Marco Silva fired by Everton after heavy derby loss to Liverpool

Everton manager Marco Silva reacts as Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp looks on (Source: Reuters)

Marco Silva was already on the brink of becoming the fourth Premier League manager to be fired inside the past three weeks.

Everton's dismal defeat in its biggest game of this and any season simply made it inevitable.

Silva was fired by Everton on Thursday after 18 months in charge, a day after his team lost 5-2 at Merseyside rival Liverpool to slip into the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Silva's departure was announced in a short statement by Everton, which also said that Duncan Ferguson, the club's former striker, will take temporary charge for the league game against Chelsea on Saturday.

``The club aims to confirm a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible,`` Everton said, with former manager David Moyes among those linked with the vacancy.

The thrashing by Liverpool was Everton's ninth loss in 15 games in the league, leaving the team in third-to-last place despite its benign run of fixtures to start the season. Everton conceded four goals in the first half and could easily have lost by a heavier margin despite Liverpool fielding a weakened lineup.

Everton's majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, made the decision to remove Silva ahead of a tough run of games against Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City, which could plunge the team even further into trouble.

Moshiri has yet to have a return on his heavy spending since becoming majority shareholder at Everton in February 2016. Three managers have been released in his time at the club _ Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce and now Silva.

Silva _ regarded a few years ago as one of European soccer's brightest young coaches _ was targeted by Moshiri at the start of the 2017-18 season, when the Portuguese coach was in charge of Watford. Moshiri didn't get his man straight away _ Watford refused to let Silva go, only to fire him a few weeks later as results dipped because Silva's head had been turned.

Silva ended up moving to Goodison Park in the offseason of 2018, charged with bringing attacking football and being the man to deliver a first trophy since 1955 to Everton _ a nine-time English champion and one of the country's sleeping giants.

He didn't get close, with Everton finishing eighth in the league last season and proving to be as inconsistent as ever under Silva, who never settled on a regular striker, constantly changed his midfield, and saw his defense regularly undermined by conceding goals from set pieces.

An offseason outlay of more than $150 million didn't get Silva anywhere.

Everton has won just one of its last six games, a 2-0 home loss to Norwich _ which arrived at Goodison Park in last place _ on Nov. 23 likely setting in motion Moshiri's decision to fire Silva.

Three other managers _ Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, Unai Emery at Arsenal and Quique Sanchez Flores at Watford _ have lost their jobs in the English top flight in the past 17 days.