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May 26 2020 10.10pm

Dismal run goes on

November 24 2019

James Tomkins’, whose header was disallowed by VAR, tussles with Liverpool attackers

James Tomkins’, whose header was disallowed by VAR, tussles with Liverpool attackers

The Eagles have a reputation for occasionally upsetting the big guns. But not here, when a 1-2 loss to Liverpool brought no joy for supporters, writes Jamesey.

As the festive season looms, the last occasion this supporter saw CPFC actually win a game of football was in September.

The prospect of a match against Liverpool (Nov 23). European champions and unbeaten in the Stacksomoulah to date, didn’t fill one with optimism but we football fans are a hardy breed and always live in hope.

Apart from the omission of injured and benched Salah, the Reds fielded a strong line-up while Roy Hodgson’s Eagles formation was much as expected.

This commentator rarely if ever quotes his own words but in late September I wrote: “Palace seem to be bucking the usual trend of early struggling in the current season. Hope we’re not just postponing the struggles for later instead!”

The Eagles were flying unusually high then, but sadly what was feared has come to pass although admittedly five tough games have been endured with a total of one point from a possible 15.

The above makes for grim reading although Palace are still 13th in the table thanks to that very fat cushion to sit on.

The first period saw both sides start brightly although the lightning-fast Sadio Mane streaked through several times and Vicente Guaita had to be up to his usual excellent keeping to thwart him.

The Eagles gained in momentum throughout the half with Andros Townsend giving an outstanding display on the right, weaving through the Reds midfield and dropping back to help when it mattered.

Wilfried Zaha also looked more threatening as he settled down but sadly as usual, Palace were spurning scoring chances with James McArthur, Cheikhou Kouyate and Jordan Ayew all messing up good opportunities.

Just before the break, Luka Milovojevic sent over a free-kick which James Tomkins headed into the net. Palace joy was soon ended when VAR disallowed the goal for a foul by a Palace player in the box.

Maybe film of any free-kick or corner would reveal fouls and niggles going on in plenty on close examination. Any VAR checker could almost certainly find one.

Anyway, that was that until, almost inevitably, Mane put Liverpool ahead shortly after the restart, with a scrappy mis-fire which foxed Guaita who pushed it onto a post from where it trickled across the goal line and went in off the other post.

Palace still looked as though they could win this game with more near misses from Townsend, Milivojevic, Jeffery Schlupp and Christian Benteke.

It needed a drilled shot from Zaha in the 82nd minute to even up the scores. Could the Eagles secure a point or even better? The answer was No, after Firmino made it 2-1 a whisker before the end of normal time.

It was a bitter blow but this supporter has to echo the view of Roy Hodgson who called it “our best game of the season”. I am deeply disappointed but must agree.

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