We needed this performance – Jurgen Klopp was relieved after Liverpool beat Everton

Jurgen Klopp admitted his relief after Liverpool finally won their first Premier League game of 2023 with a 2-0 derby victory over Everton on Monday.

Mohamed Salah scored in the competition for the first time since Boxing Day and January signing Cody Gakpo scored his first goal for the club in the Anfield win.

Liverpool’s success ended a four-match league winless run and lifted them to ninth in the table with Everton still struggling in the bottom three.

Asked how he felt after the game, Liverpool manager Klopp said: “Relief – that’s it, that’s the main feeling from the final whistle.

“I am happy with the performance. We had to play the game we wanted to play and not the game Everton wanted to play.

“You can’t avoid it all the time but they didn’t have a very high number of set pieces. With all the aggression you have to show, you have to make sure you don’t overdo it because every set piece is a huge threat and something they want to have.

“I thought we did that very well. On top of that we were very dominant, we switched sides, we kept the ball and we kept them running.

“Both goals came from counter-attacks – which is also allowed – and I liked both goals.

“We had three options in the box for both goals. A lot of things were different tonight so we had our best game in a while.

“We needed this game, we needed this performance. Our people fully deserved it. I loved the atmosphere – even before we scored. It’s a crazy atmosphere that people create here.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche felt his side had started strongly but failed to improve after being caught for Salah’s 36th-minute opener, which came seconds after James Tarkowski had hit the post at the other end.

Dyche said: “I think they had the upper hand in the early stages not to be too open.

“Our shape was good but then it changed in 15 or 16 seconds. We hit the post and didn’t respond as quickly.

“We know Liverpool are good in the transition phase and we conceded a goal unnecessarily.

“At half-time we said we had to use the ball better but then if you concede another goal so quickly it will be very difficult, especially here.

“We kept plugging away but there were too many sloppy passes and too many turnovers.”

Dyche insisted that since he wasn’t overly excited after beating Arsenal in his first final, he wasn’t upset about the derby win in his second.

Liverpool v Everton – Premier League – Anfield

Mohamed Salah scores his first league goal since Boxing Day (Peter Byrne/PA)

He said: “The players have taken a lot so I won’t be too critical. They are working hard, diligently.

“I know the importance of this game for Evertonians but, on paper, you’d get three points from these first two games. That’s a starting point.

“I don’t remember being too high after we beat the leaders. I was fair about it and I’m fair tonight.”

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