Familiar problems for Crystal Palace let Liverpool off the hook in goalless draw at Selhurst Park
To glance at the result would be to credit Crystal Palace for keeping Liverpool at bay, but in truth it was Palace who will feel more gutted only to leave with a point.
A first win of 2023 continues to elude Patrick Vieira’s side. Thanks to two glaring misses by misfiring striker Jean-Philippe Mateta, their hunt for a first win of the new year will see them into March.
Meanwhile Liverpool’s blunt attack cursed them again, despite their desperation to turn over a new leaf after their battering at the hands of Real Madrid. What appeared to be some momentum has now stalled.
Cody Gapko fed Mohamed Salah, who shot wide, before Liverpool’s one bright spark, Diogo Jota, snapped a volley into the gloves of Vicente Guaita.
Palace earned their first point of the season when they left Anfield with a 1-1 draw in August. That day they played on the counter-attack, but here they had even more chances, and they were chances often gifted to them by Liverpool.
First Mateta was put through by a woeful Trent Alexander-Arnold back-pass. Mateta only had Alisson to beat yet his attempted chip was a sorry sight as it bounced well wide.
It was the sort of chance that had the Palace fans nervously biting their nails, fully aware openings that presentable do not come along against Jurgen Klopp’s side every day. And yet soon Mateta had an even better chance. He produced an even poorer miss.
Alexander-Arnold was lax at the back all night and Jeffrey Schlupp robbed him of the ball before laying back for Mateta. The French striker, who has one goal in 23 games this season, swept the ball against the crossbar from just two metres out. He, like everyone else inside Selhurst Park, couldn’t believe he’d missed.
Leeds and West Ham were the latest supercharged strugglers to win earlier today. And every win for one of the League’s bottom sides only makes Palace’s position more perilous.
The Eagles were reminded of the visitors’ prowess early in the second half when Salah looked up, opened his body up, and curled against the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the box. To Guaita’s relief the ball bounced clear.
And soon enough, Palace were flooding forward once more — Michael Olise and Jordan Ayew growing in stature all the time. It was one of those oh-so-nearly nights that Vieira is getting fed up of enduring.
To their credit, they never stopped asking Liverpool questions. Klopp has questions of his own to answer. In a battle between two sides sorely lacking goals, 0-0 felt apt.