Liverpool keep pace with City, steal Merseyside bragging rights on late Jordan Pickford error
LIVERPOOL -- Three points from Anfield on Liverpool's 1-0 win over Merseyside rivals Everton in the Premier League.
1. Origi's late winner keeps Liverpool in title striking distance
Divock Origi scored his first Liverpool goal since May 2017 by netting a stoppage-time winner in a pulsating 1-0 derby victory against Everton at Anfield.
Origi, an 84th-minute substitute for Roberto Firmino, had been barely a bit-part player since returning to Liverpool from a season-long loan at Wolfsburg last term.
But the Belgian forward claimed a place in Liverpool folklore by scoring six minutes into stoppage time to keep Jurgen Klopp's team just two points behind leaders Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
With City winning 3-1 at home to Bournemouth in Saturday, anything but three points for Liverpool would open up a daunting gap behind the reigning champions.
But for long periods of this game, Everton were comfortable and seemingly on course for at least a point. The visitors would have gone ahead in the first half but for a stunning reflex save by Alisson Becker from Andre Gomes and the Brazilian keeper also made an important save from Theo Walcott.
With Liverpool struggling to break through, Klopp took off both Firmino and Mohamed Salah in an attempt to find a goal.
Origi went close, and should have scored, when he hit the crossbar in the 90th minute, but he then struck the crucial blow by heading in from close range after Jordan Pickford had failed to deal with an awkward high ball from a mishit by Virgil van Dijk.
Liverpool's coaching staff, including Klopp, then celebrated wildly on the pitch as Everton suffered yet another defeat at the home of their biggest rivals and extended their winless streak against Liverpool to 16 league games.
2. Word-class Alisson, Pickford experience contradicting fates
Every successful team needs a reliable goalkeeper, but Liverpool and Everton have both struggled to find a number one in recent years that has been capable of being the difference between success and failure.
Alisson and Jordan Pickford have both solved that problem for Liverpool and Everton respectively, but Pickford suffered the cruel blow that all keepers are susceptible to by conceding a stoppage-time goal after an individual mistake.
The England number one had been outstanding until he tried to collect a high ball in the 94th minute.
But rather than tip it over the bar, Pickford allowed it to bounce on the woodwork and the loose ball fell straight to Divock Origi, who ruthlessly headed into the unguarded net in front of the Kop. From being a key figure in what looked to be a big point for Everton, Pickford was now the villain.
But prior to that error, especially during the first half, both Alisson and Pickford showed just how important they have both become to their teams.
Alisson arguably denied Everton their first victory at Anfield since 1999 with his stunning first-half reflex save to keep out Andre Gomes' close-range header. He then raced off his line to deny Theo Walcott as Everton attempted to capitalise on their first-half dominance.
Pickford also made his mark with a crucial save on Xherdan Shaqiri in the 34th minute.
But it was all forgotten as a result of his costly error of judgement.
3. Everton's new boys making a big differece
Everton made six new signings in the summer, as well as appointing a new manager in Marco Silva, and the freshness was evident against Liverpool until the late, cruel winner conceded by the home side.
Five of those new faces -- Andre Gomes, Lucas Digne, Yerry Mina, Bernard and Richarlison -- made their derby debuts at Anfield and, with almost half of Silva's team taking on Liverpool for the first time, it ensured that they weren't weighed down by Everton's dismal record in this tie.
Prior to this game, Liverpool had avoided defeat in their last 15 league meetings with their neighbours, with Everton famously not having won at Anfield in any competition since 1999.
But there was no fear factor from Everton on this occasion and their new players were central to the confidence within the blue ranks.
Mina was commanding at centre-half and Digne impressive down the left flank. Andre Gomes was outstanding at the heart of midfield, and he almost scored in the first half before seeing Alisson save his goal-bound header.
With winger Bernard and striker Richarlison also giving Liverpool problems, this looked like a new, buoyant Everton capable of landing a blow on their city rivals.
Everton simply look a different team under Silva than they did under Sam Allardyce last season.
In defence of Allardyce, the former England manager was tasked with keeping Everton up and he did just that, but there was precious little flair or entertainment on offer at Goodison Park last season.
Silva has injected both qualities into his team and there are clear signs of progress at Everton under the Portuguese coach.
He just needs to make sure that this defeat does not prove too damaging to morale.