Liverpool 2-0 Everton

Salah double after Young sees red.

The first ‘derby’ of the season and the short trip across Stanley Park for a lunchtime clash with our nearest and not so dearest saw Ashley Young dismissed for two yellow cards before half time, while Konate escaped a similar punishment for two clear yellow card offences. And a harsh penalty against Michael Keane compounded what many Blues will feel was another Anfield stitch-up.

No need to waffle about the build-up to the Anfield clash, let’s just get straight into the teams and the match report itself…

Ten points better off than the Blues after just eight games, the home side were most pundits nailed-on favourites to stretch that gap further still and even with a few doubts, RS boss Jurgen Klopp was still able to field a strong side thus: Allison, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk (c), Tsimikas, Szoboszlai, MacAllister, Gravenberch, Salah, Jota and Diaz.

Everton, on the back of the much-needed victory over Bournemouth, went in search of what many in the media would describe as a shock if the Blues returned home clutching three points. Sean Dyche has previously won ‘across the park’ and irritated the heck out of a certain toothy Teutonic RS manager in the process so, what was to transpire was anybodies guess.

Dyche selected a starting eleven, most likely in a 4-5-1 formation that read: Jordan Pickford, Ashley Young, James Tarkowski (c), Jarrad Branthwaite, Vitalii Mykolenko, Jack Harrison, James Garner, Amadou Onana, Dwight McNeil, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

On a pleasant, sunny afternoon, Craig Pawson was the referee entrusted with ensuring good order in this the 243rd all-time Merseyside ‘derby’.

Inside a minute, a giveaway from MacAllister presented the ball to McNeil and his early cross saw DCL rise to meet the cross but, his header went straight into the arms of Allison. With their first first attack, the home side saw Salah miskick on a ball from Gravenberch and be ruled offside anyway. Pickford with a decent punch on a cross from Tsimikas despite the close attention of Jota, and Onana completed the clearance.

Diaz was fortunate not to be booked for a poor challenge on Tarkowski and the tenth minute saw the first corner go the home sides way, with Doucoure clearing long downfield. Everton responded with McNeil pressuring van Dijk into conceding a corner that saw the home side clear and counter at pace with Young getting back to deflect a shot from Diaz away for a corner that Onana headed clear.

A quarter of an hour gone in a relatively calm and subdued atmosphere and a free kick gave Harrison the chance to scamper down the right flank and Konate put his cross behind for a second Blues corner that Allison flapped at before the home side countered again with Onana getting back to defend superbly. Ashley Young was booked for bringing down Diaz in the 18th minute, alarmingly his fourth yellow of the season to date.

MacAllister found Salah with a raking crossfield ball but, Mykolenko with a fine tackle stopped the Egyptian forward to set the Blues going forward before Tsimikas brought play to a stop conceding a free kick. Mykolenko with another good tackle halted Diaz in his tracks before Tarkowski gave away a free kick on the edge of the penalty area for a foul on Jota. Everton lined up a wall and it did its job perfectly to block a shot from Alexander-Arnold.

Everton defended a quick corner, conceded by McNeil, and passing the 25-minute mark, Amadou Onana tried an audacious long range attempt having spotted Allison way out of his goal but, it went well wide of the target. Salah got away from McNeil but, bent his shot too high and too long to unduly trouble Jordan Pickford. Tarkowski was booked for an innocuous foul on Gravenberch before Mykolenko went down off the ball and was okay to carry on. MacAllister tested Pickford from long range, the England ‘keeper needing two bites at the cherry before clearing.

The home side were having more of the possession but, were find the Blues hard to break down before the home fans howled for a second yellow and red card against Young for a crude challenge on Diaz and referee Pawson duly obliged. Eight minutes to go before the break and the Blues were down to ten men.

