Pitchside

Liverpool’s five worst performers against Palace

Pitchside

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Liverpool's collapse against Crystal Palace looks to have left their title dreams in tatters but which players were most to blame.

Stats gurus Squawka countdown the most guilty men in reverse order (Graphs show tackles won/lost).

5. Lucas Leiva (-1)

The jury has been out on the Brazilian for a number of years and he has failed to develop into the player that he was expected to become following the early days of his Anfield career.

It is hard to believe that Lucas is now 27 years-old as his decision making is poor and he fails to put his stamp on game form the centre of midfield. He completed two tackles from six attempts and found himself out of his depth against a combative Palace outfit. Jordan Henderson's rash lunge on Samir Nasri has had huge ramifications on the Reds' title bid as Lucas has failed to fill the Englishman's void in the team and frankly is not good enough. Title or no title, Liverpool need to replace Lucas.

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4. Simon Mignolet (-7)

The £9 million summer signing from Sunderland has not benefited from a settled back four for the entire campaign and they let him down once again on Monday night. The Belgian conceded three goals for the sixth occasion in the Premier League this season and was left helpless for all three goal from Tony Pulis' men.

A wicked deflection took the ball over him for the opener and two smart finishes from Gayle were tough to keep out for any goalkeeper. Given the collapse that took place in front of him Mignolet could do little to prevent the tide from turning but he needs to improve how he commands his defensive line. The attacking brand of football that Rodgers' insists on often leaves defenders out of position and Mignolet must marshal his defenders.

3. Martin Skrtel (-11)

Skrtel has attracted a great deal of criticism in the centre of defence throughout the campaign, with his goal tally of seven masking some of his deficiencies. The Slovakian's decision making is poor at critical moments and he was left in no man's land when he attempted to challenge Glenn Murray in the build up to Palace's third goal.

Caught in two minds, he did not reach the forward in time, who easily flicked the ball on for Gayle to finish. Questions remain as to whether Skrtel can provide the back bone to Liverpool's defence.

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2. Glen Johnson (-11)

The England international's defensive ability leaves a lot to be desired. At 29 years of age he should be a steady influence but he panics all too often. The right-back struggled for the whole evening against Yannick Bolasie and failed to tackle his opposite number in four attempts (he overall won just one tackle from six).

Crucially, three of those failure came in the closing minutes of the match when Liverpool lost their heads and Palace began a dramatic turnaround. The tricky winger left Johnson for dead for the Eagles' second strike when he beat Johnson all too easily on the half way line and squared for Gayle to finish.

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Jon Flanagan (-16)

The Liverpool born full-back has enjoyed a successful spell on the left flank since his introduction to the first-team but did not cover himself in glory last night.

The 21-year-old managed a 90% passing accuracy but crucially he won just one tackle from four attempts. Given his roots he will be devastated his side's title challenge has ended in such fashion, but he ended the night as the worst performer in Rodgers' side. Flanagan has been tipped to be an unlikely inclusion in Roy Hodgson's England squad but on this evidence he is still too raw for the pressures of a World Cup.

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