Thursday 20 September 2018

Klopp chews up toffees in first derby win

Pressure on Martinez increases after limp defeat to Liverpool

James Milner and Alberto Moreno congratulate Divock Origi on opening the scoring in last night’s win over Everton
James Milner and Alberto Moreno congratulate Divock Origi on opening the scoring in last night’s win over Everton
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho celebrates with manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool added to the growing pressure on Everton manager Roberto Martinez with 4-0 victory which was as embarrassing for the visitors as it was comfortable for the hosts in the 226th Merseyside derby.

Defender Ramiro Funes Mori added to the Spaniard's woes ahead of Saturday's crucial FA Cup semi-final with against Manchester United with this fixture's 21st red card in the last 47 Premier League encounters.

That was compounded by fellow centre-back John Stones limping off injured after the third went in courtesy of Daniel Sturridge's 50th goal for the club following two headers from Divock Origi and Mamadou Sakho just before half-time.

Philippe Coutinho's 76th-minute strike sent visiting fans heading for the exits and every ole which rang around Anfield towards the end was a dagger to the heart of Martinez and those who remained in the away end.


Sturridge, only on because Origi was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking ankle injury as a result of Funes Mori's stamp, became the fourth-fastest player to his half-century in just his 87th match.

By contrast Everton's premier striker Romelu Lukaku, included in Martinez's strongest-possible line-up despite a looming Wembley date, barely had a sniff all night.

For 25 minutes Martinez's boldness appeared to be paying off but familiar weaknesses were soon exposed.

Kevin Mirallas (twice) missed the target from good openings before Lukaku was denied by Sakho at full-stretch.

Ironically Liverpool's best player during Everton's period of dominance Adam Lallana could have had a hat-trick in the first half-hour, squandering the best chance as early as the sixth minute when he sprung the offside trap but shot straight at Joel Robles.

Everton's Gareth Barry, equalling David James' record of 571 Premier League starts, and James McCarthy appeared to have control of midfield but gradually that was wrested from them as Liverpool's relentless attacking started to take its toll.

Coutinho, who gave makeshift right-back Bryan Oviedo numerous problems, had two efforts from distance while compatriot Roberto Firmino was denied by Robles one-on-one with the visitors' defence who were appealing for offside against Lallana. Everton's resistance finally gave way a minute before the break when Milner's hanging cross to far post saw Origi out-jump John Stones to head in his fifth goal in as many games off his shoulder.

The Toffees' weakness has to been to concede goals quickly, verging on a collapse at times, and this was exploited as Milner, this time from the left, exchanged passes with Lallana before crossing for Sakho, criminally unmarked, to power home the header.

Just when Martinez thought it could not get any worse after the break Funes Mori's stamp on Origi, which saw the striker carried off on a stretcher holding his head in his hands - which was also Klopp's reaction - rightly saw him see red.

The sight of the Argentina international kissing the badge on his shirt as he walked off was somewhat crass, especially with him now lessening Everton's defensive options even further for the semi-final.

Sturridge clinically dispatched Lucas Leiva's pass for the third on the hour before Stones' departure - which left midfielders McCarthy and Muhamed Besic in central defence - and Coutinho's smart finish compounded Everton's misery, a feeling experienced at Anfield all-too often since 1999.

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