Liverpool made a perfect return to Premier League action as they saw off the threat of Everton thanks to a 2-0 victory in Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had to settle for a share of the spoils in their last outing before the international break but were keen to go one better against their city rivals.
Everton made a fine start to the contest and had the first crack at goal through Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose effort was dealt with by Alisson.
Buoyed by their ever-buzzing home support, Liverpool soon found their rhythm and started to exert themselves.
The Reds fashioned out their first opportunity of the game in the 13th minute when Luis Diaz was played through on goal, but the Colombian’s effort was thwarted by a last-ditch tackle from Ashley Young.
That set the tone for the subsequent phase of the game as Liverpool continued to dominate proceedings, albeit to little avail.
With eight minutes left before the half-time whistle, Everton were reduced to ten men following Ashley Young’s sending-off for a second bookable offence.
Liverpool looked to get their noses in front before the interval, but Everton continued to remain resilient at the back.
The Reds unsurprisingly kicked off the second half with more attacking intent as they looked to make their numerical advantage count.
However, the Reds continued to enjoy a frustrating day in front of goal, thanks in no small part to Everton’s doggedness which saw them limit their hosts to long-range efforts.
Following back-to-back goals for Uruguay while on international duty, Darwin Nunez was summoned off the bench and he wasted no time in calling Jordan Pickford to action.
As the second half progressed, Everton retreated further towards their goal, indicating their satisfaction with coming away on level terms.
The Toffees had perfectly executed their game plan for over 70 minutes before they became the architects of their downfall.
Half-time substitute Michael Keane was adjudged to have handled the ball in his box 18, and Mohamed Salah expertly finished the resulting penalty.
Taking the lead ultimately saw Liverpool take their foot off the gas a bit but retain their front-foot approach heading into the final knockings of the game.
Diogo Jota nearly doubled his side’s advantage after getting on the end of a Trent Alexander-Aronold delivery but Pickford was up to the task.
With nine minutes of stoppage time added, Everton pushed forward in search of an equaliser and were made to pay dearly at the other end.
A lethal counter-attack involving Nunez and Salah saw the latter finish past Pickford with aplomb.
Saturday’s victory has seen Liverpool temporarily go top of the Premier League standings which is always a welcome boost.
Liverpool 2-0 Everton Player Ratings
Alisson (6/10) – Had very little to do in terms of shot-stopping but was perfect in possession, completing 100% of his passes.
Konstantinos Tsimikas (5/10) – Somewhat lucky to have escaped a booking in the first half where he was found waiting on several occasions.
Virgil van Dijk (7/10) – A real captain’s performance from the Dutchman who marshalled the back line with authority.
Ibrahima Konate (6/10) – Nearly got himself sent off for a second yellow card but was assured in defence.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6.5/10) – A constant threat in Everton’s thorn throughout the game and could have easily walked away with a goal and an assist on another day.
Ryan Gravenberch (6/10) – Made good use of his first league start, where he hardly put a foot wrong.
Alexis Mac Allister (5.5/10) – Found himself second-best in some duels but was generally composed on the ball to keep his side ticking.
Dominik Szoboszlai (6.5/10) – Yet another impressive display from the 22-year-old, who has settled in nicely to life at Anfield.
Luis Diaz (6/10) – A constant livewire down the left and his willingness to keep going provided Liverpool with the opportunity to take the lead from 12 yards.
Diogo Jota (5.5/10) – Led the line well and kept the Everton defenders on their toes.
Mohamed Salah (8.5/10) *MOTM* – The Egyptian showed exactly why Liverpool were so keen to keep hold of him with yet another masterclass.
Darwin Nunez (6/10) – Had a decent crack at goal minutes after coming on before unselfishly playing Salah through for the clincher.
Harvey Eliott – (5.5/10)
Joel Matip – (5/10)
Joe Gomez – N/A
Jordan Pickford (6/10) – Produced several good saves to keep the scoreline respectable.
Vitaly Mykolenko (5/10) – Coped well with the threat of Salah in the first half but could do little to stop the Egyptian in his tracks after half-time.
Jarrad Branthwaite (5/10) – Decent outing for the England Under-21 international who led his team in clearances.
James Tarkowski (6/10) – Put in a real shift at the back which was a key reason why Liverpool were frustrated for large spells of the afternoon.
Ashley Young (3/10) – Let his team down by getting unnecessarily sent off.
Amadou Onana (5.5/10) – A really industrious outing for the Belgian, who more than held his own in the middle of the park.
James Garner (4.5/10) – Struggled to lay a foothold on the game and was often careless in possession.
Jack Harrison (5/10) – Provided a couple of promising situations prior to his substitution at the break.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (5/10) – Racked up a team-high four interceptions but couldn’t muster up any impact at the top end of the pitch.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (4/10) – Had an early chance to break the deadlock and that was just about his only meaningful contribution.
Michael Keane (4/10) – Helped provide extra defensive cover for his side but gave away the penalty which opened the scoring.
Nathan Patterson (5.5/10) – Solid when called upon but nothing overly fanciful.
Beto (5/10) – Like his replacement on the day, Beto was often left up front all on his own and he struggled to impact the game.
Arnaut Danjuma – N/A
Youssef Chermiti – N/A
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