Liverpool’s collapse continues


Reuters, London

Twelve months ago Liverpool were ripping up the record books on the way to their first English top-flight title for 30 years but defeat by Everton on Saturday left them mulling a host of far less flattering statistics.

Their 2-0 defeat at Anfield was their first loss at home to city rivals Everton since 1999 and was a fourth home league defeat in succession -- something they have not experienced since 1924.

Manager Juergen Klopp's hopes of retaining their Premier League crown were already effectively over after a spectacular drop in form since defeat by Burnley ended a 68-match run without a home league loss.

But Everton's win -- courtesy of a third-minute goal by Richarlison and a controversial penalty scored by Gylfi Sigurdsson -- means Liverpool are now in a scrap to even finish the season in the top four.

Everton's first win of any description over Liverpool since 2010 -- after a run of 23 games without a victory -- lifted Carlo Ancelotti's seventh-placed side level with the champions on 40 points although they have played a game less.

Liverpool remained in sixth spot but are three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who drew 1-1 at Southampton.

Chelsea trailed to a goal by Takumi Minamino but Mason Mount levelled with a penalty after the break.

West Ham United, who are fifth with 42 points, host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Fulham's hopes of avoiding relegation were given a huge boost as Ademola Lookman's 61st-minute goal earned them a 1-0 win over bottom club Sheffield United to move Scott Parker's side to within three points of 17th-placed Newcastle United.

West Bromwich Albion appear set to join Sheffield through the relegation trapdoor as they could only draw 0-0 at Burnley, leaving them 11 points from the safety zone.

West Brom played with 10 men for an hour after Semi Ajayi was sent off but they still had the best chances to win the game.

Few could imagine Liverpool's fall from grace after their title-winning season featured a plethora of English top-flight records such as 24 successive home league wins and the best-ever start to a season in Europe's five top leagues -- 26 wins and a draw from their first 27 games.