Despite winning three consecutive games during the festive season and acquiring long-term transfer target Virgil Van Dijk quite early in the winter transfer window, Liverpool camp seemed to be in unrest following the ‘Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona’ saga that resumed once again following the Brazilian’s failed summer move. The whole drama shifted focus from Friday night’s Merseyside derby in the Emirates FA Cup third round tie, and Everton were looking to snatch an Anfield win against the bitter rivals.
The game, however, proved to be a dramatic outcome for the Reds when the new signing Virgil Van Dijk scored a late winner to clinch a 2-1 win in his debut to decide a Merseyside derby!
Liverpool failed to beat the Toffees in early December when Mohamed Salah’s sensational strike was canceled out late in the game following a controversial penalty scenario that was eventually converted by Wayne Rooney against the run of play. The injury absence of Mohamed Salah relieved the Everton defence to some extent and the Reds were failing to create chances up front. However, the deadlock was finally broken when the hosts were awarded a spot-kick when Mason Holgate grabbed onrushing Adam Lallana just inside the box. Referee Bobby Madley didn’t hesitate to put his finger on the spot and James Milner slotted it home to earn his side a first-half lead. The decision, however, looked a bit soft like their previous meeting when Dejan Lovren’s little push on Dominic Calvert-Lewin allowed the youngster to earn one against the run of play and Wayne Rooney made no mistake to equalize from the spot. Van Dijk’s debut and a late rift between Holgate and Roberto Firmino were the other talking points of a tedious first-half that ended 1-0 in favor of the hosts.
The second half, however, delivered the greatest occasion to cherish for the Liverpool fans despite Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a late equalizer from the break. Just when it looked to be a rematch at Goodison Park, new boy Virgil Van Dijk scored with a thumping header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s free-kick to grab a derby win in his debut. The Reds progress through to the 4th Round of the competition knocking Everton off and receive a huge boost ahead of their Manchester City clash.
Liverpool vs Everton Lineups:
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Joe Gomez (Dominic Solanke 77′), Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Emre Can, James Milner (Trent Alexander-Arnold 77′), Adam Lallana (Georginio Wijnaldum 70′), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino.
Everton: Jordan Pickford, Jonjoe Kenny, Mason Holgate, Phil Jagielka, Cuco Martina, Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy (Tom Davies 86′), Wayne Rooney (Ademola Lookman 52′), Yannick Bolasie, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Oumar Niasse 82′).
Liverpool vs Everton Highlights:
Liverpool vs Everton Match Stats:
|Shots (on Target)||14(4)||4(1)|