Gakpo off the mark as Liverpool down Everton 2-0

(Reuters) – Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo scored his first goal for the club as they halted a dismal run by beating relegation-threatened city rivals Everton 2-0 at Anfield in the Premier League on Monday.

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 36th minute, linking up with Darwin Nunez on the counter-attack just after Everton missed a glorious double chance to take the lead, with Dwight McNeil going close and James Tarkowski hitting the post. Netherlands forward Gakpo extended the lead early in the second half of a typically fast-paced Merseyside derby for his first goal in his seventh match for Liverpool since joining from PSV Eindhoven for a reported 37 million pounds ($44.91 million).

Liverpool started the game having lost three of their last four league matches while conceding nine goals and scoring one, while Everton were hopeful of turning a corner under new manager Sean Dyche after a shock win over leaders Arsenal last time out. But Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool side were stronger and sharper than their neighbours and earned their first league victory of 2023 to climb to ninth in the table on 32 points after 21 games.

Everton were left in 18th place on 18 points from 22 matches, one point off the safety zone.

“It’s a huge win for us,” said Salah. “We had a perfect week to train and the players were so excited and we couldn’t wait for the game to turn everything around and hopefully it was a start. “I know that Darwin is really fast so they had a corner and we played a one-two. I knew that he was going to play the ball in the space so I was running as fast as I could and scored so that’s the most important thing.”