Liverpool’s impressive run of form came to an abrupt end on Sunday afternoon. The Reds saw off Chelsea last weekend and beat Rubin Kazan in Russia in midweek, but they came up short against a sturdy Crystal Palace side at Anfield.
Yannick Bolasie netted the opener for the Eagles, before Philippe Coutinho brought Jurgen Klopp’s men level.
But Scott Dann popped up with a late winner to stun Anfield.
Jordon Ibe is a player transformed
It is amazing what a little confidence, and a little belief can do for a young player. He looks nothing like the nervous, uncertain teenager who lost his way earlier in the season, and now is ready to take games by the scruff of the neck and influence them massive…which is what Raheem Sterling did at his very best here at Anfield.If Jurgen Klopp has got Ibe believing in the same way, then he’s going to have some player on his hands, and a natural successor to the England winger.
Nathaniel Clyne also in the groove
Any mention of Ibe must also acknowledge the role Clyne is playing in his resurgence, because it is the full back’s defensive strength behind, and incredible athletic ability in running forward, that makes the right flank such a potent outlet for the Reds when the pair are together.At times, it was Liverpool’s ONLY outlet, and yet Palace still couldn’t quite cope with the sheer speed at which the home side broke forward down the right. That says much for the partnership going forward.
The German his side to have a true wide player with pace and power, and he wants his full backs to contribute similar qualities to the attacking effort too. Ibe is not a million miles away from the right winger at Dortmund Jakub Błaszczykowski, and already we are seeing the Reds set up in a similar way, to break forward with real direct penetration, playing off the skills of Benteke in playing back to goal and holding the ball up.Some of Liverpool’s movement and passing was reminiscent of their best a couple of years ago, even if their finishing was still miles away from the Suarez golden spell.
Palace committed to attack
Palace to their eternal credit also have the same instinct, and same pace and athletic prowess in going forward, and they were never afraid to follow it, making this an enthralling, open contest. Yannick Bolasie was outstanding in leading the line and contributing the first goal scored by a Palace player operating as a striker this season, and he was backed up superbly by Zaha, Sako and Puncheon. Liverpool were always glancing nervously in behind because the threat of a run in there was constant, and it made for one of the best games at Anfield so far this season.
Caution to the wind for Reds
So too, did Klopp’s attacking mindset. He took off a midfielder in Can to bring on an extra forward in Firmino, meaning he entered the final period with a five man forward line and just one central midfielder.Never can you accuse the German of being too cautious, because he was unafraid to lose in attempting to win. It made the game hyper frenetic, and ultimately, made Liverpool pay dearly for their adventure, because in trying to win, it meant they ultimately lost.Yet in some ways, as frustrating as that must have been for the Kop faithful, it is the RIGHT mindset, because Klopp must instil a winning mentality in this side if they are to be successful.