Defeat compounded by fans' early exit

Crystal Palace's Scott Dann (second from right) heads home in the 82nd minute at Liverpool in their Premier League clash on Sunday. The Reds' 1-2 loss was their first defeat of the Klopp era.
Crystal Palace's Scott Dann (second from right) heads home in the 82nd minute at Liverpool in their Premier League clash on Sunday. The Reds' 1-2 loss was their first defeat of the Klopp era.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES
Juergen Klopp (left).
Juergen Klopp (left).

Uncertainty on injured Sakho adds to Klopp's pain after third straight loss to Crystal Palace

LONDON • While Liverpool's recovery under Juergen Klopp suffered its first significant setback on Sunday, the transformative effect that a new manager can have was there for all to see.

But it was Alan Pardew, rather than Brendan Rodgers' successor, whose powers of invigoration were most apparent as Crystal Palace won the Premier League clash 2-1 .

"You must be sick of us," the travelling Crystal Palace fans sang, and Liverpool could only concur.

THE PROBLEM

We decide when it (the game) is over. But between 82 and 94 you can make eight goals... It feels so bad because the defeat was not necessary.

JUERGEN KLOPP (getting into a minor altercation with Alan Pardew)

Pardew's team inflicted the first defeat of the Klopp era with their third consecutive Premier League victory over the Reds. One month into the job and Klopp is au fait with Liverpool's problem club.

Goals from the excellent Yannick Bolasie and Scott Dann, a former Anfield season-ticket holder, gave Palace their latest Merseyside triumph. Philippe Coutinho had equalised in the 42nd minute.

Pardew has now been involved in all three of Palace's league wins at Anfield, as a player in 1991 and twice as a manager this year, and Liverpool again struggled against his enterprising tactics.

Klopp was dismayed by both the outcome as well as the number of fans who left the stadium early, after Dann scored the winner in the 82nd minute.

The German looked on incredulously as dozens of supporters headed for the exits and claimed it reflected a lack of belief in the team's performance.

"The goal was on 82 minutes, there were 12 minutes to go (including stoppages) and I saw many people leaving the stadium," the Liverpool manager said. "I turned around and I felt pretty alone in that moment.

"We decide when it (the game) is over. But between 82 and 94 you can make eight goals if you want and we have to work for it. It feels so bad because the defeat was not necessary. That's the problem."

Klopp said his frustration was not with the early leavers but his team's inability to convince supporters that a point could be salvaged against an impressive Palace team.

"I am not disappointed about this," he clarified. "They have reasons (for leaving). But we are responsible that nobody can leave the stadium before the final whistle because anything can happen. We have to show this and we didn't."

The former Borussia Dortmund coach had a point; this was an absorbing contest and Christian Benteke squandered several chances, but the visitors' defence and counter-attacking play were outstanding. It was the perfect combination for an eye-catching away win.

The pain of defeat was compounded for Klopp by a potentially serious knee injury to his in-form defender Mamadou Sakho, who left Anfield on crutches and in a knee brace.

The France international fell awkwardly in an aerial challenge with Bakary Sako and will have a scan to determine the extent of the damage.

Klopp said: "It looks bad but we have to wait for the scan. I would prefer to lose 4-1 and keep him in the team."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 10, 2015, with the headline 'Defeat compounded by fans' early exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe