Jordan Pickford’s uncalculated injury-time error handed Divock Origi an almost believable Merseyside derby winner as Liverpool claimed a dramatic 1-0 victory over Everton.
Everton had produced an admirable performance and could have ended their infamous Anfield necromancy had they taken one of their numerous first-half chances, but just as it looked as if they had done enough for a point, Liverpool snatched all three in stunning circumstances.
Alisson, who had earlier brilliantly denied Andre Gomes, cleared a free-kick as far as Virgil van Dijk, whose skewed long-range effort appeared to be heading for the top of the crossbar, only for Pickford to inexplicably palm it back into the air, the ball then bouncing off the woodwork and into the path of substitute Origi, who had the simple task of nodding into an empty net.
It means Liverpool stay within touching distance of champions Manchester City, who they trail by just two points, with the Reds continuing to look like the most likely challengers to Pep Guardiola’s side.
Everton who are winless at Anfield since 1999, had a gilt-edged chance to take the lead in the fourth minute when Yerry Mina, incorrectly not flagged for offside, somehow headed Lucas Digne’s free-kick wide with the goal at his mercy.
Liverpool responded well to that scare and Sadio Mane lashed over from Mohamed Salah’s clever ball. However, it was Everton who had the better of proceedings, and they will have been left wondering how they did not take the lead when Alisson produced heroics to preserve parity.
Theo Walcott headed Bernard’s superb far-post cross back to Gomes, whose point-blank header was magnificently kept out by Alisson’s flying save. Gylfi Sigurdsson attempted to bundle home the rebound in the resulting goalmouth scramble but Joe Gomez cleared off the line in the nick of time.
Pickford denied Xherdan Shaqiri with his leg at the other end, but the Toffees spurned another glorious opportunity when Walcott lost control of the ball after rounding Alisson.
Liverpool were much improved after half-time and Salah curled wide before Mane again missed the target following good work from Roberto Firmino.
Mane’s wayward shooting performance continued as he failed to trouble Pickford from the edge of the area, and the Reds’ hopes of triumph looked to have gone when Origi clattered against the crossbar from two yards out and Liverpool saw appeals for handball against Sigurdsson waved away by referee Chris Kavanagh from the follow-up.
Yet that proved only a prelude to a bizarre ending as Origi, brought on in the 84th minute playing in his first Premier League game since the beginning of last season, took his second chance to write his name into Merseyside derby folklore, sparking scenes of wild celebration typified by Klopp’s pitch invasion to rejoice with Alisson.