A wild first half and a more subdued second saw Liverpool emerged 5-2 victors over Everton, as Jurgen Klopp sealed his 100th Premier League win.
Liverpool 5-2 Everton
Premier League (15), Anfield
December 4, 2019
Origi 6′ (assist – Mane)
Shaqiri 17′ (assist – Mane)
Origi 31′ (assist – Lovren)
Mane 45′ (assist – Alexander-Arnold)
Wijnaldum 90′ (assist – Firmino)
The Reds took to the field for the 234th derby with a heavily changed setup, as Klopp opted for five alterations including starts for recent unlikely heroes in Adrian, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi.
Tactically they began in a 4-2-3-1, and just over a year on from his late, late goal in the same fixture, Origi got off the mark within six minutes of kickoff, latching onto Sadio Mane‘s through ball and finishing an emphatic counter.
Choruses of “Merry Christmas, Everton” echoed around Anfield, greeting a visiting side who started and finished the game in the relegation zone, by virtue of Southampton‘s win over Norwich.
The momentum took Liverpool on, as a remarkable raking pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold found Mane on the left flank, and the in-form Senegalese produced another stunning assist for Shaqiri to make it 2-0.
However, as per the terms of the campaign there was to be no clean sheet, and a defensive mixup allowed Michael Keane to reduce the deficit in a game bubbling over with emotion.
A series of late challenges and off-ball flareups threatened to see the derby descend into chaos, but a moment of pure quality established the side in control: Dejan Lovren with an exceptional long pass, Origi with a fine second goal.
That wasn’t it for the first half, as a blistering break saw Mane and Alexander-Arnold combine, and the forward produced a sumptuous finish from the edge of the area, only for Richarlison to cancel it out to cap a breakneck opening 45.
HT: Liverpool 4-2 Everton
- Klopp records 100th Premier League win; second-fastest to do so
- Liverpool set new club-record unbeaten run in the league at 32
- Blistering 45 provides highest-scoring first half in derby history
- Reds stay eight points clear after Leicester‘s win over Watford
Everton‘s formational switch from a 3-4-3 to a 4-4-2 did little to change Liverpool’s approach, and after the break they were as persistent as ever in their drive forward.
While Shaqiri appeared to have not lost a step during his long spell out, Lallana at times lacked the urgency and crispness required in his advanced role in attack, with the Englishman perhaps now better suited as a deep-lying option.
Mane, meanwhile, was in world-class form, but a blot emerged on his copybook when, running onto a long ball from substitute Jordan Henderson, he contrived to send his shot wide as a double-brace of goals and assists eluded him.
It matter little when Gini Wijnaldum made it 5-2 after a tantalising show of skill from Roberto Firmino, rubber-stamping the three points.
Liverpool top of the league, Everton in the bottom three.
Merry Christmas, Everton.
TIA Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
Referee: Mike Dean
Liverpool: Adrian; Alexander-Arnold (Gomez 83′), Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Lallana (Henderson 73′), Milner; Shaqiri, Origi, Mane (Firmino 73′)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah
Everton: Pickford; Holgate, Mina, Keane; Sidibe (Bernard 35′), Davies (Schneiderlin 72′), Sigurdsson, Digne; Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin (Kean 60′)
Subs not used: Lossl, Baines, Walcott, Tosun
Next Match: Bournemouth (A) – Premier League – Saturday, Dec 7, 3pm (GMT)