Liverpool 0-2 Everton
- Goals: Richarlison (£7.9m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£6.8m)
- Assists: James Rodríguez (£7.7m), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£7.6m)
- Bonus points: Jordan Pickford x3 (£4.8m), Richarlison x2, Lucas Digne x1 (£6.1m), Michael Keane x1 (£5.1m)
Liverpool’s Fantasy Premier League prospects took another hit as they lost 2-0 to Everton in Double Gameweek 25.
Ahead of two fixtures in Double Gameweek 26, their Merseyside rivals restricted the Reds’ key attacking assets, ensuring they put on the worst possible audition for the next Fantasy deadline.
On Saturday evening, Carlo Ancelotti set Everton up specifically to negate Jurgen Klopp’s men, operating with a back-four protected by three central midfielders and Seamus Coleman (£4.8m) deployed in a defensive double-up on the right-hand side.
As we saw with Vladimir Coufal (£4.6m) and Ryan Fredericks (£4.2m) doubled-up on Jack Grealish (£7.7m) in Gameweek 22, Coleman and right-back Mason Holgate (£4.8m) combined to take Andrew Robertson (£7.2m) out of Saturday’s Merseyside derby, severely limiting Liverpool’s threat down one of their strongest flanks.
And long balls out of the back helped Everton bypass Liverpool pressing from the front and in the middle to go from defence to attack quickly at key moments.
“We have this kind of quality (in the air). We want to avoid the pressure from Liverpool. We know they press a lot in front.” – Carlo Ancelotti
The effect of those tactical decisions by Ancelotti insisting pre-match that Everton would be in their usual shape, a great example of mind games succeeding.
“The system and the strategy will be the same. I put more fresh legs because we played Wednesday night so it will be a game with a lot of intensity. I want to be ready for it.” – Carlo Ancelotti, pre-match
“We played with two strikers, James and Richarlison. We fix a little bit the position of Coleman to deal with Robertson. Three midfielders and four at the back to control Salah, Mané and Firmino.” – Carlo Ancelotti, post-match
Liverpool face two home fixtures in their next three matches, where they have recently struggled to get results.
Not only are Klopp’s men winless in their last six league matches at Anfield, but they have also found the net just twice in that time.
Before their Saturday night meeting with Sheffield United, Fulham were the only Premier League team to score fewer goals in their last six at home.
By contrast, Manchester City have netted 13 goals across the same data set ahead of facing four matches at the Etihad Stadium in the next two Gameweeks.
It must be said that Jordan Pickford (£4.8m) played his part on Saturday, producing six saves that helped him to maximum bonus and an 11-point haul.
His first two stopped impressive first-half shots from range by Jordan Henderson (£5.4m) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.4m).
Then, in the second period, Pickford spread himself at the near-post to deny Mohamed Salah (£12.6m) a golden opportunity.
PROBLEMS AT KABAK
While Liverpool’s goal-scoring problems are certainly headline-worthy, their ongoing defensive issues are also holding them back.
They have conceded nine goals across their last three matches as Ozan Kabak‘s (£5.0m) introduction to the team has not been particularly productive.
In three appearances in all competitions, the centre-back already has three yellow cards to his name and it was the Stuttgart loanee who was exposed for Everton’s first goal.
James Rodríguez (£7.7m) played an insightful pass inside Kabak in the opening exchanges and, by the time he had turned to respond to it, Richarlison (£7.9m) was already through on goal and slotting past Alisson (£5.9m), his second in two matches.
“(Richarlison) is back and he’s scoring. He is playing with a lot of consistency. Rodríguez does not have the physicality of the others but he has the quality.” – Carlo Ancelotti
Liverpool have not been entirely the masters of their own downfall as their wretched injury curse sunk its tendrils into their campaign once more on Saturday.
Already filling in at centre-back, captain Henderson was forced off with a hamstring injury in the first half, replaced by Nathaniel Phillips (£4.0m).
“It’s the groin/adductor region and nobody in the medical department was positive about it. It doesn’t look good, but we have to wait, of course, for the scan tomorrow, hopefully.” – Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, J Henderson (N Phillips 30′), Kabak, Alexander-Arnold; Thiago (Origi 87′), Wijnaldum, C Jones (Shaqiri 63′); Mané, Firmino, Salah.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Digne, Godfrey, Keane, Holgate; Gomes (Sigurdsson 59′), T Davies, Doucouré, Coleman; Richarlison (Iwobi 86′), Rodríguez (Calvert-Lewin 62′).
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