Liverpool 0 Crystal Palace 1: Is the Premier League title bid over?

Liverpool’s terrible week just got worse.

A shock 1-0 defeat to struggling Crystal Palace dealt a major blow to Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of winning a second Premier League title. After the 3-0 defeat in the Europa League against Atalanta on Thursday, the season risks running out of steam.

We analyze the main talking points from Anfield…

Is this the end of title hopes?

Even the most pessimistic minds on Merseyside would have struggled to imagine Liverpool’s week going so badly.

After the 3-0 home humiliation against Atalanta, a result which left progression to the Europa League semi-finals hanging by a thread, another ruinous setback made a Premier League title even more unlikely.

Liverpool’s unconvincing form was masked by a late fightback, but Crystal Palace’s resolute performance in a 1-0 victory dealt a potentially fatal blow to Jurgen Klopp’s goals of winning a league title.

Something close to perfection was needed in the preparatory period given the brilliant form of Manchester City and Arsenal, and this unexpected defeat – Liverpool’s first at home in the Premier League since October 2022 – undermined any belief .

Liverpool still have six league games left to respond, but victories in all of them may no longer be enough. Liverpool have seen Manchester City’s back in title races before and hoping for favors rarely works.

A season that promised so much collapsed dramatically in just four days.

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace match dashboardshowing how Klopp’s side missed glorious scoring chances

Why do Liverpool play so slowly at the start of the match?

A recurring pattern in Liverpool’s home games is deflecting this season’s aspirations.

They were sloppy and lethargic starters, with opponents allowed to strike first. Crystal Palace were the last to take the wind out of Liverpool’s sails, taking the lead in the 14th minute through Eberechi Eze. It was a well-worked goal for the visitors but another dismal episode of Liverpool’s defensive work, which started without an ounce of intensity.

Eze takes advantage of Liverpool’s sloppy start (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

It was the 21st time in 51 league and cup matches that Klopp’s side have conceded first, and the sudden absence of clean sheets continues to make it seem as if even routine matches undermine chances.

We have to go back to December 17 and the 0-0 draw to find the last Premier League visitor (Manchester United) who failed to score at Anfield and, since the beginning of February, Burnley, Luton Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Palace all scored goals in the first half at Anfield.

Defensively mediocre again – and it’s not getting better.

How did Liverpool miss these chances?

Liverpool remain far from their best, but the missed chances in the second half were inexplicable. There were four huge openings for four different players but, crucially, no goals.

Darwin Nunez – so often useless as the focal point of Liverpool’s attack – set the tone when his close-range attempt was palmed away by Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Substitute Diogo Jota was another guilty player, blocked by Nathaniel Clyne on Dominik Szoboszlai’s pass. Neither Henderson nor Clyne should have had the chance to deny Liverpool.

It had started to look like a damaging afternoon by the time Curtis Jones found himself one-on-one with Henderson – and a finish sent wide of goal did little to alter the outlook.

Mohamed Salah, off-color all afternoon, then added his entry to Liverpool’s horrendous afternoon in front of goal, when his late shot was blocked by Tyrick Mitchell.

All of this has combined to undermine Liverpool’s hopes of putting pressure on their title rivals.

Was Robertson the only spark?

During a tired team performance, punctuated by misplaced passes and wayward positioning, Andy Robertson consistently rose above the mediocrity around him.

The Liverpool left-back played with an energy and dynamism that most of his teammates struggle to find, galloping down his flank to stretch a patched-up Palace defense.

A deep and inviting cross to Luis Diaz almost brought an equalizer but for an excellent save from Henderson. In the first half, Robertson was as threatening as any Liverpool striker.

But the Scot’s defensive work was even more important. With Palace already a goal ahead, Robertson had the awareness and pace to get in behind and clear Jean-Philippe Mateta’s clipped finish off the line. Goal-line technology showed that Robertson had been the savior…by just a few inches.

…and passes the ball to Alisson, followed by Robertson.

The ball appears to cross the line…

…only for Robertson to escape.

…with goal-line technology showing he stayed just a few inches wide.

Liverpool’s left side has always looked much more assured than their right, where Palace regularly targeted Conor Bradley and Ibrahima Konate with attacks flooding down that flank.

2020 Premier League winner Robertson was the experience Liverpool were asking for.

What did Jürgen Klopp say?

The Liverpool manager could not hide his disappointment as he faced his second league defeat at Anfield in front of fans since April 2017.

“Talking about this match is really tricky,” he told Sky Sports. “The first half was absolutely not good enough, so we showed a reaction. The reaction was that we lost our belief in the last game. We tried to get rid of it, but it didn’t work as much as we wanted.

“Conceding that goal was a horrible goal to concede with a player completely free in the box. It may not happen, but it happens. Crystal Palace didn’t have many more chances and we controlled the situation better. In the second half we can easily say that if we don’t score with these chances, what can you say?

“The second half was much better, with Trent (Alexander-Arnold) coming in and at that point the structure changed. We caused problems and we had some really big chances. If we were here and won the game 4-1, we could have seen the same game with a completely different result. But we didn’t, so we have to accept it.

What future for Liverpool?

Thursday April 18: Atalanta (A), Europa League, 8 p.m. UK, 3 p.m. ET

Liverpool are renowned for their European comebacks, but will need to produce something special even by their standards if they are to overturn the 3-0 deficit they face in the Europa League quarter-finals against Atalanta.

Fail, and it will be the last European match of the Klopp era… but if any manager can inspire a turnaround, it’s probably him.

Recommended reading

(Top photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

News Source :
Gn sports

Back to top button