Connect with us


Liverpool just saw £37m transformation that can spark huge change this season



Liverpool have just seen a £37million transformation which could see huge changes this season

Paul Gorst verdict after the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton on Monday

If there is anything left to salvage in this risky season for Jurgen Klopp, then this must just be the turning point for Liverpool; the moment when a confident and injury-ridden campaign turned from a surprising and dramatic underperformance into something entirely different at Anfield.

For a team who have struggled all season and even more since returning to their home ground after Christmas, it seems hardly credible that their hopes of a top-four finish continue to falter. But with a Newcastle side having drawn five of their last six at St James’ Park on Saturday night and with one game still to play, the Magpies somehow remain virtually in sight for Klopp.

However, leaderboards should start loading now. Victory in the 242nd Merseyside derby must be more than bragging rights in the local skirmish and a shrill gloat to push their neighbors closer to the slush of relegation. Having enjoyed such dominance in this fixture last season, with the Reds winning 6-1 over the two games, such a pronounced blowback to what was to be a truly competitive derby was not expected to be so swift.

And given that the Blues arrived at Anfield thanks to the morale-boosting arm shot that was their 1-0 win over Premier League leaders Arsenal last week, it has even been suggested that Everton entered this game, because we dare to say, favorite.

For those in blue who have ventured through Stanley Park over the past quarter century with little more than blind hope, those claims were exaggerated, but there was little contention, before the match, that Liverpool’s turmoil had given Sean Dyche an immediate chance to become an Everton Hero.

It never seemed likely, however, as Liverpool have played with the kind of bravado that has too often been lacking over the last six months. And how reassuring it must be for Klopp that even in a season of calamity, the presence of the Blues passive can still earn him three important points. Indeed, despite the understandable anxiety before the match, it was just what the manager and his accusers needed.

The German has now won eight of his derbies, equaling the Premier League record set by Rafa Benitez, who achieved nil during his ill-fated short stay at Goodison Park.

Excellent Jordan Henderson and Fabinho returned to the squad having spent the majority of the last four games on the substitute bench, while there have been a trio of key enhancements elsewhere as Diogo Jota, Virgil van Dijk and Roberto Firmino all returned to the squad .

A quiet first half with few chances was typical of two sides who have been out of form for some time, but in fact it was just what Liverpool’s notoriously slow starters needed, despite the occasion requiring 90 minutes of gas and bloodshed.

Liverpool took the lead seconds after Everton created their best chance of the game. After James Tarkowski’s header hit the post, Darwin Nunez played a one-two with Mohamed Salah on the edge of his own box and launched a powerful run before providing the assist with a delicate pass to the other side of the camp for the Egyptians. the 18th of the star’s campaign. It was a stunning breakaway goal, the kind we haven’t seen from Klopp’s players for some time.

It was a similar story for the Reds’ second, early in the second half as Cody Gakpo scored his first goal for his new club. Andy Robertson, making his 250th appearance for Liverpool, did so well to open the game with a surge in midfield before his pass to Salah Trent gave Alexander-Arnold a chance to put him on a board for Gakpo at the back post . After seven grueling games, this was the moment the Dutch international had been dreaming of since his departure from PSV in early January. The £37million striker looked instantly transformed and started playing with a confidence not seen since his arrival. A sharp spin and a dribble down the halfway line saw Gakpo escape Idrissa Gueye’s attention before Nunez slammed the pass past the post.

Klopp could dispatch Jota for the final 20 minutes or so as the Portugal international replaced the stunning Nunez, whose all-action performance earned him a standing ovation from the Kop. Firmino’s reintroduction in his first appearance since November 12 was also warmly welcomed as he was late for Gakpo.

In the closing stages, Liverpool fans had started to amuse themselves and resorted to superficial chants about the seriousness of Everton’s situation at the bottom of the table. “This is your last trip to Anfield!” they roar. “Enjoy Preston next season!” one fan in particular whooped as the crowd poured in full-time. The sad part, from a Merseyside football perspective, is that they have more than a grain of truth to them.

That’s Dyche’s problem now though and Klopp has more than enough of himself to fix, although some may have disappeared after this final day derby victory.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *