Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Fabinho hits controversial late penalty to bury Eagles

It is the turf, of course, where a title run against Manchester City died out eight years ago as Liverpool, three goals to good, were undone in a devastating final. The draw for this spring evening in 2014 was a brutal lesson in complacency.

The dynamic is different this time. City remain so far ahead in the title race that even in January, as Jurgen Klopp said before this game, every game is “a final” for his team. But the victory was a reminder that the same old perils lurk, even with his punishing presence on the touchline. Palace could have – and should have – found parity with Liverpool before a dodgy late penalty passed them by.

Klopp can name all three points, needless to say. Liverpool continue to accumulate as Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane are absent in the African Cup of Nations. City’s lead at the top is reduced to nine points and it will be six if Liverpool win their game in hand. There may still be life in this title race.

Fabinho completed a late kick to kill Crystal Palace in a 3-1 win for Liverpool, closing the gap to leaders Man City

Vicente Guaita was judged for bringing down Diogo Jota in the penalty area, with a long VAR check that struggled to decide

Vicente Guaita was judged for bringing down Diogo Jota in the penalty area, with a long VAR check that struggled to decide

Palace were considerably better in the second half and looked most likely to score, but VAR had other ideas at Selhurst Park

Palace were considerably better in the second half and looked most likely to score, but VAR had other ideas at Selhurst Park

Liverpool were helped by a hopelessly anemic performance from Palace in the first half which should have put the game almost out of sight and damaged the reputation that Patrick Vieira’s side have built as a powerful and fast. Virgil van Dijk and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s goals were wrapped in a gift

But that couldn’t take away from Liverpool’s fluidity in the first half. Andrew Robertson’s flawless delivery assisted in both goals, which were terrible from Palace’s perspective.

Van Dijk took off undetected as the full-back’s eighth-minute corner from the left had been knocked in and couldn’t have had an easier exercise on the training ground all week.

Odsonne Eduard was in the general vicinity but van Dijk’s headed goal was in the net before anyone calculated the danger.

MATCH FACTS

Crystal Palace: Guaita 6; Quarter 5.5, Andersen 6.5, Gehi 6, Mitchell 4.5; Olise 8, Gallagher 5.5, Hughes 5.5 (Ayew 77 6), Schlupp 7.5, Eduoard 7 (Eze 68 6); Mateta 7 (Benteke 77 5.5).

Substitutes not used: Butland, Milivojevic, Ayew, , Clyne, , Kelly, Ferguson, Riedewald

Director😛 Vieira 7.5

Liverpool: Alisson 7.5; Alexander-Arnold 6, Matip 6, Van Dijk 7, Robertson 7; Henderson 7, Fabinho 6, Jones 6; Oxlade-Chamberlain 6.5 (Minamino 59 5.5), Firmino 6, Jota 7.5,

Substitutes not used: Kelleher, Konaté, Milner, Gomez, , Tsimikas, Gordon, Williams, Morton

Director: J Klopp 7

Arbitrator: K Ami (Leicestershire) 5.5

At Anfield in September, Palace had shown some tactical acumen, with long balls to beat the Liverpool press, but they were overwhelmed as they tried to move him past their own box and were repeatedly unaware of where the danger lurked. of Liverpool.

When Robertson put in another telltale cross just beyond the half-hour mark, Tyrick Mitchell was busy worrying about Roberto Firmino and no one detected behind Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who fired the ball in and scored with a pointed half of the left foot. stolen.

It was Liverpool’s tenth shot on goal at this stage and Palace had only managed two touches inside the Liverpool box. The passing fluidity of Jordan Henderson, taking up positions at the top of the Liverpool right-wing, and Diego Jota and the overall energy indicated his side were intent.

It took Liverpool’s own negligence to give Palace the belief that the intent to attack was in them.

Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring with a header, charging unmarked as Palace struggled to get a foothold on Sunday

Virgil van Dijk opened the scoring with a header, charging unmarked as Palace struggled to get a foothold on Sunday

The tall Dutchman took the lead in Andy Robertson's corner as Liverpool commanded the opening stages of the game

The tall Dutchman took the lead in Andy Robertson’s corner as Liverpool commanded the opening stages of the game

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started the game and made it two, coming to the back post to touch it and bury it past Guaita

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started the game and made it two, coming to the back post to touch it and bury it past Guaita

A bad pass through his own penalty area by Joel Matip, as he tried to get out of the defence, was sent straight to Michael Olise who had a clear view of the goal and sent a shot which Alisson extended his left leg to block. When Roberto Firmino sacrificed possession almost as easily, Olise sent a ball which Jean-Philippe Mateta sped past van Dijk to meet, finding an angled shot which Matip managed to knock out.

Palace maintained their momentum after the break, with Olise finding the kind of invention Robertson struggled to manage. He tricked the Scot to raise a cross from the secondary line that Conor Gallagher should have connected with. Schlupp’s leap and head tilted and thrown back then caused panic, with Alisson saving from the backheel of Odsonne Edouard.

Palace’s goal came three minutes later – Schlup moved forward and found a low, angled ball behind the Liverpool defense which Jean-Phillip Mateta ran over. One-on-one, he slid the ball inside for Edouard to go home.

Palace continued to threaten. Olise ran on a lifted ball over the retreating Liveroool defense after a long clearance from Vicente Guaita and sent a lob which Alisson was quick to grab around his post.

Palace came out with fresh energy in the second half and Odsonne Edouard completed a superb move for Palace's goal

Palace came out with fresh energy in the second half and Odsonne Edouard completed a superb move for Palace’s goal

Liverpool were sloppy in defense at times but Alisson was on fire, stopping a big chance for Jean-Philippe Mateta

Liverpool were sloppy in defense at times but Alisson was on fire, stopping a big chance for Jean-Philippe Mateta

Palace made it an uncomfortable run to the finish and but for the controversial late penalty it could have made for a frenetic end

Palace made it an uncomfortable run to the finish and but for the controversial late penalty it could have made for a frenetic end

Jurgen Klopp's side close in on Manchester City with victory, keeping hopes of a top-flight title race alive

Jurgen Klopp’s side close in on Manchester City with victory, keeping hopes of a top-flight title race alive

Liverpool, who couldn’t recover from their initial dominance, were helped out of harm’s way by a questionable VAR decision minutes from time.

Jota ran over a bouncing ball in the palace area, completely missed it as he tried to lift it over Guaita and quickly went to the ground when his momentum from his forward movement l brought down with the goalkeeper. Fabinho sent the penalty to Guaita’s left.

Liverpool’s visit to the Etihad on April 9 could still be a decisive game in this title race, although the way this weekend unfolds suggests there will be bumps in the road for both times between now the.

Relive all the Selhurst Park drama with live commentary from Sportsmail’s TOBY MILES…

About Laurence Johnson

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