Cole Palmer has joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League goal-scorer’s chart after adding four more to his tally in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Everton.

The Chelsea midfielder surged alongside Manchester City goal machine Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot, with both players currently on 20 in the top flight this season.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the top six contenders for the award as the 2023-24 Premier League campaign enters the run-in.

Golden Boot battle

Cole Palmer (Chelsea) – 20 goals in 28 appearances

The 21-year-old’s remarkable first season at Chelsea just keeps getting better. Palmer, who did not score a league goal for Manchester City, has notched 10 in his last five league matches, rocketing into Golden Boot contention.

Erling Haaland (Man City) – 20 goals in 26 appearances

Haaland set the Premier League ablaze in 2022-23, claiming a new record of 36 goals in a season. The 23-year-old started like a train again this season before missing five games with a foot injury. Since returning in January he has scored six in 11 appearances, underwhelming by his standards, but the Norway hit man remains a heavy favourite to retain the Golden Boot.

Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 19 goals in 32 appearances

Watkins is enjoying his most prolific season in the top flight, already surpassing his 15 goals from last season, while also providing the most assists (10) of those on this list. The 28-year-old’s current goal conversion rate is better than Haaland’s and he will be hoping to feature for England at the Euros.

Alexander Isak (Newcastle) – 17 goals in 24 appearances

Isak has more than justified Newcastle’s outlay of around £60million after a thigh injury limited his impact in his first campaign at St James’ Park. The 24-year-old is the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 20 goals in a season for the club in all competitions.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 17 goals in 26 appearances

Salah has won the Golden Boot on three occasions during his stellar Liverpool career and has scored 20 top-flight goals or more in four of his six previous seasons at the club. The Egypt forward is on course to make that five in seven.

Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) – 17 goals in 32 appearances

When Solanke struck the opener in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United he broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a single season by a Bournemouth player. The 26-year-old has produced his best form under Andoni Iraola and could force his way into England’s plans for the Euros.

Southgate’s sharp-shooters

Gareth Southgate must be filled with excitement when he looks at the top 10 scorers in the Premier League this season, with six England players on the list.

Palmer only made his England debut in November but his astonishing form for Chelsea must surely earn him a spot in the squad for this summer’s Euro 2024.

Watkins could find himself in a straight shoot-out with Ivan Toney for the spot as back-up striker to Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, while Solanke has just one England cap to his name back in 2017.

Further down the scoring charts, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a stellar campaign with 15 goals while Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has netted 10 goals since Christmas to take his tally to 14 overall.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, a certain starter for England in Germany injury permitting, also has 14 goals to further add to their firepower.

And when Kane’s 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern and Jude Bellingham’s 22 for Real Madrid are factored in, Southgate’s side are an exciting prospect.

Cole Palmer has joined Erling Haaland at the top of the Premier League goal-scorer’s chart after adding four more to his tally in Chelsea’s 6-0 thrashing of Everton.

The Chelsea midfielder surged alongside Manchester City goal machine Haaland in the race for the Golden Boot, with both players currently on 20 in the top flight this season.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the top six contenders for the award as the 2023-24 Premier League campaign enters the run-in.

Golden Boot battle

Cole Palmer (Chelsea) – 20 goals in 28 appearances

The 21-year-old’s remarkable first season at Chelsea just keeps getting better. Palmer, who did not score a league goal for Manchester City, has notched 10 in his last five league matches, rocketing into Golden Boot contention.

Erling Haaland (Man City) – 20 goals in 26 appearances

Haaland set the Premier League ablaze in 2022-23, claiming a new record of 36 goals in a season. The 23-year-old started like a train again this season before missing five games with a foot injury. Since returning in January he has scored six in 11 appearances, underwhelming by his standards, but the Norway hit man remains a heavy favourite to retain the Golden Boot.

Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 19 goals in 32 appearances

Watkins is enjoying his most prolific season in the top flight, already surpassing his 15 goals from last season, while also providing the most assists (10) of those on this list. The 28-year-old’s current goal conversion rate is better than Haaland’s and he will be hoping to feature for England at the Euros.

Alexander Isak (Newcastle) – 17 goals in 24 appearances

Isak has more than justified Newcastle’s outlay of around £60million after a thigh injury limited his impact in his first campaign at St James’ Park. The 24-year-old is the first Newcastle player since Alan Shearer in 2003-04 to score 20 goals in a season for the club in all competitions.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 17 goals in 26 appearances

Salah has won the Golden Boot on three occasions during his stellar Liverpool career and has scored 20 top-flight goals or more in four of his six previous seasons at the club. The Egypt forward is on course to make that five in seven.

Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) – 17 goals in 32 appearances

When Solanke struck the opener in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United he broke the record for the most Premier League goals scored in a single season by a Bournemouth player. The 26-year-old has produced his best form under Andoni Iraola and could force his way into England’s plans for the Euros.

Southgate’s sharp-shooters

Gareth Southgate must be filled with excitement when he looks at the top 10 scorers in the Premier League this season, with six England players on the list.

Palmer only made his England debut in November but his astonishing form for Chelsea must surely earn him a spot in the squad for this summer’s Euro 2024.

Watkins could find himself in a straight shoot-out with Ivan Toney for the spot as back-up striker to Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, while Solanke has just one England cap to his name back in 2017.

Further down the scoring charts, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen has enjoyed a stellar campaign with 15 goals while Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has netted 10 goals since Christmas to take his tally to 14 overall.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, a certain starter for England in Germany injury permitting, also has 14 goals to further add to England’s firepower.

And when Kane’s 43 goals in all competitions for Bayern and Jude Bellingham’s 22 for Real Madrid are factored in, Southgate’s side are an exciting prospect.

What the papers say

The Sun reports that Chelsea are seeking contract extensions for midfielder Enzo Fernandez and winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The two 23-year-olds’ previous long-term deals would be extended by another year.

The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool are considering Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson as a potential replacement for Caoimhin Kelleher.

According to the Telegraph, ex-Chelsea and Everton boss Frank Lampard has dropped out of the running to become the new head coach of Canada’s national team.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Tosin Adarabioyo: Tottenham have made an offer to the Fulham defender, says Teamtalk, as they try to beat Manchester United in the race to sign the 26-year-old.

Viktor Gyokeres: Manchester United are keen on the Sweden striker from Sporting Lisbon but fear Liverpool may scupper their signing chances, reports HITC.

Djed Spence: Tottenham’s 23-year-old right-back is one of several senior players expected to leave the club this summer, claims Football Insider.

Manchester City took the initiative in the Premier League title race by hammering Luton on Saturday before rivals Liverpool and Arsenal both lost on Sunday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the state of play with six games remaining.

Momentum shift

While City took only a two-point lead in what remains a close race, the momentum swing felt significant as they jumped from third to first.

The manner of their 5-1 win also sounded a warning, while Arsenal were outplayed in the second half as they lost 2-0 to Aston Villa and Liverpool missed a hatful of chances as Crystal Palace held on for a 1-0 upset.

Commitments in other competitions mean City do not play their next league game until April 25 at Brighton, by which point their rivals will both have played twice more knowing they need wins to put the pressure back on Pep Guardiola’s side.

Arsenal have the first chance to get back on track, away at Wolves late on Saturday evening, with Liverpool travelling to Fulham the following day.

Both are back in action three days on with eye-catching fixtures, Arsenal hosting Chelsea a week on Tuesday before the Wednesday brings a Merseyside derby at Everton’s Goodison Park, with City playing on the Thursday.

City’s trip to Tottenham has been put back to May 14, the Tuesday before the season ends on Sunday, May 19, meaning from this weekend on they will have a game in hand.

Course and distance winners

Another reason for City’s psychological edge is their title-winning pedigree under Guardiola.

