Everton fell to a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues began impressively, restricting their title-chasing opponents to little in attack while carrying a threat with efficient in possession, before City landed a damaging one-two combination with goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Erling Haaland coming in the space of two minutes before the half-time interval.
Gundogan doubled his tally for the afternoon with a curling free-kick six minutes after the restart.
Everton toiled and struck the crossbar via James Tarkowski's powerful header late on but City held out for a clean sheet on the way to extending their unbeaten run to 22 games in all competitions, moving four points clear at the summit of the Premier League table in the process.
Sean Dyche made one enforced change from the side that demolished Brighton & Hove Albion last time out, with Mason Holgate replacing Vitalii Mykolenko, who sustained a minor thigh injury in training in the build-up to this encounter.
There were at least similarities to the blueprint that was so successful in that 5-1 victory over the Seagulls just six days prior to the visit of Pep Guardiola's treble-chasing side.
Hard work, discipline and effective possession were always going to be required by Everton here and all three were on display in abundance during a competitive first half.
Roared on by a sell-out Goodison crowd, Everton wisely selected their moments to press their possession-dominant opponents.
That pressure almost paid dividends six minutes in when Ederson was hurried into a making a mishit clearance, but Ruben Dias was on hand to quickly dispossess Alex Iwobi on the edge of the penalty area.
The next half hour lacked goalmouth action and the first opportunity of note from either side was produced by Everton on 34 minutes.
James Garner - a key cog in the build-up of the Blues' attack - pounced on possession in midfield and, with options to his left and right, picked out Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was tackled by Kyle Walker just before he could pull the trigger.
From the resulting corner, though, Tarkowski climbed highest to head Garner's delivery back across goal, only for Holgate to blaze over the crossbar from a couple of yards out with the ball not falling kindly for the returning defender.
Then came the damaging double blow from the visitors.
Cutting in from the right flank, Riyad Mahrez picked out City captain Gundogan, who produced a deft touch to control and a hooked finish into the far corner to give Jordan Pickford no chance.
Less than two minutes later, Gundogan turned provider, crossing for the Premier League's leading scorer Haaland to head home from six yards out.
Underlining Everton's success in limiting City to that point, Haaland's finish on 39 minutes was just his third touch of the contest.
Those frustrations were compounded six minutes after the restart, when Gundogan netted a third for City with a delicate 20-yard free-kick.
Everton responded positively and, after switching to a wing-back system after that strike, looked to claw their way back into the game.
They went closest on 66 minutes when McNeil - who was once again tireless throughout - produced an inviting corner that was headed against the crossbar by Tarkowski.
Dyche, who replaced Calvert-Lewin with Neal Maupay at half-time, continued to chase a route back into the game with the introduction of Demarai Gray in place of Garner with a quarter of an hour to go.
But that quest ultimately proved fruitless and, after a defiant chorus of 'We love you, Everton' from the crowd on the final whistle, Everton's attention now switches to a trip to Molineux to face Wolves next Saturday.