Burnley eased their relegation worries with a 2-1 win over Everton, but their chances of finishing in the top four were harmed by a third loss in four at Goodison Park.
On Merseyside, home form is becoming an issue: Liverpool has lost six in a row, while Everton has won only one of their last seven games, losing to bottom-six sides Newcastle, Fulham, and now the Clarets.
With fourth-placed Chelsea drawing at Leeds earlier in the day, Carlo Ancelotti’s side had the opportunity to close the gap to two points with a game in hand. However, they blew it as they were out-fought and out-played for significant periods as the visitors’ deserved victory lifted them seven points clear of the bottom three.
Within 25 minutes, Chris Wood and a superb strike from the excellent Dwight McNeil had put them 2-0 up, and it could easily have been more, with Dominic Calvert-14th Lewin’s Premier League goal failing to inspire a response.
To add insult to injury, Everton lost England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford due to a recurrence of a rib problem.
Burnley, who ended Liverpool’s long unbeaten home run in January, were excellent in the first half, refusing to be shaken by Richarlison’s early shot, which Nick Pope pushed behind, and Everton’s dominance of possession without going anywhere, as the visitors took a 13th-minute lead completely against the run of play.
Josh Brownhill, excellent throughout, dispossessed Tom Davies deep inside his half and sent McNeil racing down the left and his deflected cross was clipped home past an unsighted Pickford by Wood.
It was Wood’s 40th Premier League goal for the club, one behind teammate Ashley Barnes as the only other player to cross that milestone, and the first time he had scored in consecutive games this season.
Everton had only won one of their previous 24 Premier League home games after conceding the opening goal, and they could easily have been 4-0 down in half an hour.
They were visibly enraged by what they saw as a blatant rejection of a penalty when McNeil’s corner struck Mason Holgate’s raised elbow.