They have finished first in five of the last six seasons, and second to Liverpool in the other, and have been noted for their strong finishes in that time.

Of the final 18 points available to them in each of the last six seasons, City have won 16, 18, 15, 12, 16 and 13 – an average of 15 which, if repeated this term, would require either Liverpool or Arsenal to win all six of their remaining games.

Arsenal, under Guardiola’s former assistant Mikel Arteta, put themselves in prime position last season but faltered by taking only 12 points from their final nine games, and nine in the last six including successive defeats to Brighton and Nottingham Forest, as they finished five points behind City.

Liverpool have previous achievements of their own to fall back on after winning the 2019-20 title, the only interruption to City’s run of dominance.

They had done their work earlier that season, though they still won four and drew one of their last six to ease home with an 18-point winning margin.

The previous season they won their last nine games in succession to push City all the way, finishing a point behind with their total of 97 the highest ever for a team who did not win the title.

They have taken 16, 16 and 14 points from their last six games in the three seasons since their title win but know they will need something similar, allied to an unfamiliar City slip-up, if they are to provide a glorious finale to Jurgen Klopp’s managerial reign.

Andy Robertson vowed to keep fighting after Liverpool lost more ground in the title race over the weekend.

The Reds, who topped the Premier League a fortnight ago, have slipped to third after damaging results in their last two outings.

Following on from a frustrating draw at Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp’s side suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace on Sunday.

The blow was softened a little as second-placed Arsenal were also beaten later in the day, but Liverpool still trail favourites Manchester City by two points with six games remaining.

Robertson told the club’s website: “This group of lads will never stop fighting.

“It’s hugely frustrating to be in the position we’re in now, being third and relying on two teams dropping points.

“This time last week, we shouldn’t have been in that position. That’s where the frustration comes from.

“But that’s where we are, it is what it is. We need to be perfect from here on in, that’s for sure. We can’t drop any more points and let’s see what the other two teams do.”

The Palace loss, secured by Eberechi Eze’s 14th-minute strike, capped a dismal week for Liverpool in which they were also thrashed 3-0 by Atalanta in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

They now head to Italy for the second leg on Thursday before successive Premier League away games at Fulham, Everton and West Ham.

“We have to stay positive,” said left-back Robertson, who produced a superb goal-line clearance to prevent Liverpool falling 2-0 behind soon after Eze’s opener.

“We have to pick everyone up in the changing room because there’s a lot of people who are down, whether they missed a chance, gave the ball away or whatever it is.

“We pick up, we go again on Thursday and we give everything we’ve got.”

Palace’s victory – only their second under new manager Oliver Glasner – eased their fears of getting dragged into the relegation battle.

The Eagles, in 14th, now have an eight-point cushion over 18th-placed Luton and have a game in hand over most of the teams below them.

Glasner said: “I don’t look at the table every day because I know we will get our points when we perform well.

“I am really concentrating on our performance, what we have to improve, what are the strengths of our players and how can we combine them to be compact in defence and create chances in offence.

“I know if we perform well we will get enough points to stay in the league. Our full focus is on that.”

What the papers say

The Daily Mail reports that Niko Kovac is being considered to succeed the departing Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. The former Croatia and Bayern Munich manager is a free agent after being sacked by Wolfsburg in March

Newcastle have their sights set on Nottingham Forest’s Morgan Gibbs-White, with the attacking midfielder continuing to impress in the Premier League this season, writes the Mirror.

The Sun reports that Marcus Rashford will remain at Manchester United, with Paris Saint-Germain indicating no interest in signing the 26-year-old.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall: Tottenham are tracking the Leicester midfielder and are understood to be keen to sign him for up to a £40 million price tag, says Football Insider.

Riccardo Calafiori: Tottenham are also interested in signing the 21-year-old Italian defender from Champions League-chasing Bologna this summer, writes Tuttosport.

