Liverpool showcased their dominance over local rivals Everton once again, securing a 2-0 victory at Anfield on Saturday to claim the top spot in the Premier League. Despite benefiting from some fortunate circumstances, Mohamed Salah’s two goals proved decisive in the match.
The inconsistency of referee Craig Pawson left Everton frustrated, as Ashley Young received a red card just before halftime for two bookable offenses. Meanwhile, Ibrahima Konate escaped a second booking in the second half, even with the scores level.
Liverpool struggled to capitalize on their numerical advantage, but finally broke the deadlock in the 75th minute when Salah confidently converted a penalty after Michael Keane’s handball.
In the dying moments of the game, Darwin Nunez provided an assist to Salah, securing the victory for Liverpool in stoppage time.
This win propelled Jurgen Klopp’s men to the top of the table, surpassing Tottenham and Arsenal on goal difference.
Liverpool’s stronghold over Merseyside derbies remains unbroken, with just one loss in their last 29 encounters against Everton. Additionally, the team has not been defeated by Everton at Anfield since 1999.
The clash between these two teams has seen the most red cards in the Premier League era, and yet another sending off played a crucial role in the outcome of the match.
Until his dismissal, Young had frustrated Liverpool and even made a remarkable last-ditch challenge to deny Luis Diaz a certain goal. On the other hand, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s powerful header was too close to Alisson Becker early on.
Klopp expressed his frustration with the scheduling of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off, as some of his players had just returned from representing their countries in South American World Cup qualifying matches. Despite having the advantage of an extra player in the second half, Liverpool appeared fatigued.
Everton manager Sean Dyche introduced Keane at halftime, transitioning to a back five to limit Liverpool’s scoring opportunities, much to the frustration of the home crowd.
To Everton’s astonishment, Konate was not shown a red card after pulling down Beto, despite already receiving a yellow card. This decision prompted the substitution of Konate with Joel Matip, and Dyche received a yellow card for his protests.
Liverpool has faced its fair share of officiating controversies, with Diaz’s disallowed goal against Tottenham last month being a prominent example. However, this time, VAR intervened in their favor when Keane’s arm made contact with Diaz’s cross. Salah capitalized on the penalty, scoring his seventh goal of the season.
In a heartfelt social media post earlier in the week, Salah called for an end to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. His goal celebrations were subdued in light of this ongoing issue.
As Everton pushed forward in search of an equalizer, they fell victim to a counter-attack in stoppage time, with Nunez providing a perfectly timed pass to Salah for an easy finish.