Liverpool beat Everton in the Merseyside derby, but can their recent form and win put them back in contention for the Champions League spots?
|Mohammed Salah scores for the first time since Boxing Day to help Liverpool past Everton for their first win of the calendar year. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo credit: Premier League)|
Liverpool won the Merseyside derby on Monday night, moving them to ninth place on the table and nine points off the Champions League places. Can we say Liverpool is back?
The Kops welcomed back Diogo Jota, Bobby Firminho, and Virgil Van Dijk to the fold, but the latter didn’t make an appearance on the day.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had lost three of their last four; the only one they didn’t lose was the boring affair against Chelsea.
Last weekend, Everton beat Arsenal to start a new era under Sean Dyche.
However, they couldn't do the same against their local rivals.
The opening exchange was positive from both sides, but Liverpool soon found a way past their visitors.
Darwin Nunez raced down the left following an Everton corner and sent one through to Mohammed Salah, who tapped into an empty net with Jordan Pickford wrongfooted.
It was the first time the Egyptian scored for the Kops this year.
Everton huffed and puffed with half chances, but to their credit, they were expressive and didn’t sit back like they did against the league leaders.
Liverpool went into the break with a lead, something that hasn’t happened often this season.
Dutch forward Cody Gakpo scored for the first time for Liverpool in his seventh attempt early in the second half to put Liverpool firmly in charge.
"It's a huge win for us," said Salah. "We had a perfect week to train and the players were so excited and we couldn't wait for the game to turn everything around and hopefully it was a start.
"I know that Darwin is really fast so they had a corner and we played a one-two. I knew that he was going to play the ball in the space so I was running as fast as I could and scored so that's the most important thing."
Everton continues to languish in the relegation zone, but the signs are there that with a direct manager like Dyches, they will survive the drop.
The Toffees can draw inspiration from Newcastle, which went from a relegation favourite to a top-four contender all within a year.