Bryan Gil: Again, there is movement at Tottenham, with Spanish winger Bryan Gil mulling over a departure and Spurs are willing to let him go on a permanent transfer, according to Give Me Sport.

Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins scored in the final six minutes as Aston Villa stunned Arsenal with a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium to put a huge dent in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League title hopes.

With Liverpool having gone down 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace earlier in the day, Arsenal stood to move three points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side but they were left reeling from their first league loss of 2024 by a superb away performance by Villa, who moved three clear of Tottenham in the race to finish fourth.

Arteta’s team were on top during the first half and should have taken the lead when Leandro Trossard met a low cross from close range but saw his effort brilliantly turned away by the foot of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Moments before, Watkins had struck the inside of a post for Villa who were a constant threat on the counter-attack before taking control in the second half.

Youri Tielemans hit the crossbar just after the break, before two late goals handed the initiative in the title race to champions Manchester City, who lead the way by two points.

At Anfield, Eberechi Eze’s goal after 14 minutes, tapped in from Tyrick Mitchell’s cutback, proved the difference as Liverpool fell to a first home league defeat of the season.

Klopp’s side were guilty of profligate finishing with Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones all responsible for glaring misses, while goalkeeper Dean Henderson put in a fine display with a number of key saves.

Wataru Endo hit the crossbar in the first half when Palace failed to clear a corner, but they hung on for just a second victory under Oliver Glasner to leave Liverpool two points off the top.

Elsewhere, Fulham ran out 2-0 winners against West Ham at the London Stadium, Andreas Pereira scoring a goal in either half to damage the home side’s European ambitions.

Jurgen Klopp cited the impact of damaging results against rivals Manchester United following Liverpool’s recent loss of momentum in the title race.

The Reds conceded more ground at the top of the Premier League as they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Sunday.

It capped a highly frustrating week for the Merseysiders after a draw at United last weekend and a humbling Europa League loss to Atalanta on Thursday.

Klopp, however, pinpointed another result at Old Trafford – the dramatic FA Cup loss that ended Liverpool’s quadruple bid last month – as where they started to run out of steam.

The German said: “I think the problem is, a little bit, that I’m not 100 per cent sure that, in general, how we dealt with the United games helped.

“We lost the game in the cup and it was like a catastrophe because we were that good and lost it anyway.

“Then we drew there but were really good for a long spell. We have conceded a little bit.

“That’s now not the reason for today, the problems we had in the United games were completely different to the things we had today, but obviously we expected a reaction.

“We lost in that (United) game more than only the game. It didn’t help.”

Klopp felt his side were not at their best against Palace, who capitalised on a strong start to take a 14th-minute lead through Eberechi Eze.

Yet the hosts still created a number of chances, particularly in the second half, only to be thwarted by a combination of poor finishing or stubborn Palace defending.

Klopp said: “The goal we conceded – he (Eze) ends up completely free in the box, that cannot happen. We had other moments where we were just not together.

“The second half is a really good home game. I’m not sure they had chances but we had a lot – big ones where everybody would think that should be a goal, and other moments where we were nearly there.

“We had momentum, we could put them under pressure, but in the end it was not enough. We have to admit that.

“What it means for the title race – I am not dumb. The answer is pretty easy. If we play like in the first half, why should we win the league? If we play like in the second half, we can win football games.”

Palace’s victory was only their second in seven matches under new manager Oliver Glasner but it eased their fears of being sucked into a relegation battle.

Glasner said: “It is a fantastic win and congratulations to the team for the performance and first half, for the performance in playing football and the confidence we had and the chances we created.

“And congratulations for the passion and spirit we had in the second. We had a fantastic goalkeeper today in Dean (Henderson) and an outstanding passion today to defend as a team.

“That is the reason we kept the clean sheet and won this game.”

Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes were dealt a serious blow as Eberechi Eze scored the only goal in Crystal Palace’s shock 1-0 win at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were punished for a poor start by Eze after 14 minutes and then failed to take a host of chances in a frustrating second half on Sunday.

After last week’s draw at Manchester United and the midweek Europa League implosion against Atalanta, Klopp’s hopes of a glorious send-off are rapidly fading.

Palace were the latest side to throw a spanner in the works as they claimed just their second win under Oliver Glasner and eased fears of getting sucked into a relegation battle.

Eze’s goal marked the 21st time they have fallen behind in 32 league games this season and, unlike on many previous occasions, this time there was no coming back.

They pressed hard but could not find a way through Palace’s stubborn rearguard, succumbing to their first home league defeat in 29 games.

Liverpool had welcomed back first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker after 10 weeks and also brought back Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Andy Robertson and Conor Bradley following the Atalanta humbling.

Yet it appeared to do little good as the hosts made a sluggish start and Palace made the early running.

The Eagles were rewarded as they pieced together a patient passing move, ending with Tyrick Mitchell cutting the ball back for Eze to casually side-foot home.

Things almost immediately got worse for Liverpool as a Virgil van Dijk slip allowed Jean-Philippe Mateta to race clean through on goal.

The Frenchman calmly lifted over the advancing Alisson but Andy Robertson did superbly to race back and clear off the line.

Liverpool belatedly began to stir and were unlucky in a goalmouth scramble as Wataru Endo scooped a shot against the bar.

Diaz then forced a save from Dean Henderson as he met a Robertson cross with a flying volley and Ibrahima Konate headed over from the resulting corner.

Alexis Mac Allister had a free-kick blocked and Salah tested Henderson after racing onto a long ball and cutting inside.

Despite the more positive play, Liverpool remained vulnerable and Michael Olise shot at Alisson before Mateta headed over.

Liverpool suffered a serious blow in the opening moments of the second half when Bradley was forced off with an ankle injury. His removal led to the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold after 13 games on the sidelines.

Liverpool pressed on and forced a corner from which Darwin Nunez looked certain to equalise but Henderson blocked his powerful strike at point-blank range.

Klopp tried to freshen up his front line by sending on Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo and the former spurned a good chance when he was teed up by Dominik Szoboszlai but shot against a defender.

Curtis Jones was also wasteful when put through as he skewed a shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

Yet Palace also suffered frustration as Mateta was remarkably denied at close range by Alisson.

Liverpool looked laboured as time ran out but Salah was denied a leveller in stoppage time when Mitchell blocked him two yards out.

Wataru Endo says Liverpool need an immediate reaction to a pair of disappointing results that have damaged Jurgen Klopp’s hopes of making a triumphant farewell.

Last weekend’s 2-2 draw at rivals Manchester United dented the Reds’ Premier League title bid as an intense three-way tussle for the crown continues.

Worse was to follow on Thursday night as Liverpool collapsed 3-0 at home to Atalanta in a shock Europa League quarter-final first-leg defeat.

Klopp’s men face an almighty challenge to turn things around in Italy next week, but first comes Sunday’s Anfield encounter Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

“It’s tough,” midfielder Endo said after the shock Atalanta result. “I think they did very well offensively and defensively, they had good tactics and they played well so we need to work hard.

“But we have one more game before we play Atalanta next and we need to react now. It is always about how we react, it is about the results.

“Another game is coming so it is just about getting ready for that and we need to step it up to try and win.

“It is always a tough opponent but we play at Anfield again, so we have to start strongly and offensively we have to make it better. Better than the last few games, yes.

“I am glad the game is coming this quickly because we have a chance to win again quickly so we just get ready and we want to win the game.”

Endo says the Reds must move forward with positivity, which should be made easier by the fact key players are returning for the run-in.

Diogo Jota came on for his first appearance in two months on Thursday, when Trent Alexander-Arnold and Stefan Bajcetic were unused substitutes.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker is also back in training and Endo said: “It is a positive that almost everyone is coming back to play.

