Liverpool fail to close in on top four after dismal draw at Palace

LONDON – Liverpool missed a chance to close the gap to the top four in the Premier League after playing a dismal 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta hit the bar just before half-time, followed by Mohamed Salah doing the same shortly after the restart, but Jurgen Klopp’s team struggled to create something else remarkable at Selhurst Park. As a result, Liverpool are in seventh place, six points behind Chelsea’s Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Fast reaction

1. Klopp’s best performance won’t help Liverpool

Klopp has won all seven Premier League games at Selhurst Park through Saturday with a 22-6 aggregate score. In his seven seasons as Liverpool boss, with more league wins (12) and more points (37) than any other opponent, this match was his team’s golden chance to reassert themselves after losing to Real Madrid. in the middle of the week. In addition, Palace have not won in seven games without talisman Wilfried Zaha.

However, Liverpool clearly lacked self-confidence and may have been lucky to walk away from south London with a point after a flat game in which they rarely threatened Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. The draw is not a disaster given there is still time to close out the top four, but nonetheless it was a missed opportunity that only raises further questions as to whether Liverpool can rediscover something similar to its the best time to save him this season.

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2. Keita illustrates Liverpool’s midfield problems

Notably, Klopp opted for the experience in his lineup on Saturday, possibly keeping the need to stabilize the ship after the loss to Real Madrid in mind. Only three players in the starting XI here were under 28, and in midfield Klopp chose Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson and James Milner. However, the trio were at fault for being too passive and slow in possession of the ball, while at the same time clearly struggling to keep up with Michael Olize’s pace, in particular when Palace counter-attacked.

Liverpool’s need to renew their midfield is well known, but even the more promising youngsters have failed to bring much dynamism to their game. time, considering how much below par it was. Fabinho was cautioned minutes after entering the field as he too struggled to deal with the Palace threat, while Stefan Baicetic was given only five minutes to influence the game. Perhaps Klopp’s biggest mystery remains finding a way to revive the team’s heart before May.

3. The palace again lacks firepower

Only four teams – Everton (17), Wolverhampton Wanderers (18), Nottingham Forest (18) and Southampton (19) – have scored fewer than Crystal Palace’s 21 goals this season. Here, the lack of an effective number 9 was acutely felt: Mateta seemed to be so inhibited that he gave up chasing the lost ball early, which angered fans at home who wanted to see more effort from their centre-forward. They will also want to see more quality.

Mateta has failed to score his last 20 Premier League shots since the goal against Aston Villa in August. It’s an unfair comparison, but while Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior capitalized so adeptly on Liverpool’s mid-week defensive mistakes, Mateta squandered a few menacing chances, especially in the 42nd minute when he hit the crossbar from the box after a great Jeffrey’s work. Schlupp, pushing Trent Alexander-Arnold to make a mistake.

Mateto was replaced by Odsonne Edouard for the final 19 minutes, but the French striker rarely threatened. Eduard scored only three goals in the league for the entire season. Patrick Vieira has a lot of dynamic, creative players, but they remain frustrated by the lack of a consistent finisher.

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Michael Oliz, Crystal Palace. With his direct style, he trusted the defenders and made some dangerous crosses.

BEST: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool. Hitting the bar early in the second half with great curling effort is likely to up the quality of a terrible game.

BEST: Jeffrey Schlupp, Crystal Palace. With his energetic run, he helped Palace make Liverpool make mistakes. Only Mateta’s poor ending deprived him of an assist in the first half.

SAUSAGES: near Keita, Liverpool. Looked far off pace, especially when he got booked for pulling Olize back halfway through the first half and Klopp pulled him off at half-time.

WORST: Jean-Philippe Mateta, Crystal Palace. Should have made Liverpool pay for his weakness, but he lacked the conviction and clinical sense.

WORST: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool. Illustrated Liverpool’s nervousness defensively with a few erroneous passes and caught more possession than Klopp would have liked.

Highlights and Notable Moments

There were few moments that could really be called the “highlight” of this match, but this narrow miss by Cody Gakpo qualifies, at least fairly.

After the match: what the players/managers said

Milner: “We should have moved on [from the Real Madrid game] as fast as possible. You have seen desire. If the game in the middle of the week had affected us today, we would have conceded a goal. It wasn’t one of our best performances, but it’s never easy in a place like this.”

Mark Gay: “I think the team did well. This is a performance we can be proud of. It is always difficult for Liverpool to play against him. There is a bit of a disappointment because we felt like we could steal it.”

Key statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information research)

– Liverpool’s 36 points is their fewest in 23 games played in a Premier League season since 2015/16 (34). This was the season when Klopp took charge of the team in the middle of the campaign.

– Palace’s winless streak has reached nine games in all competitions. The last time the Eagles tasted victory was a 2-0 win over Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve.


Crystal Palace: Palace travels to Birmingham on Saturday for a Premier League rendezvous with Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Liverpool: The Reds have a short break as Wednesday’s Premier League game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield awaits their return to Merseyside.


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