Best Keeper in the World
This was the first meeting of these two Merseyside teams this season, which has thus far seen very differing levels of form from each. The Reds approached this game whilst sat firmly in the Premier League’s top four, whereas Sean Dyche and his men were stuttering in 16th.
The international break and subsequent 12.30 kick off time that commonly follows meant there were one or two pre-game questions that would only be answered by the team line up as listed below.
Best in the world https://t.co/gUbTJNjYSO
— Liverpool Stats Analyst (@liverpool_data) October 21, 2023
The Starting Eleven
Trent Alexander Arnold
Virgil van Dijk (c)
Alexis Mac Allister
Darwin Núñez – Kostas Tsimikas (61 mins)
Harvey Elliott – Ryan Gravenberch (61 mins)
Joël Matip – Ibrahima Konaté (67 mins)
Joe Gomez – Luis Díaz (81 mins)
Liverpool 1 – 0 Everton
Mohamed Salah (Penalty) 75 mins
Liverpool 2 – 0 Everton
Mohamed Salah (Darwin Núñez) 90+7 mins
Ashley Young (two bookings) 37 mins
Important Match Stats
Liverpool 77% – Everton 23%
Liverpool 18 – Everton 6
Liverpool 25 – Everton 8
Liverpool 5 – Everton 0
The First Half
The opening period of this game was a little cagey, with neither team playing with any rhythm or intensity. An early chance landed on the head of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, which arrived gratefully into the arms of an unmoving Alisson Becker. From this point on, the home side started to dominate play, with a couple of half chances failing to be taken by either Mohamed Salah or Luis Díaz. The desire from the reds ramped up considerably once Ashley Young received his second yellow card, having brought down his Colombian adversary twice in relatively quick succession. Clearly, there would have been a tactical instruction to have the fleet-footed winger run at the former Manchester United skipper at every turn, given the ageing legs of the veteran 38-year-old. This type of issue is something that once befell Liverpool’s former player, James Milner, on the occasions he was faced with former Crystal Palace attacker, Wilfried Zaha, as well as others. The remainder of the first half was frenetic, as the Toffees fought and defended with passion, to reach the break with their clean sheet intact.
The Second Half
Upon resuming the second half, the pattern of territorial domination continued, enforced by the fact that the visitors’ defensive line had dropped completely. There was evidently a half-time plan (from Sean Dyche) to grind their way to an unlikely point, with numbers increasing in their defensive third. The lack of ingenious creation by Klopp’s men was as much to do with the lack of space as it was the solid organisation of the opposition backline. Eventually, the German manager banked on the leadership and prowess of his captain, Virgil van Dijk, who was tasked with maintaining a two-man defence (in possession), as the incoming substitutes created a siege effect on Jordan Pickford’s goal. It was an ultra-offensive call to test his neighbours’ resolve, which paid off with yet another Luis Díaz driving run ending in woe for the blues. An outstretched Michael Keane arm stopped the incoming cross, which left VAR with no other choice but to award a spot kick. Mohamed Salah (so well defended to this point) was emphatic in his strike, which all but ended the tie as a contest. The cavalier and brave decision to mount a full-frontal attack on a wounded team had worked, which then saw later substitutes being added solidity to the Liverpool structure.
It would be late on that a swift counter-attack was launched, one which allowed Darwin Núñez to surge the length of the pitch before deftly sliding the ball to a more dangerously placed Egyptian King. The ball was placed into a half-empty net, and the final moments became about nothing less than jubilation.
Mo Salah vs Everton
• 19/24 (79%) passes
• 3 chances created (2nd in game)
• 42 touches
• 4 shots (2nd)
• 2 goals (1st)
• 2/2 aerial duels
7 Premier League goals this season, 2nd only to Erling Haaland (8). pic.twitter.com/UwTQQKPsmi
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) October 21, 2023
What Are My Final Thoughts…?
To play an ordinary match and be so dominant is a sign of a great team. The emergence of control and the hint of arrogance in our manager’s in-game management was a delight to see. Virgil looked imperious as the rearguard commander, whereas every player did his job without making any mistakes. This was exactly the type of post-international fixture and result that was needed, which must now be built upon next weekend.
The visit of Nottingham Forest awaits in the Premier League, with a clear notion from the manager that any teams that decide to low block will be put to the Anfield sword.