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Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp says side is too far behind for title talk

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Virgil van Dijk scores
Van Dijk leapt to powerfully head home the opener

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says it is too early to think about his side catching Premier League leaders Manchester City despite cutting the gap by mixing early class with late resilience to hold off Crystal Palace.

A day after City dropped points for the first time since October, Klopp's side were sharp and ruthless early on to take the game away from Palace at Selhurst Park.

However Liverpool laboured in the second half and Klopp said his side showed how "insanely good we can be and how bad as well", as a controversial late penalty was needed to make the win safe.

The German's side are nine points behind City but have a game in hand on Pep Guardiola's team and face them in the league at Etihad Stadium in April.

Klopp said it was a "massive" three points but when asked if his side sent a title statement to City, he told BBC Sport: "No. The distance is too far to talk about it but we don't have to. We just need to win football matches. We will see what happens in the final few months."

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Klopp delighted with 'massive' three points

'We lost control' - Klopp

The intensity of Liverpool's press and crisp use of the ball overwhelmed Palace early on and Virgil van Dijk rose to deliver a bullet header for their opener before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finished a sweeping team move for their second.

Palace, though, eventually offered moments of threat, with Liverpool keeper Alisson forced to save well from Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta before Conor Gallagher glanced a header wide at the start of the second half.

They finally broke through when the ever-willing Mateta raced onto Jeffrey Schlupp's superb through ball and unselfishly squared for Odsonne Edouard to tap into an empty net.

"For 35 minutes we were outstanding," Klopp added.

"We looked really sharp and ready to play in small spaces then two or three sloppy passes and the stadium is back, Palace is back and we did not start well in the second half.

"We had our moments but we did not control it any more. If you lose a little bit of focus it showed how tired we could be as Palace played a really good game. We opened the door for them and they ran through."

Fabinho's 89th-minute penalty settled any Liverpool nerves and arrived after referee Kevin Friend was told by the VAR to check the pitch side monitor in order to reconsider his initial decision not to award a foul when Diogo Jota was brought down Vicente Guaita.

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said the decision was not a penalty "in a million years" but it helped secure victory for Klopp's side, who have taken maximum league points from the fixtures missed by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane while they play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Liverpool dig in as Palace rally

The Football News Show: Is Premier League title race still alive?

Much was made of how Klopp's side would handle the loss of Mane, Salah and Naby Keita, who will be available again for the visit of Leicester on 10 February. In their absence the Reds have marginally improved their hopes of challenging for the title.

Fans of a red persuasion will hope this tight victory coupled with the end of City's 12-game winning run leads to a momentum shift for the sides.

While Klopp may downplay hopes of landing the title, the way his players set about their early business pointed to a belief that a fight back remains a possibility.

They swarmed Palace to win the ball back seven times in the final third in the opening 30 minutes and had played over double the number of passes compared to their hosts in the same period.

Midfielder Curtis Jones again showed poise throughout as he used the ball smartly in the final third - where he was more accurate than any Reds' player - and Andrew Robertson provided sublime crosses for both Van Dijk and Oxlade-Chamberlain to find the net.

But for all their early brilliance Liverpool found themselves on the end of a marked momentum shift towards half time.

Their 11 first-half shots fell to as few as four after the break as Palace began to find a footing and Alisson's saves kept the home side out until Edouard struck to reward them for their industry.

Olise, signed from Reading in the summer, looks poised to prove a key force for Patrick Vieira.

The 20-year-old created two chances and looked lively in advanced areas throughout, notably when he almost levelled with a deft lob late on.

Jota won Liverpool's penalty by being 'really smart' - Vieira

Vieira and Palace were aggrieved at key moments in the defeat. There was a suggestion Roberto Firmino was offside in the build-up to Oxlade-Chamberlain's goal and the penalty award for Jota was controversial.

