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Eze and Palace deal Liverpool big blow to title chances with 1-0 victory

LIVERPOOL’S bid to win the Premier League title in manager Juergen Klopp’s final season with the club suffered a huge blow as they were beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace at Anfield leaving them third in the table.

Eberechi Eze scored in the 14th minute to stun the Anfield faithful in the third consecutive disappointing result for Liverpool.

Klopp’s men are level on 71 points with second-placed Arsenal, who suffered a 2-0 shock loss to Aston Villa later on Sunday but lead Liverpool on goal difference. Liverpool trail leaders Manchester City by two points.

“I would say with the chances we had, we were really unlucky,” Klopp told the BBC. “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.”

Tyrick Mitchell found Eze unmarked in the box after a beautiful build-up of 21 passes and Eze slotted home with his first touch to put Palace ahead.

“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.”

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Poor finishing by Liverpool sealed their first league loss at Anfield since October 2022 and the television cameras captured young Liverpool fans wiping away tears in the stands after the final whistle.

Liverpool, who had 21 shots to Palace’s eight, squandered a bagful of chances including Curtis Jones’s shot on a breakaway that he fired wide, tugging his shirt over his head in disbelief. Liverpool’s talisman Mohamed Salah hammered a close-range strike off a defender in the dying seconds.

“You could stand here on another day and see the same balls go in and we’re talking about a 4-1 win but football doesn’t work like that,” said Klopp, who plans to leave Liverpool at the end of the season after nine years in charge.

Palace keeper Dean Henderson also made some remarkable saves, darting to stop a Darwin Nunez point-blank shot off his knee, among others.

“Coming to places like this, you know you’re going to be busy. I’m delighted to be back this time around, it’s a team effort,” Henderson told the BBC.

“I felt like I was out there for about a year, we rode our luck at times but I’m delighted. I think the lads believed we could do something today… the pressure was on (Liverpool),” he added.

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.

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“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.”

Palace, who are 14th in the table, ended a 10-match winless run on the road with their first away victory since November against Burnley.

Liverpool were coming off a 3-0 loss to Atalanta in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday and a costly 2-2 draw with Manchester United in their previous league game last Sunday.

By The African Mirror