REPORT | Liverpool 2-0 Everton
Everton falters at Anfield as the 242nd Merseyside Derby provides defeat alongside a reality check
Everton travelled to Anfield for the 242nd installment of the Merseyside Derby on Monday evening, a game many blues felt a cautious optimism about following a 1-0 win over Arsenal and an erroneous stretch of form for Klopp’s Liverpool. Dealing with a Calvert-Lewin injury, Sean Dyche made the call to give youngster Ellis Simms his first premier league start, a true trial by fire.
The first 20 minutes were strong for the traveling toffees, holding their shape well and not giving up chances with Simms attempting to assert himself up top and doing as well as he could attempting to lead the line and hold up play with little help in the form of an attacking threat. Liverpool found their strength and began to impose themselves on the blues in the next 15 minutes of the match, with Everton looking to catch the hosts on the break. Idrissa Gueye took an adventurous strike in the 30th minute that went over the bar, and then 5 minutes later the blues would win a corner.
Iwobi lifted a great ball into the box, and Tarkowski powered above two Liverpool defenders to put a powerful header off the post and agonizingly close to putting the visitors ahead. Unfortunately, 15 seconds later on the break, thanks to a combination of poor positioning, missed opportunities and a helpless Jordan Pickford, Sarah would race down the pitch and slot past the Everton goalkeeper to put the hosts ahead in more than frustrating fashion.
Everton managed to get into the locker room down only the one goal, but the hosts would come out of the break quickly and punish their visitors only four minutes in. Alexander-Arnold got on the end of a ball from Andy Robertson, and then put in a low cross to the back post where a somehow unmarked Cody Gakpo was on hand to tap in for his first Liverpool goal, essentially putting the match out of reach.
Demari Gray, Neal Maupay, and Tom Davies would all come in throughout the second half, as the match lost much of its punch with Liverpool dictating the flow of the game up two goals. The 81st minute would see a madly frustrating miss from the substitute Davies, as Iwobi floated an inch perfect cross to the back post to an unmarked Davies who somehow missed the target from close range with his header.
A late scuffle would break out after Pickford and Robertson exchanged words, embodying the fight most Evertonians wish they would’ve seen throughout the match. The 2-0 loss was a stark reality check of life without Calvert-Lewin, and a harsh reminder that the second half of the season will be more than challenging for Dyche. Simms’s trial by fire went as well as it could, with a lot of unfair owness put on the youngster’s shoulders to lead the line. Tarkowski and Coady struggled throughout the match, and the midfield failed to really put their stamp on things. Dyche will have his work cut out for him as the club prepares for perhaps the most important game of the season at Goodison Park on Saturday against Leeds United.