Richard Buxton: Fortune favours Liverpool’s brave subs
Origi and Sturridge ride their luck to help preserve Reds' unbeaten run
Manchester City risk succumbing to whiplash in this season's EPL title race.
At every turn, Liverpool have left Pep Guardiola's side constantly looking over their shoulder.
Just when the reigning champions appeared set to widen the points gulf at the league's summit, the Reds proved once more why they remain the one true challenger to their throne.
If Juergen Klopp is to successfully pull off English football's current Mission Impossible, a smash-and-grab victory over Everton yesterday morning (Singapore time) will go down as a watershed moment in helping maintain touching distance with Guardiola's runaway charges.
He has some unlikely candidates to thank for ensuring a potential four-point gap remains halved.
Liverpool's front three have failed to scale the previous season's heights and were conspicuous by their ineffectiveness during a hard-fought 232nd Merseyside derby.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are often shining lights, even when not in sync. But the free-scoring triumvirate have been more out of sorts than free-scoring of late.
Under ordinary circumstances, the decision to replace Salah and Firmino in favour of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi's introductions would have been a conciliatory move by Klopp.
It appeared more an act of desperation than an attempted final roll of the dice. Between them, the pair had amassed a combined six goals in 10 appearances against the Toffees.
Yet plenty has changed since they were, at varying times, considered to be the future of Liverpool's attack.
Injury curtailed their respective bright starts and life on the scrapheap has beckoned far more in recent times than a starring role in the intervening years.
Origi, more than most, faced an uphill struggle. No sooner had he recovered from a serious ankle injury against Everton in 2016 that he found his pathway blocked by Mane's arrival.
Likewise, Sturridge has struggled to force his way into Klopp's plans since being confronted by the prospect of the Senegal international and his current cohorts in the Anfield front line.
The writing appeared on the wall for the former England striker when he was farmed out on loan to West Brom at the end of last season, while Belgium international Origi was similarly condemned to a fruitless spell with Wolfsburg.
Fortune, however, has favoured the brave, with neither player accepting defeat in the battle to salvage their Liverpool careers despite the odds firmly being stacked against them.
That luck has played more than a part in preserving Klopp's domestic pursuit on several occasions.
Riyad Mahrez's skied penalty in October's stalemate with City was preceded by a thunderbolt by Sturridge against fellow title-chasers Chelsea a month earlier.
Origi's 96th-minute strike was aided by a rare moment of blundering from Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.
Such moments can act as turning points in a season; catalysts on which momentum is built. Liverpool have no shortage of that after racking up their 14th successive game unbeaten.
They still need all the help they can get in hunting down a City side that have no shortage of quality back-ups in their bid to improve upon an already record-breaking feat.
If they lose Sergio Aguero or Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane can step into the breach.
Klopp had been under no illusions that Liverpool's strength in depth would be tested during a difficult month in which they face some of the greatest challenges in their season.
His side have passed the first one with flying colours.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Shaqiri (Keita 71), Firmino (Origi 84), Mane (Sturridge 75), Salah
Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gomes, Gueye, Walcott (Lookman 63), Sigurdsson (Zouma 90+1), Bernard (Calvert-Lewin 89), Richarlison