LIVERPOOL, England — Juergen Klopp made history as Liverpool manager, but now he and his team are doing so for the wrong reasons. Reigning Premier League champions Anfield have endured tough times in recent weeks but are in crisis for the first time in a century after losing 2-0 at home to Everton.
It’s not a typo. Everton have not won at home against their Merseyside neighbours since September 1999 and have not beaten Liverpool in any competition since the 2-0 win in the league at Goodison Park in October 2010.
No major city derby in the world has ever been so one-sided. Espanyol beat Barcelona and Torino Juventus in the years following Everton’s last win over Liverpool, but that long and painful wait is now over thanks to Richarlison’s goal in the third minute and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s penalty in the 82nd minute.
I am very happy with the club and the fans, said Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti. I hope they really celebrate tonight. It was a good performance. Lots of fight and spunk. I’m very happy.
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Everton deserved the victory, which set off fireworks at nearby Stanley Park and hooted in the streets, but the defeat only worsened Liverpool’s plight in 2021. After being an excellent league team, Liverpool are now struggling to qualify for the Champions League next season. Everton, Chelsea and West Ham United are all capable of outdoing them now.
It’s hard to accept, Mrs Klopp said. I don’t want to talk about the good things today, because we’re losing the game and we feel it a lot. I just need to use it tomorrow, and it’s our lifeline to keep going.
We need to improve our finishing and then we will win football games.
Last season, it was positive every time Klopp’s team set a new record. Whether it was back-to-back wins, a points victory or the end of a 30-year wait to win the English Championship again, it was all good news.
But the bad news for Liverpool doesn’t end there. Apart from the pain of the last defeat against Everton, it was the first time since 1923 that Liverpool had lost four home games in a row.
Liverpool made history for all the wrong reasons on Saturday by losing the derby against Everton. Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Just under a month ago, Klopp’s side were already 68 games unbeaten at home in the Championship – a run that dates back to April 2017 – but after losing against Burnley on the 21st. Defeats at Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester City and now Everton followed in January. While Anfield was an impregnable fortress, there are now four defeats and two draws in the last six league games, with Liverpool scoring just two goals in those matches.
But the grim statistics don’t stop there. It is also Liverpool’s fourth defeat in the league, home and away, after also losing at Leicester City last week. On a personal note, Klopp lost in the 13th. Derby against Everton his record of invincibility.
So Klopp has something to unpack the next time he sits down and tries to find a way out of this dismal run. It is difficult to find the right adjective to describe it, as it has already passed the stage of recession and malaise. Fusion is probably the most accurate.
Injuries have undoubtedly been a major factor in Liverpool’s dismal defence of the title. The problems began when Virgil van Dijk suffered a cruciate ligament injury against Everton at Goodison Stadium in October. Since losing their defensive talisman, the injuries at Liverpool have never stopped. Van Dijk’s defensive partner Joe Gomez is also absent due to a serious knee injury, Joel Matip is absent and midfielder Fabinho, who has helped out in defence all season, is also missing.
And the situation worsened during the game, when captain Jordan Henderson, formerly a substitute at center, limped off the field after 30 minutes with a groin injury. When Nathaniel Phillips was replaced by Henderson to play alongside Ozan Kabak, Liverpool played their 18th game of the season. Eighteen.
These defensive injuries and their effects on the midfielder are well documented. There’s nothing new in the crowded treatment room, except that Kabak, on loan from Schalke 04 in January, looked well below the quality needed in a blazing 90-minute game against Everton.
Uncertainties in defence and midfield eroded Liverpool’s threat: Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane had chances but missed them in this match. Two goals in six home games speak for themselves. Liverpool have great strikers, but when they take sporadic risks, they don’t score.
The Enfield effect should also be mentioned. With the lack of fans due to the COWID-19 pandemic, Anfield is no longer the noisy cauldron that helped Liverpool to the title last season. Klopp has built a team that rides on the wave of supporters’ voices, but that extra ingredient has been missing this season and we can now see how important that is to this team.
But despite all the mitigating factors that contributed to their terrible results, Liverpool remain a strong squad with quality players, and Everton beat them comfortably. Ancelotti’s players overcame the pressure of history to finally win here and it is worth noting that when Sigurdsson sealed the victory with a penalty kick, every player off the pitch celebrated his victory outside the area where Everton fans normally sit.
It was a great win for Everton, but the impact of the defeat is probably more important for Liverpool as they are now in a slump with no clear way out.
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