Salah On Target As Liverpool Record A 2-0 Victory Against A 10-Man Everton In The Merseyside Derby
Mohamed Salah was at the double as Liverpool returned to winning ways against local rivals Everton, who were down to ten men after Ashley Young’s first half dismissal.
Kostas Tsimikas replaced Andy Robertson in the Liverpool starting XI, as the Scotland captain is set to face a spell on the side lines, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin started his third consecutive league game for the Everton.
His sharpness in the box from kick-off, wherein his header was saved by Alisson, received a positive reception from the away fans but neither party will have been pleased with his lack of activity for the rest of the game.
Everton struggling to deal with their hosts’ devastating threat on the transition set the tone for the first half, however sloppy passing in the final third meant that Jordan Pickford was rarely called into action.
Ashley Young and James Tarkowski receiving yellow cards in the 18th and 32nd minute, respectively, meant that the right side of Everton’s defence was vulnerable to further exploitation by Luis Diaz. Despite this, Sean Dyche will have appreciated his side maintaining a compact shape, as well as a rigid defence that increasingly began to frustrate the Reds.
While several Liverpool players resorted to ambitious long range efforts, Diaz persevered; he eventually caused Young to commit to a careless challenge on the Columbian’s right foot, as he attempted to advance into the box. It was enough for referee Craig Pawson to award a second yellow card, as the oldest player on the pitch was jeered as he headed down the tunnel.
Abdoulaye Doucoure dropping deeper into the midfield, as James Garner filled Young’s void at right back, meant that Calvert-Lewin was stranded up the top for the Toffees. While Everton were down to ten men, they still posed the same problems for Liverpool, as the score line remained goalless at half time.
Vitaliy Mykolenko and Tarkowski were among those outstanding for Everton and they would look to deny their local rivals for another 45 minutes. Liverpool’s 12 shots yielded just one on target and any further squandering would only antagonise Anfield even further.
Sean Dyche signalled his intentions for the rest of the game, when Jack Harrison and Dwight McNeil were replaced by Michael Keane and Nathan Patterson.
The Reds were already missing the all-round quality Andy Robertson provided, with Tsimikas missing the pin point precision going forward, as well as the Scot’s defensive awareness. A flurry of changes saw the Greek left back replaced by Harvey Elliott, with Darwin Nunez also coming on for Ryan Gravenberch. It was also the end of an unfortunate afternoon for Calvert-Lewin, who went off for fellow striker Beto.
As the increasingly drab game went on, it was suddenly brought to life as the already booked Ibrahima Konate, brought down Beto on the halfway line. The Toffees in the away end and Dyche made themselves heard, as they relentlessly appealed for his dismissal. While Konate was not awarded another card, the challenge will yet again bring the inconsistency of Premier League refereeing to the forefront.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were finally presented with their breakthrough opportunity, as they were awarded a penalty in the 74th minute, that saw Keane penalised for an outstretched arm. Salah showed no hesitation and fired Liverpool into the lead from the spot.
The Reds had a spring in their step and were confidently dictating play, with Elliott’s long range effort being tipped onto the crossbar by Pickford. However, seven minutes into stoppage time, a Liverpool break from Everton’s corner saw Nunez sprint into free space, before unselfishly setting up Salah for his second of the game.
Salah’s class shone through yet again. Despite being kept quiet for most of the game by Mykolenko, he still emerged with two goals. His brace fired Liverpool to the top of the table, for the time being and the Reds were back to winning ways.
On the other hand, Everton and Sean Dyche will undoubtedly feel hard done by. His side defended valiantly with ten men and their way back into the game was arguably shut down by Pawson’s decision not to award Konate with a second yellow card. As they teeter three points above the relegation zone, the Toffees will want to avoid a repeat of their previous campaign.