John Aldridge admitted Liverpool are going to have improve markedly in they’re to challenge for the Premier League title despite winning the Merseyside derby.
The Reds earned a 2-0 victory over Everton at Anfield on Saturday. Yet Jurgen Klopp’s side were on the end of refereeing decisions in the encounter. Ashley Young was dismissed in the 37th minute for the Toffees after receiving two yellow cards.
Yet Aldridge, writing in his Sunday World column, was left less than impressed by the display of Salah - along with Alexis Mac Allister and Kostas Tsimikas, who was deputising for the injured Andy Robertson.
The former Kop striker said: “This time, it was Liverpool getting the benefit of a dreadful refereeing decision, as this strange Premier League season had another game decided by refereeing decisions. Konate should have been sent off, it’s as simple as that, and Klopp confirmed that when he instantly substituted the defender before the referee realised he had made a horrible mistake.
“Everton manager Sean Dyche was furious after the game, and I can understand why, because such refereeing mistake should not be made at this level of the game, but how many times have we said that this season?
“Even after that dreadful decision, I didn’t see Liverpool getting the breakthrough. The home side were a long way off the pace in this game. Klopp has made his feelings clear on these 12.30 kick-offs after international matches and they are hard to negotiate.
“Players get back from all corners of the world on Wednesday and Thursday, which is terrible preparation for a massive derby game like this. Then you have issues like Andy Robertson getting a nasty injury while he was away with Scotland and it leaves managers scrambling to put the pieces of their jigsaw back together.
“Amid all that, Klopp and Liverpool had to just scramble to get over the winning line and were given a helping hand in that mission by Everton’s Michael Keane. Liverpool were not making Everton keeper Jordan Pickford work hard enough and you could sense the Anfield faithful were losing faith until Keane handled the ball in the box 15 minutes from time. Referee Pawson didn’t give the decision initially, but a VAR review went Liverpool’s way for once and Salah smashed home the penalty impressively.
“Nerves crept in again in the closing stages as Everton pushed for an equaliser in the nine minutes of time added on Then a brilliant breakaway from Darwin Nunez finished with a superb finish from Salah to kill off the game.
“The three points are all that matter in a derby game and Liverpool remains a red city, as I’m pretty sure it will be for a long time to come! Yet Klopp won’t need me to tell him that Liverpool need to play a lot better than this if they are to maintain a title challenge this season.
“Salah turned in his worst performance of the season so far yesterday but still came up with the match-winning moments when the chances came his way. Alexis Mac Allister looked off the pace and Kostas Tsimikas had one of his worst games in a Liverpool jersey and had to be taken off. In the end, the match officials helped Liverpool over the line in this game and that’s not the way you want to win any football match.”