Liverpool’s Divock Origi scored a bizarre 96th-minute goal in sensational circumstances as a terrible Jordan Pickford error gifted the Reds victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.
It sent his manager Jurgen Klopp sprinting onto the pitch to hug goalkeeper Alisson and the fans into raptures, but was cruel on Everton, who had at times played the more adventurous football in a lively encounter.
The 232nd meeting between the city rivals was heading for a draw when Pickford mishandled a sliced Virgil van Dijk shot that had ballooned high up into the air.
It seemed set to land on top of his net, but the England keeper clawed the ball back down from above his crossbar and spilled it out to Origi.
A late substitute making his first Premier League appearance since August 2017, all the Belgian striker had to do was nod into an empty goal to secure a win that consolidates Liverpool’s second place, two points behind defending champions Manchester City.
In the 87th-minute Origi had missed what looked to be the golden late chance to seal victory when he smashed against the bar from three yards, unable to convert a ball bouncing loose from a corner.
It was Origi’s third goal against Everton – his best record against any side for Liverpool.
And it was the fifth Premier League injury-time winner Liverpool have scored against Everton – again, they have not scored more against any other side in the Premier League era.
The Toffees remain without a victory in their past 18 meetings with the Reds, and are winless at Anfield this century.
They stay sixth in the table, eight points below Tottenham in fifth and Arsenal in fourth.
Liverpool had been intensifying their search for a winner, while Everton continued to threaten themselves late on, but nobody was expecting the match to be settled in the manner it was.
The main themes before Pickford’s nightmare moment were fine goalkeeping and repeated wastefulness.
In the game’s early stages, Yerry Mina headed wide for Everton when he had a clear sight of goal, before Liverpool’s Sadio Mane fired over from close range.
Alisson was forced into two vital first-half stops for the hosts, the first from point-blank range to keep out Andre Gomes’ header, with Joe Gomez clearing the rebound off the line and Gylfi Sigurdsson only able to force the ball onto the post and behind as he followed in.
Then the Brazilian keeper came sprawling off his line to deny Theo Walcott, who found himself clear on goal from Sigurdsson’s masterful through ball, while Pickford expertly blocked Xherdan Shaqiri in a one-on-one shortly after.
Following the break, Mane fired off target twice more from good positions, the first in another one-on-one when his manager already had his fists clenched ready to punch the air in celebration.
But Klopp would finally get the chance to let his emotions out as he burst onto the pitch in celebration of Origi’s goal – his first for Liverpool since May 2017.