Liverpool title hopes crumble with Everton loss as furious Klopp let down by four players

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Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of rounding off his Liverpool tenure with a second Premier League title have been dealt a crushing blow as his side lost 2-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. The Reds are now three points off the top with four matches to go, and the gap could become five points if Manchester City win both of their games in hand. Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin came up with the goals on a great night for the hosts, who took a huge step clear of relegation danger with a first home win over Liverpool since 2010.

The manager could be forgiven for being tense as the clock ticks down on his final season at Liverpool. And tense is exactly what he was at Goodison Park, with fourth official Simon Hooper receiving earful after earful as Everton were given the bulk of the decisions during a physical first half. In an interesting contrast, there was an air of resignation about the way Klopp could do nothing but smile when Calvert-Lewin netted the Toffees’ second of the evening.

On a night when Klopp needed all his experienced hands on deck, he ended up deserted by some of his trustiest operators. Mohamed Salah was miles off his usual best, while Darwin Nunez displayed a wastefulness in front of goal which has infuriated fans this season, exemplified by a woeful close-range shot fired straight at Jordan Pickford in the first half.

Things weren’t much better at the back, where Ibrahima Konate came out firmly second-best in a long-running battle with Calvert-Lewin, who ghosted in at the back post to score Everton’s second and punish awful marking by Liverpool’s fourth key culprit, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Calvert-Lewin gets Goodison rocking

The Everton striker looked to have won a penalty in the opening minutes of the game after a mistimed challenge from Alisson, only for a VAR review to pull play back for offside. But Calvert-Lewin wasn’t to be deterred, and he ended up dominating a supremely tough opponent in Konate.

He came within a whisker of claiming Branthwaite’s opener for himself on the goal line before finally getting his reward in the second half, dispatching a trademark back-post header to leave the Toffees’ local rivals reeling.

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