Liverpool 3-1 Everton: Philippe Coutinho stars in Merseyside derby
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 01/04/17 7:05pm
Philippe Coutinho scored a stunner at Anfield as Liverpool beat Everton 3-1 in the Merseyside derby to move third in the Premier League table.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring on eight minutes and Coutinho's brilliant finish restored the hosts' advantage after Matthew Pennington had levelled on his first start of the season.
Divock Origi, who replaced an injured Mane in the second half, made the points safe, moving Liverpool above Manchester City, who face Arsenal on Super Sunday, one of two games in hand they hold on Jurgen Klopp's side.
The victory extends their unbeaten run over Everton to 13 league matches, equalling their longest run last achieved between 1972 and 1978, and ensures Klopp becomes the first Liverpool manager to win his first three league Merseyside derbies.
It was the perfect tribute to the late Ronnie Moran, who was remembered with a minute's applause before kick-off following his death last week.
The result leaves Everton in seventh place and level with Arsenal on 50 points, albeit having played three games more than the Gunners.
Their main threat, Premier League top scorer Romelu Lukaku, endured a game to forget and was held without a shot on goal for just the third time this season.
A number of injuries over the international break - including Seamus Coleman's broken leg - forced Ronald Koeman into two changes from their 4-0 win over Hull City.
Pennington made his first start since last May and Mason Holgate replaced the injured Coleman as the Everton boss named five players under the age of 23 in his line-up.
Lucas Leiva and Dejan Lovren stepped in for Adam Lallana and Ragnar Klavan for Liverpool, who enjoyed the perfect start against their local rivals.
Mane played a one-two with Roberto Firmino and shrugged off the challenge of Tom Davies before firing into the far corner.
The visitors hit back through an unlikely source as Pennington turned home after Liverpool failed to clear a corner, but Everton did not stay level for long.
Coutinho had already squandered an earlier opportunity when he cut inside three minutes later and curled a beauty past Robles to put Liverpool back ahead.
It was a moment of magic in a frantic first-half that included plenty of fierce challenges, with Ross Barkley particularly fortunate to stay on the pitch after mistimed lunges on Emre Can and Lovren.
The England international then created the first opening after the break but Ashley Williams failed to turn his free-kick past Simon Mignolet.
The game appeared to be swinging back towards Everton and that feeling was strengthened when Mane was forced off following a collision with Leighton Baines.
But Origi, on to replace his injured team-mate, provided swift relief, adding Liverpool's third with a powerful finish from Coutinho's pass.
It was a 20-yard strike aided by a bizarre piece of goalkeeping by Robles, who allowed the ball to nestle into the centre of the goal.
Holgate twice went close as Everton looked to respond, first seeing his deflected shot saved by Mignolet before heading over from close range, while substitute Kevin Mirallas also blazed over.
But they failed to put serious pressure on Liverpool, who extended their unbeaten run against opponents in the top 10 to 15 matches.
Liverpool: Mignolet (7), Clyne (7), Matip (7), Lovren (7), Milner (7), Can (7), Lucas (7), Wijnaldum (7), Mane (8), Firmino (7), Coutinho (9)
Subs used: Alexander-Arnold (6), Origi (7), Klavan (6)
Everton: Robles (4), Jagielka (5), Williams (5), Holgate (5), Pennington (5), Davies (5), Gueye (5), Baines (5), Barkley (5), Lukaku (4), Calvert-Lewin (5)
Subs used: Mirallas (6), Valencia (6), Barry (6)
Man of the match: Philippe Coutinho