Liverpool made a much needed return to winning ways by seeing off Merseyside rivals Everton 2-0 at Anfield on Monday night.
Recent losses to Wolves and Brighton had dented Reds morale but clinical breakaway strikes from Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo – his first strike for the club – ensured Jurgen Klopp won his touchline battle of wits with Sean Dyche.
Ellis Simms replaced Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the Everton starting XI and an early Joel Matip error allowed the former Sunderland loanee a chance in space but his shot blasted back off Joe Gomez.
Liverpool looked more threatening in the first half than they have in weeks but Gakpo couldn’t put them ahead with the game’s first quality chance. Darwin Nunez crossed towards the Netherlands international but he could only glance his header wide of the far post.
Idrissa Gueue ballooned an ambitious strike from distance deep into the Anfield crowd, who were soon cheering the opening goal as Everton were undone from their own attacking corner.
Aleix Iwobi’s lofty set piece was headed back across the box and off the post by James Tarkowski. Dwight McNeil’s attempted shot instead broke for Nunez, who quickly combined with Salah before carrying the ball deep into Everton’s half. The Uruguayan’s cross found Salah again and the Egyptian capitalised on Jordan Pickford’s extremely errant positioning to prod in.
The Reds continued to threaten with Nunez’s pace again a major asset. The 23-year-old saw a shot from Fabinho’s knock down blocked before Gomez fired well over.
Everton won their first game under Sean Dyche in trademark fashion by shutting out Arsenal but their task of taking anything back to Goodison Park was made doubly difficult when Liverpool grabbed their second.
The hosts sprung quickly on the counter again as Andy Robertson burst forward and found Salah. The ball went wide to Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose low cross travelled across the box to Gakpo to steer in unopposed.
Nunez’s search for a goal continued as he curled wide after a driving Gakpo run before Everton threatened to pull one back, but substitute Tom Davies could only head over.
Salah nearly made it three late on when latching onto Roberto Firmino’s flick but the shot was turned round by Pickford. Liverpool saw out the remaining stages and sit ninth in the Premier League, with Everton down in 18th.
GK: Alisson – 6/10 – Minimal shot-stopping to do and distributed the ball effectively.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10 – Made some great passes, including the ball across goal for Gakpo to convert. Made five tackles in defence.
CB: Joel Matip – 5/10 – Some moments of hesitation with one almost gifting Everton an early goal. Didn’t stop him making some trademark runs.
CB: Joe Gomez – 7/10 – Much more proactive than Matip and was on hand to steer Liverpool to safety on a few occasions.
LB: Andy Robertson – 7/10 – Made gut-busting runs in attack and nullified Everton’s threat on the right. Involved in some sh*tshousery towards the full time whistle.
CM: Jordan Henderson – 6/10 – Came back into the XI. Curled in a beauty but the whistle had long gone previously. Industrious but not always precise.
CM: Fabinho – 6/10 – A little better than in recent weeks, though the Brazilian was caught in possession on occasion.
CM: Stefan Bajcetic – 8/10 – Becoming a steady and positive influence in Liverpool’s midfield, where others have faded recently. Was energetic in defence, won the ball back often and drove forward.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 7/10 – Instinctive finish with Pickford stranded put Liverpool ahead and ended his own goal drought. Looked more threatening in open play.
ST: Cody Gakpo – 8/10 – Easy tap in for his first Liverpool goal but looked much stronger when running directly and clearly had more confidence once that strike went in.
LW: Darwin Nunez – 7/10 – The goal remains elusive – Nunez had another hatful of chances here – but Nunez’s pace stretched Everton and his cross set up Salah’s opener.
Diogo Jota (70′ for Nunez) – 6/10 – Made his long awaited return from injury.
Roberto Firmino (80′ for Gakpo) – 6/10 – Couple of sharp moments as Liverpool searched for a third goal.
James Milner (80′ for Henderson) – 6/10 – Did James Milner things.
Harvey Elliott (90′ for Salah) – N/A
Naby Keita (90′ for Bajcetic) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 7/10 – Got a much more potent display out of his side than has been the case recently.
GK: Jordan Pickford – 3/10 – Caught in no man’s land for Salah’s goal. Required to make some saves but nothing that redeemed that earlier mistake.
RB: Seamus Coleman – 4/10 – Committed as ever, making three tackles at right back, but Liverpool exploited the space behind Coleman time and time again.
CB: Conor Coady – 4/10 – The ball eluded Coady under his feet for Liverpool’s second.
CB: James Tarkowski – 6/10 – Unlucky to see both his header strike the post and Liverpool race up the other end of score themselves.
LB: Vitaliy Mykolenko – 4/10 – Also couldn’t get a foot to Alexander-Arnold’s cross. Looked slightly out of his depth against Salah.
RM: Dwight McNeil – 4/10 – Minimal attacking threat from out wide and had to get back to do defensive chores.
CM: Abdoulaye Doucoure – 5/10 – Couldn’t add any attacking impetus from midfield
CM: Idrissa Gueye – 6/10 – Won the ball back pretty well for Everton and made a couple of interceptions but had little outlet to distribute to.
CM: Amadou Onana – 5/10 – Quite careless in possession, often failing to retain the ball.
LM: Alex Iwobi – 6/10 – His corner nearly set up an opener for Tarkowski. Made a couple of forward-thinking passes but nothing that could get Everton back into the game.
ST: Ellis Simms – 5/10 – One opportunity to shoot from a Matip mistake was blocked. Couldn’t bring others into play very effectively but very much thrown in at the deep end.
Demarai Gray (61′ for Simms) – 5/10 – Had once chance to dribble but really struggled to get involved.
Neal Maupay (78′ for McNeil) – 5/10 – A handful of touches and nothing else.
Tom Davies (78′ for Onana) – 5/10 – Headed over one decent chance.
Sean Dyche – 5/10 – Would have taken three points from games against Arsenal and Liverpool but Everton rarely looked capable of securing a result here.