Liverpool stroll to victory in Merseyside derby at Anfield
Liverpool 3 - 1 Everton

Liverpool stroll to victory in Merseyside derby at Anfield

01/04/2017

Liverpool moved into third place in the Premier League as they comfortably beat neighbours Everton 3-1 in the Merseyside derby at Anfield -- but were hit by an injury to Sadio Mane.

The home side made the brighter start at Anfield and were rewarded with the opening goal after only eight minutes.

It arrived in style as Mane took possession and drove towards the penalty area, cutting past two defenders before firing a low shot into the corner across a motionless Joel Robles.

Everton were struggling to establish any rhythm as the challenges flew in and Philippe Coutinho almost made them pay again after 19 minutes when his shot was stopped by Robles and the loose ball was headed clear from close to the line.

An Emre Can challenge on Ross Barkley gave Leighton Baines a chance from 25 yards, only for the defender to fire a tame free kick straight into the wall.

Out of nowhere, Everton were level after 28 minutes when Everton failed to deal with a corner and Matthew Pennington, on his first start of the season, stabbed home the loose ball in front of the Kop.

But Pennington's joy was short-lived as, within three minutes, he was turned inside the penalty area by Coutinho, who curled an outstanding finish beyond Robles to restore Liverpool's lead.

Five minutes before the break, Ross Barkley was arguably fortunate to escape a red card when he allowed the ball to run away from him and lunged in on Dejan Lovren.

Referee Anthony Taylor, who had booked Everton's Tom Davies earlier, opted only to issue another yellow as a feisty first half ended with Liverpool holding a deserved advantage.

Everton began the second with purpose and could have levelled just two minutes in when Ashley Williams steered the ball goalwards from a free kick but saw the effort stopped by Simon Mignolet.

Liverpool suffered a blow after 53 minutes when Mane, the scorer of the opening goal, fell awkwardly and was unable to continue, with Divock Origi coming on to replace him.

But just before the hour, Origi made it 3-1 to put the hosts in complete control, running on to a fine pass from Coutinho and blasting a finish over Robles as the Everton goalkeeper raced rashly towards him.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman took off Tom Davies and Matthew Pennington and replaced them with Enner Valencia and Gareth Barry, and saw his side come close to pulling a goal back when a deflected strike from Mason Holgate was well stopped by Mignolet.

Youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold replaced the outstanding Coutinho as Jurgen Klopp opted to make a change with just over 15 minutes remaining.

Alexander-Arnold had a shot pushed away by Robles, although the effort may have been heading wide in any case, before Roberto Firmino produced a fine turn to get away down the left only to over-hit his cross.

Alexander-Arnold saw another effort stopped by Robles as the game moved into its final moments and the home side saw the remaining time out comfortably in spring sunshine at Anfield.

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