Liverpool teenager Curtis Jones scored a stunning winner as the Reds’ young brigade extended Everton’s miserable record of Anfield failure stretching back to September 1999 with a fully deserved FA Cup third-round victory.
Jurgen Klopp made nine changes from the side that extended their Premier League lead to 13 points with victory over Sheffield United on Thursday – including three debutants in Takumi Minamino, Nathaniel Phillips and substitute Yasser Larouci.
And it was 18-year-old Jones who grabbed the Merseyside derby glory with a magnificent curling 25-yard drive that eluded the outstretched arms of Everton keeper Jordan Pickford as it arced into the top corner after 71 minutes.
Toffees manager Carlo Ancelotti played virtually his strongest available side but the visitors paid for a lacklustre display and a succession of missed opportunities in the first half, when Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate and Richarlison saw efforts saved by Liverpool keeper Adrian.
Klopp had the luxury of resting superstars such as Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk, survived the early loss through injury of James Milner, and yet still saw his side fully merit their place in the fourth round – and it is now 7,405 days since Everton won at Anfield.
The fourth-round draw takes place on Monday at 19:35 GMT on BBC One and the iPlayer, before Arsenal’s game against Leeds.
Liverpool is the team who have forgotten how to lose – and they were playing an Everton side who have long forgotten how to win at Anfield.
Klopp took no chances with his big players but the Reds still had too much energy for this laboured Everton team.
Divock Origi added physicality up front but it was the likes of Jones and 16-year-old Harvey Elliott who epitomised the host club’s victory – along with 22-year-old central defender Nathaniel Phillips, effectively brought back from a loan spell at Stuttgart to play in this game.
It was a moment of genius from Jones, born two years after Everton last won at Anfield, that made the difference before Liverpool closed out the victory with maturity and without problems from a bitterly disappointing Everton.
They even survived the blow of losing Milner in the opening minutes, depriving Klopp of one of his most experienced players. In the event, it just gave another teenager, Yasser Larouci, his chance to shine.
Klopp and his players took the acclaim in front of the Kop after the final whistle as Liverpool’s dream season continues.
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti now knows the full extent of the job he must undertake at Goodison Park.
This was as embarrassing as it gets for Everton, outmanoeuvred and beaten by what was more of less a Liverpool reserve team.
And for many players whose names are on this loss, it will surely prove to be a watershed moment and the beginning of the end of their careers at the club.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, at £45m, was a lightweight passenger in midfield, too easily shrugged off the ball, outpaced and deservedly substituted – he looked heavy-legged and unfit for purpose.
Morgan Schneiderlin has been out injured but he was also miles off the pace, while Theo Walcott produced an absolute horror show of performance, riddled with dreadful decisions and cheap concession of possession.
True, it took a magnificent strike for Liverpool to clinch their place in the fourth round and Everton squandered so many first-half chances but this was what the visitors’ effort, or lack of it, deserved.
On this day, when presented with a below-strength Liverpool, Everton was exposed as faint-hearted and lacking in the stomach for the fight.
This was a grim chapter – the only forward-looking note being that Ancelotti has been given a rapid reminder of exactly why Everton paid so much to bring him to Goodison Park.
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Source – BBC