Liverpool over came cross-town rivals Everton at the Goodison Park on Monday courtesy of a 92nd minute strike from Sadio Mane off an initial rebound from an earlier Daniel Sturridge drive.
The news leading to the match centered mainly on how important a positive result will be for The Toffees boss Ronald Koeman and on how Liverpool needed to prove what they are capable of without the sidelined Coutinho.
The first half of the game had everything the Merseyside derby was known for: speed, tension, daring tackles and much more. The fact that referee Mike Dean did not dish out a yellow card during the feisty first half is one of the biggest miracles of the season so far.
Intensity was the watchword for the first 45 minutes and Liverpool did lose on those grounds because the Everton players came out on top mainly from the disruptive approach they employed on the visitors. Both sides ran but Everton ran more, tackled harder and intercepted more passes as they made complete use of their physicality –something Wenger whined about the last time his side visited Goodison – to make sure meaningful strings of passes that often lead to progressive chance-creating rhythms were almost non-existent for Jurgen Klopp’s men
Summer signing Klavan was the main reason for all the hassles and tussles of the Toffees, scoring a goal – the main thing that counts – seemed farfetched as the Estonian nullified all variety of threats posed by Lukaku who served as the focal point of the home side’s attack.
The second half of the game came with a reversal of duties with Everton’s initial steam cooling off as a result of the stamina-reducing high press they operated with in the first half. That does not mean Liverpool took up the Toffees’ first half style though. For the Reds, a game-controlling gradual build up from the back with Klavan and Lovren triggering off strings of passes was the main reason they were able to take charge of the game. As a result, even when the host employed their hassling approach, the Reds made sure they reduced their opponents to chasing their shadows.
And that is how we were treated to a theater of chances being created by the visitors while the host – since they could not keep up with their earlier pace – pushed backed to form two walls of four players with Ross Barkley at the tip and Lukaku isolated upfront.
Liverpool still could not create a meaningful chance with Divock Origi particularly struggling while Roberto Firmino wasn’t quite sure of his position. Only Sadio Mane provided clear cut chances, yet, this team mates found it hard to link up with him. Former Newcastle man Wijnaldum was found wanting as he fired the two chances laid out for him into the stands.
The introduction of Daniel Sturridge helped reshaped the visitors attack. the England international’s ability to drop back and link up with midfielders coupled with goalie Stekelenburg’s injury from a clash with captain Leighton Banes all came together and gave birth to a fortune for the Red as Sturridge’s low drive ricocheted off the post into the part of the onrushing Mane who tapped it home to gift the Klopp’s men 3 points and push them into the league’s position 2nd position where they can keep tabs with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.