After another disappointing loss against against a so called lesser team, our resident Liverpool fan @ gives us his thoughts on Sundays game.
Liverpool 1 – 2 Crystal Palace
Right, let’s just get straight into this. I am absolutely fed up with Liverpool’s inability to deal with set pieces and crosses into the box in general. How many years has it been now where numerous Liverpool sides just haven’t been able to clear their lines following a simple cross into the box. Many defenders have tried, and failed. Many managers have tried (or at least I like to think that they have) to sort out the defense and have failed miserably, and nothing has been done. Ridiculous.
Yesterday, we lost another game against a team that we ‘should be beating’, a term that seems to be thrown around quite regularly when it comes to Liverpool. Here’s a little fact for you, from the teams in the bottom half of the Premier League (at the point of me writing this), 6 of them have beaten us this season, these teams being Swansea, Hull, Burnley, Leicester, Bournemouth and now adding to that list, Crystal Palace. That is 18 points lost against the so called ‘smaller teams. Just let that sink in for a moment…
The danger was evident from very early in the game when Palaces main danger man, Christian Benteke (a familiar name) struck a right footed effort at Mignolet. This should have been the first and last warning for the Reds and for some reason one warning wasn’t enough… but I will get into that a little bit later, even if it does hurt to talk about.
However, with 24 minutes on the clock, it was Liverpool that broke the deadlock with a glorious free kick from the in-form Philippe Coutinho, smashing the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net past Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey. An exquisite goal from our best player on the day.
Soon after, the Reds had a glorious opportunity to put a second past the Welshman which came from a lovely bit of play from James Milner who slotted an inch-perfect ball through to Wijnaldum, picking out Emre Can, unfortunately the German couldn’t manage to make good enough contact with his strike and ended up with the ball closer to the corner flag than the netting in the goal. These are chances that must be taken at a very important stage of our season if the Champions League is still a reasonable target, however slim it may look now.
Not only was Emre Can’s miss dire, it also turned out to be a pivotal moment in the match. In the 42nd minute Christian Benteke converted a, you guessed it, cross into the box from Cabaye after a wonderful through ball from right-back Joel Ward. With the big Belgian blasting the ball past Simon Mignolet who had no chance at all. I just don’t know what to suggest to stop these balls from getting into the box in the first place, luckily, that isn’t my job. It just seemed written in the stars that Benteke, the man Klopp had disgarded in the summer, would come back to haunt the home side.
Funnily enough, this wasn’t the biggest talking point at half time, on Twitter at least. Nor was the poor defending from our defense. It was a handshake between Benteke and the on-loan Liverpool man Mamadou Sakho. Boy, did Twitter react to that, with fans going into a state of frenzy, some fans were completely bemused as to why Sakho was celebrating. Well, here’s an answer, probably not a popular one but one that makes perfect sense, to me anyway.
Mamadou Sakho has no future at Liverpool Football Club, it is very, very clear to see.
Thus, he decided to take the option to complete an undoubtedly advanced style of handshake with his teammate and friend, which makes it even more understandable as to why he did it. Do you really think that he is going to care about John from Canada saying about how much he despises him and wishes the absolute worst for him for being happy for a teammate, for what in reality hardly even looked like a celebration at all.
Back to the game, the first half began with a lovely bit of quick feet and trickery from Coutinho who eased his way past another former Red, Martin Kelly, but unfortunately the Brazilian blew his shot upwards over the Palace goal. At this point, there were some really positive signs from Liverpool who didn’t seem to be rushing their chances, something that could be seen as an issue for Liverpool’s perspective for a lot of this season.
Shortly after this Liverpool had more great chances to get back into the lead, and it was once again through some quick movement and changes of direction from Coutinho, who danced his way past the Palace defence before being fouled by Martin Kelly but he decided to stay on his feet before slamming the ball directly into the firm chest of James Tomkins. Replay after replay of this chance were shown afterwards, showing Coutinho to have tried to score rather than hit the deck and get what would have been a definite penalty, this was some really determined stuff from Liverpools number 10 as he showed a clear desire to score another.
Chances (the word of the day) from either side followed, with a header deflected from Coutinho into the hands of Hennessey, a shot dragged wide from a tight angle from Firmino. Johan Cabaye then had a tremendous opportunity for the visitors from around six yards out but blasted into the fans seated in the Anfield Road End. Then the inevitable happened in the 74th minute, after all the missed chances came a goal, and who else to score it, but Christian Benteke. A corner from the right hand side bounced into the Reds six yard box and Benteke was first to react, heading the ball into the back of the net past a hapless Mignolet. No surprise really in the manner of how Liverpool conceded, their achilles heel of defending set pieces flaring up once again.
Not too much followed really as Bentekes goal seemed to suck the life out of Anfield. The home side showed no real fight to get back into the game, or at least thats what it seemed like from my perspective. Substitutions were made by both sides which saw Marko Grujic entering the field with not much of the game left to play. He got booked and that was about it in all honestly, he did only have a few minutes to make an impact and he definitely did, on the leg of James Tomkins that is.
The full time whistle signalled after a nightmare Sunday afternoon for the Reds, leaving Crystal Palace in a wonderful position for their fight for survival, glad we could help.
Anything to add? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Why not like our Facebook page?
While you’re at it, give us a follow on twitter @_ps_football