JURGEN KLOPP gave his players two days off to clear their heads after the dismal defeat at Wolves.
And the Liverpool manager was duly rewarded with a type of sparkling, high-energy performance which looked as though his team had been given a couple of months off.
This was more like it from Klopp’s team. Here was the team, for periods of the game at least, which came within two games of winning all four trophies last season.
While it helped their Merseyside rivals delivered an unbelievably-lame performance in their match under Sean Dyche, Liverpool could not have hoped for an easier game to halt their embarrassing slide towards mid table.
Jordan Pickford proved his attention to detail by printing a graphic on his water bottle detailing Liverpool’s four likely penalty takers.
But instead, Pickfoford was guilty of some completely bizarre goalkeeping to hand Mo Salah his first goal of 2023.
The England keeper’s movement was a bit like when you are playing table football and you send the goalkeeper in completely the wrong direction.
Yet there was also a first goal for Cody Gakpo, a player who has not exactly made a grand entrance since his £37million move from PSV Eindhoven.
Virtually everyone, other than Klopp, would have spent the money on central midfield as this is clearly an area which needs an overhaul..
But tonight, Fabinho overcame his shocking season with a decent performance, the recalled Jordan Henderson gave some calm in the central area and 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic once again proved what a terrific player he is certain to be and was the best player on the pitch.
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There was also a 20-minute run-out for fit-again Diogo Jota who had not featured since mid-October.
Bobby Firmino, the team’s top scorer but injured since mid-November, was also handed a 10-minute cameo. Virgil Van Dijk, injured since January 2, was also on the bench.
So this potentially disastrous night against the team from the other side of Stanley Park was just one happy news story for everyone at Anfield.
Maybe Klopp’s team can now get some much-needed momentum after a run of four Premier League matches without a win.
Equally, Everton boss Dyche will have been massively disappointed by his team who were surprisingly open at the back and both goals were down to some really weak, kamikaze defending.
They took a step forwards in the shock 1–0 win over Arsenal but this was a reminder that Dyche has a hell of a lot of work to do to ensure this club does not drop out of the Premier League
If Everton win their next two home games, against Leeds and Aston Villa, then this performance will have been forgotten.
Once Salah scored only his eighth Premier League goal of the season, there was only ever going to be one winner.
But the irony is that Liverpool’s goal came just 15 seconds after Everton defender James Tarkowski saw his header from Alex Iwobi’s corner hit the post.
Yet the defender who scored the shock winner against Arsenal could not have believed the way Liverpool surged forward leaving the entire Everton team as virtual spectators.
Nunez picked the ball up on the edge of his own area, played a quick one-two with Salah, and then showed incredible pace by sprinting the length of the pitch before crossing for the Egyptian
Salah was one of three Liverpool players who had raced to the edge of the area and his first-time shot looked to be far easier than it should have been, partly because Jordan Pickford’s positioning was utterly bizarre.
Although it was Salah who scored, Andy Robertson was waiting behind to pounce, which is some effort as he had defended the corner.
Yet the Scottish defender also put the burners on at the start of the second half, bursting past flat-footed Seamus Coleman and Abdoulaye Doucoure to play a part in the second.
Robertson raced into the second half before Salah and Alexander-Arnold to create a simple far-post tap-in for Gakpo although Everton’s defending, again, was poor.
Gakpo had missed an easy header in the first half so this will certainly have helped his confidence
And maybe, over the next few weeks, he can start to flourish as it would not have been easy coming into a side which is still nursing a hangover from last season.
Substitute Tom Davies wasted a decent chance in the final few minutes but showed a lack of composure and his header floated into the Kop.
At the end, we were treated to the most cheerful fight you will ever see at a game. Pickford barged into Andy Roberton, annoyed that the left-back had kicked the ball away but it was all good natured.
Yet the other players did not see it that way, Conor Coady confronted Robertson who, while laughing, shouted “f**k off”.
Eventually, the pair were handed yellow cards for their part in the comedy.
But ultimately, there was no need for anyone in a red shirt to get too angry because, for once in this nightmare season, everything actually went to plan.