Liverpool reclaimed the Merseyside bragging rights as they ran Ronald Koeman’s side ragged to extend their push for a Champions League finish.
Goals from Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and a second half drive from Divock Origi sealed the win for the home side.
This win extends Liverpool’s unbeaten run against the Toffees to 14 games (In all competitions), and also leaves Everton’s wretched record of not winning away at Anfield since 1999 intact.
Both sides went into the 228th Merseyside Derby with weakened sides. Adam Lallana and captain, Jordan Henderson, were the main absentees for Jürgen Klopp’s side. Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman, Morgan Schneiderlin, James McCarthy and Ramiro Funes Mori were all side-lined for Everton.
The heavy extent of Everton’s injury woes forced Ronald Koeman to field a very inexperienced side, with Tom Davies, Mason Holgate, Matthew Pennington, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all playing, with an average age between them of just 20.
The match started off at a high tempo, with the two teams looking up for the occasion.
The hosts found the opener just eight minutes in, through Sadio Mane; which took his Premier League goal scoring tally up to 13 goals.
The Senegalese winger picked the ball up just past the halfway line and relentlessly charged forward with tenacity and hunger. His shot, which trickled into the bottom corner, left Joel Robles rooted to the spot in goal.
In the 26th minute however, the visitors struck back.
A Leighton Baines corner was fizzed into the penalty box, the ball was headed down by Phil Jagielka which then landed at the feet of his centre back pairing- Ashley Williams.
Williams’ feeble attempt was blocked and bounced back to youngster, Matthew Pennington, who lashed home.
In what was his first Premier League game of the season, saw him net his first ever goal for Everton, a fitting time for the defender to achieve this accolade.
However, the away side were level for a preposterous two minutes, as the Reds bagged a second.
Philippe Coutinho, who has not been his usual self of late, weaved his magic, and produced a finish of the highest calibre. The number ten worked his way into the box on the left wing and conducted his habitual ‘drop of the shoulder’ to make space for a shot at goal.
Pennington, the hero at one end just moments ago, was left wrong-footed and could only watch the Brazilian’s close range effort rocket into the top right corner past the hopeless Robles.
Ross Barkley can count himself very lucky to not have been sent off, which creates a sense of déjà vu, dating back to December 2016 when the sides met at Goodison Park.
Barkley’s rash and wild challenge on Jordan Henderson in Liverpool’s 1-0 win only merited a yellow card, although many disagreed with that. This time, he escaped again with just a yellow to his name after two wild challenges, one on Emre Can, and the latter on Dejan Lovren.
With tempers flaring, emotions were sent sky rocketing rather extravagantly by Divock Origi.
The Belgian forward was substituted on just before the hour mark as Sadio Mane left the field in agony. A challenge for the ball with Baines saw him appear to twist his knee, which then prompted Origi to enter the fray.
He didn’t take long to make his mark. 3 minutes to be precise.
Milner stole the ball off academy prospect, Mason Holgate, near the Reds’ penalty box, which then prompted a Liverpool attack. The samba star, Coutinho, who already had a goal to his name, now boasted an assist, as his close range pass found Origi, who thundered home into the roof of the net on the edge of the box- at the kop end, in some style.
Mignolet, who was rarely tested all game, was needed to save a tricky deflected effort from Holgate with 20 minutes remaining , which was then followed up by Baines whipping in an inviting ball into the six yard box, where the English youngster, Holgate, saw another effort of his amount to nothing as he headed over the bar.
Everton lacked a cutting edge all afternoon, and were bystanders for large parts of the match. Romelu Lukaku was tamed brilliantly by the Liverpool defence, who made it tremendously complex for the away side to create any notable efforts.
As the game drew to a close with a quarter of an hour remaining, Klopp threw youngster Trent Alexander Arnold into the deep end, to make his first appearance in this colossal fixture.
He started superbly. Good work by Emre Can down the right hand flank led to the German presenting Alexander- Arnold with a chance at goal.
The 18 year old latched onto the ball whilst making his run into the penalty area, it looked to be gliding into the top left corner, but Robles had other ideas and denied the rising star a Matthew Pennington moment; of scoring his first goal for the club, which featured in the first half.
Everton’s afternoon was summed up perfectly in the final moments of the game when substitute Kevin Mirallas found a way into the Liverpool penalty area, skipped past two, and then blazed over the bar in some fashion.
The quest for supremacy in the battle against their neighbours continues for the Blues, whilst Liverpool’s quest for a top four finish was monumentally reinvigorated.
By Tom Cavilla.