Merseyside Derby

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Liverpool’s obstacles on path to PL title

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It is not unreasonable to say that, barring long-term injuries to multiple major players, the Premier League title could be decided on Thursday.

Don’t hate the player, hate the games (this week), as Spurs and Man City faltered while Liverpool continued to dominate its opposition.

[ MORE: Kompany ready for Liverpool ]

So while the Reds look upon a seven-point table lead and pretend they haven’t thought about red ribbons on the Premier League trophy — hilarious, right?!? — let’s eyeball the other important mile markers if Liverpool is to claim its first English top-flight crown since 1989-90.

1, 2, 3, and 4) Manchester City v. Liverpool, 3 p.m. ET Thursday, NBCSN

The question here is whether Jurgen Klopp will play it just a bit safer as he did at Anfield earlier this year when Pep Guardiola made adjustments to the Reds’ press. The attack-forward manager really only needs a draw for his title hopes to become very likely, and even he will be tempted to keep some of the proverbial horses in the stable at the Etihad Stadium.

If Liverpool wins, opening up a 10-point lead on City and a minimum 9-point lead on the rest of the field, we can begin to heap shovelfuls of dirt on City’s reign.

5) Manchester United v. Liverpool, 9:05 a.m. ET Feb. 24

Five days after Liverpool hosts Bayern Munich, the Reds will have to turn their attention to a rested Manchester United (The Red Devils’ UEFA Champions League first leg with PSG in Feb. 12). It will also be at minimum a few weeks since United’s presumed new pieces will have began to settle into life at Old Trafford.

6) Everton v. Liverpool, March 2

A prolonged FA Cup run aside, the Merseyside Derby will likely be the lone focus of Marco Silva‘s Everton. The Toffees hung tough with the Reds before Jordan Pickford‘s stoppage time error sprung three points into Liverpool’s account.

7) Liverpool v. Chelsea, April 13

We’ve skipped the Spurs match for now given the North London side’s problems with the Reds in a loss at Wembley and the Anfield status of the second match.

Should the Reds get past Bayern Munich (and Chelsea stay alive in the Europa League), this match takes place between legs of the Champions League quarterfinals. Tricky.

8) Liverpool v. Wolves, May 12

The Reds may’ve just played a UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg a few days prior, but all bodies will want on the field for the final match of the PL season. Nerves will be jangly if it isn’t coronation, and Wolves did not lay down for the Reds at the Molineux earlier this month.’

Liverpool, Everton react to goal from Origi

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It was over, really.

Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk badly flubbed a bid at the spectacular, his wayward shot floating toward the Everton end line.

[ MORE: Match recap | Klopp apologizes ]

Everton backstop Jordan Pickford tracked it, just in case, and had a last-minute change of heart and pushed the ball off the top of the crossbar.

It bounced a second time on the crossbar, and fell to Divock Origi. Making his first appearance of the Premier League season, the Belgian was on the spot to prod the ball over the line and provide a Merseyside Derby win for his club.

“I tried to be ready,” Origi said. “There was a lot of scuffles so I knew I had to be ready. I had a tap-in so it was good! I tried to use every good and bad moments.

“I was happy I could rectify my error from the beginning. It’s difficult as a player whenever you make a mistake. Jordan Pickford seems like a very good keeper and, mentality-wise, he seems like a good lad so he’ll learn from this.”

Hear more from Origi, and some from Van Dijk, at bottom.

Then there’s the other side of the stadium, where Pickford was said to be struggling after his mental mistake.

Liverpool defender Michael Keane is among the players trying to cheer up Pickford.

“Everyone is devastated and silent. We are consoling Jordan [Pickford]. He got unlucky. He has been brilliant for us. Everyone is devastated because of the work we put in. We had our chances and came close. We are devastated for ourselves and the fans.”

Insane late goal gifts Liverpool derby win

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  • Reds score off Van Dijk flub
  • Origi scores in 1st PL app of season
  • WATCH: The wild match-deciding goal
  • LFC three points ahead of 3rd place Chelsea

The Merseyside Derby had been goal-free for 186 minutes when Divock Origi followed a ball that bounced off the cross bar twice to give Liverpool a 1-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside Derby at Anfield on Sunday.

