‘Huge win for us’, says Salah as Liverpool down Everton 2-0
LIVERPOOL – Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo scored his first goal for the club as they halted a dismal run by beating relegation-threatened city rivals Everton 2-0 at Anfield in the Premier League on Monday.
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 36th minute, linking up with Darwin Nunez on the counter-attack just after Everton missed a glorious double chance to take the lead, with Dwight McNeil going close and James Tarkowski hitting the post.
Netherlands forward Gakpo extended the lead early in the second half of a typically fast-paced Merseyside derby for his first goal in his seventh match for Liverpool since joining from PSV Eindhoven for a reported £37 million (S$59.7 million).
Liverpool started the game having lost three of their last four league matches while conceding nine goals and scoring one, while Everton were hopeful of turning a corner under new manager Sean Dyche after a shock win over leaders Arsenal last time out.
But Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool side were stronger and sharper than their neighbours and earned their first league victory of 2023 to climb to ninth in the table on 32 points after 21 games.
Everton were left in 18th place on 18 points from 22 matches, one point off the safety zone.
“It’s a huge win for us,” said Salah. “We had a perfect week to train and the players were so excited and we couldn’t wait for the game to turn everything around and hopefully it was a start.
“I know that Darwin is really fast so they had a corner and we played a one-two. I knew that he was going to play the ball in the space so I was running as fast as I could and scored so that’s the most important thing.”
Liverpool may be having a torrid season by their own high standards, having missed out on the league title to Manchester City on the final day of last season, but they still have a glimmer of hope that they can qualify for the Champions League.
They trail Newcastle United in fourth by nine points and have a game in hand on Eddie Howe’s side, while Gakpo’s confidence should be lifted after getting his first goal.
Salah, who was joint-top scorer in the Premier League last season, will also be relieved to have got his first league goal since netting against Aston Villa on Dec 26.
Klopp was boosted by the return of striker Diogo Jota, who made his first appearance since injuring his calf in October when he came on in the 70th minute.
Influential defender Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, was on the bench after injuring his hamstring at the start of January.
Liverpool’s struggles this season pale in comparison to those of Everton, who last month sacked Frank Lampard, the seventh manager to be fired by owner Farhad Moshiri since 2017.
“We gave away two goals on the counter and that is massively disappointing,” said Everton defender Conor Coady.
“It’s important we keep listening to the manager each day and we need to go again. It’s not the fact that we missed the chances, we hit the post, but giving away counters, which is what they’re good at, we need to look at ourselves and see where we can put it right.” - REUTERS
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