LONDON: A Liverpool boy condemned Jurgen Klopp to his first defeat after seven games as manager of Liverpool. Crystal Palace’s Liverpool-born defender Scott Dann headed home from close range after Liverpool had failed to clear a corner just 10 minutes from the end.
Liverpool thus succumbed, by 1-0, to a second home league defeat of the season after having set off full of optimism in pursuit of a fourth successive win in all competitions.
That would have been a perfect way for Klopp to reach the breathing space of the international break but his players appeared to be paying the price of Thursday’s UEFA Europa League visit to Russia. They were lethargic in thought and action and Palace took the lead when Yannick Bolasie punished Emre Can’s poor defensive clearance.
The goal shocked Liverpool awake. Christian Benteke went close three times before England winger Adam Lallana set up an equaliser three minutes before half-time for Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool dominated possession after the interval, as expected now, but even the introduction of Roberto Firmino made no difference and Dann headed Palace back into the lead with nine minutes left – to remind the watching Steven Gerrard of how they had spoiled his Anfield farewell at the end of last season.
Klopp said: “”Today is a bad feeling – it was not necessary to lose this game. We were better team but for the first 15 minutes we were not on the pitch. We got the goal, we were awake, we started creating chances.
“But after the break, we gave them chances to call us problems. Then we woke up again, but then couldn’t make a goal. It feels so bad because it was not necessary. This was not enough for us – we can do more. We have to learn from this.”
** Mesut Ozil played a crucial role fought back from the danger of a home derby defeat by Tottenham. The Gunners played the first half as if suffering a hangover from their Bayern battering. Laurent Koscielny failed to cover out-of-place Per Mertesacker when Harry Kane found acres of space in which to shoot Spurs ahead.
Arsenal revived after the interval. Olivier Giroud headed against the bar and wide of a post before a superb cross from Ozil set up newly-arrived substitute Kieran Gibbs to equalise from close range for a 1-1 draw.
** Remi Garde stopped the rot on his managerial debut in charge of bottom of the table Aston Villa against Manchester City. A goalless draw meant Villa ended a run of seven successive defeats and secured their first clean sheet since the opening day of the season. Keeper Brad Guzan made three fine saves to earn his luck when City’s Fernando was denied by the crossbar.