Everton 2 Liverpool 0: Klopp's first ever defeat at Goodison ends title dream – Al Mujaz

The Merseyside derby on Wednesday evening was as intense as many previous matches. As they have done so often in recent weeks, Jurgen Klopp's side started the game erratically, giving Everton the advantage in a crucial match for both sides.

An early penalty kick for the hosts was ruled out by VAR for offside, but one of the most surprising goals of the entire Premier League season put Everton ahead midway through the first half. Liverpool fought back, but their other ongoing problem – wayward finishing – ensured Sean Dyche's side took the lead at half-time.

Everton continued where they left off in the second half, doubling the lead through a Dominic Calvert-Lewin header in the 58th minute. Once again, Liverpool controlled the ball but were unable to break through their stubborn neighbour. Their dreams of a 20th league title in Klopp's final season are certainly over, as are Everton's relegation fears.

Here, Andy Jones and Patrick Boyland answer some key questions from tonight's match at Goodison Park.

How bad was Liverpool's performance in the first half?

Liverpool could not have started Jurgen Klopp's final derby match poorly if they had tried.

They finished second, a distance behind an Everton side that was hungrier and smarter than Liverpool despite the dire consequences for the title race if they took less than three points from Goodison Park.

A terrible start culminated in falling behind to Jarrad Branthwaite's 27th-minute goal in a goal befitting the scrambling minds Liverpool were displaying.

(Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

After Liverpool conceded another cheap free-kick, Branthwaite won the initial header even though it struck his shoulder. Alexis Mac Allister's initial header was only passed to the edge of the penalty area. Alexander-Arnold completely missed his header, allowing Everton to put the ball back into the penalty area.

Jack Harrison squared the ball to Ben Godfrey who saw his shot blocked by Ibrahima Konate and his cannon stick out of his body. Konate then swung his leg at the ball just as McAllister was ready to clear the danger behind him.

The cut-off space extends directly to Everton's centre-back. Alisson got a fair amount of his body on the ball but could only turn it onto the post and curl it agonizingly over the goal line.

Everton deserved to take the lead while Liverpool looked at each other with their hands outstretched and the investigation ongoing.

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Liverpool won only 25 percent of their duels in the first half. In their most important game of the season, a Merseyside derby they should have won, Klopp's side were timid and failed to turn up.

Andy Jones

Is Liverpool's front three to blame?

Darwin Nunez. Luis Diaz. Mohamed Salah . Liverpool's attacking trio is often very powerful, but not on this occasion.

They all had big chances, they all should have found the back of the net, and none of them did.

After Everton took the lead, Liverpool finally started playing attacking football and looked a bit like themselves.

(Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The game was crowned with a host of excellent chances but, as was the case in the 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace, Liverpool were let down by poor finishing and their lack of composure.

When Nunez took the ball in his stride after 35 minutes from goal. Positioning was essential but, as can happen with Nunez, he opted for power, shooting the ball into Jordan Pickford's legs.

Diaz did the same thing minutes later. A more difficult opportunity, but a player of his quality is expected to perform better than it. Once again his shot was straight at Pickford.

Salah's first chance did not come until the final minutes of the first half, but he also did not bring his shooting boots. A cross pass from Nunez found Salah in the middle of the penalty area. His first shot was blocked but wide of the target, while his second shot sailed over the crossbar without causing any damage.

Liverpool's quality in front of goal has evaporated in recent weeks, coinciding with a decline in their level, with Nunez and Salah in particular struggling. Despite the positive signs at Fulham, at Goodison Park they fell back into the bad habits they had developed. It cost them dearly.

Andy Jones

Everton's biggest night of the season?

Sean Dijk's teams may be known for their prowess from set-pieces, but the extent of their dominance in the air against Virgil van Dijk and co still comes as a surprise.

Everton terrorized Liverpool from free kicks and corners, with both goals coming via that route. For the first time, Branthwaite fired under Alisson at the back post after the visitors failed to clear their lines. The second was a favorite of Dyche: a brilliant McNeil corner kick that Calvert-Lewin converted in front of Gwladys.

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It was a leap reminiscent of Calvert-Lewin at his best, as he beat Van Dijk to turn the ball into a goal. After a long, barren career in front of goal, the striker is back in form again and now has three goals in his last three appearances. Everton had already threatened from set-pieces before that, with Ben Godfrey and Calvert-Lewin both going close.

(Michael Regan/Getty Images)

After half an hour, Dyche's side had won an impressive 75 per cent of their duels, the highest winning percentage in the league this season. They started fast, took on Liverpool and won their battles as Dyche had requested before the match.

This was Everton's best performance of the season, a huge victory in their battle for survival, thanks in large part to their fighting ability.

Patrick Boyland

Are Liverpool's title hopes over now?

There are ways to see the end of your title challenge – ideally in a blaze of glory. Then there are the worst ways to see it catch fire.

This is as bad as it gets. Defeat to your local rivals dashes any hopes of a perfect send-off for Jurgen Klopp.

It's been on the cards for several weeks. With the pressure constant and the fate of the title in their hands, Liverpool's last four league games have resulted in one win, one draw and two defeats – as well as exits from the FA Cup and Europa League in recent months.

(Michael Regan/Getty Images)

This was one of their worst performances of the season. Many players struggled with their first touch, while others struggled with decision making, played into Everton's hands, and took set pieces frequently. Only Luis Diaz can exit the game with any credit.

Liverpool had to win their last six games and hope Manchester City and Arsenal stumbled. The team started with a 3-1 win over Fulham, but the defensive and attacking problems that had plagued them in recent weeks returned again. It was too much to ask for one mistake from Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta's teams; Hope for two is a dream.

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Peak season has become a nightmare. Challenging for the title has been a huge achievement for this new-look team in their first season together, but to come this far and fade so badly is a huge disappointment.

The effort of the campaign and the accumulation of injuries have caught up with them, but this is not the only factor in the disappearance of their performance levels. This was a derby and Liverpool simply failed to show up.

Jurgen Klopp has never lost a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. He did it now, and it was the worst he could lose. His farewell, which at one point promised so much, looks set to end only with the Carabao Cup.

Andy Jones

What did Klopp say?

Liverpool's coach apologized to the club's fans after the defeat to Everton.

“I really feel for the people. I'm really sorry about that,” Klopp said.

“People have often told me what a great record we have in the derby. We've never lost here before and it feels really different. I'm really apologetic about that. It wasn't necessary but it happened.

“I don't have any good ideas at all. Very frustrated and disappointed. It wasn't good enough. We let the game go the way Everton wanted it to go. They scored two goals from set pieces.

“We need a crisis at City and Arsenal and we need to win football games. If they start losing all their games and we do what we did tonight nothing will change and we won't be safe in the Champions League either.


Go deeper

Klopp apologizes for Everton's defeat: I'm really sorry about that

What's next for Liverpool?

Saturday 27 April: West Ham (A), Premier League, 12.30 GMT, 7.30 ET

Liverpool are seeking a sixth successive win against West Ham and their third this season, following a 3-1 league win in September and a 5-1 defeat in the Carabao Cup before Christmas, both at Anfield.

What's next for Everton?

Saturday 27 April: Brentford (H), Premier League, 17.30 GMT, 12.30 ET

Everton will attempt to complete the league double over Brentford after a 3-1 win in west London in September.

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(Top image: Getty Images)

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