LIVERPOOL, England (AP)Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win in style Wednesday as his team beat Everton 5-2 in the Merseyside derby.
All but one of the goals were scored in a manic first half in the highest-scoring game between the two crosstown rivals since 1991. Liverpool stayed eight points clear of Leicester at the top of the Premier League, while Everton dropped into the relegation zone.
Sadio Mane set up the first two goals for Liverpool with perfectly angled passes for first Divock Origi, then Xherdan Shaqiri.
The goals were a vindication of Klopp’s decision to start with both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino on the bench as part of five changes to his lineup, with Origi and Shaqiri taking their places up front.
”We made five changes and I had to show respect to the boys for what they do in training. I speak about the quality of the squad so I have to show it in my selection,” Klopp said. ”We gave the responsibility to the boys to perform and they showed what they’re made of.”
Michael Keane scored for Everton at a corner, but Origi swiftly restored Liverpool’s two-goal advantage before Mane made it 4-1. Richarlison bundled the ball in for Everton in first-half stoppage time for the sixth goal of the half – from a total of only six shots on target.
The second half wasn’t nearly as eventful. Sadio Mane wasted two good chances to score Liverpool’s fifth goal late on, and Moise Kean typified his disappointing scoreless season for Everton with a big miss at the other end. Georginio Wijnaldum finally scored a fifth for Liverpool in the 90th.
That made Klopp’s Liverpool the first team to score five in a Merseyside derby since the Reds beat Everton 5-0 in 1982. Despite the goals, Klopp chided his defense for conceding twice.
”From time to time we were rusty in defense as they were really direct,” he said.
Liverpool is unbeaten against Everton for 19 years and hasn’t lost to its rival at home in the Premier League since 1999.
The loss piles more pressure on Everton manager Marco Silva, whose team has lost its last three games.
Worse, it dropped into the relegation zone and 18th place thanks to Southampton’s win over Norwich earlier Wednesday. Everton hasn’t played outside the top tier of English soccer since 1954.
”We knew before the match how tough it would be for us. We had to be competitive and be focused and the way we started created the biggest problem for us,” Silva said. ”We can talk about the five goals but the first two we conceded made the game really hard for us. The second half was more balanced.”
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