More heartbreak at Selhurst Park for Liverpool although this time the problems show no immediate signs of being solved.
The visitors took an early lead through Rickie Lambert but goals from Dwight Gayle, Joe Ledley and Mike Jedinak handed all the three points for Crystal Palace. This was the sixth defeat of the season for Liverpool leaving Brendan Rodgers with plenty to contemplate.
No leadership on the pitch for Liverpool
In the mud and rain in South London, the defeat will hurt Brendan Rodgers more because of the sheer mediocrity shown by his team. Liverpool looked disjointed and were bullied by Neil Warnock’s men. They were second best in every department on the pitch. Steven Gerrard had an off day and his vulnerability was epitomized by a moment when he was robbed by James Puncheon in the middle of the park. Gerrard and Martin Skrtel won 0% of their tackles today and their problems don’t seem to have any immediate solutions.
The defence is still the major area of concern
The shambolic defending was once again the cause of Liverpool’s downfall tonight. £20m summer signing Dejan Lovren was once again below par and was turned inside-out by Bolasie in the build-up to the crucial second goal. The centre-back was dragged out of his position by Bolasie who squared the ball for the arriving Ledley to score. Manquillo made a crucial interception to deny Bolasie a goal in the first half but he also struggled against the pace and power of the Congolese. Glen Johnson did not offer anything significant while Skrtel looked shaky against Gayle and Bolasie even though he was unfortunate to concede a free-kick which led to Palace’s third goal.
Coutinho’s inconsistency becoming a major case for Rodgers
Coutinho is a highly talented player who is capable of producing moments of absolute quality but his inconsistent displays are becoming a major hindrance to his progress at this moment. He has the natural ability to take on his man and find penetrative passes to open up the opposition defence but more often than not he cuts a frustrating figure. Coutinho was once again looking to find the killer pass on every occasion instead of waiting for the right moment to pick out Rickie Lambert. While his through balls that do come off are exquisite to watch, the frequency of successful ones is becoming lesser. The opposition has found a way of dealing with the ‘Brazilian Ferrari’. The fact that he is not playing in his favored position does make some sort of case for him, but that doesn’t justify him being so ineffective at the moment.
There is no doubt the Brazilian is a really talented player but inconsistency seems to be the only obstacle preventing him from making the leap at this moment.
Gayle and Bolasie love playing against Liverpool
Dwight Gayle has now scored 4 goals in 3 Premier League games against Liverpool while Yannick Bolasie was at the heart of everything positive that came from Crystal Palace in the first half. It was Bolasie’s driving run and shot opened up the Liverpool defence allowing his strike partner Gayle to tap in the rebound of the post. Bolasie was a constant threat throughout the game and his wonderful work down the right set up the second goal for Joe Ledley. Bolasie was rightfully declared man of the match for his display as he earned his side three points in the afternoon kickoff.