Everton 0-1 Liverpool: Game in 17 Tweets as Barkley flops and late Mane winner breaks Toffees’ hearts

Everton-Goodison-Park

Liverpool climbed to second in the Premier League at Christmas thanks to a 94th minute winner over Everton at Goodison Park.

Sadio Mane was the hero for the Reds, reacting quickest to tap home in stoppage time after substitute Daniel Sturridge’s shot had hit the post. The goal prompted scenes of ecstasy in the away end as Liverpool won to extend their unbeaten run against their Merseyside rivals to 13 games.

For Everton it was heartbreak. Having dominated the early stages of the game they lost their way in the second half. And just when it looked as if they would earn a point to extend their unbeaten home run under Ronald Koeman, Mane struck. 

Heading into the Merseyside derby or ‘Mersey Monday’, as Sky dubbed it (see what they did there) Everton drafted Argentine international Ramiro Funes Mori in defence in place of the suspended Phil Jagielka, while Enner Valencia kept his place in the side.

Liverpool meanwhile named an unchanged side with Joel Matip missing out through injury and Simon Mignolet retained in goal over #JF70 alumni Loris Karius.

For much of the game it wasn’t a classic, goalless and with shots on target few and far between. Koeman has demanded greater intensity and pressing from his team in recent weeks after a poor run, and they responded well here with a frantic opening.

Liverpool looked inferior, but Everton struggled to make the most of their dominance with the likes of Ross Barkley, Enner Valencia and James McCarthy poor on the ball in the final third. Romelu Lukaku was an island upfront, stranded and alone. 

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Besides ripping Barkley’s shirt open, Liverpool did little themselves in the opening half. Seamus Coleman enjoyed plenty of space down Everton’s right as James Milner struggled, but the Toffees were unable to capitalise on their dominance in this area as the first half ended 0-0.

In the second half, Liverpool were much improved. A major talking point came when Barkley made a reckless challenge on Jordan Henderson, and the Liverpool captain was fortunate to escape a serious injury. A few minor flashpoints followed, but the football remained quite cagey, though Liverpool started to control the game.

At 23, Barkley’s poor performance raised question marks. His choice of pass was often the wrong one, he was lucky to avoid a red card and he seemed to dart around the pitch aimlessly at times lacking both positional awareness and any influence on the game when in possession. Koeman has been vocal in his criticism of the England international, even dropping him this season, and it will be interesting to see how that situation pans out if Barkley doesn’t show significant improvements in the months ahead.

Finally however, with eight minutes of stoppage time and the game heading towards a 0-0, Liverpool pounced.

Substitute Sturridge wriggled free in some space to hit a shot against a post past substitute Joel Robles in goal and Mane was quickest to react, like a Cheshire cat of Senegalese origin, racing in and running off with a huge grin.

The away fans went wild, the Goodison faithful gutted. Flares flew onto the pitch as the Reds celebrated closing the gap to Chelsea at the top of the Premier League to just six points.

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The final pre-Christmas fixture of 2016/17 finished Everton 0-1 Liverpool. Here’s the Game in 17 Tweets:

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