“I think we are fine and we will stick together and try and win the next game.”

Jurgen Klopp has insisted he is not worried about what his legacy at Liverpool might be – but he wants to end the season by giving fans something more to celebrate.

As Klopp goes into the final weeks of his reign, having announced he will step down at the end of the season, Liverpool remain locked in a tight three-way fight at the top of the Premier League as they prepare for Sunday’s match against Crystal Palace.

This season’s Carabao Cup is already in the cabinet, but their Europa League hopes took a potentially fatal blow in Thursday’s 3-0 home defeat against Atalanta in the first leg of their quarter-final tie – something Klopp wants to turn into a positive.

“For me I’ve had enough parades and parties, it was never about that and it will never be (about that) but I would love to give the people the opportunity to celebrate something special and I think it would be right as well,” Klopp told Sky News.

“I’m still happy we are still in that fight. I want to make sure we really go for it. Sometimes life and football are the same – you need a proper smash to realise why you do what you do and we got that smash and we will use it.”

But asked what it would mean for his legacy, Klopp added: “I don’t care… would that make me a great manager? I never considered myself a great manager. Never, ever in my life.

“I am surprised until this day that people see me that way, that’s 100 per cent true but I accept it that people see me like that.

“What’s important is that the Liverpool people are happy with what we did that’s the only important thing…

“On my gravestone, I don’t want, ‘here is one of the most successful managers on the planet’, you are still lying three feet under. No, not for me. I want to be remembered as somebody who helped people through life.”

Klopp, 56, announced in January that he would step down at the end of the season, having said he was “running out of energy”, and plans a break from football.

“There’s a few things (Klopp’s wife) Ulla told me – I have to learn cooking and a dance class,” he said. “I said you don’t want me to have a break because if I do that I will start working after four weeks again! I should learn cooking probably so I can at least make some breakfast or whatever.

“This will be the first time in my life where I don’t have a real idea of what I will do and that’s exactly what I want.”

Asked about his cooking repertoire, he added: “No. Hot water, tea, does that count? During Covid I did scrambled eggs but after that I forgot it again.

“I was raised in the Black Forest with two sisters, the only reason I knew where the kitchen was because the smell came from there! I’m pretty useless in private life.”

Before then, the popular Klopp can expect a big sendoff from Liverpool no matter how the final weeks of the campaign play out.

He has one obvious selection for the soundtrack, and one more obscure choice.

“It’s Liverpool so it would be The Beatles 100 per cent, they could easily choose the song because I love them all,” he said.

“Actually, the band that is alive is Die Toten Hosen, the translation is The Dead Pants. It’s a punk rock band and the lead singer Campino is a good friend of mine and the biggest LFC supporter on the planet – that would be the biggest day of his life.

“They sing in German so no one would understand but that’s fine.”

Jurgen Klopp has promised his Liverpool players will show a reaction to their shock 3-0 Europa League home defeat to Atalanta when they host Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool’s hopes of ending Klopp’s reign with a showpiece European final in Dublin are in real jeopardy after Atalanta punished a lacklustre display to inflict the Reds’ first home defeat in 14 months.

The second leg of the quarter-final tie will be played in Bergamo next week, but before then Liverpool’s attention returns to the intense three-way fight at the top of the Premier League, and a match against Oliver Glasner’s Palace side.

Asked how he could ensure there would be no hangover from Thursday’s result going into Sunday, Klopp said: “First and foremost, I cannot ensure that, never could. But still, it’s the job I have to do.

“I don’t think it was a general low point but performance-wise it was a low point. But the really good thing about a really bad performance is you can play better. Start from there.

“This must feel bad and it does, so let the boys take it home, sleep on it and then come together and recover and go from there.

“On Saturday we will start preparing for Crystal Palace. We have to show a reaction, definitely, 100 per cent clear, but I cannot plan the reaction (straight) after the game…But we will show a reaction, I can promise.”

