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Liverpool players and Jurgen Klopp must keep their end of the bargain with FSG demand clear



Liverpool game verdict as Paul Gorst reports on 0-0 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace

After enduring his hottest night at Anfield on Tuesday night, given the choice, Jurgen Klopp would certainly have chosen Selhurst Park for his next destination with Liverpool.

With seven straight wins in south London – including his biggest away win as Reds boss in December 2020 – it’s a place the German has loved so much.

But in this misshapen campaign, even away wins at Crystal Palace no longer seem sacred. Liverpool had the perfect chance here to overheat Newcastle and Tottenham and they relaxed their lines. The post-match highlight packages will be short, let’s put it that way. A third consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League will be small consolation for Klopp, whose side move up to seventh but remain six behind that coveted season-defining fourth. The current fixture offers at least some consolation, but few would count on the Reds beating a runaway Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to make up that deficit. Certainly not on this evidence.

Klopp hinted at his press conference on Friday that he is fully aware of the scale of the task ahead of him this summer as he tries to tackle a much-needed rebuild.

He even hinted that the riches bestowed on the club by Champions League qualification should not be the determining factor in whether or not he is allowed to launch Liverpool’s Great Restoration project, saying on Friday: “The money always has an effect. But this can’t have that much impact, let’s put it that way. Obviously he’s influential, but this is a summer where we absolutely have to be in the transfer market.”

To many experienced observers, it seemed like a slight nudge towards the owners of Fenway Sports Group and the conservative and often conservative nature of how the club’s finances are run under their watch, especially when it comes to the transfer market.

Liverpool’s need for sustained redevelopment is simply too great to be left to the mercy of whether or not to confirm a fourth-place finish this season, but the players here now have to prove they’re still up for the battle for that time. . Too many here have sounded like they want it to arrive before the end of February.

FSG’s search for outside investment may be underway, as principal owner John W Henry himself admitted earlier in the week, but Klopp definitely needs assurances that he’ll get what it takes to help him make the business great again. Liverpool. regardless of where in the shuffle this term lands. Until then, however, the manager and his players must keep up their end of the bargain as they try to walk out of a difficult and often harrowing campaign with at least something to show for their efforts. However, that was beyond Liverpool’s capabilities here, as their fragile confidence was once again on display for all to see in a match without any real incidents.

Darwin missed Nunez completely with the relapse of the shoulder injury he sustained at Newcastle last week as Diogo Jota started in his first game since the 1-0 win over Manchester City in mid-October. The Portuguese international was one of four substitutes alongside Joel Matip, Naby Keita and James Milner. The electric Nunez was a major shortcoming in the capital. The first period was particularly notable for the variety of inventive ways Liverpool created to give the hosts chances. Firstly, an exchange between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Matip Jean-Philippe gave Mateta a chance which was saved by Alisson before the Palace forward hit the bar after the right-back was dispossessed in his own box. Matip was also mistaken again as his poor clearing attempt forced Alisson to rush off his target to extinguish the danger.

Liverpool’s fragile mentality in defense was such that it seemed to be Palace’s tactic to simply play close and wait for fouls. It was a game plan that almost worked enough for Patrick Vieira. Liverpool’s best chance of the first half came for Jota, whose header from a tight angle found only the outside of the post. It would have been a godsend for a player whose effort and commitment have never wavered, even as his quality and fitness have understandably done the same as the game has developed.

Retired for the second period to Harvey Elliott, Keita had a night to forget upon his return to the team. If the Guinea international has plans to stay in Merseyside beyond this summer, it doesn’t show in his performances.

The listless number 8 wanted the ball for too long each time and was defeated by Palace midfield each time before being booked for a slow and half-hearted attempt to tackle Michael Olise. The £52m midfielder will always have people championing his cause, but Keita’s Liverpool career is sadly fading fast.

Mohamed Salah came so close to registering his 20th of the season for a six-season run when he hit the bar after Jota’s sweep hit a defender and reached the Egyptian.

Klopp brought in Fabinho and Roberto Firmino for tiring Jota and undersized Alexander-Arnold as Liverpool chased down a winner in the last 20 minutes, with Milner coming on at right-back.

Gakpo wanted a penalty when his attempt to blast Vicente Guaita to the ground eventually went offside for a goal kick, but it was more hope than expected and as the match drew to a close, it looked like Palace would pick up the winner.