Pickford error hands Liverpool derby day victory
England goalkeeper will want to forget his afternoon at Anfield.
England and Everton goalkepeer Jordan Pickford’s costly blunder allowed out-of-favour Divock Origi to carve his own piece of Merseyside history with a Liverpool winner deep into added time at Anfield.
The close-range goal 45 seconds before the end of four minutes of added time came after Virgil van Dijk’s hopelessly-sliced shot was shovelled onto the crossbar by Pickford when it appeared to be going out.
It was a harsh way to end the game for Pickford, who made at least one fantastic save in the first half, but it sparked wild scenes with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp charging into the centre-circle to celebrate with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who himself had produced a couple of brilliant saves to keep another clean sheet.
Origi had played just 11 minutes as a substitute this season in the 2-0 Champions League defeat against Red Star Belgrade in Serbia and his long-term prospects look bleak.
But whatever happens over the coming months his goal for the 1-0 victory will be remembered for extending Everton’s wait for a win at Anfield into a 20th year as the hosts made it 10 wins and nine draws to keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City, whose lead was cut to two points again.
Up to the point when the goal went in Marco Silva’s side were claiming a moral victory having played with a confidence not seen from them in these matches for some time.
DIVOCK ORIGI, DIVOCK ORIGI!! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Zl1c5LH2cU— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 2, 2018
In the last two summers both clubs have spent heavily on goalkeepers – Everton £30million on Pickford in 2017 and Liverpool £65m on Alisson five months ago – and it was clear to see why both valued the position so highly.
Alisson produced the save of the first half, keeping out Andre Gomes’ header from four yards, with Joe Gomez then producing a miraculous goalline clearance after the ball rebounded back off the Everton midfielder with Gylfi Sigurdsson squeezing the follow up wide off a post.
Liverpool’s Brazil international also threw out a perfectly-timed hand to interrupt Theo Walcott’s progress as he went around him, forcing the Toffees forward to lose possession.
But Pickford was not to be outdone and denied Xherdan Shaqiri with the Switzerland international clean through from Mohamed Salah’s pass after Roberto Firmino robbed Idrissa Gana Gueye.
Despite their woeful record at Anfield Everton played with plenty of bravado and it produced an end-to-end spectacle reminiscent of the blood-and-thunder derbies of yesteryear.
However, what was really lacking was some quality and composure from either side with the match entertaining but far from a classic.
That’s why Anfield is such a magical place YNWA— Phil Thompson (@Phil_Thompson4) December 2, 2018
The visitors created more chances their their opponents in the opening 45 minutes with Yerry Mina bundling a header wide – although he was offside – from an early free-kick offering Silva’s side all the encouragement they needed.
Richarlison got the ball stuck under his feet and went down in the area, and was also denied by a brilliant recovering tackle from Trent Alexander-Arnold, while at the other end Sadio Mane was Liverpool’s biggest threat with a couple of decent chances.
There was no let up after the break with Salah stroking a shot wide before Mane was woefully off-target having been put through by Firmino, also blazing another longer-range effort wide.
Gomes caught Salah in the face with a flailing arm in the penalty area but referee Chris Kavanagh saw nothing untoward and that was the Egypt international’s last action as he was replaced by Daniel Sturridge.
Both sides appeared to have run themselves into the ground over the first 60 minutes as the tempo dropped and play became even scrappier.
Three minutes from time Origi had a chance to be win it but rattled the crossbar from two yards with Sturridge blasting the rebound against Sigurdsson’s arm.
However, deep into added time the frame of the goal actually came to his aid when Pickford failed to deal with Van Dijk’s looping half-effort and the Belgium striker poked home from a couple of yards.