Decade of dominance continues with Reds light years ahead of Everton
Liverpool put five past Marco Silva's Everton in a dominant Merseyside derby display
By Paul Gorst Liverpool FC correspondent11:40, 5 DEC 2019
For Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool players, there will have been no better way to do it. No better way to end a decade of Merseyside derby dominance. No better way to bring up a new club record. No better way to reassert yourself as the Premier League's top dog.
This 5-2 drubbing of their most fierce and historic rivals now sees the Reds unbeaten in 32 matches in the top flight. It was surely made all the more sweeter by the identity of the opponent here at Anfield.
Liverpool's longest unbeaten run against any team in the Premier League now stands at 18 games and that will extend into 2020 as Everton's annual Anfield hardship continues.
How the blue half of this city must loathe making their shortest away trip of the season. For two decades now they have been given very little to shout about down the Anfield Road. Once more, they were sent up the street nursing another painful loss.
The old cliche about formbooks going out the nearest window on derby day simply doesn't apply to this local skirmish. Aside from a 2-0 defeat when Roy Hodgson was in charge, it's been an excellent 10 years for the Reds. It's now 10 wins and as many draws since FSG's first day on the job in October 2010.
Less than a mile separates these two old enemies, but on the field, here and now, they are plainly light years apart. A whopping 29 points is now the difference between them in the top flight. They are heading in total opposite directions.
Liverpool are streaming clear in their pursuit of a league title and whatever happens next with Marco Silva is anyone's guess. Another winter of discontent has firmly taken hold across Stanley Park.
It's now 21 games at Anfield since Kevin Campbell's winner in September 1999. You suspect the visitors are unlikely to see next month's FA Cup clash an ideal opportunity to change that as they lick their latest wounds right now.
The two teams' respective fortunes could scarcely have been different heading into this one and this win for Klopp's European champions has only brightened the contrast.
Silva is on the brink at Everton, having taken 14 points from as many games. Meanwhile, the Reds were aiming to re-establish their 11-point lead at the top over Manchester City. Leicester's win at home to Watford means the Reds currently sit eight clear at the summit.
Liverpool, who were also defending an unbeaten Anfield derby record that stood at 20 years, pre-match, last suffered a home defeat in the Premier League in April 2017 - a run stretching 47 games. They were odds that the visitors simply never looked like beating once the whistle sounded.
Eyebrows sprung up at 7.15pm when Klopp named his starting XI. With the Reds likely to play nine games this month, Klopp shuffled his pack and rested Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson with Xherdan Shaqiri making his first start of the season alongside Sadio Mane and last year's derby hero Divock Origi.
Origi once more made himself the man for the big occasion as he got on the end of a razor-sharp counter-attack inside six minutes to round Jordan Pickford and score his fourth in as many games against Everton.
'Merry Christmas Everton' rung around the Kop as Origi celebrated another against the Toffees. With three of the last four Decembers turning up defeats to Liverpool, Blues fans must be sick to the back teeth of that particular ditty.
If Liverpool's first was from the top drawer, their second was out of this world. Alexander-Arnold, as he so often does, pinged one of his trademark passes cross field where it was met with the instant control of Mane. He cut in from the left and threaded in Shaqiri who justified his selection with a first-time finish.
It had been just 15 minutes so far for Shaqiri at Anfield this season with a calf injury keeping him out for over two months. However, he responded with his first start of the campaign by tucking home a superb counter-attack. His second half was full of tricks and flicks as he wowed the Kop with a string of classy moments. This here must be a launchpad for his Liverpool career. He will have a big role to play between now and May. This was proof of that.
Liverpool's clean sheet woes continued, however, when Michael Keane made the most of some indecision at the back to prod past Adrian and reduce the deficit. A couple of naughty challenges then went in from both sides with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Richarlison perhaps lucky to escape with just a booking apiece for high tackles on Lucas Digne and Shaqiri, respectively.
The Reds had clearly worked on catching their visitors out with long balls over the top and Origi took his derby tally to five when he latched onto Dejan Lovren's pinpoint pass with a sublime first touch before lifting it over Pickford.
It was this fixture 367 days ago that was the re-birth of Origi's time on Merseyside. Summoned from the bench late on, it was his 96th-minute winner that broke Everton hearts. Twelve months on, he is a Champions League-winning Anfield icon. Once more, he laid waste to the Blues with a fantastic showing. He must wish he could play them every week.
The standing ovation reserved for his second-half exit was richly deserved. Like Shaqiri, he is another whose contribution will be vital before the season is done and dusted.
The Reds' fourth arrived in similarly clinical fashion when Alexander-Arnold raided down the left after an Everton corner had been negotiated before Mane met the lay-off with a left-footed finish.
A jubilant Kop celebrated what they assumed were the points, but there was a sting in the tale in the closing stages as Richarlison met Bernard's cross with a diving header to make it 4-2 at the end of a wild 45 minutes of football.
The Reds continued to press their claims for a fifth after the break and Silva sent on Moise Kean for Calvert-Lewin on the hour mark. Klopp responded by summoning captain Henderson and Firmino for Origi and Lallana.
Mane had the chance to wrap it up inside the final 10 minutes as yet another raking ball over the top found its mark. This time, after more superb control, he could only find the wrong side of Pickford's post.
The Senegal star was again guilty of profligacy after Henderson's well-weighted pass sent him scampering clean through. He rounded Pickford before being crowded out as the gilt-edged chance came to nothing.
The belated fifth did arrive in the dying embers as Wijnaldum stuck one into the corner after superlative work from Firmino who had turned Mason Holgate inside out before delivering a low cross. Three minutes went up on the board but the travelling Blues had seen enough.
In a season that continues to promise so much, this was another delirious height scaled for Klopp, his players and the fans who so heartily cheer them on.
Once again, the city is Red. It will be for some time.
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