Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin, left, celebrates after scoring his side's second...

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin, left, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Liverpool at the Goodison Park stadium in Liverpool, Britain, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Credit: AP/Jon Super

LIVERPOOL, England — Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of a dream send-off were left in tatters after a 2-0 loss at Everton dealt a major blow to Liverpool’s Premier League title bid on Wednesday.

Goals from Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin at Goodison Park meant Klopp tasted a bitter defeat in his last Merseyside derby before standing down at the end of the season.

“I can only apologize for today to the people. We should have done better and we didn’t and that’s why we lost,” Klopp said.

The loss keeps Liverpool three points behind league leader Arsenal in second place and one ahead of defending champion Manchester City, which is in third and has two games in hand on both of its rivals.

Klopp had spoken last week of needing perfection to win his second title at the club. But this was the latest setback for his team, which has lost two of its last three games in the league.

While the result hurt Liverpool’s title chances, it delivered a boost to Everton’s survival bid, with the win moving Sean Dyche’s team eight points above the relegation zone.

That fact seemed to be of less concern to the home fans, who were too busy reveling in the damage caused to Liverpool’s season.

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates after scoring his side's second goal...

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Liverpool at the Goodison Park stadium in Liverpool, Britain, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Credit: AP/Jon Super

“You lost the league at Goodison Park,” they chanted as the final whistle approached and the majority of the 39,000 crowd remained inside the stadium to drink in the atmosphere as the players celebrated on the field.

“I’m very disappointed. We let it happen exactly the game that Everton wanted,” Klopp said.

Klopp had dominated this fixture since taking over at Anfield in 2015, winning nine of the past 16 derbies before Wednesday’s match.

It was a different story on what could be his last visit to Goodison Park as an opposition manager as Everton produced a high-octane performance that Liverpool struggled to contain from the start.

Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite, left, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrate after Branthwaite...

Everton's Jarrad Branthwaite, left, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrate after Branthwaite scored their first goal of the game during a Premier League soccer match against Liverpool, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Credit: AP/Peter Byrne

Statistics showed Everton won 75% of all duels in the opening half hour.

After just six minutes, Liverpool was grateful for VAR as it escaped an early penalty when Alisson brought down Calvert-Lewin in the box and referee Andrew Madley pointed to the spot. The decision was overturned because of an offside in the build up.

Everton's pressure was made to count when it took the lead in in the 27th. Liverpool’s defenders repeatedly failed to clear the danger from a free kick and Branthwaite’s shot squirmed through the hands of Alisson and off the post before crossing the line.

Again there was an agonizing wait for a VAR check, but on this occasion there was no reprieve for Liverpool.

Luis Diaz had the chance to level before the break, but was denied by the legs of Jordan Pickford from close range.

Liverpool came out with more intent for the second half without forcing Pickford into serious action before conceding a second goal.

Again the visitors failed to deal with a set piece when Dwight McNeil swung a deep corner to the far post and Calvert-Lewin rose unmarked to head home.

Liverpool came close to pulling one back in the 69th, but Diaz’s effort came back off the post.

Manchester City plays Brighton on Thursday.

UNITED SCARE

Manchester United survived another scare — twice coming from behind to beat last-place Sheffield United 4-2.

Having been taken to the wire by second-tier Coventry in the FA Cup semifinals on Sunday, Erik ten Hag’s team looked in danger of dropping points in its bid qualify for Europe.

Sheffield United led 1-0 and then 2-1 through goals from Jayden Bogle and Ben Brereton Diaz in each half at Old Trafford. But Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes from the penalty spot leveled on each occasion.

Fernandes put United ahead in the 81st and and Rasmus Hojlund sealed the points four minutes later.

United is up to sixth in the standings, 13 points behind fourth-place Aston Villa.

PALACE SAFE

Crystal Palace ensured top flight safety after Jean-Philippe Mateta struck twice in a 2-0 win against Newcastle.

Palace is on 39 points — 14 clear of 18th-place Luton, which can only pick up a maximum of 37 if it wins its last four games of the season.

It was Palace’s third-straight win to erase fears of being relegated. Defeat saw Newcastle drop to seventh.

Bournemouth beat Wolves 1-0 at Molineux through Antoine Semenyo’s first-half strike.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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