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Liverpool 1, Crystal Palace 2: Defensive Lapses Lead to Dropped Points

Reds the better team, but mistakes derail effort.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Liverpool 1: Coutinho 42'
Crystal Palace 2: Bolasie 21' Dann 82'

Crystal Palace jumped on Liverpool early, and the visitors pinned the Reds back with an aggressive approach over the opening 20 minutes. The attacking ambition paid off, as a woeful Emre Can clearance attempt fell to Yannick Bolasie for a simple go-ahead goal. From then on, Liverpool were the better side and should have walked away with at least a point, but a lapse on a late corner gifted Palace the win.

With James Milner unavailable due to a hamstring injury, Jürgen Klopp inserted Jordon Ibe into Liverpool's attack. It took until after Palace's goal for things to click, but the fluid trio of Ibe, Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho working behind Christian Benteke proved to be extremely effective.

After scoring midweek in the Europa League, Ibe's directness again had an end product to match, as he fizzed in numerous high-quality crosses from the right wing. That paired with the slick creativity of Lallana and Coutinho forced Palace to defend deep for much of the match. Lucas' strong play helped too, with his ability to win the ball back in the midfield keeping Liverpool in full control for long spurts.

Liverpool suffered a major injury blow when Mamadou Sakho landed awkwardly and was unable to continue. Dejan Lovren replaced the defender and put in a decent shift at the back.

Coutinho, who has gone from rough patch to red hot in a matter of weeks, struck Liverpool level just before half time. The build up came down the right flank where Ibe and Nathaniel Clyne linked up nicely. Clyne crossed low, Lallana provided a subtle flick across the top of the box, Benteke let it roll past and Coutinho made no mistake with his finish.

Liverpool continued to dominate possession in the second half but couldn't create a clear chance to take the lead. However, it still felt as if the winner was on its way, especially when Roberto Firmino came on to reinforce the attack.

The goal never came, which was frustrating enough, but to compound matters, Liverpool conceded a late headed goal to Scott Dann to let a seemingly assured point slip from their grasp. And it was from a corner, because some things never change.

After the euphoria of last week's resounding win over Chelsea and a solid midweek Europa win, it's a letdown to lose this one after a generally encouraging performance. But it's important to remember that this is a process, a long-term project that will take patience to succeed. This season is hanging in the balance, and Liverpool must crush a rather generous holiday period in order to contend for the top four. But on the whole, what matters is that the team put forth another positive display, and eventually that should lead to consistent results.

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