Liverpool’s Klopp at loss for words after Palace defeat

Liverpool‘s season is starting to unravel, and manager Jurgen Klopp is at a loss to explain why.

A 1-0 home loss to Crystal Palace damaged Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge on Sunday, three days after a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta at Anfield in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals.

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Those consecutive home losses come after last Sunday’s draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford and leave Klopp’s side looking up the table at leaders Manchester City yet again.

“Could be,” Klopp said, when asked if the loss to Palace was a hangover from the defeat to Atalanta. “If you look at my teams over the years, I think you could say our pressing is usually good, the counter-press is there. The first half [against Palace], we were open — like how can that happen?

“It’s only a few days ago that we played a bad game, so it might have something to do with that. Actually it was a really good game [Sunday], without scoring. But it’s not that easy unfortunately.”

Eberechi Eze stroked home a finish from Tyrick Mitchell‘s cutback in the 14th minute to consign Liverpool to its first loss in the league at Anfield in 28 matches — stretching back to October 2022.

Palace could have doubled their lead in the first half when Jean-Philippe Mateta chipped past Liverpool keeper Alisson. The ball was bound for goal but defender Andy Robertson sprinted back and slid to just save it on the line.

“So frustrating today. So many chances,” Robertson told Sky Sports. “First half I thought we were poor and [Palace] were on top and could have been more than 1-0 up. Second half we had enough chances to win two or three games.”

It was the 21st time the Reds have gone behind in 32 league games this season and they couldn’t recover, despite Wataru Endo hitting the crossbar midway through the first half and Darwin Nunez and Curtis Jones squandering golden chances in front of the Kop after the break.

In the final minutes, Mohamed Salah was presented with an easy opportunity to score from close range for Liverpool, but his prod toward goal was weak and blocked by the outstretched leg of Mitchell, who made a despairing challenge.

“I would say with the chances we had, we were really unlucky,” Klopp said. “In the second half, Crystal Palace were lucky we didn’t punish them but that’s why we are stood here with no points and Crystal Palace have three.”

Liverpool started the weekend in second place, behind Arsenal on goal difference, but are now two points adrift of Manchester City after the champions’ 5-1 thrashing of Luton Town on Saturday and finished the day in third on goal difference despite a Gunners’ loss to Aston Villa.

“Of course you have to ask these questions — what does it mean for the title race and stuff like this,” Klopp told reporters on Sunday. “I’m not dumb, I know that.

“The answer is pretty easy: if we play like we did in the first half, why should we win the league?”

Palace are now in 14th place on 33 points with six games left in the season.

“It’s an outstanding win at Anfield — it’s so difficult to win here,” Palace boss Oliver Glasner said. “How they played, especially in the first half, is so nice to see. In the second half, there was a lot of pressure from Liverpool.

“It’s about being able to express yourself and play with confidence,” he added. We cleared many situations under pressure with one-two touch. We scored an amazing goal. It’s about confidence, team spirit, passion.”

Liverpool lost last month to Manchester United in the FA Cup quarterfinals, ending the possibility of an unlikely quadruple of trophies this season with the League Cup already secured.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.