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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018


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Evening all. Bragging rights and a place in the Fourth Round at stake on the red side of the Mersey tonight. This should be a decent game, I reckon.



So, the big update from the Liverpool camp is that Virgil van Dijk makes his debut after that mammoth £75m transfer from Southampton.

He’ll play alongside Joel Matip at the heart of the defence while the defence also includes goalkeeper Loris Karius and Andrew Roberston.

James Milner and Roberto Firmino also start but there’s no Mo Salah – he was given some time off to head to the CAF awards (where he was voted African Player of the Year).

Liverpool XI: Karius, Robertson, Matip, Van Dijk, Gomez, Milner, Can, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Firmino, Lallana.

Subs: Ward, Wijnaldum, Lovren, Klavan, Ings, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.



Sam Allardyce’s side were beaten 2-0 by Man United on Monday and he makes quite a few changes for this.

Five in total:  Phil Jagielka, Jonjoe Kenny, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy all come in.

Everton: Pickford, Martina, Jagielka, Holgate, Kenny, Rooney, Schneiderlin, McCarthy, Sigurdsson, Calvert-Lewin, Bolasie.

Subs: Robles, Williams, Niasse, Davies, Vlasic, Lookman, Baningime.


Worth pointing out that it’s 6,675 days since Everton last won at Anfield.

27 September 1999 – Kevin Campbell the game-winner. Apologies to all Toffees’ supporters for bringing that up!


Early bit of bite and aggression shown by McCarthy in midfield. Good to see him back and getting game-time.

Flag 7Mins

BOOKING! Goodness me! Just after mentioning the aggression from McCarthy, Wayne Rooney dives in recklessly on Joe Gomez and it’s a bad one. Easily a yellow and he needs to be careful now. Everton just need to control themselves a bit here.


Another crunching challenge from Robertson as Everton force a corner but it comes to nothing.


Both sides have been pretty solid early on and not giving up much. Van Dijk hasn’t had much to do but, inevitably, has brought a calmness every time he’s been on the ball.


Well, Liverpool are without Philippe Coutinho – the master of the long-range strike – so Sadio Mane decides to step up and look for the top corner from distance. But he gets it all wrong and the less said about it the better.


Half a chance for Kenny as he pushes forward from right-back. But as he takes a touch and pushes the ball inside, it’s a little too heavy and he’s crowded out. Just for a second it looked like he was through.


Worth mentioning that Kenny’s form at full-back and his age (this is his first senior derby), has some speculating about how tough Seamus Coleman may find it to win his place back once he’s fully fit.


Some decent stuff from Everton at times here. Calvert-Lewin is putting in a shift and the blue shirts are hinting at finding some openings.

Flag 27Mins

CLOSE! Oooh. Milner tries his luck with a volley at the far post and it flashes across goal with Adam Lallana lurking dangerously. Not too far away.


This is better fare now. Liverpool at one end and then Everton push hard at the other, eventually forcing another corner. Good pressure from both sides.


Credit to Everton. Occasionally it seems Liverpool have a bit of momentum and a numerical advantage in certain situations but the guests are getting back and slotting into place, shutting down the passing lanes.


Liverpool in front and it’s from the penalty spot after Holgate gets his hands around Lallana as the attacker looks to turn and crack a shot towards goal. He protests his innocence but he impedes Lallana and it’s a penalty, certainly. Milner makes no mistake from the spot.

Flag 41Mins

CONTROVERSY! Well, that went on for a while! Colgate – having given away a silly penalty – then goes and pushes Firmino into the advertising hoarding as the pair chase for a ball down the line. It’s completely unnecessary but the defender escapes without a booking. Firmino stormed back onto the field and looked to settle some scores but they were separated and everything calmed down after the initial storm.


Probably a good thing that we’re so close to half-time because that incident may have led to some players looking for retribution.


There are now rumours about whether Roberto Firmino said something offensive to Holgate. But, right now, it’s only rumour.


