Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were in sensational touch as Liverpool ran out 5-2 winners over Everton in the first Merseyside derby of the season on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp had rotated his side heavily despite his side playing the derby. But, Liverpool were hot out of the gates as Divock Origi, with Sadio Mane laying the ball on for the Belgian. 10 minutes later, the Reds had doubled their advantage over Everton, with Mane supplying the assist to Xherdan Shaqiri this time.
Michael Keane pulled a goal back for Everton almost instantly, but Liverpool stretched their lead through Origi and Mane, before Richarlison made it 4-2 at the stroke of half-time. Things were a bit more settled post the break, with the hosts still being the more dominant of the two sides.
The win was then rounded off in the final minute of regulation time, as Georginio Wijnaldum linked up ever so well with Roberto Firmino before applying the finishing touches from close range. The result restores Liverpool’s 11-point cushion atop the Premier League table and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Starting in place of the injured Alisson Becker, Adrian was a solid presence in goal and made two decent saves. Conceded two goals, but in fairness, there was very little he could have done to deny either Michael Keane or Richarlison. Looked composed on the ball. Ten wins in ten Premier League outings this term. Liverpool’s lucky charm of sorts.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8/10
An authoritative and passionate performance by Alexander-Arnold, who engaged in a constant tussle with Richarlison over the course of the game. On the ball, though, the English international was in fine touch, much like his performance against Brighton this past weekend.
Alexander-Arnold first played a brilliant cross-field pass, pivotal in the build-up to Xherdan Shaqiri’s goal before grabbing an assist for himself when Sadio Mane found the back of the net. Since the start of last season, no other Premier League player has provided more assists than the young full-back (18).
Dejan Lovren: 7/10
Somewhat of a mixed bag for Lovren, although the positives far outweighed the negatives. All through the game, the Croat was a strong outlet from the back and provided a stupendous assist to Origi for his second goal, an 80-yard long pass threaded through the Everton midfield and defence.
Off the ball, however, he was suspect at times and could have done better to stop Keane from scoring Everton’s first. Otherwise, some of his numbers make for impressive reading, with Lovren completing 5 recoveries and winning 7 duels apart from making 7 clearances.
Virgil van Dijk: 6/10
Not quite at his domineering best, van Dijk was perhaps, the worst player in a strong home side. Very fortunate to not see Everton get a penalty for a clumsy challenge on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and should have done better to stop Richarlison from scoring from pretty much a free header. Otherwise, his trademark long balls were on full show and he was more assured in the second half.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
Another player who was not quite at his best. Like Alexander-Arnold on the other flank, Robertson was involved in a few skirmishes, which arguably threw him off his game at times. His link-up with Mane, though, was delightful on most occasions, even though the end product was lacking for a fair bit.
James Milner: 7/10
With Jordan Henderson on the bench, Milner donned the armband for Liverpool and played as the holding midfielder. The veteran was his typical industrious self, harrying the Everton midfielder while looking to recycle possession quickly. A bit sloppy on the ball, though, on the odd occasion.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 8/10
Klopp changed his formation around on the night and Wijnaldum was deployed as the box-to-box midfielder in a double pivot. The Dutchman started off slowly but was his usual energetic self as the game wore on. Supported Milner well in stifling Everton’s build-up play and then capped off a solid outing with the final goal of the game, a fine finish indeed.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 8/10
A surprise inclusion, Shaqiri started in place of the rested Salah and looked like he had a point to prove from the get-go. In what was his first Premier League start since January, the Swiss superstar was purposeful with his driving runs and linked up well with Mane and Origi.
Most importantly, Shaqiri helped Alexander-Arnold a great deal by tracking back and curbing the output of Lucas Digne. A fine performance was capped off by the second goal of the game, as Shaqiri calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net from Mane’s pass. A point well proven.
Adam Lallana: 8/10
Another surprise starter, Lallana was deployed in an advanced midfield role rather than as an Anchor Man, as has been advertised for much of the season. The switch, though, proved to be a masterstroke by Klopp as the Englishman broke play high up the pitch and pressing aggressively. Heavily involved in the build-up to Origi’s first, this was a step in the right direction for Lallana.
Sadio Mane: 9/10
Mane has endured a mini period of lull, while still being a bright customer on the pitch. However, the Senegalese speedster appeared to be a man on a mission on Wednesday, looking to correct a rather underwhelming record against Everton. Mane started in electric fashion, with two stunning passes fashioning Liverpool’s first two goals, scored by Origi and Shaqiri.
He then had a goal for himself, a superb finish from close ranger. Could have easily scored a hat-trick with some better decision making and finishing, but it was still a fantastic showing by Mane. In the absence of Salah and Roberto Firmino, Mane took the responsibility and duly delivered.
Divock Origi: 9/10
With Firmino being preserved, Origi had a golden opportunity to stake claim for more regular inclusion. And, he grabbed his chance with both hands, producing two top drawer finishes to pave the way for a comfortable win for Liverpool. Cool as you like for the first goal, rounding Jordan Pickford before passing the ball into an empty net.
5 – Divock Origi has scored five Premier League goals against Everton; only Robbie Fowler (6) and Steven Gerrard (9) have scored more PL goals for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. Hero. pic.twitter.com/TEqPIoBdZY
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 4, 2019
The moment of the night for Origi, though, came just before his second goal, as he collected Lovren’s long pass with a delightful first touch before slamming the ball past the Everton no. 1. A stunning outing, at the end of the which Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard remain the only players to have scored more Premier League goals against Everton than Origi.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
The game was pretty much won by the time Henderson was introduced. However, the Liverpool captain looked intent on making the scoreline embarrassing for Everton and he threaded in a stunning first-time pass for Mane, only for the Senegalese forward to fluff his lines and rob him of an assist. Saw the game out without much of a fuss thereafter.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
Like Henderson, Firmino could have had an assist moments after replacing Origi, only for Mane to mess the chance up. Did grab an assist late on, though, as Wijnaldum scored the fifth of the game. The ease with which Liverpool prevailed in the Merseyside derby sure did help him fill up some gas in the tank.
Joe Gomez: N/A
A late substitution, Gomez helped see the game out.