Divock Origi came off the bench to make the difference as Liverpool secured a hard-fought 2-0 win over Everton in a feisty Merseyside derby on Sunday to close the gap at the top of the Premier League standings back to one point.
As well as keeping Liverpool in the title chase, a point behind leaders Manchester City, the result left Frank Lampard’s Everton inside the relegation zone, in 18th place, two points behind Burnley, who have played one game more.
After City had opened up a four-point lead over Liverpool at the top with a 5-1 demolition of Watford on Saturday, Juergen Klopp’s side struggled to break down Everton in a bad-tempered first half at Anfield.
Everton continued to hold their own in a raucous derby atmosphere until, with the first shot on target from either side in the match, Scottish fullback Andy Robertson headed Liverpool in front in the 62nd minute.
Mohamed Salah combined with substitute Origi before floating a cross to Robertson, who headed past the diving Jordan Pickford.
Demarai Gray then went within inches of a stunning equaliser before substitute Origi finally ended all hope of an Everton comeback with a goal five minutes from time to put the game to bed.
Luis Diaz tried a bicycle-kick volley from a Jordan Henderson cross and the ball bounced to Origi, who headed home from close range.
The Belgian, a fringe player for most of his time at Anfield, has now scored six goals in nine Merseyside Premier League clashes.
His introduction with Diaz, when the game was goalless, proved to be a masterstroke by Klopp although Everton felt they should have had a penalty before that change.
The lively Anthony Gordon went down under a challenge from Joel Matip in the 53rd minute but his appeal was waved away by referee Stuart Attwell.
Earlier, Chelsea tightened their grip on third place in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over 10-man West Ham on Sunday, with Christian Pulisic’s 90th-minute winner at Stamford Bridge making up for his team mate Jorginho’s missed penalty.
Substitute Pulisic arrived in the box at the right time to guide home a superb pass by Marcos Alonso shortly after Jorginho had wasted his chance from the spot, firing straight at West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham defender Craig Dawson, one of their best players in a much-changed side, was shown a red card after a check by the Video Assistant Referee following a clumsy foul on substitute Romelu Lukaku which resulted in the penalty.
Thomas Tuchel’s side ended a run of two straight defeats at home — against Brentford and Arsenal — but it is their forward line rather than defence that will concern the German manager ahead of their final few matches.