Klopp hails ‘best’ Liverpool win at Goodison Park after 4-1 rout of Everton
In one of the most one-sided Merseyside derbies in recent memory, Liverpool put another nail in the coffin of their former manager Rafa Benitez with goals from Jordan Henderson (9’), Mo Salah (19’, 64’), and Diogo Jota (79’). Demarai Gray scored Everton’s only goal to provide some consolation for the Fantasy Premier League managers out there who were
foolish brave enough to pick him.
WATCH: Benitez defends players after heavy Merseyside derby defeat
The statistics of the game do not make for kind reading for Benitez’s men either – Liverpool boasted 69% of the possession, outshot Everton 16 to 8, and made more than double the number of passes (599 to 270) than the hosts. The margin of victory was also Liverpool’s biggest at Goodison Park since 1982.
While Klopp had concerns before the game over the physicality of Everton’s style of play – with Thiago Silva and Virgil van Dijk notably suffering long-term injuries in the same fixture last season – there was barely any fight this time around from the Toffees, who put up less resistance than if 11 actual man-shaped toffees were on the pitch.
Setting aside the meekness of Everton’s performance, however, Klopp was keen to praise his players for making the opposition look as bad as Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“It was, for sure, the best performance we've shown since I've been at Liverpool at Goodison,” Klopp gushed.
“We've had some good games here but not as good as tonight; never as calm as we were tonight, we were never as convincing as we were tonight. That is why we won the game, I'm really happy about that.
“Since I have been at Liverpool, we have had to learn how to play these kind of games. We had to learn to play at Old Trafford, learn to play at Goodison, and tonight we showed we've taken a big step in our development, and that is really good.
“It doesn't mean anything for the future, but it shows this is our benchmark, this is the level we have to reach to overcome these teams.”
Klopp, who is no stranger to letting his emotions, and angry spit, spill over on the sidelines, also hailed his side’s ability to manage the highly-charged nature of the derby.
WATCH: Klopp treats Merseyside derby as 'normal game'
“We are a very emotional football team, but first and foremost you need to have the right mood and mindset," Klopp explained. “Emotions are good, but they are not the most important thing.
“The two derbies for us, against Everton and Manchester United, are big games. We have to learn how to keep ourselves calm and together if you want to play your best football.
“I told the boys that whatever happened in the past they had to be 100 per cent honest and, when I look back, there was not one derby at Goodison where I thought: 'wow, that was a great game, nearly perfect'. So there was a lot of space for improvement. I wanted us to be really mature, very aggressive in a football way, angry as well, but in a football way.
“You cannot win the ball back or counter-press without anger or a bit of greed, but there are also moments where you have to pass the ball around their formation. For that, you need a different mindset, and that is what we had tonight.”
WATCH: Liverpool's best Merseyside derby memories
Meanwhile, with Benitez’s side now winless in their last eight games, the pressure on the Spanish manager – already as popular a figure among the Everton fans as Steven Gerrard – has grown substantially.
Nonetheless, Benitez remains confident that he will not be out of a job anytime soon, and believes he will soon be able to turn Everton’s fortunes around.
“I am a professional and have enough experience. I can see when a team is giving everything. The commitment of the players is here,” said Benitez.
“We have to analyse and see the commitment, desire and intensity. Today we made mistakes. As a manager you're expecting your players to give everything on the pitch.”