Goals from Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo saw Liverpool run out comfortable 2-0 winners over Everton in the 242nd Merseyside derby.
Both sides have endured difficult starts to the season, Liverpool coming into the game down in 10th while Everton are firmly mired in the relegation dogfight.
Everton will have been buoyed by last weekend’s victory over league leaders Arsenal, though it was Liverpool who started by far the brighter of the two, the Reds quicker and sharper to the ball and playing much more like the slick brand of football that we have become accustomed to in recent years.
Liverpool would strike first blood just after the half-hour mark following a rapid counter-attack. It was actually Everton that almost took the lead as James Tarkowski saw his effort come back off the woodwork from a corner, only for Darwin Nunez to lead the charge forward for the Reds on the break. The Uruguayan had been a livewire throughout the opening period of the game, and having raced to the edge of the Everton box, he picked out Mohamed Salah who steered the ball past Jordan Pickford who was in no-mans-land.
The hosts would double their advantage four minutes into the second half, and again it would come through a devastating counter-attack. Everton surrendered possession inside the Liverpool half, with Cody Gakpo scoring his first goal since his January move to Anfield, tapping home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross following a sweeping move.
Following that statement victory over the Gunners last week, Everton were really poor for the vast majority of the 90 minutes at the home of their nearest and most bitter rivals, and Liverpool could have had plenty more had they been at their clinical best.
Mohamed Salah has struggled for goals so far this season, his strike against the Toffees just the eighth in the Premier League so far, and the forward said he was hoping that this ‘huge win’ was a turning point in Liverpool’s season.
“It’s a huge win for us,” he told Sky Sports. “We had a perfect week to train and the players were so excited and we couldn’t wait for the game to turn everything around and hopefully it was a start.”
Asked about his goal, Salah said: “I know that Darwin [Nunez] is really fast so they had a corner and we played a one-two, I knew that he was going to play the ball in the space so I was running as fast as I could and scored so that’s the most important thing.”
Despite his tender years, Stefan Bajcetic put in another excellent display in the Liverpool midfield, and Salah was full of praise for the 18-year-old.
“He’s a great player and person, he always tries to work hard. Since he started playing for us, he has been our best player maybe so hopefully he keeps that confidence and keeps going.
The Egyptian did concede that Liverpool were ‘a bit lucky’ at times, but said he felt that he had seen signs of the ‘old Liverpool’ returning.
“We were a little bit lucky but luck always comes when you work really hard and I’m sure everybody was excited for that game to change everything and hopefully again that is a start.
“Henderson and Milner were speaking and said we have to play our football and we have to enjoy so we managed to play good and it looks like old Liverpool but that has started since last week.”
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