Klopp made six changes for Thursday’s game, with Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Kostas Tsimikas, Harvey Elliott, Cody Gakpo and Curtis Jones all coming into the side.

It was a first start since February for Jones, who has made two substitute appearances since injury, while Diogo Jota came off the bench for his first appearance of any kind in almost two months.

Long-term absentees Stefan Bajcetic and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among the substitutes, although Klopp said there was “no chance” of Alexander-Arnold ever playing and he had only been named in the squad because UEFA regulations allow him to select up to 23 players.

With no let up in the schedule and Liverpool still fighting on two fronts, Klopp is eager to get his squad back up to full fitness.

“There is no pressure (to manage the injured players’ returns), that’s just the situation,” he said.

“My job isn’t the easiest job in the world but it’s not the most difficult. But it’s about the players, you need to make sure you get them on the pitch and then it works out somehow.

“We’ve played different line-ups and played really good football and (on Thursday) we didn’t and that’s the reason we lost. That can be the headline. It didn’t work out and that’s absolutely fine and right.

“But we need them all and we need them all aggressive, fit, going for it, a bit angry and full of desire and not so much dealing with your own situation, ‘I need rhythm, I didn’t play for ages’ – try to avoid that.”

Jurgen Klopp was left to reflect on “a low point” for Liverpool after Atalanta inflicted one of the heaviest defeats of his reign in Thursday’s Europa League clash.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how the Serie A side’s 3-0 romp compares to Klopp’s worst games with the club.

Low point

Gianluca Scamacca’s double and Mario Pasalic’s late strike gave Atalanta a 3-0 win in the first leg of their quarter-final, denting Klopp’s bid to add an eighth different trophy to his Anfield honours roll and end his reign with a showpiece final in Dublin.

Only Manchester City and Aston Villa have ever enjoyed bigger winning margins against Klopp’s Liverpool, across his 483 games since taking charge in October 2015.

City beat their perennial title rivals 5-0 on the way to the 2017-18 crown, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane scoring twice apiece, and then 4-0 in a futile attempt to stop Klopp’s men romping to their Covid-delayed 2019-20 win.

Villa beat a much-changed Liverpool side 5-0 in the Carabao Cup in December 2019 – a defence of Ki-Jana Hoever, Tony Gallacher, Sepp van den Berg and Morgan Boyes powerless to prevent Jonathan Kodjia scoring his only two goals of that season.

More memorably, Ollie Watkins’ hat-trick and a Jack Grealish brace set up a 7-2 league triumph against Klopp’s defending champions in October 2020.

Anfield nightmare

The common thread between those four hammerings is that they all took place away from Anfield, meaning Gian Piero Gasperini’s side inflicted a record-equalling home defeat on Klopp with Liverpool.

It is the 11th time his side have lost by three goals – a sixth 3-0, to go with four 4-1s and a 5-2 – but only the third at home.

City triumphed 4-1 in 2021, Ilkay Gundogan scoring twice, while last season’s Champions League challenge was effectively ended by that 5-2 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid. Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah gave Liverpool an early 2-0 lead but Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema scored twice apiece in Real’s emphatic comeback.

City are also among the teams to inflict three-goal away defeats on Klopp’s side, a list that curiously includes Watford on two separate occasions along with Tottenham, Brighton and Wolves in the Premier League and Barcelona and Napoli in the Champions League.

Liverpool’s heaviest ever home defeat is only 6-0, against Sunderland in the First Division in April 1930.

Jurgen Klopp called Thursday’s 3-0 home defeat to Atalanta a “low point” in Liverpool’s season as their Europa League hopes were left hanging by a thread.

Liverpool looked flat throughout the quarter-final first leg and ended the night perhaps fortunate Atalanta had not taken one of the many late chances they had to add to a lead given to them by Gianluca Scamacca’s brace and a late Mario Pasalic goal.

