Wasteful Liverpool's title hopes dealt hammer blow by Crystal Palace


Wasteful Liverpool's title hopes dealt hammer blow by Crystal Palace

Eberechi Eze scored the only goal of the match at Anfield
Eberechi Eze scored the only goal of the match at AnfieldAFP
Liverpool's Premier League title hopes were left in tatters as they spurned a multitude of scoring chances in a 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace at Anfield.

After a 3-0 home defeat against Atalanta in midweek, many expected Crystal Palace to face the wrath of Liverpool at Anfield. But it didn’t quite work out that way in the opening exchanges, as for the 21st time this season, the Reds conceded the opening goal.

It was little surprise from a Palace point of view that Eberechi Eze was involved, sweeping home from inside the six-yard box after Tyrick Mitchell’s measured cutback.

That didn’t particularly prompt a response from Liverpool either, who should’ve fallen two behind moments later when Jean-Phillipe Mateta burst clear on goal after Virgil van Dijk’s slip, but his teammate Andy Robertson was on hand to bail him out with a goalline clearance in front of the Kop.

Key stats from Anfield
Key stats from AnfieldOpta by StatsPerform

That seemed to trigger something in Jurgen Klopp’s side, who finally forged some openings of their own when a melee in the penalty area culminated in Wataru Endo crashing an effort off the bar, before Luis Díaz’s far post effort forced a smart stop out of Dean Henderson.

The Palace stopper produced an even better save in the second half’s infancy, denying Darwin Núñez from point-blank range after he reacted quickest to a loose ball inside the area.

Klopp introduced four of his big hitters off the bench in a desperate attempt to find a leveller, but a robust Palace rearguard were proving tricky to break down.

Two of those changes found that out themselves when Dominik Szoboszlai pounced on a loose ball in the area and squared for Diogo Jota who seemingly had an open goal, but a last-ditch block from former Red Nathaniel Clyne preserved his side’s advantage.

Mateta could’ve doubled the Eagles’ advantage at the other end, but such was the end-to-end nature of the game at times, Liverpool broke in numbers and Curtis Jones ran clear on goal only to skew his effort wide when it mattered most.

With Manchester City hitting their typically irrepressible form at this stage of the season, there was a desperate need for Liverpool to find a goal, not only to keep their title hopes alive, but to avoid back-to-back Anfield losses for the first time in three years.

There were some hairy moments in seven minutes of stoppage time for Palace, not least when Mitchell blocked Salah’s goalbound effort on the line, but they held on to secure three huge points which look to have secured their top-flight status for another season.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace)

Catch up on the match stats with Flashscore


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