Jürgen Klopp ‘relieved’ after Liverpool’s first league win of the year

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Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool showed signs of returning to true form as his side recorded their first Premier League win of 2023 in the Merseyside derby against Everton.

Mohamed Salah scored his first league goal at Anfield since October and Cody Gakpo converted his first goal for the club into his first goal for the £35m signing as he defeated Sean Dyche’s relegation-threatened side. Salah claimed the performance: “It looks like the old Liverpool” and revealed that captain Jordan Henderson and vice-captain James Milner held a staff meeting last week to discuss the recent poor run. Klopp agreed that his team had given a great response to the 3-0 defeat at Wolves last time out.

Related: Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo scored the Reds’ first goal in the win over toothless Everton

The Liverpool manager said: “The two goals for both players were really important. The next player who needs a goal like that [Gakpo’s tap-in] there is Darwin [Núñez]. Darwin made a crazy run for the first goal and a great pass. It was a very important moment, not conceding from the first chance (when James Tarkowski went forward against the post 15 seconds before Salah scored). I’m not sure how much you can apply luck but it was nice to get it. It was a very important night. He gave all the signs we were with tonight, for sure, and now we have to make sure it’s us from now on.”

Klopp admitted the overwhelming feeling was a relief after a devastating run of four league games without a win. He said: “Relief. It is. I am happy with the performance. We had to play the game we wanted and not the game Everton wanted us to play. There was a really high number of set pieces. These set pieces are a huge threat and I thought we dealt with that very well. On top of that we were on top, switched sides and I liked the two goals on the counter. We had real options in the box for both goals. A lot of things were different tonight so it was the best game in a while.”

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring his team's first goal

Mohamed Salah is celebrating scoring his team’s first goal and later said it was like old Liverpool. Photo: Paul Greenwood/Shutterstock

New Everton manager Dyche has admitted his players have failed to reproduce the quality or intensity that saw them beat Arsenal in their first final. He said: “They had the upper hand in the early stages without opening us up too much. Our shape was good, our cover shape was good and then it changes in 15 seconds. We hit the post and we don’t react as quickly.

“We know Liverpool are good in transition. We concede an unnecessary goal, Jordan [Pickford] it is slightly misread. The players have taken on a lot in a short space of time so I won’t be too critical, but we have to find that balance in and out and then try to turn it into a good possession.”

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