Liverpool were forced to scrape hard against Everton but they ended up coming out of the Merseyside derby with a massive three points. Aside from Frank Lampard sweating over his side’s future in the Premier League, it sent a clear message to Manchester City at the top.
Faced with the full gamut of the dark arts led by Richarlison and Jordan Pickford, Liverpool invoked every witchcraft that allows Divock Origi to score every time he plays against Everton. He was deployed to perfection by Jürgen Klopp, who knows his team has just passed a colossal test.
These are the three moments Liverpool.com picked from the Reds’ 2-0 win against Everton.
It would be easy to trot out of the squad depth when judging the good parts of this win, but this wasn’t about the depth of the squad. This was about Origi.
The Belgian isn’t even really part of the offensive rotation anymore. He will leave in the summer with the Kop’s everlasting goodwill, but he has long been set as a long-term option for Liverpool. His presence in the squad, and subsequent introduction, was almost entirely due to his record against Everton.
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Klopp didn’t just win a football game, he won psychological warfare. Everton’s fear of Origi was palpable. Pickford, who had radiated brash stubbornness throughout the match, suddenly looked a little shaky. The defense, drilled so well, began to lose their runners. Sure there was an extra attacker to pick up, but it was the identity of the new attacker that was the most important factor.
For Manchester City, this unlikely hero will be hugely frustrating for Liverpool. Klopp must have felt the same way in 2019 when Vincent Kompany shot one from 100 yards in. How they react to this apparent heir to invincibility around their rivals will be key for Pep Guardiola’s side – they will have allowed themselves to hope Everton would do them a favour, and must now get ready to go again.
Liverpool came forward with the win, but their noses were bloodied. Both figuratively and almost literally. Klopp’s concern is that other struggling teams will see this as a model.
Everton did more than just park the bus. They went full Atlético Madrid. No side can be expected to emerge victorious from such scraps every week. Sure, Lampard used some of the derby spirit to get that extra intensity, but there’s nothing stopping other parties from making similar antics.
On the bright side, Liverpool showed that they have a number of different ways to win. In that regard, there were shades of what Man City recently did against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. The Alisson slumped to the ground towards the end, a reflection of what Pickford had enjoyed so much during the match before falling behind was a glorious moment.
Again, the magic of Origi prevents too many solid conclusions from being drawn. But Klopp will be happy to have won these kinds of matches, even if he doesn’t want to encounter too many.
the ugly one
Where to start? Everton went out of their way to make sure everything about this game was ugly. Jordan Pickford was an inevitable villain, but Richarlison’s antics take the cake.
From his theatrical play and time-wasting level to his unsavory challenge on Jordan Henderson in the closing moments, it was a scummy performance throughout. The echoes of Jose Mourinho’s ‘masterclass’ in 2014 couldn’t be ignored, but this side of Liverpool is better than the one Lampard managed to thwart in his playing days, and Richarlison got the defeat his performance deserved.
It was a cathartic victory, but also a significant one. To come through such an ugly game as winners is proof that Liverpool can win all sorts of different games, something that will be crucial in these most intense run-ins. Manchester City, pay attention.