Lessons Learned versus Crystal Palace

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A hangover, Real Madrid still playing on their minds etc etc. Whichever way you dress it up or whatever excuses could be made, this was a terrible game of football. Crystal Palace’s own struggles aside, it’s hard to believe this was a team who are supposed to be chasing champions league football and as per Klopp’s presser would do everything they could to get it. Another one in that technicolour kit to quickly forget for the reds and move on as we look back at the lessons learned from Selhurst Park.

MY KINGDOM FOR A MIDFIELDER

It’s been talked about a million times ad the world and his wife know which is the main area Liverpool need to strengthen in the summer. Saturday night only sought to provide another reminder as a starting midfield of Henderson, Keita and Milner surprised most Reds. When Liverpool start a key game with a 37 year-old whose contract expires this summer, another player in his final year and a 32 year-old playing his fourth game in a row after the manager talked about the need to do business this summer, it tells its own stories.

For his part, Keita did well to survive the whole 45 minutes he played and his withdrawal was possibly the best decision Klopp made all game. Milner made a few key blocks and tackles, though it was a surprise to see him over to right-back for Trent when we needed a goal and some creativity. Henderson looked every inch the player playing their fourth game in a row at his age whilst he also provided the best block of the game, just at the wrong end. We’ll come onto the substitutes later, but even Stevie Wonder knows we need at least three.

NO NUNEZ, NO PARTY

Klopp had talked about the need and want to make changes during the press conference, but this was an unwanted surprise all round. It was confirmed that Darwin Nunez had taken a pain-killing injection to play against Real Madrid, which is ironic as it’s what most Reds needed at full time after this encounter. The suggestion was a hopeful one by the manager, hinting that the Uruguayan maybe available for the upcoming Wolves match this Wednesday.

Nunez’s absence shouldn’t be understated. His pace, growing understanding with his teammates and ability to just bring chaos to the proceedings are box office on their own. Disappointingly, it just seems the former Benfica man looks like he’s starting to really settle having notched two goals and an assist in his last three game. Liverpool looked pretty lifeless upfront Mo Salah aside without him and there’s no doubt the Egyptian King would have enjoyed his company. Fingers crossed this is a one-game absence.

THE ART OF SUBSTITUTIONS

It’s been one of the charges that’s quite rightly been levelled at Jurgen Klopp this season and again, substitutions left most Reds mystified whilst not having the impact he or we hoped. In his defence, the withdrawal of Keita for Harvey Elliott was more than warranted and the youngster initially looked the most likely to make something happen. However after a promising introduction, he quickly started to mirror his colleagues by missplacing passes and giving up possession so cheaply.

When Liverpool needed a goal so badly, it seemed bizarre to bring Fabinho on for Trent and move Milner to right back. Even odder so late to replace a possible source in Gakpo with Bajcetic in the last ten. Firmino offered practically nothing when replacing Jota as the only consistency with Liverpool substitutions nowadays seems to be their ineffectiveness. Either way, when the starting line-up and the players replacing them are as ineffective, it begs the question what’s being worked on all week in training.

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