Liverpool move closer to Champions League with impressive Derby victory

Superb individual efforts from Mané and Coutinho in the first half, along with Origi’s powerful strike on the hour mark, earned Liverpool a 3-1 Merseyside derby victory over Everton at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.

The fantastic result meant we completed a Premier League double over our neighbours this season. It also saw us move up to third, enhancing the possibility of a top-four place. Moving closer to that illusive Champions League qualification spot.

Everton had briefly drawn level through Matthew Pennington following Mane’s early opener, but Coutinho responded immediately to make sure the hosts went in ahead at the interval.

Mané was forced off with an apparent ankle injury soon after half-time – however substitute Origi sealed all three points for Liverpool with a fine finish just minutes after coming on.

The key points

  • Mane gave Liverpool an early lead.
  • Pennington equalised for Everton in the 28th minute.
  • Coutinho restored the advantage almost immediately.
  • Origi, on for the injured Mane, made it 3-1 on the hour.
  • Victory lifted Liverpool into third in the Premier League.

The team news

Jürgen Klopp made two changes to his starting line-up from the 1-1 draw with Manchester City a fortnight ago, with Lucas Leiva and Dejan Lovren coming in for Adam Lallana and Ragnar Klavan.

Marko Grujic, meanwhile, was named in Liverpool’s squad for the first time since November following a tendon injury.

Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Lucas, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Coutinho.

The first half

As expected the game began a predictably frenetic pace. Amid the fast and furious tempo, Mané produced a moment of calm and clinical quality to open the scoring eight minutes in.

After spinning away from Idrissa Gana Gueye just inside the Everton half, Mané played a neat one-two with Firmino and carried the ball across the face of the area before whipping a left-footed shot back across Joel Robles and into the far corner.

It was so noisy inside Anfield you sensed the new roof of the main stand was about to come off!! Moments later Robles and Jagielka prevented Coutinho from doubling Liverpool’s lead in the 19th minute. Superb pass and vision from Emre Can to allow Coutinho the opportunity.

Pennington pounced on a loose ball from a corner and converted from close range – undone again. However this lasted just three minutes as Coutinho had something else in mind. Dropping deep to pick up the ball, he drove at the heart of the Blues’ backline, took a step inside and curled an unstoppable right-footed effort. Coutinho was back. Proving those that doubted him were crazy.

The second half

No sooner had Origi replaced Mané, the Belgian gave the Reds a two-goal cushion on the hour.

Taking no time at all to get up to speed with the game, Origi cut in from the left and powered a right-footed shot past the wrong-footed Robles and high into the Kop-end net.

Mignolet later superbly reacted quickly to palm away a deflected shot, keeping Liverpool in full control. Alexander-Arnold, making his debut in the derby at first-team level, twice forced Robles into saves after being introduced for Coutinho as the Reds saw out the closing stages in relative comfort.

Stats

  • Klopp is the first Liverpool manager to win his first three league Merseyside derbies against Everton.
  • Mané has scored in both Merseyside derbies this season, the first player to do that since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14.
  • Mané has now been involved in 18 league goals this season (13 goals, five assists), his best return in a Premier League campaign.
  • Only Olivier Giroud (seven) has scored more goals as a substitute than Divock Origi’s six since the Belgium international’s Premier League debut in September 2015.

Liverpool hired a private jet to bring Coutinho and fellow Brazil international Firmino back after their country’s win over Paraguay in midweek and will feel the move was worth it after the forward returned to form in style. The 24-year-old was a picture of feints, shimmies and attacking runs at the Blues defence.

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