Liverpool maintained pace in the Premier League title race against Everton on Sunday.
With Manchester City having kept their side of the bargain with a 5-1 win over Watford, there was no room for Jurgen Klopp’s men to wilt under the pressure of a Merseyside derby.
On paper, victory over their local neighbours should have been fairly straightforward as they fight for their lives to avoid a first ever Premier League relegation.
Everton’s dirty tactics
However, Frank Lampard had a cunning plan to ensure that his Toffees side would make life as hard as possible for Liverpool, duly maximising their chances of nabbing a point in the process.
That’s because Everton came out with a clear desire to make the game incredibly ugly, channelling some of Jose Mourinho’s most frustrating and canny performances at the very same stadium.
In fact, Everton frustrated their hosts to such an extent during the opening 45 minutes that things eventually got very heated.
Not only was Anthony Gordon booked for simulation, but Richarlison went to ground so many times that the referee eventually began to take no notice and ensured that the play continued.
However, there’s no denying that the most prolific offender proved to be Jordan Pickford, who saw to killing the derby’s momentum by time-wasting whenever he had the opportunity.
That culminated in a cheeky moment just before half-time where he unnecessarily hit the turf with the ball in his arms, even firing a smile and wink in the direction of the crowd.
Alisson does his best Pickford impression
But boy did karma sting him in the backside because it looks as though Alisson Becker still had Pickford’s antics on his mind when Liverpool entered the end of the second-half with a 2-0 lead.
Goals from Andrew Robertson and Divock Origi had eventually unravelled Everton’s dark arts, meaning that a late shot from Richarlison that Alisson simply caught meant very little late on.
Well, that was until Alisson had every Liverpool fan and their dog in stitches by proceeding to mimic exactly what Pickford had done earlier in the game by going to ground for little to no reason.
Alisson is a hero. 🤣 https://t.co/wuRmRawsl9— Scouser Chris (@ScouserChrisLFC) April 24, 2022
You love to see it.
A final blow for Everton
Now, there’s good reason to think that it was a deliberate choice by Alisson, but even in a world where he was simply seeing out the game himself, it still had the desired effect for Kopites.
You can hear Liverpool’s great stadium erupting in cheers and laughter just seconds after Alisson hit the deck, proceeding to arbitrarily cradle the ball on his front exactly as Pickford had done.
In doing so, the Reds number one perfectly wrapped up one of their most hard-fought victories of their stunning Premier League streak in 2022, which has reaped 12 wins from just 13 attempts.
And Pickford found out the hard way that if you come for the king, you better not miss…