Curtis Jones scored a peach of a long range curler as Liverpool beat local rivals Everton to progress to the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.
Liverpool were the stronger of the two sides in the early exchanges, although Everton forced Adrian into a couple of top saves in the first quarter of an hour. As the first half progressed, though, the game became more of an end-to-end affair. The deadlock, however, would not be broken until midway through the second period.
Curtis Jones scored his first senior goal for Liverpool, collecting the ball from Divock Origi before curling it past Jordan Pickford from just outside the box. That goal would be enough to send Liverpool through to the FA Cup fourth round. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Handed a rare start against Everton, Adrian made it a memorable Merseyside derby debut. Called into action early on, the Spaniard denied Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate before the first quarter of an hour was played. The Spaniard made another couple of stops, ensuring a popular clean sheet. Composed with the ball at his feet as well. Such an asset at Klopp’s disposal.
Neco Williams: 8/10
Starting for the first time since featuring in the Carabao Cup against Arsenal, Williams continued from where he had left off and arguably performed at a higher level. Up against Richarlison, the young Welshman held his own for the most part. But, more impressively, he was in his elements when charging forward, linking up well with Harvey Elliott. A handy backup option.
Joe Gomez: 8/10
Joe Gomez vs. Everton
71% pass accuracy
7/16 Accurate long passes
2/3 Dribbles completed
4/5 Ground duels won
4/9 Aerial duels won
2/2 Tackles won
My man of the match. Gomez provided a lot of cover tonight, so much weight rested on his still young shoulders. pic.twitter.com/XN9fWLvgGM
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) January 5, 2020
Still all of 22, Gomez was Liverpool’s leader at the back, a role he reprised with aplomb. After a few initial hiccups, the young Englishman did well to organise the defensive line and snuff out the danger that Everton looked to create. Won 8 duels in all, while also completing 7 long balls to ensure that Virgil van Dijk was hardly missed. Good signs for the future.
Nat Phillips: 7/10
Back at the club after having his loan spell at VfB Stuttgart being cut short, Phillips made a wobbly start to the game. Was at fault for conceding the chances that saw Calvert-Lewin and Holgate being denied by Adrian. However, he improved as the game progressed, with a tackle on Richarlison, in particular, standing out. Could have done better with the ball at his feet, though.
James Milner: N/A
Liverpool’s skipper for the game, Milner saw his evening come to a premature end after picking up a hamstring injury. Quite worrisome, especially amid an injury crisis that has been plaguing Liverpool lately.
Pedro Chirivella: 8/10
Starting for the first time since leading Liverpool in the 5-0 loss to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, Chirivella seemed to have picked up pointers from his previous outing. Looked up to the task at hand, hardly letting the occasion get to him. His leadership qualities were evident once again as he communicated effortlessly with everyone around him. A step in the right direction.
Adam Lallana: 9/10
Following Milner’s substitution, Lallana donned the armband for Liverpool and he led by example. Early into the game, Lallana was overrun a couple of times in the middle of the park. However, once he found his feet, there was no way past the Englishman, who controlled the proceedings magnificently, while also setting a quick tempo to the game.
Speculation surrounding his future might be increasing with every passing game, but Lallana is making sure that he leaves a lasting impact if he does leave Liverpool, impressive game after game.
Curtis Jones: 9/10
Jones has been included in the matchday squad in the last couple of Premier League game and he finally got a start this time around. Making his Merseyside derby debut, Jones exuded confidence and linked up well with those in front of him, while also creating the joint-most chances (3) in the game.
The cherry on top, though, was the brilliant strike that made all the difference in the end. What a way to condemn Everton to defeat. A bright future awaits the talented Jones.
Harvey Elliott: 7/10
From one prodigious youngster to another. And, quite like Jones, Elliott was in his elements on the night. Always looked to take on the Everton defence, giving Lucas Digne many-a-nervy moment. End product was not always on point, but he still ended up creating as many chances as Jones (3).
Takumi Minamino: 7/10
Making his Liverpool bow, Minamino reprised a role that fans have seen Roberto Firmino essay so well. Not spectacular by any means, but he put in the hard yards and coped up well with the intensity of Liverpool’s pressing. Never really had a sniff at goal apart from an early chance, although he linked up well with Origi and Elliott.
Divock Origi: 7/10
A perennial thorn on Everton’s side, Origi posed a great deal of threat against the Toffees once again. This time around, he could not find the back of the net, but it did require something special on Pickford’s part to claw away his close range effort. Created as many as chances as Elliott and Jones before leaving his mark on the game by providing the assist for the Jones’s goal.
Yasser Larouci: 7/10
With Milner sustaining his injury early on, Larouci was thrown into the deep end. Cut a confident figure on his Liverpool debut, defending well against Theo Walcott for the most part. Did not make a great deal of impact in the final third, but this was still a solid effort.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
Given the last 20 minutes in the game, Oxlade-Chamberlain used the game to build his fitness and sharpness and came close with a late effort. With Naby Keita, Fabinho and now Milner sidelined with injuries, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return to fitness comes as a relief for Klopp.
Rhian Brewster: N/A
Given the last 10 minutes or so, Brewster helped see the game out.