Everton 2-0 Liverpool

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Everton moved closer to Premier League survival and put a huge dent in Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge with an outstanding win at a thunderous Goodison Park.

Jarrad Branthwaite’s first-half goal and a towering header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the break gave Everton their first Merseyside derby win at home since October 2010 in a victory that could assume huge significance.

Liverpool knew a win over the rivals they have dominated so often would put them level on points with leaders Arsenal but Jurgen Klopp’s side never recovered from an opening period when they were overpowered by Everton, Branthwaite’s close-range finish a deserved reward.

Everton then needed England keeper Jordan Pickford to keep them ahead as he saved from Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Andy Robertson – but on this night, in a fiercely hostile atmosphere, the Toffees were not to be denied.

And victory was effectively sealed when Calvert-Lewin, a constant threat, rose at the far post to head home from Dwight McNeil’s corner at the far post, just before the hour.

Liverpool had plenty of possession but, with Everton’s defence resolute and Pickford so impressive, there was no way back as Klopp tasted defeat at Goodison Park in his final Merseyside derby.

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Everton rise to the occasion

Everton’s fans have waited a long time to enjoy victory against Liverpool at Goodison Park and how they relished putting their derby rivals to the sword on a memorable night.

The chant of “You Lost The League At Goodison Park” echoed around the famous old stadium in the closing moments as Everton held firm to their two-goal advantage and Liverpool simply could not break through.

Of more immediate importance to Everton is the fact that this made it two successive home wins, following on from the victory against Nottingham Forest, meaning it would take something of a collapse for their Premier League status to be threatened now.

Dyche’s gameplan of pressuring Liverpool worked to perfection as Everton had heroes everywhere, from goalscorers Branthwaite and Calvert-Lewin to experienced midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who fully deserved the standing ovation he received when he was substituted. And goalkeeper Pickford produced a faultless performance.

Calvert-Lewin was a thorn throughout from the moment he was denied an early penalty by an offside decision when he was brought down by Liverpool keeper Alisson.

Everton were superbly drilled in defence and even had opportunities to add to their tally – but nothing could dilute the wild celebrations at the end as supporters revelled in the victory and in Liverpool’s misery.

It was a performance that did beg one question – where has this Everton been for large parts of this season?

Everton fans did not care in this night, however, as they danced down Goodison Road in celebration.

Is Liverpool’s title chance gone?

Liverpool’s players trooped off with heads bowed at the final whistle, some nursing grievances with the officials but the frustration was surely more the knowledge that this might be a decisive night in their title challenge.

They cannot be written off, of course, but Liverpool suddenly look like a side out of energy and ideas, with even the normally reliable Mohamed Salah misfiring all night.

It made for a miserable derby farewell for manager Jurgen Klopp, who says it is never easy at Goodison Park – and it has never been tougher than this.

Liverpool are now three points behind leaders Arsenal but the Gunners have a vastly superior goal difference which is like the cushion of an extra point.

It felt like Liverpool had walked into a trap at Goodison Park as Everton turned on the power to rattle their arch rivals in a manner rarely seen in these fixtures in recent years. Liverpool had their chances but Everton would not be moved.

On nights like this, and when Everton actually respond to the atmosphere, Goodison Park is a very unforgiving environment and Liverpool came up short in too many areas.

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have defied the odds before but the manner in which they played, and in which they made their retreat at the final whistle, made it clear what damage this defeat has done.

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