Liverpool claimed a comfortable 5-2 victory over rivals Everton on Wednesday, all but sealing Marco Silva’s fate on the blue side of the city.
A double from Divock Origi and one goal apiece for Sadio Mané, Xherdan Shaqiri and Gini Wijnaldum was enough to claim the win and the bragging rights on Merseyside.
Jürgen Klopp surprised everyone an hour before kick-off by naming what could only be described as an experimental XI.
Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were on the bench while Xherdan Shaqiri started his first game of the campaign.
But it took all of six minutes for this second-string to get the better of the visitors. An exquisite pass from Sadio Mané found Divock Origi, who made a mug of Michael Keane and rounded Jordan Pickford for the opener.
That Shaqiri then added a second on 18 minutes says everything you need to know about the depth of this Liverpool squad and the trust that Klopp has in his ‘other’ men.
It was a gamble and it absolutely paid off.
It was a horrendous first half for almost everyone in a blue shirt, but none more so than for Djibril Sidibe who was substituted after only 35 minutes by Marco Silva.
It really was man against boy with Sidibe facing Sadio Mané, as the Ballon d’Or nominee was allowed free rein down the left, invited almost at will to terrorise the Toffees.
The summer recruit from Monaco was positively atrocious, but as noted above, he was by no means on his own.
Michael Keane may have scored but that didn’t paper over the cavernous cracks in his performance.
The England international – remember that?! – was beaten three times in the opening half, with each of those errors in judgement resulting in goals.
It really does beg the question: how on earth had Everton been preparing for this game?
Okay, maybe it begs another question as well: I wonder when they’re going to tell Marco Silva that he’s been fired?
There was much derision on social media this week when one of the more left-field Ballon d’Or votes was unearthed.
A journalist from Sri Lanka didn’t include either Lionel Messi or Virgil van Dijk in his top five, but did vote for Trent Alexander-Arnold as the best player in the world in 2019.
There were sniggers in the Onefootball office too – but do you know what? He’s not far off.
The born and bred Scouser clearly had an extra motivation to play well tonight but boy did he make the most of it.
The 21-year-old was utterly sensational here and was rightly given a standing ovation when he came off with just six minutes to go.
His delivery, decision-making and awareness of space on the pitch were all exceptional tonight.
There’s no better right-back in the game at the moment. Pretty soon there might not be a better player, period.