Talking Points: Liverpool 1 Everton 0

Divock Origi netted a crazy late winner in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Sunday as Liverpool edged out rivals Everton. With the game seemingly heading for a 0-0 draw, the Belgian scored deep into injury time after Jordan Pickford’s error.

Reds claim spoils over much-improved Toffees…

The search for an Anfield win goes on for Everton fans, though they will be left wondering how they managed to lose the match after outplaying their opponents for large periods. Despite this, J├╝rgen Klopp’s side did produce more clear cut chances, with xG scoring the game roughly as a 3-1 Liverpool win. In truth, the score line should have read 2-2 at the break, but poor finishing and miraculous defending saw a deadlock at half-time. After the break, Everton’s strong points from the first half continued, with Bernard and Richarlison threatening in attack and Andre Gomes dictating the midfield tempo. Everton came to take the game to the Reds with the best squad they have had in a long time, yet, as has often been the case in the past, they left empty handed. Liverpool have been far from their best this season and their rivals were well equipped to try and take advantage. The fact that Everton put in a performance like that and still lost will certainly be seen as a good thing by Liverpool supporters. Perhaps the gap between the two is closing, or perhaps Liverpool will rediscover their best form and show they are still levels above this season.

Alisson emerging as stand-out Premier League goalkeeper…

The defeat to PSG was pretty much all bad, but one of the few positives was the performance of Alisson, who produced some brilliant saves to limit the French champions to just two goals. Against Everton, things were no different and Liverpool fans would surely not swap the Brazilian for any other goalkeeper in the league. Alisson’s save from Gomes’ header was ridiculous – even though it did just hit him he still had to be in the right place and stay strong – and his touch to prevent Theo Walcott from scoring was just as important. His distribution was once again on point, and he is simply the most well-rounded keeper in the top-flight. Alisson now has nine clean sheets in 14 league games this season, one more than Ederson and two more than Kepa, and is yet to concede twice in a Premker League fixture. Klopp ran to Alisson at the end likely because he was the closest player to him, but it might just as well have been because the goalkeeper laid the foundations for his side to win the match.

Striker Salah experiment must be stopped to rejuvenate Firmino…

As more and more games have gone by with Liverpool’s attack still to return to their best form, it has also coincided with more and more fans wanting to see the end of Mohamed Salah being used as a striker and Roberto Firmino being used in a deeper position. Firmino had one of his worst games in a Liverpool shirt against Everton, in the first half his passing and touches were sloppy and in the second half he wasted a good opportunity when put through on goal. Firmino simply is being involved in play enough, and Klopp must know it. Salah meanwhile is spending all game having to try and out-muscle 6’5″ centre-backs, rather than cutting in from the right and running at fullbacks – where we saw the best of the Egyptian last season. The 4-2-3-1 has been effective, but it can be even more so if Xherdan Shaqiri is moved central, Salah back out on the right and Firmino back upfront.

Fabinho stakes claim to avoid midweek rotation…

It was strange to see people arguing Fabinho shouldn’t have started on Sunday due to possessing no experience of the Merseyside derby, espeically when half of the Everton side would have never have played in one either. Klopp rightly gave Fabinho his fourth start in the last five league games and the Brazilian was one of the Reds’ three best performers alongside Alisson and Mane. His tackling was superb and should have lead to Shaqiri opening the scoring, and he was positive and direct in possession, not just with the ball but with his positioning as well. Fabinho needs to be a regular starter for the Reds, and will be hoping to have done enough to avoid Klopp’s rotation for the trip to Burnley on Wednesday. With Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Naby Keita all potential ways Klopp can rotate his midfield, Fabinho and others who started the derby will try to keep their place. Rotation will be sensible though with just two recovery days between Burnley and then to Bournemouth, and the likes of Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge will likely start one of the next two games.

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