EPL

Thank god a game has two halves! – Klopp relieved after Liverpool battle to victory over Everton

By Sports Desk April 24, 2022

Jurgen Klopp joked "thank god a game has two halves" after Liverpool improved on a below-par first-half showing to overcome Everton 2-0 in Sunday's Merseyside derby.

The Reds failed to register a shot on target in the first half of a home Premier League game for just the second time this season against a resolute Everton side.

Liverpool continued to struggle early in the second period, but Andy Robertson broke the Toffees' resolve with 62 minutes played from the home side's first attempt on target.

Substitute Divock Origi added a late second with his sixth goal against Everton in all competitions, twice as many as he has netted against any other side as a Liverpool player.

A 12th win in 13 top-flight matches moves Liverpool back to within a point of leaders Manchester City, but Klopp conceded his side were far from their best against Everton.

"Thank God the game has two halves," he told BBC Sport. "We didn't play particularly well in the first half. They made it uncomfortable but we didn't get in behind the last line. 

"We didn't have enough movement and weren't quick enough. We passed the ball into the area where they had nine players. 

"In the second half we were much more direct and caused them much more problems. The goals were wonderful."

Klopp added: "The amount of wins we've had in recent months is insane. You have to work. The boys did that again. I'm really happy.

"We stayed really cool and calm. The changes helped, fresh players, different formation. It made it difficult for the opposition. We won 2-0, it's absolutely fine."

Liverpool's 82.75 per cent possession is the second most a side has managed in a Premier League game since at least 2003-04, when such records were first recorded, behind Man City's 82.95 against Swansea City in 2017-18.

Everton's 32 passes in the first half is the fewest by a team in the division since November 2006, meanwhile, but Klopp insisted he was not surprised by the visitors' tactics.

"We expected it," he said. "We expected them to do it, but we didn't react well. It's difficult.

"Each ball Jordan Pickford has he takes five minutes so we couldn't gain rhythm which you need to break down a low block."

Everton may have registered only one shot on target, but they had a strong penalty appeal rejected at 0-0 when Joel Matip put his arm across Anthony Gordon inside the box.

Gordon, who had earlier been cautioned for diving, argued after the match that a spot-kick should have been awarded, though Klopp had a different view of the incident.

"It was clearly no penalty," the German said. "He's really good but he's lucky not to get a second yellow. The first was not a penalty and the second wasn't."

Following Burnley's win against Wolves earlier on Sunday, Everton find themselves in the relegation zone at this stage of the season for the first time since April 1999.

"Everton did what they had to do," Klopp added. "We deserved the three points. With a performance like this I think they can get the points they need.

"If anybody thinks we fly through these games, I can apologise, it won't happen. If we can create atmospheres like today it's difficult to deal with us for 95 minutes."

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