Technically, that was a football match. That’s what they’ll tell you anyways. I’m not convinced. Liverpool absolutely toothless in a match that was there for the taking. Crystal Palace came into this match having not won a single game in 2023 and have four goals to their name. March is next week. They are not good and Liverpool, in all of their might and glory, made a team like that look the likelier of winners.
Just a week ago it had seemed like Liverpool had wrestled hope back into the equation for their season by beating Newcastle United. Furthermore on Tuesday, they were 2-0 up on Real Madrid before the game clock had hit 15 minutes. The dark days were supposed to be behind us and there was something that could happen this season.
Here we sit on Saturday evening and the horizon is darker that ever. Real Madrid scores five. At Anfield. Naby Keita is hooked at halftime. Against Palace. Liverpool sit 7th after 23 played. The season was there for the taking and they played themselves.
Anyways, about time we talk about what happened. I’m not convinced it did, but we must. Now join us as we examine some of the narratives, tactics, reactions, and questions Liverpool will be dealing with and the fans will be talking about in the aftermath
Winners and Losers
So, if you had any doubts about Darwin already being an integral part to the Liverpool attack, I have 90 minutes of evidence for you. Cody Gakpo looked good today, but there just wasn’t a cohesive attack against Palace. Here’s some numbers:
Liverpool in the Premier League this season when Darwin Núñez starts:— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) February 25, 2023
Shots/game - 17.7
xG/game - 1.93
Win % - 54%
Pts/game - 1.77
Núñez doesn't start:
Shots/game - 14.6
xG/game - 1.60
Win % - 30%
Pts/game - 1.30#LFC
The argument for different hobbies
Can someone please remind me why I like this sport?
There was a moment about 4 or 5 minutes into the match where Matip drilled a pass at a wide open Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was about five yards away. The ball bounces off Trent and goes out of bounds for a Palace throw-in. I’ve never seen someone have more disdain for a colleague than Trent did in that moment. The madness continued for the rest of the match from Big Joel. God love him. It used to be fun when he did crazy stuff. Now it’s just sad.
On any given day, the performance we saw from Matip would’ve been comfortably the worst player on the field. However goes to bed tonight thankful he shared the field with Keita for 45 minutes. Keita could’ve been sent off by the 30th minute if the referee was half competent. He’s lucky he saw the halftime whistle. Jurgen Klopp has hooked him in the first half before and would’ve been totally justified in doing so again. Didn’t do a single thing right.
What Happens Next?
A rational mind will tell you that hope for top 4 is not completely lost yet. A rational mind may argue that, given who Liverpool plays over the next month, they may very well hold their destiny in their hands. A rational mind probably didn’t bother letting Liverpool bore them to death on a Saturday evening. I’d hope so at least.
I’m not feeling particularly gracious or rational after watching that. Just a week ago they had given us every reason to believe. It was right there for the taking. A week later and they’ve completely fucked it. No hard lines, nothing to moan about, just a complete capitulation. So unlike Liverpool and Klopp and the players and the like.
I suppose the good news is that it can always be worse. Afterall, there’s yet another match against Wolves on Wednesday.