The relief at Anfield was palpable Liverpool beat Everton, with those watching from the media dissecting an ugly victory.
As has become the norm, the Reds never really got going in a Saturday 12.30pm game, but they still had enough to see off the Blues, 2-0 at Anfield.
The Egyptian then made it 2-0 in the dying seconds, finishing off a swift counter-attack involving Darwin Nunez, and derby success was sealed.
Here’s how the media assessed Liverpool’s win:
It wasn’t pretty, but some were still impressed…
This Is Anfield‘s Mark Delgado praised Liverpool’s ability to battle through 12.30pm games this season:
“Last season it was often noted that we fared terribly in early kick-offs, failing to win any of our six at 12:30pm.
“That ignores two factors though; few teams have to play them as regularly as we do, and the Reds were garbage in a lot of games last term, regardless of kick-off time.
“Despite that upturn in points, it was a fairly dismal atmosphere for too long in the derby, something long noted in early Premier League matches and not just at our ground.”
Andy Hunter of the Guardian admitted that it wasn’t convincing stuff by Liverpool:
“The records will read another routine derby win for Liverpool, their 99th in total and 14th in the past 24 Premier League encounters at Anfield, plus another defining contribution from Mohamed Salah.
The Independent‘s Richard Jolly felt Young’s red card proved to be the pivotal moment in the game:
“It tends to be the derby of the dismissals. The red side won in part because of a red card and, if the time when the meetings of the two halves of Merseyside were known as the ‘friendly derby’ feels increasingly distant, these days the sendings-off are stacking up.
“There can be a tendency to pin results on referees, to say decisions changed games; yet that suggests players are powerless.
“Yet Young was complicit in his own downfall. Two cautions were the consequence of his choices. Of such a vintage that he was born a couple of months after Howard Kendall’s Everton won their first Division 1 title and that he is a former teammate of his 52-year-old manager Sean Dyche, Young should have shown a greater sense of responsibility.”
The Liverpool Echo‘s Ian Doyle felt Liverpool struggled against 10 men, but praised Klopp’s tactical tweaks:
“If there’s one team who knows all about the difficulty about playing against a team reduced to 10 men this season, it’s Liverpool.
“But rather than inflicting frustration on opponents for a fourth time in nine Premier League games, this time the Reds found themselves on the receiving end.
“And the annoyance among the majority at Anfield was becoming increasingly palpable as Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled to break down a well-drilled Everton, despite the visitors being reduced to 10 men before half-time.”
The focus was on Salah, but others stood out…
Delgado was full of praise for the Egyptian King:
“It wasn’t Mo’s best game of the season, but his effectiveness level continues to be through the roof at Anfield – albeit thanks to the penalty spot and Darwin Nunez‘s selflessness this time around.
“This match marked four home Premier League games in a row in which he has scored. And, in the last 13 home league matches, he has found the back of the net in 12 of them, notching up 14 goals in that time.
“Not content with just bagging, he’s also a creator these days. In the only game of that 13-match run in which he didn’t score, Salah did assist someone instead – Roberto Firmino‘s late equaliser against Aston Villa.
“The No.11 remains an incredible source of goals and points for the Reds and, even when not at his very best, can still prove a match-winner. With 105 goals, the Egyptian now has more goals at Anfield than Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish.”
— Lewis Steele (@LewisSteele_) October 21, 2023
Meanwhile, Harry Sherlock of GOAL also delved into the Hungarian’s performance:
“Always looked to move the ball forward. Was exceptional in the first-half and had more than one attempt from range, but his influence faded as Everton attempted to shore things up following Young’s red card.”
“Looked incredibly sharp on his first Premier League start, frequently exhibiting his close control and press retention in tight areas. Influence waned a little in the second and was replaced by Elliott.”