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Liverpool title hopes weakened in Merseyside derby defeat

Liverpool title hopes weakened in Merseyside derby defeat

Merseyside,
Wednesday, 25 April, 2024

Everton’s Premier League status is now all-but assured following a 2-0 win in the last-ever Merseyside derby with Jurgen Klopp in the dugout, essentially ending Liverpool’s title hopes in their first Premier League victory at Goodison Park since 2010.

Everton thought they were the early beneficiaries of it inside 10 minutes when Alisson felled Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the area, but VAR adjudged he had strayed marginally offside when he latched onto Jack Harrison’s inch-perfect ball.

Not to be outdone, Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered a measured ball of his own shortly after Liverpool’s reprieve, and as Mo Salah latched onto it to square for one of two waiting teammates, a last-ditch Ben Godfrey clearance denied what was a certain goal.

He was soon in the thick of the action at the other end too, involved in a bout of penalty box pinball that ended with Ibrahima Konate inadvertently poking the ball to Jarrad Branthwaite who duly accept the gift as his effort squirmed beneath Alisson and trickled over the line.

As one goalkeeper was left red-faced at one end, Jordan Pickford was the hero at the other end, producing a stunning save from close range to deny a rocket unleashed by Darwin Nunez.

He made an equally smart stop shortly after too, denying Luis Diaz, as you sensed half-time came at an inopportune time for the Reds as they were beginning to build a head of steam.

In what was his last Merseyside derby half-time team talk, whatever Klopp said seemed to do the trick, as his side started the second half as they finished the first – in the ascendancy.

But their momentum was soon stunted when they were hit with the ultimate sucker punch.

It was no surprise to see it was a corner where Everton gained success, with Dwight McNeil’s deep delivery powered home at the far post by the head of Calvert-Lewin.

The arrears were almost halved within an instant though when Díaz danced into the area and saw his effort crash back off the post.

It was always likely to be a nervy end to the game given Everton hadn’t won a derby at Goodison since 2010 prior to tonight, but Sean Dyche’s men were relatively untroubled in seeing out a clean sheet that prevented their rivals from equalling their club record of scoring in 21 successive away matches, set in 1956.

Defeat meant that Klopp missed the chance to become the first Liverpool manager in history to reach 10 league wins against Everton, but the bigger blow for the Reds is that their title race is now all-but run.

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