Everton finally ended their Anfield hoodoo to earn a 2-0 win over their out-of-form Merseyside rivals on a blustery night in the North West.
Much has been made of Everton’s woeful record in the derby – the Blues’ last win at Anfield being all the way back in September 1999 – though they came flying out of the traps and took the lead inside three minutes.
A poor defensive header from new boy Ozan Kabak went straight to Abdoulaye Doucoure, who played it into on to James Rodriguez. The Colombian played a superbly weighted pass through the Liverpool defence into the path of Richarlison, the Brazilian firing across Alisson and into the bottom corner.
The main talking point from the reverse fixture was the injury to Virgil van Dijk, with Liverpool since suffering a succession of injuries in central defence. Reds skipper Jordan Henderson has deputised in the back four of late, though the England international limped out of the game midway through the first half.
With the wind in their faces, Liverpool laid siege to the Everton goal after the break, Sadio Mane a constant threat to the Toffees backline, while Jordan Pickford produced a big save to deny Mohamed Salah midway through the second period, the Everton ‘keeper making himself big to keep out the Premier League top scorer’s effort from close range.
For all their second-half domination, Liverpool looked to be running out of ideas, while Everton looked a threat on the counter-attack, and it was through that route that they ultimately got their second. Substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin won the foot race to get in behind the Reds defence, his effort being saved by Alisson before the forward was somewhat harshly adjudged to have been brought down by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up and despatched the resulting spot-kick beyond the Brazilian ‘keeper to secure a historic win.
Speaking afterwards, veteran boss Carlo Ancelotti was understandably delighted with the historic win, though he urged his side to find some form at Goodison Park as they make a push for European qualification.
🇮🇹 Carlo Ancelotti has now managed 5 different clubs to victory against Liverpool
2007 AC Milan
2009 & 2010 Chelsea
2014 (x2) Real Madrid
2018 & 2019 Napoli
2021 Everton pic.twitter.com/7699FaIJzo
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 20, 2021
“I am very pleased for the club and the supporters. I hope for sure that they are going to celebrate tonight,” Ancelotti told Sky Sports. “It was a good performance. A lot of fight and spirit. I am really happy.
“We played with two strikers James Rodriguez and Richarlison and we played with [Seamus] Coleman to fix the position of Robertson and four at the back to control [Mohamed] Salah, [Sadio] Mane and [Roberto] Firmino.
“We wanted to avoid the pressure from Liverpool. We know they press a lot but sometimes we had the opportunity to play. Richarlison is back. He is scoring and is playing with a lot of consistency. He has that quality.
“We have to find more consistency at home and we are working on this. We are fighting for Europe and now we are in a good position. This kind of performance helps to improve the belief of the team.
“Jordan [Pickford] did really well. He accepted the criticism. You have to do that and try to be better and he did it.”
The result sees Everton move level on points with their Merseyside rivals, Ancelotti’s side just three points behind fourth placed Chelsea with a game in hand.