[ MORE: Klopp reacts, apologizes for celebration ]

The Reds stay two points back of Man City, while Everton is sixth with 22 points (eight back of fifth place Spurs).

Scroll down to see the insane winner, which Toffees keeper Jordan Pickford kept in play and hit the cross bar twice before landing for Origi on the goal line.

Yerry Mina just missed heading a Lucas Digne free kick across goal in the fourth minute.

At the other end, Sadio Mane blazed over the bar in the 12th minute after a Mohamed Salah flick.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Yet Everton had an even better chance, with Andre Gomes’ point-blank header stopped by Alisson Becker before the Portuguese midfielder saw the rebound hit him and creep to the goal line where Joe Gomez cleared it. Gomez on Gomes crime.

Roberto Firmino stung the gloves of Jordan Pickford in the 30th minute, and Theo Walcott set up Richarlison for a chance at the other end moments later. The Brazilian looked to have been fouled by Virgil Van Dijk, but no call arrived in favor of Everton.

Salah then cued up Shaqiri for a good chance on Pickford, but the Everton man blocked the shot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool’s Egyptian wizard picked up where he left off to start the second half, spinning a shot just wide of the left post from atop the arc.

Mane missed another chance when a through ball left him a harsh angle on Pickford.

Bernard screwed a 66th minute chance wide of the far post as Everton bid for an opener.

Divock Origi hit the bar in the 87th minute, moments before an unheeded handball shout in the box. But he followed up Van Dijk’s flubbed bid to win it by picking the second bounce off the cross bar.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Everton

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Marco Silva and Jurgen Klopp match Merseyside Derby wits for the first time when Everton visits Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday (Watch live at 11:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Xherdan Shaqiri, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho start in the midfield for Liverpool, while Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes will try to thwart the vicious Reds attack.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Shaqiri, Salah, Mane, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Matip, Moreno, Milner, Keita, Origi, Sturridge.

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Keane, Digne, Gomes, Gueye, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Richarlison. Subs: Stekelenburg, Baines, Zouma, Tosun, Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman.

Klopp “angry” at fixture time switches around UCL matches

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What’s five hours on a match day?

For Jurgen Klopp, the answer is a lot.

[ MORE: Liverpool “not the favorites” vs. City ]

While most were expecting to discuss Liverpool’s draw of Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals — and they got that, too — Klopp used part of his Friday press conference to complain about the shifting of the Premier League kickoff time between the two legs.

Klopp’s Liverpool will now contest the Merseyside Derby in the early match on April 7 instead of April 8, with the Manchester Derby staged five hours later.

Derbies and the UCL
April 4 – Liverpool vs. Manchester City
April 7 – Everton vs. Liverpool — 7:30 a.m. ET
April 7 – Manchester City vs. Manchester United — 12:30 p.m. ET
April 10 – Manchester City vs. Liverpool

This, of course, also gives Liverpool five more hours rest than Man City, but Klopp’s not going to let that get in the way of his narrative.

“I know countries where they cancel whole match days so teams can be in the best shape. We play Wednesday night against Manchester City and then play Everton at 1230 three days later. That’s not too cool but obviously we have to go the hard way, I am used to that.

“We play Wednesday night and then at 1230 means the players get up on Thursday and have lunch or breakfast and then we train and next day we are on second-day recovery and then you start at 1230.

“It is not perfect. We take it like it is but if I cannot be angry about something like that anymore and have to be politically correct and say nothing then I am dead because that doesn’t work.”

Moving the matches is interesting, but would only serve to congest both sides’ schedules at another time, so… Whatever, Jurgen. He’s one of the most colorful characters in the football world, so we’re happy he exists, but if these words were coming out of Jose Mourinho’s mouth the world would be frothing at his attitude.

Keeping in mind that derbies are derbies and both of these are fierce ones, maybe Pep Guardiola should mention that Klopp has to go against Sam Allardyce and Everton in between fixtures while Pep matches wits with Jose Mourinho with (probably) a chance to clinch the Premier League.