Crystal Palace secured their third win of the Premier League season against a poor Liverpool.
Rickie Lambert got Liverpool off to the perfect start, cleverly dispatching the ball past Julian Speroni after just 90 seconds, having perfectly controlled a stunning, lofted through ball by Adam Lallana.
Liverpool failed to capitalise on their good start, allowing Palace to settle into the game, posing an attacking threat themselves. Dwight Gayle returned to hurt Liverpool again as he followed up a rebound from Yannick Bolasie’s shot to equalise in the 17th minute.
Palace looked threatening on the counter attack all afternoon, with their efforts resulting in a goal on 78 minutes when Joe Ledley slotted home from close range.
Neil Warnick’s side extended their lead in the 81st minute when Mile Jedinak’s well struck free kick found it’s way past Mignolet and into the top right hand corner of the Liverpool goal.
Liverpool’s response to the two quick fire goals was virtually non existent. The efforts of the players at this point were reminiscent to the disappointment and desperation they showed against Palace last season, where they gave away a three goal lead.
Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated possession throughout the game however rarely threatened the beat Speroni. Their most promising spell came during the second half, where the missed several opportunities. This came just before Palace took the lead, making Ledley’s goal a real sucker punch to Liverpool’s game.
Despite Liverpool playing poorly, Crsytal Palace deserve credit for their efforts. Bolasie and Gayle caused Skrtel and Lovren problems all game, while their team as a whole put in a solid defensive display.
Once again, Liverpool looked fragile in defence, failing to deal with the pace at which Warnock’s side attacked them. There were few positives for Rodgers to take from the game, with only Lallana and Coutinho showing signs of being able to breach the opposition.
Steven Gerrard has been a loyal servant and an integral part of the Liverpool side for many years, however his display only gave doubters more reason to suggest he is no where near the player he was. His shooting was unconvincing, while he offered little effective defensive support to his centre backs, meaning Joe Allen had to do the running of two men. At the moment, the Liverpool skipper is clearly not enjoying his football, which is something no football fan likes to see.
Again, Simon Mignolet’s decision making and distribution was extremely poor. His miss placed passes meant his defenders would have to immediately face another Palace attack, depriving his side of settling into a a rhythm and playing with confidence.
The abysmal performance of the Liverpool players cannot be overshadowed, however, the tactics of Brendan Rodgers must come into question yet again. He showed naivety in his substitutions, making the wrong decisions to bring of Allen as opposed to Gerrard and to bring of Lallana, who seemed most likely to provide a goal or chance, as opposed to Sterling.
Liverpool have now recorded only one win in their last five Premier League games, suggesting any potential title challenge is over. Breaking into the top four is clearly the priority now, however even that looks unlikely at the moment.
With a must win Champions League game against Ludogorets looming, the pressure is on for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool to give their fans hope and themselves something to fight for.
Following the disappointing defeat this afternoon, there will inevitably be questions over whether or not Rodger’s should be sacked. This stage of the season marks worrying times for Liverpool.