Liverpool 3-1 Everton: Coutinho-inspired Reds move into third with deserved derby victory

Jürgen Klopp became the first Liverpool manager to win his first three Merseyside derbies against Everton as his Philippe Coutinho-inspired side ran out deserved 3-1 winners at Anfield and moved up to third in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The 228th Merseyside derby was another impressive reminder of the Reds' top-four credentials, the only negative coming in the form of injury to goalscorer Sadio Mané.

In a breathless first-half, Mané handed Liverpool an early lead with a magnificent solo burst before Matthew Pennington's tap-in, his first senior goal, brought Everton level at a corner.

Within just three minutes of that equaliser, Coutinho restored Liverpool's lead with another excellent finish before Ross Barkley escaped a red card for an uncontrolled over-the-top tackle on Dejan Lovren.

Mané was forced off injured shortly after the restart before his replacement, Divock Origi, fired past Joel Robles after making the most of space in between Everton's two centre-backs, allowing them to equal their best run of 13 league games without defeat to their rivals - set in 1978.

The result moves temporarily into third before fourth-placed Manchester City face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. City will only move back above Liverpool with a win.

Reds and Blues both forced into changes

Both sides had to make injury-enforced changes to their starting line-up for their first game back after the international break.

Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana's thigh injury on England duty paved the way for Lucas Leiva to make just a seventh Premier League start of the campaign and pushed Emre Can further forward.

In central defence, Dejan Lovren returned to replace Ragnar Klavan with the Croatian making his first appearance since a home draw with Chelsea on January 31.

Brazil duo Coutinho and Roberto Firmino both started despite a lengthy trip back from South America in mid-week.

The quartet of Tom Davies, Pennington, Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin - none older than 20 - were all handed starting berths for Everton in reaction to their injury problems.

Holgate replaced Seamus Coleman, who suffered a horrific double leg break on international duty, while Pennington replaced Morgan Schneiderlin, the midfielder missing out with a calf injury, as Ronald Koeman's side set up in a three-in-the-back formation.

Mané stunner puts home side ahead early on

The two teams paid respects to Ronnie Moran - the Liverpool player, coach and caretaker manager who passed away aged 83 last week after 49 years of service to the club, winning 44 major trophies - before kick-off.

But upon getting underway an exuberant young Everton side started fearlessly, a welcome change to some of the meek previous Anfield performances, and they pressed the home side high in a fast-tempo start.

But it was Liverpool who struck first in the 8th minute when Mané - the difference-maker in the last meeting between these two sides - scored an exquisite solo goal.

The Senegal international picked up the ball from Firmino 40 yards out and first skipped past Davies. Coutinho's run in behind dragged away two blue shirts before Mané evaded Holgate and Pennington, driving an early finish through the latter's legs and into the far bottom corner.

Everton toiled in their attempts to impose themselves on proceedings and Robles was required to make a good stop to deny Coutinho from 15 yards out, the Brazilian easily cutting inside Pennington but firing too centrally at the goalkeeper.

The space Liverpool's key players were afforded - Coutinho and Mané in particular - meant the sustained pressure was all on Everton's defence.

Up the other end, the hosts dealt well with much of the service intended for Lukaku as they struggled to build any attacking moves - corners and crosses looking Everton's most likely source of joy.

Coutinho immediately cancels out Pennington equaliser

And it was from a set-piece that Everton pulled level on 28 minutes. A poorly-defended corner dropped for Pennington inside the six-yard box at the Kop end, and he gratefully fired beyond Simon Mignolet.

Barkley's delivery wasn't dealt with at the near post and Ashley Williams flicked the ball towards defender Pennington, who was left all alone in the centre of the box and slotted in his first goal for the club on just his fifth league appearance.

Just as that goal appeared to offer Everton a timely surge of confidence, Liverpool restored their advantage through Coutinho, with another brilliant goal - only his second in his last 15 games in all competitions - making it 2-1.

Coutinho received possession from Lucas some distance from goal and drove forward past Gueye before dropping his shoulder on goalscorer Pennington at the edge of the area to curl a right-footed effort high beyond into the far top corner past Robles.

Soon after, Everton were fortunate to keep 11 men on the pitch when Barkley - who should have seen red against Liverpool at Goodison Park meeting in December for a horrendous high tackle on Jordan Henderson - planted his studs high into Lovren's ankle but received only yellow.

Mané goes off injured second-half just as high tempo

No substitutions at the break meant the second-half started in the same fashion. Liverpool were almost pegged back again when an unmarked Williams got to Barkley's deep free-kick delivery but Mignolet claimed well.

And it just as easily could have been 3-1 up the other end before 50 minutes when Can's blocked shot bounced about the box, but Coutinho couldn't control to finish into an empty net as the ball rolled away from him.

Liverpool were dealt a huge blow when Mané went off in serious discomfort, collapsing in a heap after his ankle bent under Baines' clearance, appearing to potentially damage his ligaments though he managed to walk down the tunnel.

Divock Origi came on for the winger, moving up top as Firmino moved wide right.

Divock Origi comes off the bench to extend Liverpool's advantage

Barkley started to come alive, first seeing a shot deflected from the edge of the area after a fine first touch before an excellent run on the edge of the box drew bodies towards him. But as he slipped Calvert-Lewin into space, the forward's shot was well blocked.

And on 60 minutes, Origi had the ideal impact, shortly after firing wide from the corner of the box, Coutinho driving forward and finding the striker in swathes of space behind Williams and Robles came charing off his line, allowing Origi to fire past him at the edge of the box.

Yet Everton were far from out of the game, playing well after summoning Gareth Barry and Enner Valencia from the bench.

Holgate's long-range strike first brought a good reflex save from Mignolet - who had dived early - before it kicked up into the air after a deflection. And in the same attacking move, Holgate headed an excellent headed chance wide of the mark from Baines' left-sided cross.

West Derby-born teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold was handed his first taste of the Merseyside Derby with a quarter of an hour to go, coming on for the electric Coutinho to take up a midfield role.

And Robles had to make a flying save to deny the 18-year-old his first goal for Liverpool just two minutes after coming on, Alexander-Arnold having released Can - who shook off Barry down the touchline - before the German's return pass in the box was a little behind the youngster.

Alexander-Arnold had another attempt on 85 minutes, though a more routine save for Robles, as Liverpool comfortably saw out the three points for their first league double over Everton since 2011-12.

VAVEL Logo