Even against a Liverpool team with an average age of 8 years old, Everton still could not find a way to win at Anfield. That old Shankly quote about the Liverpool reserves being the second best team on Merseyside has never been more relevant than it is today. The Reds move into the 4th round of the FA Cup, despite Klopp’s best efforts, and continue their incredible run of form at home.
In goal, Adrian had a lot more to do than Alisson normally does – in the first half anyway. Everton had 3 very good chances, but couldn’t direct their attempts far enough away from the goalkeeper to trouble him too much.
The defence consisted of Neco Williams, Nat Phillips, Joe Gomez and James Milner. Unfortunately, Milner had to come off in the first 10 minutes due to yet another injury to add to the list. Yasser Larouci came on in his place. All four put in performances that they can be proud of. After a shaky first 30 minutes or so, they all grew into the game and prevented Everton from having any shots on target in the second half.
In midfield, Pedro Chirivella, Adam Lallana and Curtis Jones started the game. For someone who has been a Liverpool player since 2012, yet only making one appearance for the Reds in the league, Chirivella looked far more like a Premier League midfielder than the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Gylfi Sigurdsson. Fabinho may find himself struggling to make the bench when he returns with his replacements playing as well as they are at the moment. Adam Lallana also played very well, with his incredible work rate and energy so important during the 90 minutes. After Milner went off, he was given the armband and he captained the team admirably. As for Curtis Jones – what a goal and what a performance. How many times is he going to prove to be Liverpool’s hero over the next decade? He scored the winning penalty against Arsenal in the league cup a couple of months back and now he’s scored the winner in the derby with an absolute peach of a strike. The 18-year-old local boy oozes class and confidence despite his age and is clearly a huge talent with the potential to reach the highest level.
In attack, new signing Takumi Minamino started through the middle, with Everton’s arch nemesis, Divock Origi, to his left and Harvey Elliott to his right. The Japan international didn’t have a huge impact on the game, and that cannot be too much of a surprise. The last time he played a competitive football match was for Salzburg against Liverpool nearly a month ago. Having said that, he did go very close to scoring with his head midway through the first half and certainly showed glimpses of his ability. Harvey Elliott also had quite a quiet game by his standards, although he did play one sensational pass which led to a chance for Origi which forced a good stop from Jurassic Park. With Minamino playing centrally, Divock was forced onto the wing which limited his effectiveness to an extent. While he didn’t get his customary derby goal this time, he did get an assist for the Jones stunner – although this one shows how the assist stat can sometimes be misleading.
As for Man of the Match, it has to go to the Scouser and match-winner, Curtis Jones. He was neat and tidy on the ball all game and didn’t look out of place for a second against a full-strength, borderline Premier League side. To top off his impressive showing, he scored a sublime goal, curling a shot from outside the box into the far top corner. Even a goalkeeper with regular-sized arms would have struggled to keep it out.