Liverpool have continued their impressive run of form against rivals Everton by winning their latest encounter 3-1 at Anfield to move up to third in the Premier League.
The Reds, now unbeaten in 13 league matches against their city neighbours, earned the points thanks to goals from Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and substitute Divock Origi.
Everton may have headed into the match in the better form, having lost just one of 12 league games since the reverse meeting, but they failed to truly get going across Stanley Park as their slim hopes of a top-four finish surely came to an end on enemy territory.
The Reds found the net from their first real attacking move of the match, and it was Mane – the matchwinner the last time these sides met in December – who found the breakthrough with a well-taken finish.
The Senegalese was allowed to drift into the box and used the decoy run of Coutinho to his advantage, simply tucking the ball past a rooted-to-the-spot Joel Robles.
Liverpool were enjoying themselves when getting on the ball in the final third, again simply waltzing their way through on 20 minutes when Coutinho was this time thwarted by a big hand from Robles, with Phil Jagielka well positioned to head the loose ball off the line.
A pivotal period of play followed, as Everton levelled things up through Matthew Pennington before then seeing their opponents regain their advantage 177 seconds later in the 50th Premier League meeting between these two neighbours.
Pennington, on his first league outing of the campaign, prodded home from close range after getting on the end of a flick-on – the fifth player to open his scoring account in a Merseyside derby.
The youngster was certainly in the thick of things, being turned inside out by Coutinho moments later and allowing the Brazilian to superbly curl home the game’s third goal.
The Reds were able to hold on to their advantage heading into the interval, but they felt that Ross Barkley should have been dismissed for a strong challenge on returning defender Dejan Lovren shortly before the break, instead being shown just a yellow by lenient referee Anthony Taylor.
Everton, with five players aged 23 or under in their starting ranks, had never previously managed to overturn a deficit at the interval in this fixture in 17 previous attempts.
Much like in the first half, the visitors enjoyed plenty of possession early on but were unable to really punish their opponents, with Ashley Williams’s sliding attempt at the back post and a weak Barkley shot the closest they came to a leveller.
Liverpool were dealt a major blow soon before the hour mark after Mane got his leg trapped in the turf and seemingly tweaked his knee ligaments, forcing him to leave the pitch in pain to be replaced by Origi.
Origi’s impact on the match was instant, scoring just a few minutes later when capitalising on some questionable positioning from Robles and burying the ball right down the middle.
Emre Can was the next to pick up an injury, this time after a poor challenge from Williams, which he was able to shake off as the Reds looked to hold on for a fourth league win in a row for the first time in a year.
There was a chance for Mason Holgate to set up a grandstand finale, being kept out by Mignolet from range and then glancing over from closer distance from the next attacking wave.
Substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold nearly marked his first involvement in this historic fixture with a goal of his own, with Robles preventing him from doing so, and Kevin Mirallas also blasted high over the bar late on as Liverpool continued their unbeaten derby run.
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