Everton fell to their sixth defeat in seven games as Liverpool trampled over their city rivals en route to a comfortable 4-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night.
Liverpool bludgeoned Everton from the first whistle. Inside the opening ten minutes Jurgen Klopp’s voracious Reds carved out no fewer than four painfully clear cut chances. Given the chasm in quality between the sides, the only surprise was that Liverpool converted just one of them.
Jordan Henderson began and concluded a sweeping move to break the deadlock in the ninth minute. Spraying the ball to Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson hared forward on the overlap, cutting a pass back to his captain to delicately curl a sumptuous left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Henderson went from scorer to provider, knocking a pass into a gaping ocean of space down the right hand side which Mohamed Salah gleefully bounded onto. Having already squandered two early sights of goal the Premier League’s top scorer needed just a pair of touches to clinically finish off a crisp counter attack 20 minutes in.
With the threat of a hiding to forget on the horizon, patches of Everton fans were pictured trickling out of the stands far too early to innocently get a jump on the half-time refreshments.
That pessimistic minority missed Demarai Gray slotting the ball between Alisson’s legs in the 38th-minute, swiftly gathering in Richarlison’s punched pass to score with just Everton’s third shot of the match.
Gray’s goal managed to stem the flow in a first half that was threatening to completely get away from Everton, but ended with the Toffees arguably in the ascendency. However, Liverpool, amid one or two faint flutters, largely controlled proceedings.
With the rest of his teammates forward for an Everton corner, Seamus Coleman took a heavy first touch inside the centre circle – which may as well have been blood in the water with Salah sniffing around.
Liverpool’s electric number 11 shrugged the Toffee captain off the ball before leaving him haplessly trailing in his wake. Within the blink of an eye, Salah had eaten up half the length of pitch and rolled in Liverpool’s third of the night shortly after the hour mark.
Diogo Jota compounded Everton’s woes as the game approached its final ten minutes, spinning past Allan effortlessly inside the penalty area before spanking in Liverpool’s 43rd league goal of the campaign already.
Jordan Pickford (GK) – 5/10 – Left helpless in the face of Liverpool’s razor-sharp finishing, the England number one did prevent the tally totting up rapidly in the opening exchanges.
Seamus Coleman (RB) – 3/10 – Not done any favours by Gray’s hip-high pass but left red-faced for Salah’s second.
Ben Godfrey (CB) – 4/10 – Clumsily robbed of possession and horribly out of position for Liverpool’s second.
Michael Keane (CB) – 4/10 – Unable to offer much in an attempt to rebuff Liverpool’s advances.
Lucas Digne (LB) – 4/10 – Offered a threat going forward but had a flood of chances mercilessly funnelled down his flank.
Andros Townsend (RM) – 4/10 – Did attempt to aid his captain with Liverpool’s onslaught down the flanks but was often present rather than proactive.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – 5/10 – Grew into the game, as Everton did, which was hardly coincidental.
Allan (CM) – 4/10 – Swamped in a midfield tussle that left him outnumbered from the off.
Demarai Gray (LM) – 6/10 – Everton’s brightest spark posed a sporadic problem for Liverpool’s marauding fullback.
Salomon Rondon (ST) – 6/10 – Could scarcely be faulted for his work rate of the ball, though left something to be desired when in possession before hobbling off.
Richarlison (ST) – 5/10 – Composed when delivering the assist for Gray but snatched at the brief flashes of the goal he was afforded.
Anthony Gordon (LM) – N/A
Fabian Delph (CM) – N/A
Cenk Tosun (ST) – N/A
Alisson (GK) – 5/10 – Failed to rebuff one of the few shots on target Everton could muster but largely untroubled elsewhere.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 7/10 – Superb as ever in the attacking phase, the 23-year-old was sharp on the cover in his own area as well.
Joel Matip (CB) – 6/10 – May very well have opened the scoring after a matter of seconds, but his header from a corner skidded off his eyebrows and wide.
Virgil van Dijk (CB) – 6/10 – On his return to the ground where his 2020/21 campaign was cut short, Van Dijk was unusually caught in two minds for Gray’s goal.
Andy Robertson (LB) – 7/10 – Bounding forward to devastating effect as he dovetailed devilishly with Sadio Mane.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – 8/10 – Knitting play together down Liverpool’s dominant right flank, the Reds skipper was superb on derby day.
Fabinho (CM) – 8/10 – Mopping up when Matip went for a wander on more than one occasion.
Thiago Alcantara (CM) – 7/10 – Imbuing a cool sense of control every time he had the ball, inevitably under his studs.
Mohamed Salah (RW) – 8/10 – With a goal or assist in his last 12 consecutive league games, Salah’s brilliance is threatening to become normalised.
Diogo Jota (ST) – 7/10 – Skirting around the fringes for much of the contest, Jota very much left the game with his stamp firmly planted on the match.
Sadio Mane (LW) – 7/10 – A perennial nuisance without quite troubling the scoresheet directly.
James Milner (CM) – N/A
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) – N/A