Saturday 3 December 2016

Reds run riot to heap pressure on Martinez

Liverpool 4 Everton 0

Chris Bascombe

Published 21/04/2016 | 02:30

Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles saves Adam Lallana’s early effort at Anfield. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles saves Adam Lallana’s early effort at Anfield. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho scores his side’s second goal in first-half injury-time. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Ecstacy and agony for Origi: Divock Origi celebrates after scoring Liverpool’s opening goal in their 4-0 win over Everton. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Joe Allen challenges Everton's Aaron Lennon. Photo: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Adam Lallana celebrate at the end of the match. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Euphoria for Liverpool. Humiliation for Everton. Roberto Martinez wanted a "trigger" to change the story of his club's season. Were his team not in the FA Cup semi- final, the manager would be more concerned about his boardroom pulling one after this capitulation.

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Regardless of what happens at Wembley this weekend, the beleaguered Spaniard will struggle to survive the memory of this.

The Kop even sang his name as they enjoyed the most emphatic of derby wins, most Everton fans deserting their seats long before the final whistle. The protests Martinez wanted to quell will only intensify. The lack of fight, confidence and discipline in his side made this the grimmest of derby spectacles for half the city.

Jurgen Klopp could celebrate winning his first Merseyside derby, although his hopes of banishing this fixture's reputation as the Premier League's dirtiest must wait.

Ramiro Funes Mori ensured that unwanted accolade remains intact, his extreme response to Everton's collapse being a horrific tackle on Liverpool's Divock Origi. Liverpool emphatically extended an undefeated home derby record that dates back to 1999, but it has come at a cost if their striker is badly injured.

"It's a big shadow on the game, to be honest," Klopp admitted.

"When I came in, everybody who saw the pictures thought maybe it's broken. It's not.

"I went to Divock in the medical room and I saw him smiling. The ankle is twisted so we have to wait to see what happens to the ligaments. That's how it is. I can't say more."

Origi had to be carried off on a stretcher, the only sour note in what became more of a duck shoot than a football match as Liverpool picked off their neighbours. Everton were thankful it was only four.

Martinez had selected what resembled his strongest team in an effort to restore morale and compete in the league fixture that matters most to the club. But even accounting their being down to 10 men for 40 minutes as a result of Funes Mori's dismissal, there was a sense of abject surrender here.

Marvellous

Liverpool, in contrast, were as marvellous as they have been for a while under Klopp.

Steven Gerrard may have gone, but the scourge of the Liverpool captain continues for Everton. James Milner, the club's acting skipper, stepped forward to fill the breach. Much maligned, often ridiculed, never missing in action, Milner was his side's principal creative force, assisting both first-half goals - first for Origi and then Mamadou Sakho. Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho ensured the scoreline reflected the gulf in class.

There was a misleading rumour going around that nobody cared much for this derby. Everton have an FA Cup semi-final to occupy their time, it was suggested, while Klopp could be forgiven for viewing every fixture between now and the Europa League tie with Villarreal as a hazard.

If the timing of the match was unsuitable, there was no danger of passions not being ignited and both team sheets proved there would be no compromise to their approach.

Klopp made 10 changes to the side that beat Bournemouth, his players showing a appetite for the high-intensity game he promised on arrival.

Liverpool play 10 yards further up the pitch and 10mph quicker than they did at Goodison Park in October. For Everton, indoctrinated in Martinez's possession game from the back, there were warnings about what lay ahead long before Liverpool took control, with all the momentum was towards the Kop end. When the visitors could get Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley involved, they looked capable of causing problems - the Belgian striker was troubling Dejan Lovren in particular in the opening stages - but the team's vulnerabilities were evident.

Milner twice worked his way to the right wing, manoeuvring on to his right foot and delivering the perfect cross. Origi was first to benefit on 43 minutes, far more comfortably so than he should have been, as he shrugged off the challenge of John Stones to head beyond the helpless Robles.

This was his fifth goal in five games since being preferred to Sturridge. How he will be missed if his injury is as serious as it looked although initial prognosis suggested a badly sprained ankle.

Everton were holding on until half-time but they would succumb once more, Milner this time combining with Lallana on the left before again delivering when it mattered.

Sakho, a cult hero on Merseyside for his winning goal against Dortmund, cemented that status by heading into the top corner from six yards.

Martinez, already facing the most critical of appraisals, now faced the most daunting team talk of his Goodison career.

His response was to withdraw his best player of the first half, Gareth Barry. If Barry was not injured the decision could only have been the first concession to the semi-final. All the change brought was immediate deterioration as ill-discipline took hold. Funes Mori's horrific tackle on Origi came in the 48th minute, which correctly earned him an instant dismissal from Robert Madley.

By the time Barkley was withdrawn on 58 minutes, it was clear Martinez had shifted his focus to Wembley. All the change did was invite a siege, Sturridge neatly striking the third on 61 minutes following Lucas's pass before Coutinho drilled the fourth from the edge of the penalty area.

Stones signalled he too needed to be removed. With Funes Mori suspended and Seamus Coleman absent with a hamstring problem, Martinez might have a patchwork quilt of a defence against Manchester United. Anything but a win will make his position precarious. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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