Vieira's side have just one win from their last six outings and enter the winter break on 24 points from 22 games - five fewer than they had under Roy Hodgson after as many fixtures last season.

They will hope to add results to promising performances like this one, while Liverpool know they must keep churning out wins like this if they are to stand any chance of reeling in league leaders City.

Player of the match

RobertsonAndrew Robertson

with an average of 8.03

Crystal Palace

  1. Squad number22Player nameÉdouard
    Average rating


  2. Squad number23Player nameGallagher
    Average rating


  3. Squad number7Player nameOlise
    Average rating


  4. Squad number10Player nameEze
    Average rating


  5. Squad number15Player nameSchlupp
    Average rating


  6. Squad number14Player nameMateta
    Average rating


  7. Squad number16Player nameAndersen
    Average rating


  8. Squad number2Player nameWard
    Average rating


  9. Squad number13Player nameGuaita
    Average rating


  10. Squad number3Player nameMitchell
    Average rating


  11. Squad number6Player nameGuéhi
    Average rating


  12. Squad number12Player nameHughes
    Average rating


  13. Squad number9Player nameJ Ayew
    Average rating


  14. Squad number20Player nameBenteke
    Average rating



  1. Squad number26Player nameRobertson
    Average rating


  2. Squad number1Player nameAlisson
    Average rating


  3. Squad number15Player nameOxlade-Chamberlain
    Average rating


  4. Squad number4Player namevan Dijk
    Average rating


  5. Squad number3Player nameFabinho
    Average rating


  6. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
    Average rating


  7. Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
    Average rating


  8. Squad number14Player nameHenderson
    Average rating


  9. Squad number17Player nameJones
    Average rating


  10. Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
    Average rating


  11. Squad number32Player nameMatip
    Average rating


  12. Squad number7Player nameMilner
    Average rating


  13. Squad number12Player nameGomez
    Average rating


  14. Squad number18Player nameMinamino
    Average rating



Crystal Palace

Formation 4-3-3

  • 13Guaita
  • 2WardBooked at 90mins
  • 16Andersen
  • 6Guéhi
  • 3Mitchell
  • 23GallagherBooked at 49mins
  • 12HughesBooked at 61minsSubstituted forJ Ayewat 77'minutes
  • 15SchluppBooked at 82mins
  • 7Olise
  • 14MatetaSubstituted forBentekeat 77'minutes
  • 22ÉdouardSubstituted forEzeat 68'minutes


  • 1Butland
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 9J Ayew
  • 10Eze
  • 17Clyne
  • 20Benteke
  • 34Kelly
  • 36Ferguson
  • 44Riedewald


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldSubstituted forGomezat 90+2'minutes
  • 32Matip
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26Robertson
  • 14Henderson
  • 3Fabinho
  • 17Jones
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forMinaminoat 60'minutes
  • 9FirminoBooked at 81minsSubstituted forMilnerat 90'minutes
  • 20Jota


  • 5Konaté
  • 7Milner
  • 12Gomez
  • 18Minamino
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 49Gordon
  • 62Kelleher
  • 76N Williams
  • 80Morton
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamCrystal PalaceAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crystal Palace 1, Liverpool 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 1, Liverpool 3.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Andrew Robertson (Liverpool).

  4. Post update

    Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Curtis Jones (Liverpool).

  6. Post update

    Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

  8. Post update

    Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Booking

    Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Diogo Jota (Liverpool).

  11. Post update

    Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Joseph Gomez replaces Trent Alexander-Arnold.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Roberto Firmino.

  14. Post update

    Goal! Crystal Palace 1, Liverpool 3. Fabinho (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  15. Post update

    VAR Decision: Penalty Liverpool.

  16. Post update

    Penalty Liverpool. Diogo Jota draws a foul in the penalty area.

  17. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace) after a foul in the penalty area.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Alisson.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Michael Olise (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Joachim Andersen with a through ball.

  20. Booking

    Jeffrey Schlupp (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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