With three fist pumps in front of the Liverpool fans, Jurgen Klopp celebrated his 250th win as Liverpool manager after beating Everton 2-0 on Monday. (More Football News)
Victory in the Merseyside derby is always something to savor in these parts. But such is Liverpool’s inconsistent form in recent weeks that a win of any description would have been gratefully received by the Anfield crowd.
This was ninth-place Liverpool’s first victory in the Premier League in 2023 and only its second in its last eight games in all competitions.
While a Champions League-qualifying place in the top four still looks some way off for manager Klopp’s faltering team, there are positive signs after such a frustrating campaign.
January signing Cody Gakpo scored for the first time for his new club and there was good news on the injury front as fit-again Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino came off the bench in the second half.
Another injured player, Virgil van Dijk, was an unused substitute.
Klopp hopes the win in the 242nd Merseyside derby can provide lift-off for a team that challenged for an unprecedented quadruple last season.
“Tonight we were there and that has to be the sign for us what we have to do. We probably had 70% possession and scored from two counters, that makes it special,” he said later.
Klopp has had to cope with a host of injuries to key players this season while also learning to live without forward Sadio Mane, who left for Bayern Munich last summer.
A humbling 3-0 loss to Wolverhampton in Liverpool’s previous match was a measure of its struggles.
“We needed this game, we needed the performance, our people absolutely deserved it. I loved the atmosphere, it is an insane atmosphere people create here,” Klopp said.
Sean Dyche was consigned to defeat in his first derby as Everton manager and couldn’t build on the morale-boosting win against table-topping Arsenal in his opening game in charge.
Dyche said: “All games are important, but it’s fair to say people were wondering if we would get a point from our first two games. To get three, I’m not too disappointed with that. I’m a realist and I know how tough the Premier League is.”
It might have been different for Everton if James Tarkowski’s first-half header had found the back of the net, rather than rebounding off the post.
Liverpool immediately countered and Mo Salah opened the scoring in the 36th minute.
Gakpo sealed the win when tapping in from close range in the 49th.
The Holland forward, a $45 million signing from PSV Eindhoven last month, had failed to score in his previous six appearances for his new club, but couldn’t miss after Trent Alexander-Arnold fired a cross to the far post.
The loss leaves Everton in the relegation zone, one point behind 17th-placed Leeds, who it faces at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Liverpool travels to fourth-placed Newcastle the same day, hoping to cut the gap further on its top-four rival.
Before kick off Liverpool learned its fans had been cleared of blame after the events at last year’s Champions League final in Paris, where riot police fired tear gas at them outside the Stade de France.
An independent review found UEFA mostly responsible for the security failures that saw supporters locked out of the stadium in crushed queues that “almost led to disaster.”