The last week in the English Premier League was always going to be about the Merseyside derby, and it ended up being an historic one as Everton beat their city rivals Liverpool 2-0.
Just to put the victory into context this was Everton’s first victory of any kind over Liverpool in 11 years. But it gets better as the records tumble and this was also Everton’s first victory at Anfield since 1999.
The game as one would expect started at a frantic pace even without fans present. Liverpool had set up as a 4-3-3 with again Jordan Henderson being deputised in defence and with that alarming 3 at the front strike partnership of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had come into the game having lost their last 3 home matches, lose this and it would be the first time since 1923 that the Reds had lost 4 games at home in a row.
Everton were expected to be more cautious but still played 2 up front away from home in the form of Richarlison and James Rodriguez who had been pushed further forward. Manager Carlo Ancelotti understood about the looming threat of the hosts and deployed 5 at the back.
Everton got off to the best start possible as James threaded a beautiful ball through to Richarlison who made no mistakes with his shot and Everton were in the lead of the derby within 180 seconds of kick off. That was Richarlison’s 4th goal of the season. For his standards the Brazilian has been quiet in this campaign however in the last few weeks starting with the Tottenham victory in the FA Cup Richarlison has found his form.
Possession wise after the goal was scored Liverpool dominated but interestingly Everton seemed like they could deal with whatever Liverpool presented them- and it wasn’t much. The champions had just 2 shots on target, Everton away from home had one more in the first half.
In the end Liverpool would end up with 72% possession and had a further 4 shots on target and Salah looked to have broken through near the end but Jordan Pickford in goal made some fine saves. Michael Keane really stood out at the back for the visitors and while Liverpool were now creating the better chances Everton were containing them.
Of course it didn’t help that Henderson had to leave the pitch with a groin injury, though at the present time the club captain isn’t expected to miss any further games.
Everton sealed victory after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sent clear his shot rebounded from Alisson but Trent-Alexander Arnold went for the tackle, he didn’t touch Calvert-Lewin but was adjudged to have impeded him in his run and Everton were given a penalty. There was a VAR call but the referee had made his mind up. Gylfi Sigurdsson made no mistakes in converting the penalty and that was his fourth goal of the season so far.
Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford
There were two Jordan’s on the pitch, one in blue and one in red. But Jordan Pickford for Everton was superb in goal. He has just come back from a rib injury and made some vital saves to keep his side in the game. Simply put if it wasn’t for Pickford’s display Everton could have lost the game.
Pickford only has 7 fantasy points this season because he has played 19 games and been injured and of course conceded goals early in the campaign. His value is 7m and this is the type of performance that could drive him to achieve more clean sheets. So far this season he has 4.
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