic Solanke increasingly linked with a loan departure this winter, Klopp might well be inclined to keep hold of Origi for another half-season at least.
Rabinowitz assessed that Origi’s goal showed the importance of having a full squad ready to play its part:
What this shows is the power of having a strong squad, with Klopp having recently discussed the importance of every player being fully involved and ready to play their part.
Discussing Origi’s impact, ESPN’s Glenn Price praised Klopp for making bold substitutions, before assessing them as moves that have kept the title race alive:
Needing a goal with 15 minutes to play, Liverpool supporters were a little bemused to see Mohamed Salah subbed off. Then Roberto Firmino comes off for Origi.
These were brave moves from Klopp, but ones that keep Liverpool’s title hopes alive.
Reporters praised Liverpool’s determination and relentlessness in chasing Man City
Indeed, Jones thought the “heart and perseverance” was the biggest positive of the performance:
The Reds are still short of fluency, but not heart. Klopp’s men were rewarded for their perseverance here, albeit in the most bizarre of fashions.
What do they say; sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Price praised for the Reds for refusing to let up, and assessed the victory as the sort that could spark Liverpool’s title pursuit to life:
Liverpool will just not let up. Four points would have been a massive gap against this record-breaking Manchester City side is a massive gap. The gap remains at two and a win like this can reignite seasons.
The Telegraph’s Jason Burt complimented Klopp’s side for retaining instensity despite a tough and disappointing midweek in the Champions League:
Klopp spoke of the intensity and, although his team were far from at their best, they deserve significant credit for the way they kept going and especially after their midweek exertions, and disappointment, in the Champions League away to Paris St-Germain.
Lynch praised the Reds for showing impressive mental strength and feels Klopp’s side deserve immense credit for dropping so few points during a hectic fixture list:
But it is at times such as these that players must show mental strength to overcome fatigue – and that is exactly what Klopp got from his players.
Liverpool perhaps deserve more credit for the intensity they have kept up during a stage of the season that has regularly featured two games a week. To have dropped so few points under these incredible demands is an achievement worthy of praise.
However, certain journalists felt the performance was lacking in some aspects
The Mirror’s James Whaling felt the Reds again lacked creativity and questioned Klopp’s decision to change the format of Liverpool’s attack:
Given the success Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino had as an out-and-out front three last term, it’s perhaps questionable as to why he would change that.
Yes – Liverpool are a lot more robust in defence – just one goal conceded in the league on home soil since February exemplifies that – but they are not their free-flowing selves currently.
Price was particularly critical of Liverpool’s finishing:
Liverpool should have found the back of the net well before they did. Everton had chances to win the game themselves, but try telling that to Liverpool supporters as they left Anfield at full-time.
Chicken saw some vulnerabilities in defence, specifically with how the back-four were opened up so easily by Everton’s early through passes:
This was the second game in a row that Liverpool were opened up by a combination of speed and well-timed through balls, perhaps revealing a weakness that more clinical sides could exploit down the line.
Whaling also felt a lack of creativity in midfield was a problem and thinks Klopp needs to bring in a deep-lying play-maker in January:
Last season the Reds’ electric front three created everything, but against a defensively sound team like Everton, Liverpool need someone capable of unlocking a door in a deeper position in the middle of the park.
If they can find this man in January, it could really propel them in the title race.
As always, reporters gave verdicts on individual performances with some mixed reviews
Rabinowitz was impressed by Fabinho’s performance and feels the Brazilian deserves to keep his place:
Here, he showed exactly what he can bring to the team with a midfield performance full of bite and tenacity, as well as positional intelligence to break up Everton’s attacking moves and quickly get Liverpool back on the front foot again.
On this evidence, Fabinho more than deserves to keep his place in the side.
Price thought Roberto Firmino struggled, labelling the Brazilian “sluggish and wasteful” in the No.10 role:
Continues to look massively out of sorts and it must be a concern to Klopp. Sluggish and wasteful in the No. 10 role again.
Whaling felt Sadio Mane was also off the pace again but backed the Senegalese to get out of his current rut:
But he is in a bit of a rut at the moment. This was his sixth game in a row in all competitions without finding the net, and he missed two gilt-edged opportunities.
Make no mistake – he’ll come good. But he’s struggling currently.
Finally, our man Henry Jackson awarded Origi 10/10 for his match-winning heroics!
Missed a later sitter, but then scored a stoppage-time derby winner – that means 10/10! Redemption for the challenge by Funes Mori that saw Origi miss the Europa League final.