‘It’s not good enough’: Jurgen Klopp’s ‘Last Dance’ falls flat as Liverpool stunned by local rival Everton

For much of this season, Liverpool fans had spoken about sending Jürgen Klopp into the sunset with a historic quadruple of trophies.

Now, however, it is looking increasingly likely that the German manager, who is revered in the red half of the city as something of a god-like figure, will finish his final season in charge at the club winning only the League Cup.

On Wednesday, Liverpool was stunned 2-0 by struggling local rival Everton in the final Merseyside derby of Klopp’s reign, all but ending the team’s hopes of winning a second Premier League title during the German’s tenure.

Everton laid siege to Liverpool’s goal with a barrage of set pieces, with Jarrad Branthwaite’s opener resulting from a long free-kick into the box and Dominic Calvert-Lewin heading home from a corner in the second half to double the Toffees’ lead.

It was the first derby defeat Liverpool had suffered at Goodison Park in 14 years and the home faithful made sure to rub salt into the wounds.

“You lost the league at Goodison Park,” was the chant from a delirious crowd.

The defeat leaves Liverpool in second place, three points behind Arsenal and one ahead of Manchester City, though Pep Guardiola’s side now has two games in hand.

“Obviously very disappointed,” Klopp told Sky Sports after the game. “In a lot of things, we let it become exactly the game that Everton wanted. Two goals from set pieces … there they are really strong.

Klopp will now likely end his final season in charge with just the League Cup. - Peter Byrne/PA/AP
Klopp will now likely end his final season in charge with just the League Cup. - Peter Byrne/PA/AP

“Then we created a lot and didn’t score – I think that would have been possible in the first half. In the second half, the emotions, we’re in a rush, not really clear enough and then we concede the second goal with a routine they’ve done all season.

“We knew exactly the ball would end up there, we just didn’t defend it well enough. They had free kick after free kick … but we were not good enough, that’s what we have to admit. Absolutely.”

‘Not the greatest moment’

Liverpool also crashed out of the Europa League earlier this month, losing 3-1 on aggregate to Italian side Atalanta, while the team exited the FA Cup at the quarterfinal stage last month following a stunning extra-time defeat to Manchester United.

On Wednesday Liverpool was once again hampered by Darwin Núñez’s profligacy in front of goal, while Mo Salah still looks a shadow of his former self.

“It’s not the greatest moment we are in and we still have to play football games, so we have to fight through, you have to use your moments to get the momentum back,” Klopp added.

“We tried but in the end it’s not good enough. If you win, there are 500 reasons [why] and when you lose, it was just not good enough. That’s how it is.

“We all know there were situations when we pretty much shot at [Everton goalkeeper Jordan] Pickford or kicked the ball over the goal, so there were good moments to turn the game around, but when you don’t use them, it makes it really tricky.”

When pressed on whether he believed Liverpool was still in the title race, Klopp said he didn’t know.

Everton celebrated a first derby victory at Goodison Park in 14 years. - Carl Recine/Reuters
Everton celebrated a first derby victory at Goodison Park in 14 years. - Carl Recine/Reuters

“I can only apologize for today to the people,” he said. “Everybody who is with us knows how hard it [the defeat] is for us as well, but I know for the people it is especially hard.

“We should have done better and we didn’t – and that’s why we lost.”

Liverpool is reportedly advancing in its preparations for life after Klopp and has opened talks with Dutch club Feyernoord over the possibility of hiring Arne Slot as manager, according to British media.

Slot, who has developed a reputation of developing young talents and an exciting brand of football, guided Feyernoord to the Dutch league title last season and the Dutch Cup this campaign, while also leading the team to the 2022 Conference League final.

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