Flanagan returned to the starting line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up before Christmas in a win against Cardiff City.
The full-back told Liverpool’s official website: ‘It’s great for me as a local lad. These are the games that you want to win. To come out 4-0 winners was just brilliant for all the lads.
‘I think we made a statement tonight. We showed what we can do and we showed that we’re not going to lie down easily. We want this fourth spot and we hopefully want to try and achieve that.’
One point separated the two sides going into the game, with many saying there was so much at stake in the context of the rest of the Premier League season and in the race for the Champions League places.
It is not the first time that Liverpool have beaten a fellow contender for the top four in such a handsome manner – Liverpool’s 5-0 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane is another of the Reds’ memorable victories this season.
But it is not often that a side gets beaten 4-0 after losing two games in 22 Premier League matches. Everton had developed a reputation of being hard to beat under Roberto Martinez as well as being a positive, threatening collective going forward.
In both games Liverpool were not having the best of time with injuries, but they seem to hit home more going into the derby. In recent weeks Liverpool looked short in the middle of the park, you could say three of the back four places were not first choice players – though it must be said Everton did have their share of injury problems as well.
Though Liverpool took advantage, they showed they can remain compact in the middle of the park without the more defensive-minded central players and some players playing roles that they are not comfortable with while showing they are still able to score relatively freely.
The absence of key men, not much possession and a comprehensive scoreline shows that Liverpool are going to be in the race for the Champions League places right up until the end of the season.
Other sides will have taken notice of Liverpool after last night’s showing.
image: © Sarah Skelton