Marco Silva Everton 2019-20Getty Images

Everton sack Marco Silva after 18 months in charge

Everton have sacked manager Marco Silva following a dreadful start to the 2019-20 Premier League season that has seen the Toffees drop into the relegation zone after Wednesday's evening's 5-2 battering at the hands of Liverpool.

Former Toffees striker and current first-team coach Duncan Ferguson has been placed in caretaker charge for Saturday's game against Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Goal understands that former Toffees boss David Moyes is in contention to make a shock return to Goodison Park, six-and-a-half years after he left the club for Manchester United.

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A statement on the club's website read: "Everton Football Club can confirm that manager Marco Silva has left the club.

"Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenwright and the board of directors would like to thank Marco for his service over the last 18 months and wish him well for the future.

"Duncan Ferguson has taken temporary charge of the first team and will manage the side for the game against Chelsea on Saturday.

"The club aims to confirm a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible."

The Merseyside club has made significant investments in players in recent times, adding the likes of Alex Iwobi, Moise Kean, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes to their permanent roster in a bid to push on from mid-table finishes and start competing regularly in Europe.

Silva guided the club to an eighth-place finish in the Premier League last season and that investment in the playing squad over the summer raised hopes of a sustained challenge for the European places this campaign.

However, the Toffees have won just four times in the Premier League so far and Wednesday's thrashing at Anfield was their eighth defeat in their previous 11 league games.

Silva was appointed Everton boss in the summer of 2018 following the departure of Sam Allardyce. The Toffees originally wanted to appoint the 42-year-old in November 2017 when he was still head coach at Watford, but the Hornets rejected their approach.

Watford later blamed Everton's interest in Silva for the team's dramatic loss of form that led to him being sacked two months later and reported the club to the Premier League for alleged 'tapping-up' of the former Hull boss.

In February the Merseyside club agreed to pay Watford compensation in order to settle the case.

Prior to his spell at Vicarage Road Silva spent six months at Hull, where he failed to prevent the club from being relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2016-17 season.

His managerial career has also taken in spells at Estoril, Sporting and Olympiakos.