LIVERPOOL (AFP): Mohamed Salah said Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday is just the start of a revival for the Reds.
Salah scored for the first time in the Premier League since Boxing Day as Jurgen Klopp’s men snapped a four-game winless streak. Cody Gakpo then grabbed his first goal for the club in the second half.
A positive night for Liverpool was rounded off by the return of Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino from injury, while Virgil van Dijk made the bench after six weeks on the sidelines.
“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. Hopefully it was a start.”
Liverpool are still nine points off the top four in ninth.
But that gap to fourth-placed Newcastle could be cut to six points when they travel to St. James’ Park next weekend.
That clash comes just days before Real Madrid’s trip to Anfield in the Champions League last 16 and Klopp will be hoping he has finally stumbled upon a solution to some of his side’s woes in time for another tilt at the European Cup.
“Tonight we were there and that has to be the sign now for us for what we have to do,” said Klopp. “The performance for the full 96 minutes was the best for a while.”
Liverpool’s optimism has to be put in the context of facing an Everton side with just one win in 12 games.
That victory came last weekend in Sean Dyche’s first match in charge as league leaders Arsenal were shocked 1-0 at Goodison Park.
But Dyche was given a better understanding of the problems he has inherited with the Toffees languishing in the relegation zone.
Everton were still left to rue what might have been had James Tarkowski’s header gone in rather than come off the post just seconds before Liverpool took the lead.
Instead, the hosts collected the loose ball and freed Nunez down the left, who squared for Salah to prod into an unguarded net with Jordan Pickford caught in no man’s land.
Everton were undone by another swift counter-attack at the start of the second period.
Andy Robertson charged through midfield and found Trent Alexander-Arnold, whose inviting ball across the face of the goal just required a simple finish from Gakpo.
The Dutch international will hope a derby goal proves the turning point after a difficult start to life in the Premier League following his January move from PSV Eindhoven.
“It was a great game from our side,” said Gakpo. “We really needed this.”