Everton 0-1 Liverpool: Sadio Mane's late strike gives Reds victory in Merseyside derby
Daniel Sturridge came off the bench to play a pivotal part in Liverpool snatching a winner in the fifth minute of added time of the 227th Merseyside derby.
The England international, making his first appearance since November 19, was a late introduction off the bench and it was his crossfield run and shot against a post which presented Sadio Mane with a tap in.
Sturridge has been sidelined with a calf injury, but having been included in the match-day squad for the first time he proved his match-winning capabilities again with the incisiveness which had been so lacking for long periods.
It ensured Liverpool closed the gap to Premier League leaders Chelsea back to six points and also extended Everton's woeful run in this encounter to just one win in the last 20 league meetings.
The hosts were by far the better side for 45 minutes, but for all their possession and control lacked a cutting edge.
An out-of-sorts Liverpool found their game after the break, but it seemed they too would be frustrated until Sturridge and Mane's late intervention deep into eight minutes of added time, mainly as a result of an injury to Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
The Toffees began as they had finished against Arsenal, all high-tempo and aggression, and took control of the game against a side who are usually the ones doing the pressing.
However, for all their possession the Toffees failed to force a save from Simon Mignolet, with the excellent Ragnar Klavan sticking out a timely foot to deny Romelu Lukaku six yards out.
Ramiro Funes Mori wasted their only other half-chance by directing a free header off target, while Liverpool's solitary opportunity saw Divock Origi, who had scored five in five, bundling wide from a Nathaniel Clyne cross.
Gareth Barry replaced the injured James McCarthy at the break and that, coupled no doubt with a half-time wake-up call from Klopp, saw the visitors gain a foothold.
It did not improve their sharpness, however, with Roberto Firmino shooting straight at Stekelenburg when clean through.
Lukaku's looping header wide aside, chances were still thin on the ground, but the loss of Stekelenburg to injury was a further blow to Everton, who were lucky to keep Ross Barkley on the pitch after a late above-the-ankle challenge on Jordan Henderson.
Replacement goalkeeper Joel Robles denied Firmino's volley, but he was beaten at the death by the combination of his left-hand post and Mane's predatory anticipation.
Liverpool and Everton cross swords on Monday with Goodison Park hosting this season's first Merseyside derby.
The Reds sit second in the Premier League table, 11 points ahead of their city rivals, and have history on their side.
We look at five talking points surrounding the match.
The form book is thrown out of the window for derbies, or so the cliche goes. But, however their respective seasons are panning out, the recent record between Liverpool and Everton has been remarkably one-sided. It is six years since Everton last tasted victory, and they have come out on top just once in the last 19 Premier League matches. They have at least been fairly successful in avoiding defeat - six of the last eight have been draws - but the most recent clash in April ended in a chastening 4-0 loss. Roberto Martinez was sacked three weeks later and Everton fans will hope new manager Ronald Koeman has better luck than his predecessors.
There have been plenty of high-scoring derbies in recent years and it would be no surprise if this is another with both defences suspect. Koeman has not yet settled on his preferred central defensive pairing, although his hand will be forced by captain Phil Jagielka's suspension. Ramiro Funes Mori is set to partner Ashley Williams, who has had a difficult start to life at Goodison Park but should have been buoyed by scoring the winner against Arsenal on Tuesday. Liverpool's weakness at the back has cost them in recent games against Bournemouth and West Ham, although they did keep a clean sheet against Middlesbrough in midweek. Jurgen Klopp confirmed Simon Mignolet will keep his place in goal after replacing Loris Karius at the Riverside, and this should be a key test of the Belgian's confidence.
MORE LALLANA MAGIC?
Adam Lallana has been one of the key beneficiaries of Klopp's tenure at Anfield. The England man has made himself a hugely important cog in Liverpool's attack and addressed his major weakness with nine goals already this season. Three of those have come in the two games since he returned to the starting line-up following a groin injury. After netting early against West Ham, Lallana scored twice against Middlesbrough and set up the other goal for Divock Origi. His form has softened the blow of Philippe Coutinho's absence and Everton will need to watch out.
ORIGI LOOKING FOR SIX IN SIX
Another man to step up in Coutinho's absence, and that of striker Daniel Sturridge, has been Origi. The Belgian's Liverpool career still feels very much in its fledgling stages but five goals in as many games will do his chances of holding down a regular starting spot no harm at all. Origi has the invaluable knack for a striker of being in the right place at the right time and has been reaping the rewards.
Goodison Park can be an uncomfortable place for Everton players and managers - just ask Martinez - but when the fans get behind their team, there are few more hostile grounds in England for opposing sides. When Everton conceded early against Arsenal, they were staring at a sixth successive match without a win. But the fans stuck with their side, the players responded and the Gunners succumbed to the energy and passion of their opponents. The roar that greeted Williams' late winner could surely have been heard across Stanley Park at Anfield, and more of the same on Monday might just be the difference.
Belfast Telegraph Digital