7 talking points from Liverpool's 0-1 defeat to Crystal Palace

In a massive blow to their Premier League aspirations, Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon.

The Anfield crowd were stunned after just 14 minutes when Eberechi Eze swept home Tyrick Mitchell's low cross to give the Eagles an early lead.

Despite dominating the chances and the possession, the Reds couldn’t find any way through the Palace rearguard, missing a series of clear chances, especially in the second half.

Here are seven talking points from the game…

1) Title chances gone?

Defeat to Oliver Glasner's side left Liverpool third in the Premier League table, two points behind leaders Manchester City and level with Arsenal (although they face Aston Villa at the Emirates later this evening).

Of course, there are six games left to go, so it's not over.

However, with City's proven record of always delivering at the tail-end of the season and Arsenal with a kinder run of fixtures, it now seems unlikely that the Reds will be parading the trophy in May.

2) Costly profligacy

It’s becoming a broken record now… How wasteful are Liverpool in front of goal?

Between the Atalanta defeat on Thursday and the Palace game today, the Reds racked up an expected goals (xG) total of nearly five goals. And yet, they didn’t score once.

In the first half, Wataru Endo hit the bar, and Luis Diaz somehow failed to convert his back-post volley (drawing a miraculous save from Dean Henderson).

In the second, Darwin Nunez hit the ball straight at the keeper when he had the whole goal to aim at, Diogo Jota had one off the line, Curtis Jones placed his shot wide in a one-on-one and

Mohamed Salah had his close-range shot blocked on the line in stoppage time.

Ultimately, it appears that this is what is going to cost the Reds in their pursuit of glory this year.

3) Shaky at the back again

If you’re not going to score, you need to keep the door shut at the back. But for Liverpool recently, this hasn’t been the case. They’re just too open.

For the umpteenth time, the Reds conceded the first goal of the game - and Palace found it easy to open the defence up.

Tyrick Mitchell found himself free on the left channel and had the easy task of pulling it back to an unmarked Eberechi Eze.

Palace, who had only scored 36 league goals all season, could have been three up at the break, but for Andrew Robertson clearing the ball off the line and poor finishing from Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Liverpool v Crystal Palace, Liverpool, UK - 14 Apr 2024 Goal celebrations for Eberechi Eze of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield, Liverpool on 14 April 2024 Liverpool Anfield Liverpool England Copyright: xMicahxCrook/PPAUKx PPA-107632

4) Alisson returns

And it’s good to have him back, too!

Caoimhin Kelleher has done an admirable job in the Brazilian’s absence (playing a game more over the course of the season), but it was always a formality that Alisson would return when fit.

However, any hopes that he would bring some extra solidity to the defence were quashed in a chaotic first half.

That said, he showed his value with 15 minutes left to go when his strong right hand denied Mateta a certain goal from point-blank range.

5) Another injury blow

Just as the Reds welcomed back Alisson and Diogo Jota started to get minutes under his belt, yet another injury came along.

With his side already behind, right-back Conor Bradley was forced off the pitch after just 48 minutes with an ankle injury.

The Northern Irishman's departure forced Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to make a swift substitution, bringing on Trent Alexander-Arnold in his place.

This marked the vice-captain's return to action after recovering from an injury of his own. Clearly, Klopp would have preferred to ease Alexander-Arnold back into first-team action following his knee injury, but with the Reds potentially losing ground in the title race, the German opted to bring on the 25-year-old instead of Joe Gomez.

6) Fading trust in summer signings

A lot was made of Liverpool’s summer ‘midfield overhaul’, but it’s Curtis Jones who has nailed down his spot in the engine room, despite not yet being fully match fit.

While the Scouser has had a good season, his inclusion from the start is damning for two summer recruits.

Despite Dominik Szoboszlai's excellent start to life at Anfield and the massive hype surrounding Ryan Gravenberch, Klopp’s faith in the pair seems to be waning right at a crucial juncture in the season.

Szoboszlai came on at half time and was largely ineffective. Gravenberch didn’t appear at all.

What’s gone wrong for them?

7) Anfield back to its normal self?

If there was any consolation to take from the day, it was that Anfield got its spring back in its step.

There’s no escaping it: Anfield was flat in midweek. In fact, even Jurgen Klopp couldn’t get the crowd going. Today, though, it was a different story.

The game got off to an emotional start with a perfectly observed minute of silence for the 97 victims of the Hillsborough tragedy. And with the flags back, the atmosphere was bouncing again.

It's just a shame the players couldn't respond on the field.

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