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Everton reactions at full time say everything as chance finally taken against Liverpool

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

When you’d not won here in over 20 years and in that time lost to their kids, you tend to stop listening.

Or at least you try to ignore the calls that  this  is your best chance to end the run.

That this one is different, somehow.

You’ve heard it all before and nothing had changed.

But everyone was saying that Liverpool are not what they were, that the masonry on their Anfield fortress is crumbling without fans and because they are going through centre-halves like Spinal Tap went through drummers they are vulnerable.

Oh, and because you’re excellent away from home. Even at Anfield – yes, Anfield – that can continue, they said.

You try not to pay too much attention, and then you go and take the lead.

After less than three minutes of that ‘best chance’ in a generation, Richarlison races onto a perfectly weighted through-ball from James Rodriguez, caressed on the half volley, and he strikes the ball low beyond the stretch of Alisson.

And then Everton defend relatively comfortably. Sure, Jordan Pickford had to make a couple of excellent saves but this is Anfield, it’s the derby, your goalkeeper has to play well for you to stand a chance of getting anything, right? It doesn’t mean anything.

Half-time comes and goes and the lead is still intact.

Jurgen Klopp looks irritated but whatever he says at the break means Liverpool start the second-half the better team and have some chances, but it’s still 1-0 and Richarlison is still carrying a threat at the other end.

You get through the hour and Carlo Ancelotti decides to bring on your top scorer and play with two upfront.

He really fancies this, doesn’t he?

He doesn’t feel the crippling nerves that the rest of us are experiencing, does he?

And then Pickford is called into action again, rushing off his line to save at the feet of Mohamed Salah.

What a save. His best yet. But is that an ominous sign of Liverpool cranking up the pressure or that this will be Everton’s day?

The hope is rising but you can’t let it cloud your knowledge of this fixture. You’ve seen this play out too many times before. Everton are leading at Anfield for the first time since 2011, but even in that game Liverpool drew level.

It never runs this smoothly.

It’s the hope that kills you, remember.

And yet there’s only 15 minutes or normal time still to go, Everton are STILL in front, Michael Keane is clearing anything that comes his way and Ben Godfrey looks quicker than any of Liverpool’s lightning attack.

The referee, Chris Kavanagh, hasn’t done anything mad, VAR hasn’t stuck it’s oar in and then Dominic Calvert-Lewin goes down in the box and you win a penalty.

A penalty, at the Anfield Road end, where the away fans would be, a mass of delirium and song but fighting with that growing feeling of hope, and there’s less than 10 minutes remaining.

A penalty!

And then VAR DOES stick its oar in and the ref DOES go and check his decision, of course, of course he does.

This is how it plays out, isn’t it?

But the penalty still stands. Sigurdsson will stay where he is and take it.

He scores. It squeezes past Alisson.

Big Dunc jumps up and down in the technical area like a kid at Christmas and the hope rises further still.

That best chance of a generation is within touching distance. But no, no, don’t allow yourself to think it just yet, there’s time added on, remember, where Liverpool have caused all sorts of pain in this fixture.

Ancelotti is bringing on Alex Iwobi?! Why not Allan?! There’s a lead to protect, a precious, once-in-a-lifetime two-nil lead. And Carlo is taking off Richarlison. Why is Allan still in his tracksuit?!

This is bonkers. No trust him. This is the wrong decision. No, he knows exactly what he’s doing.

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How is Ancelotti so calm? So unmoved? So unruffled, just as he was at the very start of the game?

Klopp then throws on Divock Origi. How many goals has he scored against Everton? Whatever the number, it’s is too high for comfort, even at this late stage. Especially at this late stage.

Sadio Mane falls in the box under a Keane challenge but, still, Kavanagh doesn’t give anything, he’s still not done anything mad, has he?

It’s just gone 7:20, fireworks have just been let off outside the ground, and Everton, with a 2-0 lead at Anfield, enter time added on.

Still, even at this late stage, you know it’s the hope that kills you.

FIVE MINUTES!!!!

You’re having a laugh.

You try telling yourself ‘what’s five minutes when it’s been 21 years?’ But you’re kidding yourself if you think that soothes the nerves. It just makes it worse.

What’s Super Kev thinking right now? And what about Moyes, Koeman, Allardyce and Silva? Ancelotti still looks the same, just slightly windswept but practically the same.

Duncan looks more like the Evertonians, glued to their television sets, feel, as he paces up and down, checking his watch.

But then the minutes added on pass by, almost serenely, as if the emotions and hurt of over two decades have been sucked out of the game and the final stages of this game are played in a bubble. Well, if there was ever a time for that….

Everton see out the game. Kavanagh blows his whistle. They’ve done it.

It’s the hope that kills you but the hope also keeps you alive. The hope that keeps you coming back for more despite the years and years of set-backs. The hope is cruel but, tonight, it’s so very, very kind.

The players embrace, Ferguson charges onto the pitch to seek out Seamus Coleman.

FIVE MINUTES?! Can we have them back please? It was the most tranquil and peaceful time experience here in a two decades.

Everton’s best chance in a generation and, you know what? They took it.

*Who was your Everton MOTM? Take our quick poll here.

Ancelotti has now broken into a smile, Tom Davies jumps and gallops from celebrations, to TV interview and back down the tunnel to be with his team-mates.

He’s 22. Davies had never seen his boyhood club win at Anfield until now, when he one of the team’s best players. Ancelotti was right, that the emotion he would bring to the game would be important and so he had to start.

Coleman, who has experienced more defeats here than anyone else who played today, looks proud. Relieved, but proud.

He played in the last time, before this, that Everton had beaten Liverpool anywhere. October 2010 at Goodison. Two-nil again.

That season, Everton would finish just one place behind Liverpool in the table. With this win, they remain behind the Reds but level on points and with a game in hand.

Who knows what the remaining 14 matches of the campaign will bring and Ancelotti said this game would not define the Blues’ season.

But he knew of the huge impact on the mindset of the players, and the club as a whole, that a victory would have here.

Ancelotti, and Everton, have it.

Twenty years of waiting for a win at Anfield are over. Ancelotti has delivered one, at just his second attempt.

Anfield has delivered embarrassment and humiliations over the years but, above all else, shattered hopes.

Not tonight.

Everton, finally, took their chance.

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

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