Harvey Elliott hit the post in the first half and Mo Salah had a goal ruled out for offside in the second, but Liverpool lacked the spark needed to beat a well-organised Atalanta side, who will be confident of finishing the job next Thursday in Bergamo.

Before Klopp can think about that match, he must lift his players for Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace in the tight battle at the top of the Premier League table.

“It was a really bad game, oh my God,” Klopp said after Liverpool’s first home defeat in nearly 14 months.

“We started well, really well and then didn’t continue. They broke, they scored and we just lost the plot a little bit. We were here and there in midfield, I didn’t recognise it.

“It was really strange but in football terms it was tactical discipline. There was a big chance for Darwin (Nunez) and then it was unlucky with Harvey, but they scored and we kept playing into their hands.

“We played a bad game and we we deserved to lose. We must feel that now but we have exactly this night to feel bad about it and then we have to build up for Palace.”

Klopp made six changes to his side following Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United, but his bid to freshen up the side failed, and their chances of ending the German’s reign with a showpiece final in Dublin have taken a huge hit.

“I believe it’s not the moment to talk about that,” Klopp said when asked if the tie was still alive. “I’m not in the mood to think about the game in a week’s time when we have another in between.

“Definitely we have to try, we want to win the game but now is not the moment to have a big mouth. We have to play a really good game.

“Where we are, this is probably a low point for us performance-wise so it should be possible to play a little bit better and we can play a lot better. But first and foremost it’s about Sunday now.”

The final whistle brought huge celebrations for Atalanta and their travelling fans. Gian Piero Gasperini said he wanted to enjoy the moment, but warned the job is only half done.

“Tonight was amazing,” he said through a translator. “I didn’t make any changes until 10 minutes to go and the only one change because it is hard to touch something about a team that held until the 90th minute in the best way.

“Such a victory, it’s OK to celebrate but we all know we ill have to conquer everything in seven days’ time in Bergamo because Liverpool is a really strong team and they can score goals quickly.

“We will have to play another very precise game in every aspect and repeat tonight’s game because everything remains to be played. But our advantage makes us hope for the best.”

Liverpool endured a humbling night after Atalanta left Anfield with a 3-0 victory that places the Serie A side on the brink of qualifying for the Europa League semi-finals.

Former West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca struck in each half, the second goal made possible by a superb pass from Charles De Ketelaere, before Mario Pasalic added the third in the 84th minute.

Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League title challengers were completely outplayed by opponents positioned sixth in their domestic league and as a result have a mountain to climb in the second leg of their last eight tie.

West Ham were breached by two late goals as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat in their first leg at Bayer Leverkusen.

The Hammers had defended heroically for 83 minutes before goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was finally beaten by substitute Jonas Hoffman.

The second arrived in stoppage time when a second sub, Victor Boniface, headed home Hofmann’s cross to leave West Ham’s hopes of a third consecutive European semi-final looking slim.

Benfica took a step towards the reaching the last four after dispatching Marseille 2-1 in Lisbon through goals by Rafa Silva and Angel Di Maria.

The Portuguese champions were on target either side of the interval with David Neres involved in both strikes before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted what could be an important away goal with 23 minutes remaining.

Gianluca Mancini’s early goal was all that separated AC Milan and Roma in their all-Serie A tie at the San Siro.

Milan controlled most of the game but did not recover from Mancini’s effort with Olivier Giroud directing a short-range target on to the crossbar in the closing moments.

Aston Villa clawed a slender advantage from their Europa Conference League quarter-final against Lille after emerging with a 2-1 first-leg win at Villa Park.

Goals in either half from Ollie Watkins and John McGinn saw Villa lead their first European last-eight tie since 1998 and give boss Unai Emery victory in his 1,000th match as a manager.

Bafode Diakite’s late header gave the French side a lifeline just as it looked like they would head home frustrated by Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who had made a string of big saves.

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