Everton have ended a 22-year wait for a win at Anfield with a brilliant 2-0 win, courtesy of goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Toffees hadn’t beaten Liverpool in their last 23 attempts in all competitions, stretching back until 2010 but their last win in enemy territory came last millennium, way back in 1999 when Kevin Campbell scored the winner.
That win puts Everton level on points with their Merseyside rivals with a game in hand as they look to finish in the top four for the first time since 2005. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s woes continue and they have now lost four consecutive Premier League games and four consecutive games at Anfield. Their hopes of Champions League football appear to be diminishing by the week.
Speaking to press in the game's aftermath, Toffee's boss Carlo Ancelotti said, "I am very pleased for the club and the supporters. I hope for sure that they are going to celebrate tonight. It was a good performance. A lot of fight and spirit. I am really happy.
“We have to find more consistency at home and we are working on this. We are fighting for Europe and now we are in a good position. This kind of performance helps to improve the belief of the team."
The game followed the pattern of most Liverpool home games recently. Probing, but with no cutting edge. The front three, feared for so long were tepid once again. But let’s not underestimate this performance from Ancelotti’s side, tactically he got things spot on, even with Dominic Calvert-Lewin starting from the bench on his return from injury.
Seamus Coleman started on the right hand side to provide protection to Mason Holgate when needed and dropped into a back five when Liverpool were in possession. Richarlison, playing centrally, worked his socks off and allowed James Rodriguez a bit of space, which he exploited for the opening goal.
Rodriguez threaded a perfectly weighted ball through to Richarlison who finished into the far corner with aplomb, with just three minutes on the clock after a rampant start at Anfield. Things got worse for the hosts as captain Jordan Henderson was forced off with a hamstring injury after 25 minutes, adding to Liverpool’s defensive injury woes. He was replaced by youngster Nat Phillips, but Henderson can join Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk on the treatment table over the coming weeks, which further weakens this frail Liverpool side.
It could’ve been two for Everton in the first half as Seamus Coleman was denied from close range after his diving header from just six yards from a sublime Lucas Digne cross forced Alisson into a great save. Liverpool just looked short, unable to break down this resolute Everton side, who are looking like European contenders once more.
Sadio Mane tested Jordan Pickford with a header early in the second half and Trent Alexander-Arnold flashed a ball across the six-yard box, but aside from that, England’s number one remained relatively untested in the Everton goal, despite Liverpool dominating the ball. The game went away from them as Calvert-Lewin was introduced from the bench and caused havoc.
He used his physicality to get through on goal, and although he hit his one-on-one chance at Alisson, he attempted to put in the rebound and tripped over Trent Alexander-Arnold in the process. A penalty was awarded - even after referee Chris Kavanagh went over to check the monitor, and Gylfi Sigurdsson duly stepped up to convert into the bottom left corner, putting the game beyond doubt.
Speaking after the game, Everton captain Seamus Coleman said, "It’s an amazing feeling after coming here all those years and letting ourselves and, more importantly, letting the blue side of the city down. It’s been hard. We can try and brush it off but when you have lived in the city for ten years it has been difficult to take.
"I am fed up with coming out with the same clichés after losing. I’d thank the manager for the way he set us up and the players put in an unbelievable shift. That was against the champions, so we are delighted."
Everton have waited years for this moment. 22 to be precise. The only thing to take the shine of this brilliant Toffees’ win is the fact no fans were in the stadium to witness it, but there is always next year for that. When Everton appointed Ancelotti, people questioned whether they could challenge their rivals again and make an impression on the European places. They just have.