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“Mo pain for Rafa” after Liverpool’s 4-1 “demolition derby” at Everton

The watching media revelled in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory at Everton on Wednesday evening, with Mohamed Salah‘s genius impossible to ignore.

The Reds were looking for only their second win at Goodison Park since 2012, going into the Premier League clash as resounding favourites.

Barring a blip towards the end of the first half, Jurgen Klopp‘s men were imperious, as the goals continue to flow.

The unrivalled Salah scored twice and there were further efforts from Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota, as Liverpool dismantled their hapless rivals.

Here’s a look at how the media reacted to the Reds’ win.

 

A wonderful derby performance warmed hearts on a cold evening at Goodison…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Hunter of the Guardian lauded the measure nature of the victory, rather than Liverpool allowing emotion to take over:

“It was everything Everton had feared and Liverpool desired on their return to the stadium where the fault-lines first appeared in their title defence last season.

Jurgen Klopp’s players followed his instructions to perfection, focusing on their superior football rather than revenge, and recorded a comprehensive derby victory to deepen Rafael Benítez’s troubles at Goodison Park.

“Liverpool outclassed their local rivals and scored four superb goals through Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, twice, and Diogo Jota. Demarai Gray offered Everton unexpected hope but they were a distant second best in every department.

“‘Rafa’s at the wheel,’ the Liverpool fans chanted in the closing stages, as Everton’s winless run extended to eight games.”

The Independent‘s Melissa Reddy focused on a sobering evening for former Reds boss Rafa Benitez:

“The nightmare scenario happened for the home supporters and it was far more searing than they could’ve ever envisioned. There were 21 minutes on the clock when Rafael Benitez had his name sung at Goodison Park as Everton manager for the first time, but the 2,902 voices belonged to Liverpool’s gloating section.

“The scoreboard read to the title contenders then. The Spaniard would be serenaded by more chants when his team had two more goals smashed past them to compound their overwhelming misery of an eight match winless run.

[…]

“The kindest thing to say about the hosts in the opening stanza was at least they held out for nine minutes amid an attacking storm from Klopp’s men that had a distinct feel of settling a score.”

2H8R9KA A smoke flare lands on the pitch as Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their side's third goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday December 1, 2021.

BBC Sport‘s Phil McNulty – an Everton fan! – accepted that Liverpool were just far too good for the Blues, looking every bit title challengers:

“Liverpool were in a different class to Everton, and despite a few uncomfortable moments after Gray’s goal they never looked like leaving without all three points.

“In taking Everton apart, they set a new record of scoring two or more goals in 18 successive games, and but for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford they could have scored a lot more.

“Liverpool simply had too much quality and firepower for Everton, who were on the back foot from the first minute and were fortunate to survive until the ninth minute, when Henderson put Klopp’s side ahead.

[…]

“It was another imperious display, full of menace and Everton simply could not cope, showing once again that Liverpool will be serious Premier League title contenders this season.”

 

Salah’s brace again outlined his status as the world’s best player…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Goal‘s Neil Jones mocked Salah’s ludicrous seventh-placed finish in the Ballon d’Or reckoning, hailing his display:

“Another game, another masterclass from Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian scoring twice as his side recorded a 4-1 win at Goodison which could and should have been even more comprehensive.

“He’s the seventh-best player in the world, according to the Ballon d’Or voting. Nice joke. If there’s anyone better than Salah right now, then they’re keeping themselves well hidden.

“That’s 19 goals this season in all competitions, and the Christmas decorations have only just gone up.

“He got 44 in his first, record-breaking year on Merseyside; playing like this, he really could smash that total this time around.”

The Mail‘s Martin Samuel echoed that sentiment:

“The seventh best player in the world apparently, Mo Salah. So it wasn’t just Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski who got short-changed in Paris on Monday night.

“Those other six must be rare talents to push Salah down the rankings. What he did here decided a Merseyside derby that was closer than it deserved to be.

“Twice, he took advantage of Everton errors to speed away and score, one on one, against Jordan Pickford. And that was pretty much the difference between the teams.”

Ex-Everton man Gary Lineker had a nice word to say about Salah on Twitter, too:

This Is Anfield feel Salah may not have to wait too long to be crowned Europe’s premier footballer:

“Lionel Messi may have won the Ballon d’Or, thanks to performances towards the end of his time at Barcelona and his displays to help Argentina to a Copa America, but he is not the best player in the world at this exact moment in time.

“That accolade belongs to Salah, who proved it yet again against Everton by rising above the level of any other player on the pitch, even in an intense derby match.

“A continuation of this form and even a reasonably successful Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt would mean he is a sho-in for next year’s award.

“But the only things that matter now are not the individual accolades, but the entertainment he is providing for Liverpool and Egypt fans, and hopefully the trophies that come with it.”

 

There was also praise for an inspired Jordan Henderson, who returned to very top form…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 1, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 239th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Freddie Keighley of the Mirror feels the Liverpool skipper has banished last season’s cruel disallowed goal at Goodison:

Everton‘s luck ran out in the ninth minute as Henderson caressed Andy Robertson‘s pull-back into the far corner from the edge of the area.

“It was an exquisite finish from the Liverpool captain on his weaker foot, and a goal he may feel he deserved it after last season’s late disappointment at Goodison Park.

“Henderson thought he had won a back-and-forth fixture in the last minute in October 2020’s fixture only for his strike to be ruled out for the narrowest of offside infringements.

“There was no way his sublime effort on Wednesday was being chalked off.”

Ex-Liverpool hero John Aldridge thought Henderson was Liverpool’s star man:

Finally, Jones was also quick to touch upon Henderson’s brilliance, picking him out as the support act for Salah:

Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s skipper, was magnificent, scoring the first goal and setting up the second.

“A captain’s performance, if ever there was one.”

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