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Four things Liverpool can learn from Crystal Palace defeat

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The curse of Selhurst Park still very much remains for Liverpool, as they were beaten 3-1 by Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon.

Rickie Lambert scored his first goal for his boyhood club since joining from Southampton in the summer, expertly slotting his finish past Julian Speroni to give the Reds the lead after just two minutes.

However, the Eagles responded quickly and were level after 17 minutes of play, when Dwight Gayle reacted first to Yannick Bolasie's shot that crashed against the post.

The momentum was then with the home side and Joe Ledley gave Palace the lead in the 78th minute before captain Mile Jedinak's inch-perfect free-kick sealed the points for the South London club.

It was the Reds' sixth defeat in the Premier League this season and there were several talking points from the game.

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Team selection questioned

In his post-match press conference, Rodgers admitted he had to take full responsibility for Liverpool's loss.

And rightly so.

When the Liverpool team was announced, eyebrows were raised.

Alberto Moreno has been one of the few summer signings who have made a good start on Anfield, however, he found himself sitting on the bench for the clash.

The Spaniard saw his role filled by Glen Johnson, playing on his unfavoured left-hand side. 

The former Chelsea man's place is at question when he's picked to play at right-back and considering the club look to be running down his contract, it's strange that he was selected over Moreno.

Dejan Lovren has been badly out-of-touch since he made his £20 million move to Merseyside in the summer. He's been in the end of plenty of high-error mistakes and his previous performance against Chelsea was again poor.

However, he remained playing in the centre-of-defence and was turned too easily by Bolasie too easily for Palace's second goal.

Kolo Toure put in a magnificent performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League and looked as if he could lead the Liverpool defence in the present moment, yet Rodgers remains playing the Croat - likely because he may not want to admit defeat with his signing just yet.

The former Swansea City manager's substitutes again failed to make an impact.

It took him 72 minutes to make his first change, far too late on in the game and questionable it was.

Fabio Borini replaced Adam Lallana, who had been one of the brightest sparks for the travelling team and set-up their only goal.

The, Emre Can came on for Joe Allen six minutes later. This was too questionable as the German is more of a defensive-midfielder.

Rodgers is under severe pressure at the helm of the Reds and is not helping himself with picking side's that don't get him anything from games.

Steven Gerrard's class is disappearing

Five years ago, the Liverpool captain was one of the best midfielder's in the world.

He would boss the middle of the park and win games for his side, putting in match winning performances, inspiring victories in both the Champions League and FA Cup finals.

However, things are quite different in the twilight years of his career.

Gerrard had little impact at Selhurst Park, offering nothing going both forward or defending. 

For Palace's second goal, the 34-year-old was slow to track back and should have been in the box to stay tight against Ledley.

Likewise, his shooting was terrible. The veteran had several chances throughout the game, both from open play and set-pieces, however, his efforts failed to even force a comfortable save out of Speroni and instead missed the target.

His passing was once top notch, but that was poor against the Eagles.

Liverpool were in desperate need of a leader on Sunday afternoon. The side are clearly struggling for form, and need somebody on the pitch to shine and inspire.

This was once Gerrard's role, but now he is having minimal influence on games.

Adam Lallana deserves a run in the team

When the England international moved to Anfield from Southampton in the summer, most expected him to become an integral part of the Liverpool side.

He was superb at Southampton last season, and helped them finish a superb 7th in the Premier League.

However, since he arrived on Merseyside, Lallana has had a lot less game-time than most expected.

The 26-year-old was making only his second start in five games; but showed his class still remains.

His ball to find Lambert after just 90 seconds was inch-perfect and was busy for the rest of the game, the first-half especially, completing 100% of his passes in the first-period.

Lallana was superb on the ball and showed some lovely turns and touches to start attacks for his side.

He plays a similar role as Philippe Coutinho, but the Brazilian has been under-fire this season and the former Southampton man deserves to gain the nod over him.

A good run of games would see Lallana gain a better maintained relationship with the players around him and allow him to reach top form.

Rickie Lambert can compete with Balotelli 

The Kirkby-native netted his first goal the club he grew up supporting, and was the first Liverpool striker to net in the Premier League all season.

His first-touch to bring Lallana's ball down was top-notch and the finish matched it.

The finish was made possible because of his movement, freeing space up so his former Saints team-mate could find him.

That is something Mario Balotelli has not brought to the club since his move from AC Milan.

The Italian has been favoured by Rodgers for the most part, however, has netted just two goals in 13 appearances and yet to score in the top flight.

Balotelli prefers the ball into his feet, and does not move all the much into space off the ball.

Lambert's celebration showed how much his goal meant to him - he was ecstatic and over the moon to score for the club he left 17 years ago.

He was too not scared to put in work when his side were not in possession, something tat Balotelli is heavily criticised for.

The ex-Manchester City striker missed the Palace game with a thigh injury, and did not travel to the capital to watch the game from the stands.

Instead, he chose to sit in the crowd on Saturday night and watched boxers Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverley go toe-to-toe.

I understand he is allowed a social life, but, not a night before his team were playing.

If the game was on Saturday, that's understandable, but given Balotelli's reputation, he probably stayed out partying until 4am - did he even watch Liverpool's loss?

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Topics:
Liverpool
Crystal Palace
Premier League
Football

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