LONDON (AFP) – Liverpool inflicted fresh misery on Merseyside rivals Everton as a superb strike from teenager Curtis Jones sealed a 1-0 win in the FA Cup third round last Sunday.
Jones’ second half curler sent Anfield into ecstasy as the club’s youth academy graduates handed Everton an embarrassing derby defeat.
The 18-year-old Liverpool-born midfielder was making only his fifth appearance and his memorable matchwinner was his first senior goal.
Jones is the youngest goalscorer for Liverpool in a Merseyside derby since Robbie Fowler in 1994.
“They played brave football. Unbelievable individual performances from the kids and the adults as well,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said.
“I’m so happy they all showed up tonight. Sensational game and a sensational goal from a Scouser. Who could ask for more?”
Without a win over their rivals in any competition since 2010 and thrashed 5-2 at Anfield in the Premier League earlier this season, Everton will feel the pain from this defeat against their under-strength neighbours for some while.
Hit by injuries that left him with 12 fit senior outfield players, Klopp had made nine changes, selecting Nat Phillips, 22, and teenage trio Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott and Jones.
In contrast, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti made just two changes, fielding a strong team as the visitors chased a first win at Anfield since 1999.
Liverpool’s injury problems mounted within 10 minutes when James Milner limped off to be replaced by another teenager Yasser Larouci.
Ancelotti’s side threatened early on when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike was pushed away from Adrian, who then repelled Mason Holgate’s header and Richarlison’s shot.
Liverpool’s youngsters had been thrashed by Aston Villa while the senior stars were away at the Club World Cup in December, 2019.
But they acquitted themselves much better this time and Japan striker Takumi Minamino, making his debut after joining from Salzburg, glanced a header narrowly off-target before Divock Origi’s low drive was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford.
Jones’ moment of magic came in the 71st minute when he played a chipped pass to Origi, took the return ball and curled a stunning effort into the top corner.
Elsewhere last Sunday, Lucas Moura kept Tottenham’s FA Cup hopes alive with the equaliser in their 1-1 draw at second tier Middlesbrough, while Callum Hudson-Odoi got back in the groove as Chelsea cruised to a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.