Liverpool (4) Everton (0): Relentless Reds Send Sour Toffees Packing
In what will almost certainly go down as one of the most one sided Merseyside Derbies in recent memory, Liverpool romped to a 4-0 victory over Everton with the hosts dominating proceedings to an impressive extent.
Early chances for Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino seemed to signal a frustrating night to come for the Reds, but Divock Origi easily beat John Stones for height to nod home James Milner’s inviting cross before Mamadou Sakho added his second goal in his last three appearances just before the break. Toffee’s manager Roberto Martinez would be absolutely incensed, but his counter-part in Jurgen Klopp would be the one left with something to really worry about when Origi was stretchered off following a horror tackle from Blues defender Ramiro Funes Mori with the Argentine rightfully given his marching orders straight after.
Daniel Sturridge, who was introduced for the injured Belgian, latched on to a peach of a pass from Lucas to add the third and Philippe Coutinho confirmed the rout with a low, curling effort from the edge of the area that Everton ‘keeper Joel Robles could only dream of keeping out.
The numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but these ones paint of damning picture of two sides in vastly different veins of form; Liverpool enjoyed 67% of the ball, kept the trio of Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku from even registering a shot on target and restricted their visitors to only three touches in the area while taking a massive 64 for themselves.
“It was a disaster,” conceded Martinez following the final whistle. “A horrible showing that started with the best intentions but ended up with the inability to get the basics right,” moaned the Spaniard, who may not be in charge when the Blues face Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final at the weekend. “We got emotional with the red card and from then on Gareth Barry was injured and John Stones was ill, it was a chain reaction. A disaster. An impossible experience.”
It’s now been eleven meetings on the hop since the Toffees got one over on their closest rivals and barring very fleeting moments in the first half, they never really looked like putting an end to that bitter run. The Reds, in contrast, look every much like a team on the up with Klopp once again shuffling his pack to good effect. Making nine changes from the side that beat Bournemouth on Sunday, the German again coaxed the best out of his side, with 14-goals scored and four wins in as many outings.
A meeting with Anfield legend Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United side looms at the weekend before the first leg of a tricky Europa League semi-final away to Spanish side Villareal CF midweek congests the fixture list even more, but Liverpool look well up for the challenge — though adding Origi to a growing, and quite high profile, injury list will be of serious concern. The Belgian, who reportedly has a badly sprained ankle, could be out for the rest of the season and if so he’ll be in good company with club captain Jordan Henderson and fellow midfield machine Emre Can also on the treatment table with campaign ending knocks.
That’s a concern for another day though — the Kop ironically chanting “Bobby Martinez” while the visitors stared on stony eyed and sullen is still making me laugh. Anfield really is magic, isn’t it?