World-record defensive signing Virgil Van Dijk scored a late winner in a feisty Merseyside derby.

Liverpool were far from their best in a gritty match that was won from two goals from set-piece situations. James Milner’s composed first-half penalty was silenced by a tidy Everton counter-attack goal finished by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk scores the second goal during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

READ MORE: Liverpool 2-1 Everton: The best photos

However, a late Virgil Van Dijk header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner kick provided a dream climax in a script that seemed all too good to be true.

 

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool’s goalkeeper Loris Karius celebrates as his side score the opening goal during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Karius: 7

Little to do for the German this evening, and there was not much he could have done about Sigurdsson’s well-finished equaliser. Distribution was decent on the whole, but made a few shaky decisions in set-piece situations.

Gomez: 7

The young Englishman didn’t have his finest game in a Liverpool shirt this evening, making a number of defensive errors by taking too long on the ball when pressed by the opposition. Despite this, Gomez made a handful of confident pressing runs forward, and has an exciting pace and strength which will be key facets in his inevitable successful future development.

Joel Matip: 8

Matip was dominant both in the air and on the ground tonight, making a number of trademark incisive passes into midfield. Looked comfortable alongside his new Dutch partner.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool’s new signing Virgil van Dijk, who joined from Southampton for £75m, a world record for a defender, during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

READ MORE: Van Dijk after derby winner on debut: “I don’t think it can get any better”

Virgil Van Dijk: 8.5

Aside from a small handful of moments where he was caught out by the pace of the Everton attackers, the Dutch centre-half’s debut was an impressive display. He was aerially dominant, as well as willing to venture further forward to look for passes over the top.

It was also refreshing to see a centre-half who took control vocally. And, of course, scoring the winner late-on in front of the Kop puts a cherry on top of the first chapter of his Red fairytale.

Andrew Robertson: 9

The Scotsman’s recent run in the team came as the result of bad fortune for his Spanish competitor, Alberto Moreno, but after a number of games on the clock, Robertson looks to be a real option for the first choice left-back spot.

He rose to the occasion, making a number of solid challenges, keeping Bolasie at bay for the majority of the game. On top of this, his willingness to venture forward and deliver delicious crosses into the box reflect a wing-back who has great potential.

Emre Can: 6.5

Little involvement from the German tonight, who looked fairly composed in possession but did not donate a real lot to the game.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool’s match winning goal-scorer Virgil van Dijk celebrates after the 2-1 victory over Everton during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

READ MORE: Milner: “It’s time we put another bit of silverware on that board.”

James Milner: 7.5

The man they label the ‘perfect pro’ was perfectly professional once again tonight, finding a fair amount of space in the midfield to look to create and enterprise an attack. Showed typical composure to put the penalty to bed.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6.5

Not a brilliant game for the summer signing – he offered considerable pace combined with an eagerness to create chances and beat players, but looked off the boil and lost the ball in a number of important areas. The Ox’s set-piece delivery, however, was stellar, as he claimed his second late winning assist.

Sadio Mane: 7

The runner up African Player of the Year put his all into the game tonight, but found it tricky to break down a tightly packed Everton defence. He wasn’t helped by the rustiness of the other Liverpool attackers, and we can put a certain level of blame on travel exhaustion.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool’s Adam Lallana sees his shot go wide during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Adam Lallana: 6

Adam still looks to be trying to shake off some rustiness from his time on the sidelines – the core of a great player is clearly evident, but he will need time to get back to full match fitness. A couple of poor first touches and misplaced passes showed us he will need a bit longer to catch up with the ‘Fab Four’.

Roberto Firmino: 6.5

The Brazilian gave his usual maximum effort from the first whistle, but it didn’t seem to click for him tonight. He looked up for the game, but it wasn’t his day. Without Salah and Coutinho alongside him, there was an evident gulf in enterprise.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Friday, January 5, 2018: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Everton’s Jonjoe Kenny during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 230th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Subs:

Georginio Wijnaldum: 6

Little involvement from when he came on, but looked solid and made a few decent runs past the Everton midfield line.

Dominic Solanke: n/a

Not enough time on the pitch or touches on the ball to merit a rating

Trent Alexander-Arnold: n/a

Not enough time on the pitch or touches on the ball to merit a rating

Man of the match: Andrew Robertson

About The Author

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.