Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he was relieved after his team won their first Premier League game of 2023 by beating city rivals Everton 2-0 on Monday and urged them to use the “statement” victory to reignite their season.
Mohamed Salah scored for the first time since ‘Boxing Day’ just after Everton missed a glorious double chance to take the lead, with Dwight McNeil going close and James Tarkowski hitting the post.
Then January signing Cody Gakpo bagged his first goal for the club since joining from PSV Eindhoven for a reported 37 million pounds as they snapped a four-game winless run and earned only their second win in eight games in all competitions.
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.
“It was a massive relief,” Klopp said. “The performance was a statement for us that we can do this ... It was the best game for a while.
“We have to carry on. To get out of our situation and to bring consistency, we need performances.” Liverpool, last year’s runners-up, climbed to ninth with 32 points. They trail fourth-placed Newcastle United by nine before Saturday’s trip to St James’ Park.
Klopp said Liverpool had played like their true selves against Everton but that they had to keep delivering that level of performance.
“It felt like us, it looked like us,” Klopp said.
“It was a really important night. It gave us all the signs that was us tonight, and now we have to make sure it is us from now on.”
Liverpool climbed to ninth in the table on 32 points after 21 games while 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.”
Liverpool’s struggles this season pale in comparison to those of Everton, who last month sacked Frank Lampard, the seventh manager to be fired by owner Farhad Moshiri since 2017.
“We gave away two goals on the counter and that is massively disappointing,” said Everton defender Conor Coady.
“It’s important we keep listening to the manager each day and we need to go again. It’s not the fact that we missed the chances, we hit the post, but giving away counters, which is what they’re good at, we need to look at ourselves and see where we can put it right.”