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Lacklustre Liverpool held to goalless draw by Crystal Palace

Liverpool had to settle for a point as they were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Liverpool’s Diogo Jota and Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta both saw first-half efforts denied by the woodwork, while Mohamed Salah rattled the crossbar soon after the restart.

The hosts put pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s men but were unable to capitalise on a number of set-pieces on an evening that started slowly under the lights but picked up the pace after the break.

The Reds were unable to bounce back from their Champions League thumping by Real Madrid four days ago with victory, while the result represented a fifth draw of the new year for Palace, who remain in search of their first win of 2023.

Liverpool’s 7-0 win at Selhurst Park in December 2020 was their biggest ever away victory in the Premier League.

Klopp’s side had already scored by the third minute of that contest, but by the 10th of this one neither side had managed a shot on target, Liverpool coming closest when Cody Gakpo fed Salah on the edge of the area, the Egyptian only able to roll an effort wide of the right post.

The visitors swerved danger when Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip lost control of the ball deep inside their own half and Mateta pounced, goalkeeper Alisson Becker reacting quickly to make a critical block.

Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta reacts to a missed chance
Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta reacts to a missed chance (John Walton/PA).

The Reds worked their way back up the pitch, the ball taking several touches before landing in front of Jota in space on the edge of the area, but the forward sent a volleyed effort straight into the arms of Palace keeper Vicente Guaita.

Both sides soon squandered set-pieces, Jota nodding an effort from six yards against a post before Guehi directed a header from Michael Olise’s free-kick just wide.

Liverpool won another free-kick in a dangerous position when Nathaniel Clyne was booked for his sliding challenge on Jota.

Alexander-Arnold stepped up and sent an effort toward the top right corner but was thwarted by his own team-mate when the ball took a deflection off Jordan Henderson.

Palace were soon left to rue a good chance of their own when Olise sent in a cross from the right which narrowly missed the head of target man Jeffrey Schlupp.

Mohamed Salah battles for the ball with Tyrick Mitchell
Mohamed Salah battles for the ball with Tyrick Mitchell (John Walton/PA).

Salah tried to get his name on the scoresheet with a solo effort, collecting the ball inside his own half and, after a neat move to bring it down, breaking free before he was blocked by Guaita.

Palace were then inches away from netting an opener when, just before half-time, Schlupp dispossessed Alexander-Arnold and crossed to Mateta, who rattled the woodwork.

The second half started much as the first ended, Salah next to be denied by the crossbar with a curled effort towards the top left corner.

Palace dialled up the pressure, Jordan Ayew first firing over before Olise’s drive down the right was impeded by Henderson on the edge of the area.

Jordan Henderson applauds the fans at the final whistle
Jordan Henderson applauds the fans at the final whistle (John Walton/PA).

The England man was booked but the hosts were unable to make anything out of the resulting free-kick.

It was a pacier second half overall as both sides remained in the hunt for an opener.

A sloppy turnover could have cost the hosts when Salah slipped the ball to Gakpo, who was denied by a sliding Guaita, while Liverpool fended off another free-kick from the edge of the area.

At times both sides appeared moments away from a second-half breakthrough, but the Reds successfully defended two late stoppage-time set-pieces to ensure it remained all-square at the final whistle.