Liverpool’s title bid rocked by 2-0 defeat at Everton

 Liverpool’s Premier League title bid suffered a devastating blow in a 2-0 defeat at Merseyside rivals Everton, while Manchester United spared Erik ten Hag’s blushes with a 4-2 victory against lowly Sheffield United on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten at Goodison Park for the first time in 14 years in a brutal setback to their hopes of catching leaders Arsenal.

Jarrad Branthwaite put Everton ahead in the 27th minute as the defender prodded the ball under Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker via the post after the Reds made a hash of clearing a free-kick.

With Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah once again struggling to convert chances to equalise, Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin delivered the knockout punch with a 58th-minute header.

Second-placed Liverpool remain three points behind Arsenal, who have a vastly superior goal difference, with both sides having four games left.

Third-placed Manchester City, who visit Brighton on Saturday, will be crowned English champions for an unprecedented fourth successive season if they win their last six matches.

Liverpool have reportedly opened talks with Feyenoord’s Arne Slot to take over from Klopp, whose long goodbye looks set to end with a whimper.

It hardly the scenario Klopp envisioned when Liverpool beat Chelsea in the League Cup final in February.

Back then, his team were in contention for a quadruple that would have capped his final season in spectacular fashion.

Instead, the end of Klopp’s nine-year reign is becoming a damp squib, with Liverpool knocked out of the FA Cup quarter-finals by Manchester United and losing to Atalanta at the same stage of the Europa League as their title challenge evaporates.

At Old Trafford, Ten Hag’s side twice trailed to the league’s bottom club before Bruno Fernandes came to his beleaguered manager’s aid in the second half