Everton manager Rafael Benitez sought to immediately endear himself to the Goodison Park faithful with a bright start to the new campaign, but an alarming decline has seen the Toffees’ strong opening to the 2021-22 season firmly consigned to history.
Winless in the top flight since sinking Norwich City back in September, Everton became the latest victims of newly-promoted Brentford last time out, as an Ivan Toney penalty 24 minutes in was all that was needed to separate the two sides on Sunday.
Having now suffered five defeats from their last six in the Premier League – including each of their last three away from home – Everton have slipped to 14th in the table, and one of the Premier League’s ever-presents are now just six points above the relegation zone.
With star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin spending more time in the treatment room than on the pitch this term, Everton have now gone three Premier League games without finding the back of the net, and Benitez’s reunion with the Reds is looking certain to be a forgettable occasion.
After posting three wins from their first three at Goodison Park this term, Everton have since taken just one point from the last nine on offer on home soil, which will be music to the ears of Klopp’s in-form crop.
Diogo Jota was forced to swap Ultimate Team for the Liverpool team on Saturday, with the Portuguese attacker withdrawing from a FIFA 22 tournament in time to lead the line and bag a brace during a routine crushing of Southampton.
Jota tapped in with just two minutes on the clock before paying tribute to the video game with his controller-mimicking celebration, and the ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers man would proceed to bag a second while Thiago Alcantara and Virgil van Dijk also netted.
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A fourth consecutive Anfield win and clean sheet in all competitions saw Liverpool take advantage of Chelsea’s draw against Manchester United to move to within two points of the league leaders, but the third-placed Reds are also one adrift of Manchester City after 13 games.
Klopp will need no reminding of the importance of points over the Christmas period before his ranks are depleted during the Africa Cup of Nations, but for a team that has scored at least two goals in each of their last 17 games in all tournaments, finding attacking inspiration should not be a challenge.
Liverpool and Everton played out a 2-2 draw in this fixture last term – which was best remembered for Van Dijk’s devastating injury – but the Toffees managed to win 2-0 at Anfield during the Reds’ home rut, and Benitez has all the motivation he needs to turn his side’s fortunes around here