Soccer Football – Premier League – Crystal Palace v Liverpool – Selhurst Park, London, Britain – February 25, 2023 Liverpool’s James Milner reacts after the match REUTERS/David Klein
Liverpool’s hopes of securing Champions League football were dealt a blow as an error-strewn display against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park ended in stalemate.
Jurgen Klopp’s side – humbled by Real Madrid at Anfield in midweek – are six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham after failing to break down a Palace side who remain without a win in 2023.
Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah both hit the woodwork but Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta also struck the crossbar and Patrick Vieira’s side were well worth their point.
The Eagles now have one win in 11 games after labouring to a draw that leaves them six points above the relegation zone with a testing series of games in March to come.
When asked at the post-match media conference about his team’s modest display, Klopp replied: “I see it in your eyes and in the players’ eyes as well. It looks like we lost the game – we didn’t.
“We’ve spoiled ourselves with a lot of things, but we cannot suffer because of our own history. That would really be a joke.
“This will not be the season in the history books that people want to look at again and again and again.
“There will not be big movies about it, but we have to go through it anyway.”
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Sloppy Reds a shadow of former selves
“It’s clear that we have to do something in the summer. For now, we just have to go through this.”
If the pre-match words from Klopp were intended to motivate his players, a poor first-half showing suggested merely ‘getting through’ the rest of the season may well be the limit of Liverpool’s remaining ambitions.
Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold twice allowed Palace’s misfiring attackers in on goal with elementary errors while Joel Matip also sliced the ball horribly to an opponent when under no pressure.
Alexander-Arnold, while not alone in his indifferent performance, lost possession 20 times in a first 45 minutes at Selhurst Park that left much to be desired.
At the other end Jota, in his first start since October following a long injury lay-off, did at least test Vicente Guaita before heading against the post from an improbable angle.
Liverpool improved after the half-time introduction of Harvey Elliott and Salah was unlucky to see a fine curling strike come back off the crossbar.
Cody Gakpo dinked a shot narrowly wide after being put through by Salah but that was Liverpool’s final thrust as Palace ended the match on top.
Palace still searching for win
Without a win in eight games since New Year’s Eve, Palace have stalled in the Premier League and did not have a single shot on target against Liverpool.
Badly missing the spark of the injured Wilfried Zaha, the hosts saw Mateta waste their best chance when he scooped against the bar after one of Alexander-Arnold’s errors.
Captain Marc Guehi also headed a good opportunity wide before an improved showing in the final 20 minutes roused their famously vociferous support.
A minute’s applause in the 77th minute marked this week’s death of BBC legend John Motson, whose final Match of the Day commentary took place at Selhurst Park in 2018.
The point means Palace will remain wary of getting sucked into a relegation battle, with tough-looking matches against champions Manchester City, rivals Brighton and leaders Arsenal coming up in March.