Everton defended a corner from the right with a van Dijk header deflected behind for another that saw Alexander-Arnold fire over from long range. Everton responded with some good work from Doucoure to feed McNeil and his shot from distance was deflected behind for a corner that Allison claimed far too easily. A ball from Alexander-Arnold from the right went straight across the face of goal with Tarkowski down, the Blues surviving as Garner dropped back to cover the absence of Young and Doucoure assuming a midfield role to leave DCL as the somewhat isolated and lone striker.

Onana cleared another corner from Tsimikas and he rose again to head another cross away to safety as the home side looked to make the most of the man advantage before the half time interval. Two added minutes were advised by the dreary PA announcer before a long ball from Pickford nearly put DCL through and the home side responded with another long range shot, this time by Szoboszlai, going over the crossbar. Jota went down claiming a penalty and the referee called time.

Half Time: 0-0

Two changes for the Blues for the second half as Nathan Patterson and Michael Keane replaced Dwight McNeil an Jack Harrison respectively to go five at the back, with Garner moving back to midfield.

A quiet opening to the first five minutes before Konate was booked for a foul on Onana and then he went down softly under a challenge from DCL. Tarkowski with a vital block denied Salah and a follow-up attempt from Gravenberch went behind off the Blues skipper. The idiots in the Skip howled for a penalty when a deflected ball hit a hand, VAR checked and went the Blues way.

MacAllister fouled Onana to win the Blues a free kick that saw some head tennis before Garner ballooned an effort into the crowd. Onana back defending from Diaz took a nasty fall over the pitchside advertising but, picked himself up without too much fuss. The home side prepared changes as we approached the hour mark with Everton holding firm despite being a man down.

Everton too were looking to shake things up with Beto stripped off and he replaced DCL just past the hour in a straight swap for the lone striking role. The home side introduced Nunez and Elliott for Tsimikas and Gravenberch a minute later.

Good defending by Doucoure and then Branthwaite stymied another attack by the home side before Konate fouled Beto and with him also already on a yellow card, it was no surprise that the coward referee chose not to show a second and red. Nunez shot straight at Pickford from distance as Sean Dyche continued his touchline discussions with the fourth official over the Konate incident. And Klippity withdrew Konate for Matip on 66 minutes with Blues boss Sean Dyche yellow carded for continuing his rightful indignation at the double standards.

Into the final twenty minutes and the Blues defensive resolve and determination was holding strong before the Skip again howled for a penalty as Diaz again went down with Patterson having a few strong Glaswegian words with him for feigning contact. Another VAR check, this time against Michael Keane, for handball was harshly given after referee Pawson was called to review it again on the pitchside screen… despite clearly no intention from the Blues defender – ball to hand not hand to ball – the rules are ridiculous and Salah scored from the spot with a quarter of an hour remaining.

Another yellow card was shown to the Everton bench, Ian Woan the recipient as the Blues contingent rightly felt aggrieved at the way things had gone against them since the non-red card against Konate.

Arnaut Danjuma came on for Amadou Onana in the 80th minute with Gomez replacing Diaz for the home side.

Branthwaite with a fine defensive header conceded a corner that saw Jota head straight at Pickford. Into the final five minutes and a foul on Danjuma went unpunished allowing the home side to counter at speed with Branthwaite getting back to head a cross from Nunez behind. A late change on 88 minutes saw Youssef Chermiti replace Vitalii Mykolenko, who had belied his critics with a good game up against the much vaunted Salah.

Pickford reacted superbly to push a blast from Elliott over the bar for a corner and the dreary PA announcer advised of nine added minutes to be played. Jota played in by Gomez greedily hit the side netting and a long ball aimed for Chermiti saw van Dijk whine at the linesman after conceding a corner that failed to produce and the home side broke quickly and Beto got back to deny Salah with a good tackle.

Szoboszlai chipped another effort over the crossbar as rain began to pour down and the Blues strained to get forward and that sadly allowed the home side to break again at speed through Nunez and he fed Salah for an easy second

Beto fired a late shot from distance wide of the target and that was that on yet another miserable visit across the park to be stitched up by an incompetent referee.

Full Time: 2-0

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