Inside Everton’s Saturday morning meeting that was key to ending Anfield hoodoo

It was in the team hotel on Saturday morning when Carlo Ancelotti turned to his Everton players and asked them how they should approach the tea-time kick-off.

The Toffees boss knew plenty of his side had suffered many miserable Merseyside derbies before.

But with that came experience of facing Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool. And turning the team talk over to his players worked.

Finally Everton tasted victory at Anfield for the first time in 21 years and five months.

“Quite a lot of us have a lot of experience playing against Liverpool so in the team meeting this morning, the manager sort of said 'what have you learned from the past and how do we want to approach this',” said defender Michael Keane.

“We knew what to expect from them, they are a great team but if you defend well, track the runners, work really hard then you can frustrate them.

“Obviously this season, there is space to hit them on the counter-attack and we took advantage.

“It was all tactical things, it was about the centre-halves not getting sucked in when [Roberto] Firmino drops because they look to get [Mo] Salah and [Sadio] Mane in behind when that happens.

“Little things like that, we know what kind of team they are. Off the ball we were four at the back, with it we were three.

“They like to press high, it was about how we are going to play through that, how we are going to cope with it. I'm glad it worked really well for us.”

Not since Kevin Campbell fired in a fourth-minute winner at Anfield in 1999 have Everton won on the other side of Stanley Park.

This time it was a third-minute strike from Richarlison and a second-half penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson which secured the away win. It is also Everton's first Merseyside derby success since 2010.

The last time they won at Anfield midfielder Tom Davies was just 15 months old and here he was putting in a star performance in midfield.

Everton's victory was also down to brilliant saves from Jordan Pickford who came into the game with the spotlight on him.

Top trending sport stories right now

  • England star 'loves sleeping pills'
  • Jockey 'took cocaine four times a week'
  • Wilder goes on 'lefties' rant
  • VanZant shares naked snap on bed
  • Pickford denied Jordan Henderson early on then blocked Mo Salah at point-blank range.

    He did so with Virgil van Dijk watching on from behind Liverpool's dugout, the defender who had his knee and season wrecked by a wild lunge from the Everton keeper when the sides met in October.

    “We've always known how good he is as a goalkeeper,” said Keane. “He's obviously probably under a bit more pressure coming back here after what unfortunately happened in the home game but he has shown how mentally resilient he is.

    “There is a lot of pressure and a lot of people on his back after what happened, even though it was an accident.

    “It takes mental strength to come back and perform like this like he did at Anfield, so fair play to him.”

    Everton's win moved them level on points with their neighbours with a game in hand.

    Remarkable considering they finished 50 points behind the defending champions last season.

    “It definitely shows the progress, we've made big strides this season, that is clear to see,” added Keane. “We obviously really want to finish above them and if we do that will mean we are in a good position I'm sure.

    “We will do everything we can to make sure that happens.”

    LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Alisson 6; Alexander-Arnold 6, Kabak 5, Henderson 6 (Phillips 29, 6), Robertson 6; Thiago 6 (Origi 87), Wijnaldum 6, JONES 7 (Shaqiri 63, 6); Salah 6, Firmino 6, Mane 6. Subs: Adrian, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tsimikas, Davies, N Williams.

    UP NEXT: Sheffield United (a), Premier League, Sunday.

    EVERTON (3-5-2): PICKFORD 8; Holgate 7, Keane 8, Godfrey 7; Coleman 7, Doucoure 6, Davies 8, Gomes 7 (Sigurdsson 59, 7), Digne 7; Rodriguez 7 (Calvert-Lewin 62, 7), Richarlison 8 (Iwobi 86). Subs: Olsen, Allan, King, Nkounkou, Bernard, Onyango.

    UP NEXT: Southampton (h), Premier League, Monday.

    REFEREE: Chris Kavanagh 7

    STAR MAN: Jordan Pickford: Big saves at big moments

    STAR SHOCKER: Ozan Kabak: Off the pace.


    READ MORE: Oumar Niasse in Liverpool and Ronald Koeman double dig after Everton locker saga

    READ MORE: Jordan Henderson undergoes scan as Liverpool vow not to play victims over injury crisis

    Source: Read Full Article