'Unpalatable, inescapable truth' - national media react as Liverpool 'naively' gift Everton victory

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks with referee Andy Madley following his team's 2-0 loss during the Premier League match against Everton at Goodison Park on April 24 2024

Well, that wasn't very good. Liverpool's Premier League title hopes are all but over after a tired performance saw them lose at neighbours Everton on Wednesday.

Despite creating more chances and enjoying most of the possession, few could argue against a deserved 2-0 defeat that leaves them three points behind leaders Arsenal with a vastly inferior goal difference and only four games remaining.

It made for a forgettable evening at Goodison. And here's how the national media, and the ECHO's own Paul Gorst, viewed another dramatic day in the season for Jurgen Klopp's side.

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Paul Joyce of The Times - and formerly of this parish - points to Liverpool rather foolishly falling into an obvious trap set by Blues boss Sean Dyche.

"The Premier League leaders Arsenal, three points ahead and with a far healthier goal difference, and Manchester City, who have games in hand, will not falter to the extent Liverpool now need and the unpalatable, inescapable truth is that their challenge has ended with little more than a whimper," he pens.

"Yet this was Everton’s night. Dyche pointed out that winning on the final day of last season against Bournemouth to keep the club in the top flight represented his best moment, but this will not be far behind. There has been plenty of chatter about the direct style of play under him, though fewer dissenting voices on Wednesday night as he did a number on vaunted opponents.

"Far too often Liverpool naively conceded free kicks in their own half­ — some obvious, some less so ­— and the inability to recognise that this was a route to ruin was alarming."

Andy Hunter, another formerly of this publication and now at The Guardian, questioned the desire of the Reds.

"Quite simply, Everton wanted it more," he writes. "That is damning of the team that arrived with designs on the title and in need of responding to Arsenal’s emphatic defeat of Chelsea the night before. Liverpool have faltered at the worst possible time and in the worst possible places from their perspective. Everton and Manchester United will savour their contributions to the slump.

"Liverpool were missing Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo, the latter joining the injured striker on the sidelines after his partner went into labour hours before kick-off. They were also missing composure for long periods and a clinical touch in front of goal, with the toils of Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah continuing."

The Telegraph's Chris Bascombe - also once of these parts - regards the derby as being a throwback to the old days and Liverpool weren't ready for it.

"Liverpool looked like a side more prepared for a fight for Champions League places, punching above its weight with title aspirations," he says. "They did not look like championship contenders, let alone champions-in-waiting.

"Nor did they have the muscle or wisdom to deal with a derby tussle which put one in mind of those in the 80s and 90s, when the right to play was as significant as the ability to do so.

"Where and when it mattered, Everton demonstrated both, and once Jarrad Branthwaite pounced to beat Alisson from close range, Liverpool lacked the class and nous to recover."

Finally, Paul Gorst of the ECHO highlights the fact Liverpool's continued inability to start games strongly has eventually come back to haunt them.

"In the cold light of day, a more sober assessment of the campaign will reflect on progress, improvements and adjustments that have almost certainly brought about the return of Champions League football for next season, which will be contested by a new manager in the hotseat for the first time since October 2015," he scribes.

"But before those measured takes and sage opinions can begin to make sense of all this, Reds supporters will vent, they will fume and they will, with justification, argue just why their team were once more attempting to pull it out of the fire as the match entered the final throes.

"Klopp is undoubtedly one of the greats from both a club history perspective and of the current operators across European football but his inability to fix a glaring, season-long problem of starting slowly has undermined their pursuit of glory."