Van Dijk questions desire of team-mates after loss

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk was appointed Liverpool captain after Jordan Henderson's departure in the summer [Getty Images]

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk questioned his side's desire to win the Premier League after a damaging defeat against Merseyside rivals Everton.

With four games left, Liverpool are now hoping for slip-ups from leaders Arsenal, who lie three points clear, and champions Manchester City.

Defeat at Goodison Park was their second in three games as their season threatens to peter out.

"Do they really want to win the league?" asked Van Dijk.

Goals in each half from defender Jarrad Branthwaite and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin set the Toffees on their way to their first home victory in the league over Liverpool since October 2010.

It was another setback after being beaten 1-0 at home by Crystal Palace 10 days ago as they missed the opportunity to go back level on points with the Gunners.

A scathing Van Dijk told Sky Sports: "If you play like this overall in the game and not win any challenges and give the referee an opportunity to give a free-kick away then we have no chance to win the title.

"Very disappointed in so many ways. Everyone has to look in the mirror and look at their own performance and think if they gave everything.

"It is a tough one and obviously we have to do better against a side near the relegation [positions].

"If you play like today we have no chance to consider ourselves in the title race."

Van Dijk mentioned Liverpool's next game being an early kick-off at West Ham on Saturday.

Former Everton and England striker Wayne Rooney, a studio guest for Sky's match coverage, said: “The worrying thing there is – and I think it’s happened a lot throughout the season as well – again we are hearing about 12:30 kick-offs after he’s just lost a derby.

“He should be wanting, and that Liverpool team should be wanting, to be on the pitch tomorrow morning to get the next game going, because when you lose, especially in a derby, you want the next game to come quick.

“We’ve heard it so many times this season with Liverpool about 12:30 kick-offs. Get on with it. That’s part of your job. He should be ready to play.”

Klopp apologises for loss

Liverpool had their sights on four trophies in Jurgen Klopp's final season in-charge, but may end up with just the Carabao Cup to savour after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United and the Europa League by Atalanta in recent weeks.

The Reds travel to face West Ham in the early kick-off on Saturday and come up against Tottenham, Aston Villa and Wolves in their last three games.

Klopp also suggested his side are not yet safe in claiming a Champions League spot, despite fifth-placed Tottenham being 14 points adrift of them, albeit with two games in hand.

"It was not the most inspired performance of all time and I really feel for the people, I am really sorry for that," said German boss Klopp.

"People told me so often about the derby record and I really apologise for that. It has happened and we cannot change it anymore."

Asked where it leaves his side in the title race, Klopp replied: "I understand that is part of the business, I don't know why I have to answer because you can read the table.

"Shall I say we are still fully in on it? We need a crisis at Manchester City and Arsenal and we need to win all our football games. If they lose all their games and we do what we did tonight then nothing changes. We should just play better football.

"We have to fight through these periods. People ask me about mentality and it is not a question of attitude, nobody is doing anything like this on purpose and it is my job to bring them into a situation where they feel confident.

"That is the most tricky part of football. It didn't work out and now we have to keep trying."