Saturday 16 February 2019

John Aldridge identifies the one area where Liverpool really struggled against Crystal Palace

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Richard Sellers/PA Wire.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Richard Sellers/PA Wire.
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

John Aldridge believes Liverpool will have been given a wake-up call after their 4-3 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The thrilling win maintained Liverpool's four point lead at the top of the Premier League table, yet Aldo suggests they fell short in one key area as their defensive solidity was tested by Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

"Klopp will not have been happy with one key aspect of his side’s performance against Palace and it could have been costly in a Premier League title race where slip-ups are likely to be fatal," said Aldridge.

"The win was all that mattered in the end, as Liverpool opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the table once again ahead of Manchester City’s game at Huddersfield today, but there were a few worrying signs in a game loaded with a few too many incidents.

"One of the great improvements in this Liverpool side has been their ability to manage a game and keep things tight at the back on days when they fail to get an early goal.

“Well, they abandoned that mentality to an extent on Saturday, as a side that had conceded just three goals at home in the Premier League all season let in three more in one game.

"The second Palace equaliser from a corner was especially worrying. Liverpool have not conceded goals like that since Virgil van Dijk arrived at the club and that was a snapshot of their problems of years gone by.

"After Firmino fired them into a 2-1 lead, the third goal would have come if Liverpool were patient and didn’t commit too many men forward, but they gave Palace a chance to attack them once again and were punished for it.

"Liverpool then benefitted from a shocking error from Palace keeper Julian Speroini tto go 3-2 ahead and from that point, there was only one winner and that is all that matters in the final analysis."

Despite Liverpool's defensive lapses against Palace, Aldridge paid tribute to the consistency being shown by Klopp's side in their title battle against champions Manchester City.

"We can pick holes in the performances of some players and question some of the defending against Palace, but this is a Liverpool team that has put 60 points on the board from their first 23 Premier League games this season and they should be commended for that," he added.

"It is another game and another win ticked off, but the ridiculous standards being set in this Premier League title race means wins have to come week after week of you want to have a chance of finishing in top spot.

"We are only in January and clearly there will be lots of twists and turns in this title race before we reach the winning post and Liverpool may have been reminded of that against Palace.

"Now Klopp has to make the most of a spare weekend as Liverpool’s early FA Cup exit gives them a chance to have 10 days off before they take on Leicester in the Premier League at Anfield, with City having the advantage of going first in the next round of matches."

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