Sporting Life · Columnist
Jordan Pickford’s blunder allowed Divock Origi to score a 96th-minute winner for Liverpool against a valiant Everton in the Merseyside derby
Belgian striker Origi scored his first goal for the Reds since May 2017 as he made a rare appearance for Jurgen Klopp’s side as a late second half substitute.
Origi almost made an instant impact as he hit the woodwork from close range, but it looked like Marco Silva’s Everton would grab a deserved point after an accomplished display at Anfield saw them have several clear cut chances themselves.
However, in the sixth minute of injury time, Virgil van Dijk’s skied volley dropped seemingly harmlessly towards Pickford’s crossbar, but he failed to deal with it and Origi was on hand to nod in from close range to send the Kop wild.
Klopp could not contain himself as he ran onto the pitch after the winner – perhaps reflecting his relief after a tough week and three points that keeps Liverpool just two behind league leaders Manchester City.
Big chances for both sides
Everton centre-back Yerry Mina should have done better with a free header from a free-kick early on, and both sides went on to waste great chances as Sadio Mane blazed over for Liverpool and Roberto Firmino dragged his strike wide.
Alisson Becker then produced a stunning save from close range to deny Andre Gomes’ header, with Joe Gomez on hand with a last-ditch tackle to stop the ball from creeping over line.
Xherdan Shaqiri hit a golden chance straight at Pickford, while Theo Walcott was also denied by some good goalkeeping as Alisson got enough on the ball to send him too wide to shoot.
Mohamed Salah sent a curler just wide in the second half and Mane sliced wide when put through on goal by Firmino – who then wasted a great chance on the break when lacking the pace to go beyond the last man.
Origi missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the 88th minute from just three yards when a knockdown fell in his path, only for his effort to rattle the crossbar.
The Belgian still had one more chance however, as Pickford – who tried to tip the ball over – inadvertently kept the ball in play via a bounce off the crossbar for Origi to make amends for his earlier miss and nod home in the sixth minute of time added on for a dramatic winner.
Klopp said afterwards: “Immediately after the game I apologised to Marco Silva when we spoke to each other.
“I told him how much I respect his work, because it’s incredible what he did with that team. They are just an outstanding side.
“Derbies are always difficult but this was a completely different difficult to the last few years.
“What can I say about it? I didn’t want to run. It was not my plan. I didn’t want to run to Ali – I couldn’t stop, obviously. Not cool, but it happened.
“The more important things happened during the 95 minutes. Again, all my respect for Everton, really good. Both teams delivered a proper fight, a proper derby from the first second.”
Silva said: “He didn’t apologise to me. All of your colleagues have asked me about the situation but to be honest with you I didn’t see it. I don’t know what he did and the way he did it.
“It was a lucky day for him this afternoon but that is football. I cannot say it was disrespectful because I didn’t see, maybe when I see that moment I can speak more about that situation.”
The goal came when Pickford attempted to tip a sliced effort from Virgil Van Dijk over, only to send the ball bouncing against the bar and towards Origi.
Silva said when asked about the England goalkeeper, who had done well to deny Xherdan Shaqiri in the first half: “What I told him will stay between us.
“What I can tell you, like we started the match all together, like we have been working since the first day all together, we finish the match all together.
“He did really well until that moment and it is something no-one expected. It is easy to understand how the stadium celebrated the goal in the last minute.”
He added: “I know the main thing in football is always the result but I can tell you I am proud of our players.
“I think it is clear for everyone we didn’t deserve and it was a lucky, lucky, lucky day for Liverpool.”
Klopp, who admitted the goal was “a bit lucky”, expressed his delight for Origi.
The forward sustained a nasty ankle injury in a Merseyside derby in April 2016 via a tackle from Ramiro Funes Mori.
Klopp said of the Belgian, who on Sunday was making only his second Liverpool appearance since being on loan at Wolfsburg last season: “I said it to him when I sent him on the pitch, actually. I had it in my mind. I’ve never forgot it since.
“Fouls and harsh tackles happen, but in his case it was so obvious that it was a break in his development.
“At that time he was outstanding. After that, it took a long time before he felt absolutely nothing.
“It all changed a little bit (for him), you lose confidence and you don’t play from here (touching his stomach) any more.
“So it was always in my mind when I thought about Div, that night (against Everton). And now he can finish that book and from now on everything will be fine again.”
Liverpool 1-0 Everton – Opta stats
- Liverpool have recorded five 90th minute winners against Everton in the Premier League; more than against any other side in the competition.
- Liverpool have kept 21 clean sheets against Everton in the Premier League; more than they’ve accumulated against any other side.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in each of their last 18 matches against Everton in all competitions (W9 D9) – the Reds’ longest ever unbeaten run against their rivals.
- Liverpool have recorded 11 clean sheets in the Premier League so far in 2018 at Anfield; only in 2002 and 2006 have the Reds kept more (12).
- Liverpool have conceded just five goals in their first 14 Premier League games this season; only Chelsea in 2008-09 conceded fewer at this stage in a PL campaign (4 goals).
- Divock Origi has scored in all three of his home league appearances against Everton for Liverpool – scoring more goals against the Toffees than any other side in the competition.
- Everton’s Theo Walcott has played 395 minutes at Anfield in the Premier League without scoring – the most he has played at any stadium without ever finding the net.
- Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has failed to score in his last nine Premier League games at Anfield – the Brazilian’s longest drought at home in the competition.