REDS SMASH THE TOFFEES

The first Merseyside Derby of the season is now upon us, with struggling Everton the hosts against a high-flying Liverpool side.

To the surprise of no one, the Reds came flying out of the blocks as first, Joel Matip and then Mo Salah had decent chances within three minutes. Salah next drew a sharp save from Pickford with Everton rarely seeing the ball. And surely, enough the opener came soon enough. Andy Robertson’s cutback from the left was curled home on his weaker foot by Jordan Henderson from the edge of the box.

 

It was relentless from Liverpool, with Trent Alexander-Arnold being the latest to sting the palms of Jordan Pickford. It did not take long for one to become two. A loose giveaway from Ben Godfrey in Liverpool’s half allowed Henderson to slip in Salah in behind the Toffees defence. The rest was known to everyone inside the stadium, with the Egyptian notching up his 12th goal of the season. Mane’s strike was pushed away by Pickford who had been kept busy.

 

With eight minutes left for halftime, Everton suddenly pulled one back. Richarlison was given time and room to turn near Liverpool’s area before slipping Demarai Gray. The attacker made no mistake, placing the ball under Alisson and into the net. The goalscorer was booked soon after for simulation, following Andros Townsend in the book for the same offence.

 

Mane had the final chance of the half, his header cleared from in front of Pickford by Godfrey as a supremely high-tempo game took a break.

It was a quieter start after the break as both teams went toe-to-toe right from the off. Mane had a shot blocked by a sliding Godfrey with the home side’s defence holding firm for now. That was breached just past the hour mark and Seamus Coleman was at the centre of it. The captain miscontrolled a pass from Gray near the halfway line from an Everton corner, which was enough to set Salah away racing and notch up his brace, sliding the ball past Pickford.

 

The game was getting a bit fractictious with objects being thrown from the home crowd. But there was still misery left to be piled on. Robertson’s pass into Diogo Jota was perfect and the striker turned Allan before firing it into the roof of the net from a very tight angle. The game petered out after that and so did the home fans as Liverpool completed yet another dominant win over their hapless neighbours this time.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

 

RUTHLESS LIVERPOOL GET IT DONE

The opening 10 minutes of the game was a blur as far as Everton were concerned. Jurgen Klopp’s side raced off the blocks, and genuinely could have add two or three goals. Henderson’s goal was a thing of beauty and the Reds were pressing forward at every available opportunity, feasting down the flanks especially. Godfrey’s loose play allowed Henderson to play in Salah before they somewhat surprisingly conceded. Surely enough, that did shake up the nerves for a bit.

 

Nevertheless, Liverpool came out after the break their usual solid structure and did go close to doubling their lead once again. When the third goal did arrive, it did have luck attached. However, Salah’s expert running and finishing meant the backline had little chance to catch him. Jota’s fine finish was the icing on the cake as Liverpool firmly remain in the hunt of the summit.

 

EVERTON OUTDONE IN ALL AREAS

It was one of the poorest starts the Toffees have had all season, being all at sea over the opening 30 minutes. Rafa Benitez’s side were perhaps lucky to be only two goals behind, and he must have been liking his chances of turning things around after Gray scored. There were in the ascendancy in the final minutes before halftime and even held their own for the opening 20 minutes of the second half.

 

But Coleman’s costly mistake seemed to sap all the energy out of the side before Salomon Rondon was forced off with injury. From then on, Everton rarely threatened and let in a fourth through Jota in what was a truly forgettable afternoon for everyone involved at Goodison Park.

 

WHERE DO EVERTON GO NOW?

It is getting really worrying now for Everton and their fans. Eight games without a win, only two points taken during that stretch. The Toffees sit currently 14th, and it will not take long for them to slip into the relegation zone if this form continues. Benitez looks like a man who is running out of ideas and fast. Yes, injuries have devastated the backbone of the side, robbing them of several senior pros but a poor transfer window did not help matters either. The fans inside the stadium had started leaving midway through the first half which is never a good sign and there were more empty seats as the game winded down. Things are only getting gloomier.

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