Football News

Horrible week for Liverpool ends with Premier League title race no longer in their own hands

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 16:00, 14 April 2024

There was no sense of déjà vu as Premier League title chasers Liverpool could not come from behind against Crystal Palace this afternoon.

Jürgen Klopp’s men were rattled midweek as they suffered a humbling 3-0 loss to Atalanta in the Europa League. Still, any hope of a fast start and subsequent reaction went out the window as Eberechi Eze put Crystal Palace in front before 15 minutes had been played, and that’s how the game ended despite Liverpool huffing and puffing.

It meant Liverpool suffered their first Premier League defeat at Anfield since October 2022 against Leeds; the Reds were unbeaten in 28 home league games before today (22 wins and six draws).

Even more concerning is they’ve conceded the opening goal in four of their last five Premier League games at Anfield – as many as their previous 22 beforehand. Furthermore, the Reds have gone nine consecutive Premier League matches on home soil without a clean sheet, their joint-longest run in the competition (also nine in 1996 and 1999).

“This has to stop happening. They cannot keep coming back. There is no urgency in Liverpool’s play. They are just rolling it to each other, allowing Palace to get back in shape. I thought Liverpool would come flying out the traps on the back of what happened here on Thursday night,” Jamie Carragher exclaimed on Sky Sports commentary.

A disappointing first half for the hosts ended with Palace registering six efforts, and Eze had (2) or set up (3) five of those. Oliver Glasner’s side generated chances worth 1.22 xG before the break, which proved to be Palace’s highest tally in any first half of any Premier League game this season.

As touched upon, the hosts besieged Dean Henderson’s goal but were lacklustre and wasteful. Liverpool’s expected goals total in this match was 2.87 – their most on record (since 2010-11) in a Premier League match in which they did not score a goal. Indeed, it was the most xG without scoring by any side in the competition since Brighton against Norwich in April 2022 (also 2.87).

“It all feels like it has just fallen apart for Liverpool in the last week,” Carragher added. Liverpool have lost back-to-back games in all competitions for the first time since April 2023 (run of 3), while they’ve lost consecutively at Anfield for the first time since losing six in a row at home from January to March 2021.

In their 1-0 win over Liverpool today, Palace became the first opposition since Fulham in March 2021 to leave Anfield with a win and a clean sheet.

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The admirable powers of recovery alluded Liverpool, who came into this weekend’s showdown having won 27 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, including in their 2-1 win at Crystal Palace in the reverse fixture.

To put this in some perspective, there are just three instances of a team winning more in a single campaign – Newcastle in 2001-02 (34) and Manchester United in both 2020-21 (31) and 2012-13 (29).

“The damage was done at Man United last week,” Jamie Redknapp reflected on Sky Sports Super Sunday. “You can see the effect it had in midweek. They haven’t been able to take chances and put teams away. They didn’t look like they were scoring; it should have been 6-2 in the end. But they just haven’t got that belief right now. That’s how it can turn on you sometimes.”

Consequently, after this result and Manchester City beating Luton on Saturday, the Reds no longer control their Premier League title fate. For Palace, that’s the first win for Glasner since his opening game in charge back in February. It was also their first Premier League win away from home since November against Burnley, ending their 10-match winless run on the road (four draws and six losses).

Once again, Liverpool had 21 shots, six on target, four big chances – no goals. Next up for Klopp’s dejected side is a journey down south to visit Fulham, which comes days after their Europa League return leg in Bergamo.