Liverpool were always going to be in a battle to secure a spot in the Champions League next season, but after Manchester United’s win against Burnley FC and the Reds subsequent loss to Crystal Palace cut the gap between the two sides to three-points, the pressure just got ratcheted up that much more.
“I had to say a few words to the boys,” said Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, speaking to the press following the final whistle. “I know what everyone is saying, that we have to win it, do this and that. Crystal Palace are a good side but we dominated the game, that was clear. We had very good moments. It is not easy to create chance and chance and chance,” explained the German manager. “Today it was a defeat and makes sense for me to say a few words. We were not at our best. We tried everything – changing systems – but it didn’t work that well because we had a bit of nerves,” added Klopp. “There are games to play and we will be ready.”
After securing an “ugly” win over West Bromwich Albion last weekend, Liverpool looked ready to keep their unbeaten streak alive against the Eagles as they try to stay ahead of both Manchester United and Arsenal in the race for a top four spot, but a pair of goals from ex-Reds striker Christian Benteke canceled out Philippe Coutinho’s sublime first half strike as Palace claimed their third victory on the hop at Anfield. Klopp, always the pragmatist, may be having “words” with the whole squad, but there’s some who think he should be spending some extra time with one player in particular.
“We’re looking at the same problems that we’ve spoken about all season, you think at centre-back and at set pieces,” explained former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, analyzing the match. “Counter-attack is the other one as well. Palace never scored one of their goals from that, but Lovren’s involvement in both goals – both times, he tries to knick the ball,” said the Sky Sports pundit. “Jurgen Klopp spoke last week of playing ‘adult football’. Well, he’s one of the most experienced players in the squad, [he should] read the situation and know whether to dive in, and he got it wrong on both occasions.”