In a fierce Merseyside derby, Liverpool secured their position at the top of the Premier League table by defeating local rivals Everton 2-0 at Anfield. Mohamed Salah’s remarkable performance was the highlight of the match.
The game took an unexpected turn in the first half when Ashley Young, an Everton player, was shown a red card, leaving Everton with only 10 players on the field. Young’s expulsion was met with controversy, as some believed referee Craig Pawson’s decision to be inconsistent. Furthermore, Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate managed to escape a second booking despite a close call.
Despite the man advantage, Liverpool struggled to break through Everton’s defense until the 75th minute when Mohamed Salah successfully converted a penalty after Michael Keane handled the ball. Salah’s second goal of the day, set up by Darwin Nunez, sealed the victory deep into stoppage time.
With this win, Liverpool took the top spot in the Premier League, surpassing Tottenham and Arsenal on goal difference. The Reds continued their impressive record in Merseyside derbies, having lost only one of their last 29 encounters and remaining unbeaten at Anfield against Everton since 1999.
The match was notable for its intensity and the fact that no other fixture in the Premier League era has seen more red cards than clashes between these two rivals.
The turning point came when Ashley Young was sent off for a second bookable offense, leaving Everton with a numerical disadvantage. Young, who had earlier made a crucial defensive play, was unable to prevent himself from receiving a second yellow card after a reckless challenge on Luis Diaz. On the other side, Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s early header was saved by Liverpool’s goalkeeper, Alisson Becker.
Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, had expressed his frustration with the early kickoff, considering the short turnaround time for some of his players who had participated in South American World Cup qualifiers. Despite having an extra man in the second half, Liverpool struggled to create clear chances.
Everton’s manager, Sean Dyche, introduced Michael Keane at halftime to revert to a back five formation, making it challenging for Liverpool to break through. Everton fans were left frustrated when Ibrahima Konate was not given a second yellow card for a foul on Beto, and the tension escalated with heated protests from both sides.
Liverpool had previously faced issues with VAR in their only defeat of the season against Tottenham, but this time, VAR worked in their favor as Michael Keane’s arm blocked Luis Diaz’s cross. The referee awarded a penalty, which Mohamed Salah converted, scoring his seventh goal of the season.
Beyond the football field, Mohamed Salah had recently made a plea for peace in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. As Everton pressed forward in search of an equalizer, they were caught on the counter-attack in stoppage time, allowing Nunez to set up Salah for an easy finish.