In all the years watching the Merseyside derby it’s hard to think of two worse tackles than the one Ramiro Funes Mori put in on Divock Origi earlier in the year and the one tonight by Ross Barkley on Jordan Henderson. Even Graeme Souness would have winced.
It was therefore poetic that the Reds’ winner should be so heartbreakingly late for the home side to suffer, with the Blues having bossed the first half (without really having any shots) before being blown away in the second when inexplicably allowed to keep eleven players on the pitch. In fairness, in terms of the quality of chances, 3-0 would have been a better reflection for the visitors, in that Everton offered nothing to even remotely trouble Simon Mignolet. This was their cup final and they blue it, to paraphrase Tobias Fünke.
Remember – Liverpool have now played TEN away games, and just seven at home.
So a win tonight puts Liverpool six points adrift of Chelsea, but the Londoners haven’t had the imbalance of games that the Reds faced due to Anfield’s Main Stand being rebuilt. Liverpool have also gone to Chelsea, just as they’ve gone to Spurs and Arsenal. Chelsea must remain favourites, due to the size of the squad, the cost of the squad and the amount of prior experience at winning titles (none of which are decisive on their own but all add up); however, Liverpool are doing remarkably well to be in 2nd, on an impressive 37 points.
Everton desperately wanted to spoil Liverpool’s title hopes, with no hopes of their own; so out came the dogs of war. In the first half they were impressively aggressive; in the second half they were feral. Three red cards wouldn’t have been unthinkable; two of them for Barkley, who may need to be checked for rabies.
This article is for subscribers only.