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Liverpool vs Everton result: Five things we learned as Carlo Ancelotti ends Toffees’ long wait for a derby win

Liverpool 0-2 Everton: Richarlison scored early before Sigurdsson’s late penalty

Karl Matchett
Saturday 20 February 2021 19:28 GMT
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Everton beat Liverpool 2-0 in the Merseyside derby to take three huge points in the Premier League.

The first attack of the game yielded the first goal, as James Rodriguez slipped in Richarlison behind a static defence and the Brazilian finished well into the bottom corner. The Reds responded well with Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold both going close from range, but further misfortune befell the home team’s defensive ranks with an injury to the former.

Seamus Coleman should have doubled Everton’s lead with a close-range header before the half-hour mark, but Alisson made a fine reaction save and the gap remained one at the break.

READ MORE: Premier League fixtures and table - all matches by date and kick-off time

Liverpool came out playing quicker after the restart and Sadio Mane went close with two headers in five minutes, but Mohamed Salah had an even better chance with 20 minutes to go - saved by Jordan Pickford - before Everton were awarded a hugely contentious penalty which Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from.

Here are five things we learned from the game at Anfield.

Another man down

Liverpool’s centre-back situation this season is beyond absurd at this point. Already with all three seniors out injured for the season, they also recently saw stand-in defender Fabinho sidelined and he remains missing.

Henderson had been the latest in line, moving from midfield to defence for the past few weeks to partner new loan signing Ozan Kabak - but midway through the first half the captain also departed injured, a possible hamstring or groin issue judging by his fall and subsequent stretches.

Kabak and Nat Phillips thus became yet another new partnership at the back for the Reds - an 18th of the season - and, somewhat predictably, they struggled to be on the same wavelength for the most simple of balls over the top.

Everton at Anfield

The Toffees had not won at Anfield since 1999, with no derby win at all in over a decade.

And now, after failing to win in 23 derbies in all competitions away from home, Everton have finally ended both of those barren streaks.

Only Seamus Coleman has been at the club anything like that long - plus assistant Duncan Ferguson on the sidelines - but there are a generation of supporters who have only now experienced a derby triumph for the first time in their lives.

Ancelotti statue incoming

There has a long been a history of Carlo Ancelotti against Liverpool, with several notable wins for the Italian tactician.

First and foremost were, of course, the Champions League finals with AC Milan - one lost, one won - but he also beat the Reds twice with Chelsea, won both Champions League group stage encounters against Brendan Rodgers’ side and even won two out of four meetings in Europe against Jurgen Klopp, while Liverpool were en route to the final and then were reigning champions.

A win with Everton was, of course, missing: two draws and a defeat since he moved to Goodison Park.

He can now be satisfied with having completed his personal set.

Penalty call

Whether Liverpool would have scored an equaliser otherwise is debatable, but the game was certainly over once Sigurdsson side-footed in his spot-kick.

But the decision to award Everton that penalty seemed, depending on your perspective, anywhere between harsh and outright ludicrous.

Trent Alexander-Arnold slid in to make a block, made contact with neither man nor ball, and remained on the floor as striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued running in a straight line after taking the shot - and stumbled over the prone defender.

It didn’t look a foul, the VAR prompted the referee to take another look pitchside - which he did in the most cursory of fashions, before retaining his original call. One more for the post-weekend discussions to pore over.

Champions League chase

With Chelsea having dropped points against Southampton earlier in the day, the motivation was clear for both these sides to go for the win, with the bigger prize of a top-four finish on the horizon even beyond the local, short-term objectives of winning the derby.

Three points here for Everton takes them level on points with Liverpool, still with a game in hand on their rivals - and they are now three points off fourth place.

West Ham are also still between the Toffees and a Champions League spot - as well as the Reds due to goal difference - but this was an important return to winning ways, considering neither side had managed a victory in their previous three league games.

For Liverpool, there’s a huge task on to even get back into contention for the top four at this point.

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