By Matt Ramirez – @Matt_J_Ramirez
Liverpool got back to winning ways in the 232nd Merseyside derby, beating bitter rivals Everton 1-0 at Anfield after Divock Origi got the last-minute goal to send Anfield and Jürgen Klopp into delirium.
The forgotten striker secured all three points for Jürgen Klopp’s men, as the home side had to fight and claw to bounce back from their midweek disappointment in Paris.
The Reds also had the added pressure of keeping chase with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League – with the current Champions picking up three points after wins against Bournemouth the previous day.
Liverpool started the game the stronger of the two teams but could very easily have found themselves behind in the 20th minute were it not for Alisson and Joe Gomez. After his heroics in Paris, Alisson yet again made another point-blank save to deny Andre Gomes, which was then followed up by a goal line clearance from Gomez to deny the onrushing Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Everton grew into the game after their chance but, like their rivals, could also have found themselves behind towards the end of the half. Xherdan Shaqiri was put through on goal by Mohamed Salah.
The Swiss star burst past Yerry Mina and looked to slot the ball past Jordan Pickford, but the England number one was not easily beaten, making himself big and parrying the strike out for a corner.
With 10 minutes left of the half the ground was bouncing, with chants of “Liverpool Liverpool” from the Anfield faithful as Liverpool pressed high and looked to take the lead before the break. Unfortunately for the Reds, they couldn’t muster a quality chance for the remainder of the half and went into the break at a stalemate with their Blue neighbours.
Much like in the first half, Liverpool came out of the break looking the more dangerous of the two sides, with Sadio Mané, in particular, still looking like the Reds’ biggest threat. Within the opening 15 minutes the Senegalese could have had the ball in the back of the net twice, but to Anfield’s frustration he was only able to find the outside of either of Pickford’s posts.
Other than the opening moments, the second half produced a rather lacklustre performance from the home side until the introduction of Divock Origi. The Belgian who replaced Roberto Firmino almost assisted and scored all in the final 10 minutes of the game, before winning it in the final seconds of injury time.
A last-minute ball into the box was cleared poorly by the Everton defence straight into the path of Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman lashed at the loose ball sending it high into the air and seemingly straight into the hands of Pickford.
The England number one misjudged the flight of ball, palming it onto the crossbar and into the path of the standing Origi who nodded it into the empty net in the 96th minute.
Anfield went ballistic with the Liverpool bench vacated by players and coaches as Klopp and his backroom staff swarmed the pitch to join the celebrations. The win sees the Reds keep pace with Manchester City at the top of the league going into the busy Christmas period.