Liverpool’s relegation troubles deepened with a 2-0 loss at neighbor Everton on Sunday, with the arrival of new owners failing to inspire players to turn their miserable season around.
The 18-time English champions are only off the bottom of the Premier League standings on goal difference.
The 214th Merseyside derby was settled by goals either side of the break from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta, lifting Everton, which had started the game just a place above Liverpool, up to 11th.
At the top of the table, where Liverpool is more accustomed to being, second-place Manchester City beat Blackpool, with Carlos Tevez’s double and David Silva’s strike clinching a 3-2 win.
City took full advantage of Chelsea being held 0-0 by Aston Villa on Saturday to trim the defending champion’s lead to two points.
Liverpool, though, couldn’t take advantage of the hope of a new era free and is still looking for its second win of the season.
New England Sports Ventures bosses John Henry and Tom Werner watched as Liverpool went most of the match at Everton without threatening – two days after Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. were ousted from a bitter court battle.
It took almost 25 minutes for Liverpool to get sight of goal, with struggling striker Fernando Torres flicking in a header that was turned over by United States goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Everton was overwhelming its visitors and Pepe Reina was beaten at his near post by Cahill in the 34th minute.
Seamus Coleman did all the hard work, forcing his way down the left flank to the byline and then cutting the ball back for Cahill.
Everton extended its lead five minutes after the break when Arteta picked up Leighton Baines’ corner on the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a fierce volley past Reina.
"This would have been the ideal opportunity to really turn things around on the back of the positive entry of the new owners – to win the game would have been utopia," Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said. "There’s no point attempting to analyze dreams. We had to play a game of football … we suffered at the hand of an early onslaught."
Liverpool has collected just six points from eight matches.
"We’re not trying to disguise the fact this is a predicament," Hodgson said. "For any team to take six points from eight games from the start of a season, is a predicament."
Everton manager David Moyes, though, was celebrating the end a run of three successive league derby losses.
"The smile’s not come off my face," he said. "It’s been a long time. I’m really disappointed I’ve not been able to win more derbies. In the past we’ve probably lacked the quality to match Liverpool. I don’t think we do now."
At Blackpool, City manager Roberto Mancini was happy to win with an ugly performance against a robust side.
"Sometimes it is important to win like we did today," he said. "We didn’t play well. It was important at the end that we scored three goals. It is not easy to score three goals away from home."
The first came when Tevez got in front of Craig Cathcart as substitute Silva played the ball in and forced it home.
Blackpool hit back in the 78th with substitute Marlon Harewood guiding a header beyond England goalkeeper Joe Hart following a free kick by Charlie Adam.
The home side’s celebrations lasted only a minute, before Tevez regained the lead for City. He took the ball off Ian Evatt and rifled in a shot that took a deflection off Cathcart.
Tevez then saw his hopes of a hat trick thwarted by the cross bar before Silva broke into the area and skipped past two defenders before curling the ball into the corner of the net.
Taylor-Fletcher pulled one back after Luke Varney flicked on Charlie Adam’s corner.
Blackpool remains 10th with 10 points in its first season in the top flight since 1971.
"Their first goal, Tevez was offside with a backheel and the second one was a foul on my defender, absolutely blatant," Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said. "I just saw all that on the telly. Heartbreaking. (Referee Phil Dowd) has got three massive decisions wrong, which cost my team against one of the so-called big teams.
"For me, we could have been one point behind them if things had gone our way, as they clearly should have done. We’re getting absolutely bo diddly squat, week in, week out. But there you go, such is life."