Premier League • England

Robertson rouses Anfield after decisive Klopp call powers Liverpool to feisty Merseyside derby win

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson

Andy Robertson was the hero at both ends as Liverpool broke Everton’s stubborn resistance to keep the heat on Man City at the top of the Premier League.

Liverpool controlled the possession stakes in the early going, though found it difficult to break a committed and physical Everton side down.

The in-form Sadio Mane showed quick feet to spin Allan on the edge of the area before firing over. That speculative effort summed up the Reds’ struggles in the opening 20 minutes.

At the other end, Anthony Gordon was making the headlines for all the wrong reasons when booked for diving. The winger went over Naby Keita’s leg inside the area, though saw yellow with his tumble deemed to be an act of simulation.

Jordan Pickford was taking every second possible to slow the game down from his goal kicks. The stopper remained otherwise unworked after half an hour after Diogo Jota prodded wide with Liverpool’s best chance yet.

The Toffees provided a timely reminder of their own threat when Abdoulaye Doucouré fired narrowly wide.

The midfielder had been played through by Richarlison after outmuscling Thiago Alcantara in the duel, though Doucoure could not find the finish his side required.

Richarlison and Doucoure were in the heat of the action once again when both sides came together prior to the break.

The referee refused to stop play despite Richarlison laying prone on the deck for over 30 seconds. Doucoure twice had a go at Fabinho to ensure play stopped with every player on the pitch bar Alisson Richarlison coming together in a 20-man scrum.

Sadio Mane appeared fortunate to escape with just a booking when twice raising his hands to Everton players during the melee.

The match continued its familiar pattern of Liverpool controlling the ball but struggling to create clear-cut opportunities after the break. Yet Gordon too remained a potent threat on the break with his blistering pace causing havoc down Liverpool’s right flank.

Klopp changes the game

Jurgen Klopp has never been shy of ringing the changes and within moments of shuffling his deck, Liverpool were in front.

Divock Origi and Luis Diaz replaced Naby Keita and Mane. Origi quickly combined with Salah before the Egyptian’s clipped cross to the far post was headed home by Andy Robertson.

Diaz announced his arrival to the fixture with an audacious piece of ball control before driving to the byline. The pair had provided more threat in five minutes than Mane and Diogo Jota had in the entire first half.

But while the lead remained one Liverpool’s nerves remained frayed. Indeed, Demarai Gray had Liverpool breathing a huge sigh of relief when rifling agonisingly wide of Alisson’s post.

Robertson made another impact – this time in his own half – when intercepting what would’ve been a certain tap-in for Alex Iwobi.

And with five minutes remaining Liverpool doubled the lead when Diaz and Origi combined to deadly effect.

The Colombian’s acrobatic effort was met at the far post by Origi who nodded home from close range to wrap up a 2-0 win.

The victory put Liverpool back within a point of leaders Man City and ensured Everton remained two points adrift of safety after Burnley defeated Wolves earlier on Sunday.