It’s hinted at turning into something more explosive but still relatively quiet at Anfield. Liverpool deservedly ahead as they’ve looked the more likely to create but had to rely on a penalty to get the lead.

Seems to be some debate about the spot-kick. I thought Lallana was impeded as he turned to shoot. As Allardyce himself said a few weeks back, there’s no such thing as a soft penalty. It’s either a pen or not. Silly from Holgate and, obviously, the attacker will always make the most of it.

Anyway, nicely poised ahead of the second-half regardless.


This will probably go completely over the heads of our younger readers. But still…


Decent start to the second period and Calvert-Lewin almost gets his head on a great cross but Robertson – who has been very impressive – does really well to knock it behind.

Flag 59Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Lookman (on) – Rooney (off) 

Well, that’s a surprise and the Liverpool fans are loving it. He’s on a yellow and already committed a foul early on here so Allardyce is obviously concerned enough to replace the veteran attacker.

Flag 55Mins

CLOSE! Oh, a decent chance for Gomez at the far post as the corner swirls towards him. He’s completely unmarked but gets the header all wrong and sends it wide of the near post.

Flag 57Mins

CLOSE! And there’s another opportunity for the home side. Lallana through on goal but he’s clearly suffering from a lack of confidence after such a long time out with injury. And as Pickford comes out, he sends the strike wide of the upright.

Flag 61Mins

CLOSE! More pressure here from Liverpool as they look to turn the screw. First it’s the cross from Milner that fizzes dangerously across goal. Pickford gets a touch and pushes it away towards the right side. Robertson retrieves, shows great feet to evade a challenge and drives the strike towards goal but Pickford parries and Everton clear.

Flag 60Mins

BOOKING! McCarthy takes down Milner and you feel that the yellow card has been coming for the Irish international.

Flag 63Mins

CLOSE! Van Dijk probably should have a debut goal but despite getting up well to the free-kick, the header is straight at Pickford and easy for the keeper.


Calvert-Lewin – once again – almost gets on the end of a brilliant cross. This time it’s from Kenny on the right side. Two young full-backs producing the goods for both sides tonight.


Well, Liverpool have been done at their own game. Deep in the Everton half, they cough up possession and the ball is pushed to Lookman, the substitute, on the left wing. He gets his head up and spot…Phil Jagielka steaming forward, quite inexplicably. It looks like the chance is gone when he picks it up but he takes a touch and tees up Sigurdsson on the edge of the area who gives Karius the eyes and smacks the low strike first-time and inside the near post. Great finish.

Flag 72Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Wijnaldum (on) – Lallana (off) 

Instant reaction from Jurgen Klopp and this is really nicely posted with 20 minutes to play.


Liverpool have been knocked a bit by that leveller and Everton have certainly been buoyed. The guests have a free-kick in a decent position here.

Flag 77Mins

SUBSTITUTIONS! Solanke & Alexander-Arnold (on) – Milner & Gomez (off)

A double-change for Liverpool and that’s all their aces played at this stage.

Flag 81Mins

CLOSE! Firmino picks up the half-cleared free-kick at the far post, steadies himself and has a pop. But it’s drifting wide of the far post but helped by Jagielka, who does really well.


Well, it had to be. The new signing rises highest at the corner to flick home at the near post but serious questions about Jordan Pickford who comes but gets nowhere near it.


It seems this record will be intact too after tonight.

Virgil van Dijk will dominate all the headlines after a debut, game-winning goal in a Merseyside derby…in front of the Kop.

He popped up with a near-post header as a replay seemed inevitable but questions will be asked of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who was caught in no-man’s land.

The home side were in front thanks to James Milner’s penalty but couldn’t extend that lead despite creating some good chances. And they were caught on the break as Gylfi Sigurdsson conjured a superb finish to level. For a brief while it looked like Everton could rally and find a winner but ultimately it was the home side who dug deep and found the victory thanks to their £75m signing.

Thanks for staying with us as Liverpool move into the Fourth Round and lots more reaction still to come on the site tonight.


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