Single word yields best result

Football News: Crystal Palace v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Crystal Palace v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
Image from: 9gag.com

Crystal Palace v Liverpool

 

Not a good watch, a match riddled with errors and poor play from both teams. Palace had spotted a weakness and exploited it - long ball straight to Benteke to nod in behind the right back for Zaha to run on to. The centre backs were unable to cope with Benteke and the one not attacking the ball was not dropping in to cover, as well as Alexander-Arnold still not anticipating the danger, despite being caught out repeatedly by this exact same thing. For all the talk of leadership from van Dijk, that was noticeably absent as well, as he did nothing to organise the defence to deal with the threat. The defending is far too passive when Matip partners van Dijk, both are too lax and laidback.

In fact it was the usual early kick off struggles. Passing too slow, movement lacking and the team relying on the front three to do it all, without giving them much to work with. There really is a problem with the team's attitude, it lacks fire, there is no 'get at them' about them in these games, something that Naby Keita cannot change all on his own. There is a lot of huff and puff, running around, but it is mostly aimless by the midfield and fullbacks in games like this.

It is just lucky that the quality at the top end of the pitch is there. The possession was dominated by the forwards got very few chances, yet they scored two. If the quality up top was matched by quality in midfield and defence, that game would have been another hammering, as Palace are not a good side and should have been overrun.

 

Klopp - needs to look at this early kick off lack of intensity from his team. It is ok moaning about how it is crap having them, but they are there so you have to deal with it. He fixed the injury problems from previous years, this is the next biggest issue that needs to be looked at and cured. Not sure about his decision to go to a back 3 with Matip on the right side. That just exposed the weakest link to Zaha directly and it could have badly backfired if Zaha had not been struggling with his fitness by that point.

 

Karius - made a mistake to give away the pen. Needs to learn not to just charge out into a player like Zaha, who will always make sure there is contact. Also, just racing out gives you only one chance of making the save, that being if the ball hits you, as there is no time to set yourself to react to a ball to right or left. Other than that, he did well. Not the worst mistake for the pen, but it is something he can look at to improve for the future.

 

Alexander-Arnold - struggled all game defensively, though offered good width going forward. There was no need to sacrifice one for the other, he just needs to learn to play the full back role. When the centre back goes in to challenge for a header, the full backs should drop in on the cover. It is basics but it seems to have escaped him yet again, when he has been caught out like this time and time again. If he is not going to learn from basic errors then he will never make it at top level.

 

Matip - awful. Absolutely dreadful. Even putting aside his passing, which saw him play one good forward pass which seemed to make him think he was suddenly Andrea Pirlo and try to thread every ball through the eye of the needle giving the ball away each time, his defending was even more weak and useless than usual. The penalty is a case in point, I have watched it over and over and still have no idea what he was doing. It was absolutely idiotic. He just stood and watched after moving forward into no man's land, made no attempt to challenge or put pressure on, no attempt to drop off and cover, just stood and watched.

 

van Dijk - poor. He was beaten far too often by Benteke. He was positionally all over the place. I keep reading people talking about him being a captain because he sometimes shouts and points, but never a captain for me. A captain needs to play his part and needs to talk young players through a game. It is notable that not once did he get on Alexander-Arnold's back and wake him up to the job he should have been doing. Palace have nothing in terms of attacking threat, yet the Liverpool defence made them seem decent.

 

Robertson - poor, worked hard, got up and down the flank but his crossing had returned to abysmal and his passing was shocking. He made one right decision all game, and even then he got the pass wrong and played it behind Firmino, luckily, as should be happening, Salah was there to pick up the ball played across. He has to do better on the ball.

 

Henderson - disappointing. He is really struggling, his legs have almost completely gone. Early on he controlled the game, moving the ball around quickly but, once Palace stepped and shut off passing options, he struggled with no one to play the ball off to.

 

Milner - worryingly, he was probably Liverpool's best midfielder on the day, worked his socks off as per usual, got an assist, but he does lack the nous in that role. When he is the best midfielder then you know there is an issue.

 

Wijnaldum - another shadow-like performance. He shows a flash of genuine ability but then hides for the rest of the game. So frustrating to watch as there is definitely a player in there, deep within that shell.

 

Salah - not his best day but a lovely, well taken goal. You cannot ask much more from him than to score.

 

Mane - trying too hard to make things happen once more. Scored a goal but it was a silly decision he made to go down looking for a penalty when the ball was at his feet. The touch was not what made him go down, so it is a dive. There was no need for it as the defender had completely sold himself and Mane had the ball in the corner of the 6 yard box with a little bit of time and space to produce a cross, pass or work a shot.

Worse was the silly drag back of the ball when on a booking already. I know he felt it was a foul, it looked a clear foul, but players should play to the whistle. It is the ref's decision to make, not theirs. He was a lucky boy that the ref did not give him a second booking.

 

Firmino - worked hard but got little in the way of service. When you have a player with his ability, you need to get the ball to him more often.

 

Subs:

Lallana - was part of a double substitution in the 65th minute, replacing Wijnaldum, but only lasted a few minutes before an injury saw the sub subbed off.

Oxlade-Chamberlain - also brought on when Lallana entered the game, in place of Mane before the Senegalese got himself sent off. Decent enough game but never made the impact he would have wanted.

Lovren - was the replacement for the injured Lallana and slotted in pretty much seamlessly in the centre of a back three. He may make mistakes, basic errors, but he would not have stood watching the play while Palace attacked as the other two at the back kept getting caught doing. At least he shows desire and tries to win everything, though he sometimes makes a mess of it. Was not a bad game for the Croatian. One thing is for sure, he is a better partner for either of the other two than they are for each other, as Matip and van Dijk are far too similar and they get lazy when paired up.

Written by Tris Burke April 01 2018 18:57:01