Crystal Palace vs Liverpool. Premier League.
Report and free match highlights as Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Jean-Philippe Mateta all hit the crossbar in a Premier League stalemate; Crystal Palace did not register a shot on target; Liverpool up to seventh with point, six away from the top four
Sunday 26 February 2023 07:36, UK
Liverpool's domestic form stumbled again with a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, despite twice hitting the crossbar.
Jurgen Klopp's side were hoping to recover some confidence after a 5-2 drubbing by Real Madrid on Tuesday evening, but looked "fragile" - as Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp described - as they returned to Premier League action.
They passed up a number of chances, with Diogo Jota nodding onto the crossbar from close range in the first half before Mohamed Salah lashed against the woodwork shortly after the break.
But Crystal Palace hardly sat back and impressed in large spells - although did not register a shot on target despite some questionable moments from Liverpool's defence.
They also found the bar as Jean-Philippe Mateta rifled an effort onto the post, having earlier been gifted the chance to see his side ahead after a sloppy Trent Alexander-Arnold pass. Marc Guehi and the superb Michael Olise also went close.
Ultimately, both teams lacked a cutting edge. Liverpool move up a place into seventh, six points adrift of the top four. Palace also drew their third successive Premier League game and remain in 12th.
The game turned out to be series of almosts and maybes, marked from the early minutes. Crystal Palace were gifted a chance as Alexander-Arnold's sloppy pass to Jordan Henderson was intercepted by Mateta, but his chipped effort was palmed wide by Alisson.
The returning Jota then twice went close for Liverpool, first with a volley straight at Vicente Guaita, before his header from a tight angle ricocheted off the crossbar from close range.
Crystal Palace again took advantage of some questionable Liverpool defending for another glorious chance before the half an hour, when Olise delivered a superb corner, but Guehi sent a free header inches wide of the target.
That seemed to inject some confidence into the hosts and they began to rack up a raft of chances. Olise's cross from the right just missed the runs of Jeffrey Schlupp and Mateta, before the latter slammed an effort off the top of the crossbar.
While Liverpool didn't exactly come racing out of the traps in the second half, they did see some good early openings. Mohamed Salah bent a fine effort onto the crossbar before Alexander-Arnold's deflected cross was pushed over by Guaita.
Both sides enjoyed spells of pressure as the game continued, Olise providing the spark for Palace, but the game lacked a final product. Cody Gakpo could have won it late on for Liverpool, but poked a great chance just wide.
The hosts applied the last-minute pressure and were incensed at the full-time whistle, as referee Darren England blew as Crystal Palace were awarded another corner. The players surrounded the official in protest - with Joachim Andersen receiving a booking - as the game ended in a stalemate.
A superb display from Olise, who was the creative spark Crystal Palace desperately needed at times. Although the final product lacked in other areas of the pitch, he breezed past experienced players like they weren't there. He continues to prove what an exciting young talent he is for Patrick Vieira's side.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (6), Mitchell (6), Guehi (7), Olise (8), Lokonga (6), Ayew (6), Mateta (7), Schlupp (7), Andersen (7), Clyne (6), Doucoure (7).
Subs: Eze (6), Edouard (6).
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Van Dijk (7), Milner (6), Keita (5), Salah (6), Henderson (6), Gakpo (6), Jota (6), Robertson (6), Matip (7), Alexander-Arnold (5).
Subs: Elliott (7), Firmino (6), Fabinho (6), Bajcetic (6).
Player of the match: Michael Olise.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "I know nobody wants to hear it, but it's a very typical game at Crystal Palace. The big difference for us is that usually we score one or two from the chances we have. We didn't do that tonight. In the end, it's an away point and it's OK. It's not brilliant but it's OK.
"You have to make sure you don't concede. We did that. The [third goal] for Real Madrid was obviously good for absolutely nothing but at least we could prepare for tonight because we had two free kicks in similar situations and defended much better.
"Apart from when they hit the crossbar, they had no shot on target which is a good sign as well. It was a tough game."
On Darwin Nunez's shoulder injury: "He had an injection vs Real Madrid. It's not structural damage, it's very painful. The day after the game he couldn't move his arm at all. We have to see how long it will take."
On the rest of the season: "We keep going. We cannot suffer because of our own history. This will not be the season everybody looks at in the history books again and again and again, there will not be movies about it. We have to go through it and we will. We have to take the things and go again, take the things and go again. That's what we'll do.
"Nothing really changed tonight. You can see two ways: we didn't win, that sounds very negative. We have a point more than before sounds pretty positive."
Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira: "It was a good game from our side. We played with a lot of intensity, discipline and started the game well.
"In the first half, we had opportunities we didn't take at the end and in the second half they had a good spell in the first 20 minutes and it was really difficult for us. But we managed not to concede a goal and that was important for us to deal well with the difficult periods. After that we finished the game in a better way.
On difficulties in front of goal: "One of the frustrations we have as team is creating opportunities and not taking them. Especially against teams like Liverpool we knew that it would be difficult to create chances. We managed to do so and didn't take them. That is something we have to improve and do better.
"I work with them every day and see the quality they have. All of them can finish and score goals, it's about me putting training in place to rebuild confidence.
"You need 11 players to perform vs Liverpool. The players executed the plan well, the only thing missing was to score."
On Michael Olise: "He was really important for us when we were in possession. He created opportunities and chances. That was one of his most complete games, even defensively he was working really well. He was really smart the way that he was defending, he's growing and that's really good for us."
Crystal Palace's next game is at Aston Villa on Saturday; kick-off 3pm. Patrick Vieira's side then host champions Manchester City on Saturday, March 11, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 5.30pm.
Liverpool now take on Wolves for the fourth time this year, with Julen Lopetegui's side visiting Anfield on Wednesday; kick-off 8pm. Jurgen Klopp's team then face a huge meeting with rivals Manchester United at home on Sunday, March 5, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.