EPL

Mohamed Salah’s double helps Liverpool to another derby-day success

By Sports Desk October 21, 2023

Mohamed Salah became the first Liverpool player since Peter Beardsley 32 years ago to score in Anfield’s opening four league matches with both goals in a 2-0 victory over 10-man Everton in the 243rd Merseyside derby.

Ashley Young, who has played in some of the world’s biggest cross-city clashes in Manchester, Milan and Birmingham, was sent for a second bookable offence shortly before half-time to make the Toffees’ task of ending their woeful record across Stanley Park even more difficult.

Salah converted a 75th-minute penalty after a Michael Keane handball and then converted a counter-attack in added time which meant the Everton fans present were still to see a ‘live’ victory at Anfield since 1999 as their only win in 2021 came behind closed doors during the Covid era.

Egypt international Salah’s penalty was the 15th consecutive Premier League match in which he had either scored or assisted and brought up Liverpool’s 50th goal against Everton at Anfield in the Premier League.

It was also his 200th career league goal, but his second was his 104th at home for Liverpool, taking him past greats Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard into fifth place on the club’s all-time Anfield scorers list.

But despite Salah’s stellar statistics this was far from a classic derby encounter, even it was a predictably typical one.

Young’s 37th-minute red card – the 29th in this fixture and the 13th of the last 16 to be shown to Everton players – was not quite a turning point as Liverpool were well on top even at that stage but it was contentious.

Luis Diaz looked to have somewhat bought the first yellow when he went down after a tackle on the halfway line but once referee Craig Pawson had given that he had no option when Everton’s right-back brought down the Colombia international on the edge of the area.

Sean Dyche’s response at half-time was to replace his two wingers – Jack Harrison and Dwight McNeil – with defenders Nathan Patterson and Michael Keane and switch to a back five.

It did little for striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s prospects, whose only opportunity came just 36 seconds into the game when he headed tamely at Alisson Becker.

After that it was virtually one-way traffic, although Liverpool’s best openings seemed to come on the counter-attack and often from Everton attacking set-pieces.

They had a four-on-two at one stage but when Dominik Szoboszlai released Diaz in the penalty area his delayed shot that allowed Young to block.

Trent Alexander-Arnold drove a free-kick into the wall, Salah muscled McNeil off a 50-50 and curled a shot just over and an Alexis Mac Allister half-volley from 30 yards was claimed at the second attempt by Jordan Pickford.

But Klopp’s side were nowhere near their sharpest in the final third and that played right into Everton’s hands.

Young’s sending-off tipped the balance even further in favour of the home side but they continued to be repelled with Salah’s 52nd-minute shot blocked by James Tarkowski.

Everton’s numerical disadvantage and lack of wingers emboldened Klopp to replace left-back Kostas Tsimikas, making his first start of the season in place of the long-term injured Andy Robertson, with Diaz to allow the introduction of Darwin Nunez and Harvey Elliott.

Konate, whom Everton’s coaching staff felt should also have had a second yellow card for a foul on Calvert-Lewin’s replacement Beto, was also removed for his own good.

Keane must have wished he could have been afford the same courtesy when his outstretched arm blocked Diaz’s cross.

Dawson initially gave a corner but VAR advised him to review the pitchside monitor and he reversed his decision and Salah sent Pickford the wrong way from the spot.

Elliott and Jota both went close as the onslaught continued but it was Salah who benefited from Nunez’s quick counter-attack as he clipped home his second as Liverpool extended their record to one defeat in the last 28 derbies and Everton slumped to a sixth loss of the season.

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