Everton 0 - 1 Liverpool
Everton lost their unbeaten home record as a scrappy and at times ill-tempered Merseyside derby was settled in stoppage time by Sadio Mané.
Sadio Mané reacted quickest to turn the ball into the empty net and silence Goodison Park after Daniel Sturridge's shot had come back off the post.
It was agony for the Blues but reward for Jürgen Klopp's side who had done enough to elevate themselves above the usual blood and thunder of a local tussle and sustain sufficient attacking pressure to force the only goal of the game.
Everton by contrast paid for a largely dreadful second-half performance, one that was severely disrupted by injuries to James McCarthy and Maarten Stekelenburg. Without looking especially dangerous, Ronald Koeman's side had been tenacious in hunting the visitors down and denying them space in the first period.
Aaron Lennon's shot in 12th minute almost broke to Ross Barkley in space in the box but the latter couldn't react in time to control the loose ball before Ragnar Klavan's out-stretched boot denied Romeu Lukaku as he looked to connect with Lennon's low cross after 22 minutes.
After Divock Origi had seen a similar chance go begging at the other end, Barkley dragged a shot wide and Ramiro Funes-Mori, in for the suspended Phil Jagielka, planted a late first-half header a similar distance past the other side of the goal.
The loss of McCarthy seemed to rob the home side of some energy and fight in the middle of the park and Liverpool came out from the interval looking the more composed of the two sides. Roberto Firmino looked set to break the deadlock within five minutes of the restart but Stekelenburg closed him down superbly to block the shot and Nathaniel Clyne's follow-up effort was charged down.
The Dutch ‘keeper was forced off a few minutes later, however, following a collision with Leighton Baines who slid in to deny Mané and the ball fizzed past the post. Joel Robles replaced Stekelenburg and he had to pull off an excellent save to push Firmino's side-foot volley away to safety and keep things goalless going into the final 10 minutes of the regulation 90.
The eight minutes added on due to injuries to both sides — Jordan Henderson required treatment after an ugly tackle from Barkley in the 67th minute — and substitutions afforded plenty of time to the team that could put together either a moment of quality or benefit from some luck and, frustratingly for Everton, that would be Liverpool.
Sturridge screwed a speculative shot off the base of the post and with Ashley Williams rooted to the spot, Mané followed it in ahead of two blue shirts to prolong Everton's poor record in Merseyside derbies.
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
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1 Posted 19/12/2016 at 22:38:01
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