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Premier League: Everton vs. Liverpool 2 – 0

With an incredible victory at a boisterous Goodison Park, Everton took a significant step toward Premier League survival and severely damaged Liverpool’s chances of winning the league.

Everton won their first Merseyside derby at home since October 2010 thanks to goals from Jarrad Branthwaite in the first half and a huge header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the second half.

Liverpool knew that a victory over the opponents they have so frequently outclassed would tie them for first place with Arsenal. However, Jurgen Klopp’s team never fully bounced back from Everton’s early dominance, so Branthwaite’s close-range goal was a just reward.

Then, Everton needed England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to preserve their lead as he turned away goals from Andy Robertson, Darwin Nunez, and Luis Diaz. But, in this intensely competitive environment on this particular night, the Toffees were unbeatable.

And shortly before the hour, the ever-present threat Calvert-Lewin emerged at the far post to head home from Dwight McNeil’s corner, effectively sealing the victory.

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.

Everton rise to the occasion

The Everton supporters were ecstatic to defeat their derby rivals on a memorable evening after enduring a protracted wait for the team’s victory at Goodison Park.

In the final moments, the renowned old stadium erupted in the chant “You Lost The League At Goodison Park” as Everton held firm to their two-goal lead and Liverpool was unable to find a way through.

The fact that Everton has now won two straight at home, after defeating Nottingham Forest, is of greater immediate significance. This means that it would take a major setback for their Premier League status to be in jeopardy right now.

Everton had heroes all around them, from goal scorers Branthwaite and Calvert-Lewin to seasoned midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who more than merited the standing ovation he received upon being substituted. Dyche is pressure tactics against Liverpool were flawless. Additionally, Pickford, the goalie, played flawlessly.

Ever since Liverpool keeper Alisson brought him down and an offside call denied him an early penalty, Calvert-Lewin was a pain in the neck.

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.

Player of the match

Jarrad Branthwaite