Benteke comes back to haunt Liverpool
It came as no surprise to watch Christian Benteke terrorise his former Liverpool team-mates. Hosting struggling Palace at Anfield, there was a sense of inevitability that Benteke would disrupt Liverpool’s top-four bid. The Belgium international was sold to Palace in a big-money deal in the 2016 summer transfer window. Dejan Lovren’s poor performance served to help Benteke get on the scoresheet either side of half-time. The Croatia international has lacked consistency throughout the 2016-17 season. Watching Lovren struggle was made all the more galling as Benteke celebrated with Palace team-mate Mamadou Sakho, who is on-loan from Liverpool. The France defender can’t be faulted for revelling in Benteke’s heroics. Sakho has been treated mercilessly by Jurgen Klopp. His disarming smile was more to do with Klopp then Liverpool, I’d imagine.
Liverpool lacked creativity
Liverpool looked like a team short on ideas how to break down Palace’s defence. Klopp’s side were a joy to watch at the start of the season. Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane thrilled with the link-up play. However, with the latter pair sidelined with injury, Klopp’s Brazilian duo struggled. Coutinho’s first-half free-kick was a moment of brilliance but from open play, Liverpool rarely troubled the visitors. Looking at the bench didn’t inspire confidence, either. Klopp will need to bolster his attack with a leading man and add depth to his squad in the summer.
Champions League spot in doubt
After building confidence with successive wins at Stoke and West Brom, Liverpool are now facing a tough assignment. It epitomises Liverpool’s season that after making progress at notoriously tricky venues on the road, it’s their home form which has cost them – again. Admittedly, Liverpool are still seven points better off at home than Manchester United. But it’s is frustrating that most of the points have been dropped against the so-called smaller clubs. It’s difficult to pick a deserving occupant of fourth spot given Liverpool and Manchester United’s inconsistency this season. For Liverpool fans now, there is a sense of impending doom with Manchester United four points behind with two games in hand.