For the first time in 2023, Liverpool clinched three Premier League points with a 2-0 win over Everton, a night that also heralded the return of two forwards.
Liverpool 2-0 Everton
Premier League (21), Anfield
February 13, 2023
Mohamed Salah 37′ (assist: Nunez)
Cody Gakpo 49′ (assist: Alexander-Arnold)
Jurgen Klopp made two changes to his starting lineup for the Merseyside derby, reinstating Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in midfield after three respective successive starts on the bench.
Thiago‘s hip injury, which will keep him “out for a while,” opened the door for changes. That fresh blow was softened by the return of Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino to the bench.
Attacking the Kop, the Reds came out with an intentional tempo and intensity that we’ve not seen often enough this season – and Anfield responded in kind.
Translating that into shots on target was not as straightforward, though, with Cody Gakpo‘s header wide of the upright offering only a glimpse of a threat in the opening half hour.
That all changed in a dramatic 37th minute when Liverpool turned an Everton corner, which saw James Tarkowski strike the upright, into a Mohamed Salah goal thanks to a quick Darwin Nunez breakaway.
From one end of the pitch to the ball in the back of the net at the other in 15 seconds. 1-0 Liverpool, the Reds’ first league lead since December 30.
Half time: Liverpool 1-0 Everton
- Salah scores first league goal since Boxing Day
- Gakpo with maiden goal for the club
- Jota makes first appearance since October 16
- Reds win in the league for first time in 2023
With the same intent as the first half, Liverpool quickly came out of the blocks and doubled their lead thanks to Gakpo’s maiden goal for the club, just four minutes after the break.
A keen desire to win the ball in their own half set the goal in motion, Andy Robertson driving forward after three Reds engaged in a tackle, with Trent Alexander-Arnold serving up the final ball.
After six starts without a goal contribution, the relief was obvious from the No. 18.
Klopp’s men, playing with intent, controlled the match with renewed confidence, notably Stefan Bajcetic – who continues to grow in stature and importance, in this his 13th appearance.
The night offered two more reasons to celebrate with Jota playing the final 20 minutes, his first appearance since October, and Firmino introduced for the final 10.
Robertson also had time to instigate a small flashpoint at the death, if his smile was anything to go by he enjoyed it!
Celebrate the win, Reds. We’ve had to wait since December 30 for three points in the league. The same again at Newcastle, please.
TIA Man of the Match: Stefan Bajcetic
Referee: Simon Hooper
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Fabinho, Bajcetic (Keita 89′), Henderson (Milner 80′); Salah (Elliott 89′), Gakpo (Firmino 79′), Nunez (Jota 69′)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Tsimikas, Van Dijk, Phillips
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; McNeil (Maupay 78′), Doucoure, Gana, Onana (Davies 78′), Iwobi; Simms (Gray 61′)
Subs not used: Begovic, Keane, Mina, Holgate, Godfrey, Vinagre
Next Match: Newcastle (A) – Premier League – Saturday, February 18, 5.30pm (GMT)