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Everton crush Liverpool’s title hopes in epic Merseyside derby victory

Everton crush Liverpool title hopes in historic Merseyside derby victory

Goodison Park erupted on Wednesday night as Everton secured a historic 2-0 victory over Liverpool, effectively ending their rivals’ title aspirations and delivering a major blow to Jurgen Klopp’s swansong. 

The victory marks Everton’s first Premier League home victory in a Merseyside derby since 2010 and only their second win in 30 games against Liverpool in all competitions.

The early stages were a fiery affair as is customary in Merseyside derbies, with a controversial VAR call denying Dominic Calvert-Lewin a penalty for a marginal offside. 

Liverpool responded with a near-miss of their own as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s pinpoint cross was inches away from finding a teammate following Mohamed Salah’s lay-off.

The turning point of the game arrived at the half-hour mark. A scramble in the Liverpool box saw the ball fall kindly to Jarrad Branthwaite, who made no mistake in tucking it under Alisson after a defensive lapse by Ibrahima Konate. 

As one goalkeeper was left red-faced at one end, Jordan Pickford was the hero at the other end, producing a stunning double save to deny Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz on the cusp of half-time.

The half-time whistle came at an inopportune time for Liverpool as they were building a head of steam, but they started the second half as they finished the first.

The Reds were on the ascendancy, dominating the opening exchanges of the second period. But their momentum was shattered by a well-worked corner routine from Everton.

Dwight McNeil’s delivery found Calvert-Lewin at the far post, and the Englishman delivered the ultimate sucker punch, doubling Everton’s lead and sending the Goodison faithful into raptures.

Liverpool almost found an immediate response through Diaz, but his close-range effort crashed back off the post. 

Desperate to end their Goodison Park derby hoodoo, Everton’s defensive unit stood firm for the remainder of the game, becoming the first team in over a year to shut out Liverpool on the road. 

The clean sheet also prevented Liverpool from equaling their record of scoring in 21 consecutive away league matches set in 1956.

This defeat not only denied Klopp the chance to become the first Liverpool manager in history to win ten league games against their city rivals but more importantly, it delivered a significant blow to their title aspirations.

Meanwhile, Everton have all but secured their Premier League status after opening up an eight-point lead above the relegation zone.

There’s still a two-point deduction appeal to worry about, but regardless of the outcome, Sean Dyche’s side should maintain their top-flight status with relative ease as they face Brentford, Luton Town, and Sheffield United in the run-in.

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