Liverpool’s 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat to Everton has seen them hit a 98-year low, with the Reds suffering four successive league reversals at Anfield for the first time since 1923.
The Reds have seen the wheels come off their 2020-21 Premier League campaign in spectacular fashion, with the defending champions hitting a serious slump.
Jurgen Klopp’s woes began again against their arch-rivals on Saturday, with Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson netting for the Toffees, and the German must now reflect on a sorry home run that is Liverpool’s worst in almost a century.
Van Dijk watched on helplessly from the stands as Liverpool sank to a fourth successive league defeat that will leave them 19 points adrift of Manchester City if City beat Arsenal on Sunday.
Talk of a title challenge is irrelevant to Liverpool now. Their fight is to get into the top four.
This time last season, Liverpool were 40 points clear of Everton but now they are level.
This defeat means the champions have won just two of their last 11 league games and before this encounter, it had been 23 meetings in all competitions since Everton beat Liverpool anywhere.
And the mighty statistics keep on coming. Liverpool has now lost to Burnley, Brighton, City and Everton in their last four home league games.
That is only the second time in their history that has happened. The last time that sequence assailed them was in 1923-24. So, no, the storm is not abating.
There was a delightful irony for Evertonians in the fact that Pickford, who was decried for his challenge on Van Dijk, was the hero of his side’s triumph here.
He made one brilliant diving save from Jordan Henderson in the first half and another crucial block from Mo Salah in the second half.
This victory was not just about Liverpool’s injuries and deficiencies, either. Their fall from grace is one thing but this was also a story of Everton’s rise under Ancelotti.
Tom Davies was superb again in the centre of their midfield and Michael Keane, Ben Godfrey and Michael Keane were magnificent in the heart of their defence. They thoroughly deserved their victory.
To add to Liverpool’s huge woes, Henderson was substituted with a groin injury that may keep him out for a while.
The last time the teams met, Liverpool started with Van Dijk and Joel Matip in defence and Henderson and Fabinho in midfield. That was the old Liverpool. The new Liverpool is unrecognisable from that.
It was the briefest of reprieves for Liverpool, though. A couple of minutes later, they lost possession deep in their half after a poor header from Ozan Kabak and the ball fell to James Rodriguez, the last player Liverpool wanted to give up space to.
James looked up and glid a pass inside Kabak for Richarlison to run on to. Richarlison took it in his stride and lashed it past Alisson.
Henderson was trying to escape the attentions of Abdoulaye Doucoure near the halfway line when he suddenly grimaced in pain and fell to the floor. On the sideline, Klopp smiled a rictus smile.
Henderson appeared to have suffered a groin injury and even though he tried to play on, he had to admit defeat after a couple of minutes. He was replaced by Nat Phillips.
Liverpool is at the stage now where they need back-ups for back-ups. The loss of Henderson interrupted Liverpool’s quickness and Everton nearly went further ahead.
Lucas Digne swung in a superb cross from the left and Seamus Coleman stole ahead of Andy Robertson and flung himself at the ball.
He made a good connection with the header but it was straight at Alisson and the Liverpool goalkeeper pushed it around the post.
Liverpool tried to hit back straight after the interval. Pickford made a smart save from a Sadio Mane header.
The home side clustered on the pressure. Mason Holgate made a fine clearance from a dangerous Alexander-Arnold cross and when another cross from Curtis Jones sailed over Godfrey’s head, Mane could not rise high enough and lifted his header over the bar at the back post.
Next, a powerful saving tackle from Michael Keane withheld Mane. All this in the first seven minutes of the second half.
Everton sealed their victory eight minutes from time when Davies played a ball out of defence and Richarlison turned away from Phillips near the half-way line.
Richarlison sprinted into space and picked out the run of Calvert-Lewin perfectly as he hurtled down.
Alisson saved Calvert-Lewin’s shot put as the Everton striker ran on to the rebound, he was brought down by Alexander-Arnold.
The referee awarded a penalty but decided not to send off Alexander-Arnold despite the questions of the Everton players.
Substitute Sigurdsson took the penalty and even if his run-up was casual, he hit the spot-kick with pressure and accuracy to take it beyond the dive of Alisson and into the bottom corner.