Liverpool 0-1 Crystal Palace: Player ratings as Reds suffer major title blow

  • Liverpool suffer potentially decisive defeat in Premier League title race
  • Eberechi Eze goal wins it for Palace
  • Reds now need slip-ups from Manchester City and Arsenal
Liverpool's title hopes took a major blow on Sunday
Liverpool's title hopes took a major blow on Sunday / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Liverpool suffered a huge blow to their Premier League title hopes as they were beaten 1-0 at Anfield by Crystal Palace.

The Reds missed the chance to return to top spot as Eberechi Eze's early goal handed the visitors a hard-fought but deserved victory.

Jurgen Klopp's side now need slip-ups from both Arsenal and Manchester City to have any chance of coming out on top in the title race.

How the game unfolded

The team news featured a significant boost to Liverpool in the form of fit-again first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker starting.

But the return of a world-class goalkeeper means little when free shots in the 18-yard box are given up easily and that's exactly what happened when Tyrick Mitchell's pull-back found Eze for a simple finish at the Kop end with 14 minutes gone.

That was the 21st time this season the Reds had fallen behind in a game and a strong response might have been expected from a side that has consistently produced them.

Instead, Andy Robertson was required to clear a dinked Jean-Philippe Mateta effort off the line after a Virgil van Dijk slip had put him in one-on-one.

Liverpool did eventually produce a response as Wataru Endo hit the bar from close range following a scramble at a corner, while Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah both forced sharp saves from Dean Henderson.

However, the hosts almost conceded again when Mateta headed an Eberechi Eze cross just over before the whistle sounded on a 1-0 half-time deficit.

At the break, Klopp recognised a poor Endo performance in replacing the midfielder with Dominik Szoboszlai and he was forced into another change shortly after the restart when a Conor Bradley injury meant Trent Alexander-Arnold coming on.

And Liverpool might have thought their luck was about to change when the ball dropped to Darwin Nunez inside the box following an aerial challenge, only for the Uruguayan to somehow hit Henderson with his finish.

His replacement, Diogo Jota, then missed a similar chance in smashing the ball into Nathaniel Clyne from close range as Klopp's substitutions failed to change things.

Palace soon missed a huge chance of their own as Mateta failed to beat Alisson from inside the six-yard box after a knockdown from Joachim Andersen had seemingly set him up to wrap up the points.

Liverpool continued to make substitutions in the search of some impetus and continued to probe Palace, but when Curtis Jones put a one-on-one wide the writing appeared to be on the wall.

And so it proved as Palace held out for their first away win since a victory over Burnley in November, quite possibly ending Liverpool's season in the process.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

Curtis Jones
Jones missed a big opportunity / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

GK: Alisson Becker - 6/10 - Could do little about the opener and made a brilliant save from Mateta to keep it at 1-0.

RB: Conor Bradley - 4/10 - Could not affect the game in an offensive sense or lock down his flank before picking up an injury early in the second half that forced him off.

CB: Ibrahima Konate - 6/10 - Did mostly well in his battle with Mateta but lacked composure in possession as Liverpool chased the game.

CB: Virgil van Dijk - 5/10 - Won his duels but will look back on the fact he was marking nobody for the Palace goal with real regret.

LB: Andy Robertson - 7/10 - Liverpool's biggest threat in a disappointing first half and cleared brilliantly off the line from Mateta.

DM: Wataru Endo - 3/10 - Should have done better to block the pull-back that allowed Palace to open the scoring and continuously gave the ball away before being hooked at half-time.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - 5/10 - It is perhaps no coincidence that Liverpool have struggled with his creative influence waning in recent weeks. Off colour again.

CM: Curtis Jones - 5/10 - Kept the ball well enough but did not win enough challenges to keep Liverpool on top.

RW: Mohamed Salah - 4/10 - Has struggled since his return from injury and was bettered by makeshift centre-back Lerma here.

CF: Darwin Nunez - 4/10 - Missed a glorious chance to level things as part of a forgettable performance up top.

LW: Luis Diaz - 5/10 - Tested Henderson with an acrobatic effort in the first half but didn't do much to trouble the Palace defence after that.


SUB: Dominik Szoboszlai (46' for Endo) - 5/10

SUB: Alexander-Arnold (49' for Bradley) - 6/10

SUB: Diogo Jota (66' for Diaz) - 6/10

SUB: Cody Gakpo (66' for Nunez) - 7/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (83' for Jones) - 6/10

Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Gravenberch, Quansah.


Jurgen Klopp - 4/10 - Had no answers. His Anfield reign looks to be limping to a close.

Crystal Palace ratings (3-4-3)

Dean Henderson
Henderson was pivotal to Palace's success / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

GK: Dean Henderson - 8/10 - Made several brilliant saves to ensure the visitors kept their clean sheet.

CB: Nathaniel Clyne - 7/10 - His experience as a full-back came in handy even in a centre-half position as Liverpool attempted to stretch the Palace defence. Produced a brilliant block from Jota late on.

CB: Joachim Andersen - 8/10 - Won every battle and was always there when a last-ditch challenge was required. Also showed brilliant composure in possession.

CB: Jefferson Lerma - 7/10 - Not a centre-back by trade, but you could hardly tell with the way he locked down Salah here.

RWB: Daniel Munoz - 7/10 - Nullified the threat of Diaz and made six tackles, with only Mac Allister managing more.

CM: Adam Wharton - 7/10 - A fantastic mix of calmness on the ball and physicality when it was needed. Gave Palace a foothold.

CM: Will Hughes - 7/10 - Just as impressive as his midfield partner in terms of winning possession and then using it intelligently.

LWB: Tyrick Mitchell - 8/10 - Set up the winner and was both a constant threat going forward and a tireless worker in defence.

RW: Michael Olise - 7/10 - Liverpool could not get the ball off him whenever he had it and his lovely touches were a key part of Palace's huge threat on the break.

CF: Jean-Philippe Mateta - 8/10 - Bullied Liverpool's centre-backs for large parts of the game to help the visitors get up the pitch even with scruffy balls.

LW: Eberechi Eze - 8/10 - Took his goal with typical composure and was always a useful outlet when Palace broke away.


SUB: Jordan Ayew (68' for Olise) - 6/10

SUB: Jairo Riedewald (77' for Hughes) - 6/10

SUB: Joel Ward (77' for Clyne) - 6/10

SUB: Jeffrey Schlupp (77' for Eze) - 6/10

SUB: Odsonne Edouard (90' for Mateta)

Subs not used: Matthews, Tomkins, Ahamada, Ozoh.


Oliver Glasner - 8/10 - Set his team up brilliantly to earn a fully deserved victory.

Player of the match: Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace)