Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp dream is dying as Palace pull off upset | Football | Sport

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Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp dream is dying as Palace pull off upset | Football | Sport

Liverpool‘s hopes of winning the Premier League title took a devastating blow with a tired 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday. The lethargic Reds paid the price for being too open defensively and not clinical enough offensively with Eberechi Eze’s first-half goal securing a surprise win for Palace. Express Sport runs through the main talking points from the Eagles’ victory…

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp dream dying

« We have to bounce back and the only way to do it is obviously winning that game on the weekend, » insisted Virgil van Dijk after a shocking 3-0 Europa League defeat to Atalanta on Thursday night. Wataru Endo similarly said: « We have to have the mindset to go again.

« Everyone has to give a positive response heading into Sunday. » And Alexis Mac Allister demanded: « We have to react. » But Liverpool’s first 45 minutes here was as bad as they have been all season, on both sides of the ball. It was not the display of a team desperate to bounce back.

Endo was brought off at half-time but Andy Robertson was about the only player who deserved to start the second half for the hosts in truth. The levels improved after the break but the home team couldn’t convert their chances as Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones and Mohamed Salah all failed to finish excellent opportunities.

The hopes of sending Jurgen Klopp off with major silverware next month have now taken two very powerful gut punches within a few days of each other. Staring at a premature exit in the Europa League quarter-finals, they now need a miracle to win the Premier League too.

Watch all the Premier League and Champions League drama 

Palace deserve their plaudits

This was not the typical performance of a side winless in their last five league matches and without a win away from home since November. Palace were brilliant and were so sharp in possession, with Eberechi Eze enjoying himself down the Eagles’ left-hand side in the first half in particular while Adam Wharton was excellent throughout.

While Liverpool were lethargic, Oliver Glasner’s 3-4-3 set-up gave the Reds real problems. Their midfielders consistently found pockets of space to get the ball, turn and drive at the Liverpool defence.

And in the second half, when they were required to defend a bit more – they did so very well. Nathaniel Clyne’s block to stop Jota from tapping into an empty summed them up and Joachim Andersen repelled every cross.

Tyrick Mitchell also produced a great late block to deny Salah an equaliser in stoppage time. The Londoners were fully deserving of the three points which moves them up to 14th.

Grim Liverpool trend continues

For the 23rd time in all competitions this season, Liverpool went 1-0 down in a match. At Anfield, where they hadn’t lost in the league since October 2022 before this, they have now conceded the first goal in four of their last five top-flight matches.

Liverpool had won 27 points from losing positions prior to this but to win the league, you cannot continue requiring dramatic comebacks. The mental and physical toll of having to come from behind so often is too great.

And so it proved here. They had been trailing 1-0 at half-time five times previously, winning three and drawing two. That unbeaten streak has now come to a sorry end. So too has their 28-game undefeated Premier League run at Anfield.

Another title race twist

This result means with six games to go, Liverpool – who now face three away games in a row – trail reigning champions Manchester City by two points. Arsenal face Aston Villa in the second Sunday match and victory would put them three clear of the Reds.

The Gunners also have a vastly superior goal difference – 51 to Liverpool’s 41 before they face Villa – and so Liverpool essentially need the Londoners to slip up twice before May 19. They also now need to be perfect themselves between now and the end of the campaign.

Off the basis of this performance and given some of the Merseyside club’s upcoming fixtures, it may just be a two-horse race between City and Arsenal from here on out…

Van Dijk avoids a Gerrard moment – just

‘Not again…’ was the thought on every Liverpool fan’s mind 17 minutes into this match as Virgil van Dijk slipped on the halfway line to allow Jean-Philippe Mateta to sprint through on goal.

The Frenchman made his way into the box at the Kop end and chipped the ball over Alisson. It looked for all the world like the Eagles were about to go 2-0 up – though fortunately for the hosts Robertson had charged back 40 yards to clear it off the line.

They still failed to turn that into a turning point, but it would have been a very painful reminder of past failures had Van Dijk’s slip – in a similar position to Gerrard’s defending while also the Kop end – been the decisive moment.

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