Sun, Apr 02, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Coutinho leads Liverpool to 3-1 win over Everton

Reuters and AP, LIVERPOOL, England

From left, Liverpool players Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino celebrate Coutinho’s goal against Everton at Anfield in Liverpool, England, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Philippe Coutinho inspired Liverpool to a comfortable 3-1 home win over Everton in the 228th Merseyside derby on Saturday to move provisionally up to third in the Premier League.

Sadio Mane exploited poor Everton defending in the eighth minute to net his 13th goal of the season, playing a one-two with Roberto Firmino and holding off two opponents before firing low past Joel Robles.

Mane went off with a left-leg injury later in the game.

Everton’s Matthew Pennington marked his first appearance of the season with an equaliser in the 28th minute, prodding home after Dejan Lovren’s clearance, but was caught out less than three minutes later when Coutinho tore past Idrissa Gueye, cut in past the defender and slammed the ball into the far corner.

Divock Origi added a third shortly after replacing the injured Mane with a thumping strike from outside the area after being played in by the outstanding Coutinho to take Liverpool up to 59 points.

It is now 13 league games without defeat against Everton for Liverpool — equaling a club record — and an important win in the context of Champions League qualification, as Juergen Klopp’s team consolidated their place in the top four.

Liverpool handled the occasion better than their rivals.

It was a typically combustible match — there have been more red cards in the Merseyside derby (21) than any other Premier League fixture — and Everton midfielder Ross Barkley will count himself fortunate to finish the game.

He avoided a booking for a bad early foul on Emre Can and then only got a yellow card for a crude, studs-first lunge on the left ankle of Dejan Lovren.

Barkley struggled for composure in a frenetic game, unlike Liverpool counterpart Coutinho, who oozed class and assuredness — not least when he sent Barkley skidding on his backside with a wonderful shimmy early in the second half.

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