Mohamed Salah rode to Liverpool’s rescue again as he scored two late goals in a 2-0 Premier League victory over a determined 10-man Everton in Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield, after Ashley Young was sent off for the visitors in the first half.
Salah slotted home a penalty past Everton keeper Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock in the 75th minute after Michael Keane was penalised for a handball, then doubled Liverpool’s advantage with his 201st league goal deep in stoppage time.
It had been a frustrating afternoon for Liverpool up until Salah grabbed the opener as they struggled to break down a resilient Everton, who had defended resolutely after Young was dismissed for a second booking in the 37th minute.
Juergen Klopp’s side provisionally climbed top of the standings on 20 points in the Premier League’s first game of the weekend, while Everton are 16th.
“It’s a derby, and it will not decide how you end up on the table at the end of the season, but it has an impact like all the other games, but it’s much more tense, there’s a lot more emotion in, so that’s why the relief in this moment is really big,” Liverpool manager Klopp told BeIN Sports.
Salah has either scored or assisted in every one of his last 13 Premier League appearances at Anfield, a home streak topped only by Alan Shearer (18) and Thierry Henry (17).
“Consistency is the most difficult thing in football,” Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk said of Salah on TNT. “To do it each and every game … big players step up when we need them and we’re very pleased for him and very pleased for our football club.”
Klopp was clearly delighted after his side’s first win in three league matches, pumping a victorious fist to the cheering Liverpool fans.
Sean Dyche’s side, who have just one victory in their last 29 clashes with Liverpool, did well to keep their rivals at bay for much of the game after Young was sent off with his second yellow card for a mistimed tackle on Luis Diaz.
Young’s ejection marked the 23rd Premier League red card in the impassioned Merseyside derby.
“Sending off happens,” Dyche said. “I think the first (yellow) is touch and go, the second yellow is a yellow, that’s the way it goes. And then second half, we wanted to change the shape and I thought that went really well, we wanted to take the sting out of the game.
“And then of course, the penalty changes it. The penalties, I don’t like the modern rule but I’m aware of it, it hits your arm it’s a penalty. I preferred it when it had to be a deliberate act.”
Everton’s frustrations increased when Liverpool centre back Ibrahima Konate stayed on the pitch after escaping a second yellow card when he pulled down Beto in the second half.
“We got lucky with that one!” Klopp admitted.
Liverpool dominated but were mainly restricted to shots from distance, including a blistering first-half effort from Salah that sailed inches over. Trent Alexander-Arnold also launched a rocket that spun just over the bar a few minutes before the break.
They got the breakthrough when Keane’s outstretched arm blocked Diaz’s cross and Salah thumped the penalty into the corner, leaving Pickford no chance.
They then made the game safe when substitute Darwin Nunez broke free and played a perfectly timed pass to Salah, who calmly slotted home.
Liverpool were missing defender Andy Robertson, who is expected to undergo surgery on his shoulder injured while playing for Scotland last week.