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Rafael Benitez challenges as Everton suffer modest defeat to former club Liverpool

Provocative Everton manager Rafael Benitez insists his side will improve despite a modest 4-1 defeat in the Merseyside derby at home to Liverpool that left them eight games without a win.

Two goals from Mohamed Salah was sandwiched between Jordan Henderson’s opening goal and Diogo Jota’s 79th-minute strike as the home team completely dominated.

Demarai Gray quickly made it 2-1 just before half-time – their first goal in a month – but in reality the gap in class and application was huge and when the fourth goal recorded, home supporters were spilling out.

Among those who remained, a fan ran onto the pitch to confront the players as the final whistle blew, while chants of “Chessboard draw” and abuse were directed at the president. Bill Kenwright and director of football Marcel Brands.

However, there have been few calls asking the manager to go, perhaps showing an understanding of what the Spaniard has inherited.

Everton have picked up just two points from 24 and haven’t won a home derby in over 11 years.

Problems are piling up for Benitez but he tries to stay positive and hopes that when strikers like Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Yerry Mina finally return from injury, things will improve.

“I think people must be disappointed because we lost and lost the derby,” he said.

“But we lost because we made a mistake against a top team. You can see how much money Liverpool have spent and how successful they have been over the last few years.

“We didn’t get it right and made too many mistakes. Against any other team, it probably wouldn’t be as bad.

“I have to look at the positives and the positives about this team is that at the start of the season everyone was very happy, with the commitment and the way we played and won.

“We have to go back to this first stage.

“We have lost players to injuries and now we have to bring these players back and we will have more competition in the team and we can play at the level we used to be.”

Asked if he thought Everton’s heaviest home defeat in 39 years would affect his position, Benitez added: “I’m a professional and have enough experience.

“I can see when a team is giving everything. The commitment of the players is here.

“We have to analyze and see commitment, desire and intensity. We made a mistake today.

“As a manager, you are expecting your players to give everything on the pitch.”

In contrast, the Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp saw his side set a new record by becoming the first English top-flight team to score at least twice in 18 consecutive matches in all competitions.

He was impressed by the way they handled the situation on their return to the ground, where 14 months ago they lost Virgil Van Dijk to a season-ending ACL injury and centre-back Thiago Alcantara almost three months with a knee problem after a season. daring tackles from Everton Jordan Pickford and Richarlison.

“Definitely the best performance we’ve put on at Goodison since I was at Liverpool,” he said.

“We have never been as calm or convinced as we were tonight and that’s why we won the game.

“Since I was at Liverpool we’ve had to learn how to play these games, how to play at Old Trafford and Goodison, and tonight that’s a big step in our development.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/rafael-benitez-everton-jurgen-klopp-jordan-henderson-mohamed-salah-b1968151.html Rafael Benitez challenges as Everton suffer modest defeat to former club Liverpool

JACLYN DIAZ

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