Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepted their lack of goal threat failed to put enough pressure on Atalanta to help turn their Europa League quarter-final back in their favour.

Mohamed Salah’s seventh-minute penalty had raised hopes of a Barcelona 2019-style comeback but the Egypt international missed a relatively straightforward lob to make it 2-0 towards the end of the first half and they faded badly after the break as they exited the competition 3-1 on aggregate.

That meant for only the third time in the 21st century, England have no teams in the semi-finals of the Champions League or Europa League/UEFA Cup.

“We didn’t lose the tie tonight, we lost it at home,” Klopp said after a 3-0 first-leg defeat proved decisive.

“It’s very easy to congratulate Atalanta because they deserved to go through. When you win a tie against us 3-1 in especially this way you deserve it absolutely.

“But I loved our game, especially the start. I loved the commitment, desire and power we developed in this game but it was clear we had better score from time to time otherwise it could be tricky over 90 minutes.

“The second goal could have helped a little bit. We have to create a little bit more than we did in the first half as it’s clear you need a result to help destabilise the opponent.

“If you have a second goal it’s a tricky one as the next goal is extra time but we didn’t get to that point and we will never really know how that would have looked.

“Disappointed we didn’t go through but not frustrated or angry. If you don’t deserve it, it’s all good.”

Salah has looked well short of his clinical best since returning from almost two months out with a hamstring problem.

Even though he has scored six in 11 game since he came back two of those have been penalties and he is squandering more chances he would normally be expected to take.

“I’m not particularly concerned. That’s what strikers do. That’s how it it is. We have to go through it, he has to go through it,” added Klopp.

“He is one of most experienced players in the squad. That’s pretty much all.

“It’s not that Mo didn’t miss chances before in his life, that’s part of the game. The penalty was super convincing, a super penalty then the next chance that was unlucky, but it’s not the first time has has missed chances like that.

“I won’t make a big story of it. I’m not particularly concerned.”

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League after they failed to turn around their 3-0 first-leg defeat to Atalanta despite winning 1-0 at Gewiss Stadium.

Jurgen Klopp’s men took the lead from the spot in the seventh minute through Mohamed Salah but could not find the goals needed as they fell to a 3-1 aggregate loss in the quarter-finals.

West Ham were knocked out by Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen at London Stadium, also going out 3-1 on aggregate.

The Hammers gave themselves hope, both in the tie and of inflicting a first defeat of the season on Leverkusen, courtesy of Michail Antonio’s first-half goal.

But it was not enough as Leverkusen scored late on through Jeremie Frimpong.

Roma held off AC Milan to advance to the semi-finals.

Daniele De Rossi’s side, who won the first leg 1-0, scored two quickfire goals through Gianluca Mancini and Paulo Dybala to strengthen their advantage.

Despite Mehmet Zeki Çelik’s red card for a late challenge on Rafael Leao and Matteo Gabbia pulling one back in the 85th minute, the hosts managed to see out the match.

Marseille had to rely on penalties to claim their last-eight win over Benfica.

Benfica went to Stade Velodrome with a 2-1 advantage.

Faris Moumbagna opened the scoring for the hosts but both defences proved to be stubborn as the match went the distance after extra-time.

Antonio Silva and Angel Di Maria missed from 12 yards before Luis Henrique scored the decisive spot-kick to send the French club through.

Liverpool could not conjure up another remarkable comeback when they needed it most as their 1-0 victory over Atalanta in Bergamo failed to salvage their Europa League hopes.

Mohamed Salah’s early penalty raised hopes all the pre-match reminiscence of the famous 4-0 against Barcelona in the 2019 Champions League semi-final would be replayed but their continued struggles in front of goal saw them exit 3-1 on aggregate.

Jurgen Klopp’s first season ended with defeat in the final of this competition and his last also culminated in more disappointment – the only major trophy he has not won in his nine years at Anfield.

His greater frustration will be the manner in which his side threw things away a week ago to make the prospect of bouncing back, without the power of Anfield as they had five years ago, a more remote possibility.

Klopp had urged his players, as he had against Barcelona, to “fail in the most beautiful way” and while some of their play in the opening 45 minutes – driven by a resurgent Trent Alexander-Arnold – was scintillating it brought only one goal.

Now Liverpool have just six games in the Premier League, trailing Manchester City by two points, in which to ensure their beloved manager does not leave with only the Carabao Cup from a season which teased a quadruple only a month ago.

On the positive side having Alexander-Arnold will help on that front and it is unlikely Atalanta had experienced anything like what he produced particularly in the first half.

Perhaps not surprisingly for a team entering the last-chance saloon, Liverpool set off at a rapid pace but it was not so much the intensity of their approach but the whirlwind they generated with the perpetual motion.

With Alexander-Arnold making his first start since mid-February after injury the team dynamic changed dramatically as the defender was given licence to roam and create.

However, it was from more orthodox right side from which he won the penalty with a cross which hit the arm of Matteo Ruggeri after Luis Diaz had raced down the left and cut inside.

After the inevitable VAR check Salah stepped up to send goalkeeper Juan Musso the wrong way – and in a nice piece of symmetry in the same seventh minute in which Divock Origi sparked the comeback against Barca.

Unfortunately that is where the similarities ended as Musso was more alert to smother Diaz before he could get a shot off from Cody Gakpo’s one-move turn and pass.

The movement from the players was dizzying at times as the fluid switching of positions regularly saw Salah playing deeper and more central with Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson both popping up in the centre-forward role – when the former was not dictating play from deep or the latter was playing as a left-winger.

Salah has been well below his best since his own return from injury in February and he never looked comfortable when put clean through by Gakpo, playing a key part in the continuing the merry-go-round, and his lob over Musso never looked like troubling the goal.

The hosts had taken a good 25 minutes to get to grips with the maelstrom which threatened to engulf them but Aleksei Miranchuk scuffed wide their only shot of the half with an offside flag denying Teun Koopmeiners.

Atalanta centre-back Isak Hien was perhaps fortunate to only be booked for deliberate handball to stop Diaz running through onto Salah’s pass shortly before half-time and the interval offered them some respite.

They actually had the better chances of the second half, Ederson and Koopmeiners both shooting straight at Alisson Becker.

With 25 minutes to go, Klopp gambled and introduced Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez but the fluency of the first half had already disappeared and the changes only compounded that.

What the papers say

Mo Salah is keen to leave Liverpool after a failed £200 million transfer bid, with the Sun reporting that three replacements have now been identified.

The i says Sean Dyche‘s job as Everton manager is not under threat, in spite of the club’s recent poor form.

Gremio left winger Gustavo Nunes, a rising star from Brazil, is attracting interest from Manchester City, Liverpool, and Arsenal despite only making his senior debut in February, writes the Daily Mail.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mason Greenwood: Manchester United could offer him as part of a deal to sign Brazil defender Gleison Bremer, 27, from Juventus, Gazzetta dello Sport claims.

Jarrad Branthwaite: Bayern Munich and Tottenham have joined Manchester United in considering a move for the Everton defender, as per Teamtalk.

Idrissa Gana Gueye: Saudi Pro League clubs are interested in the 34-year-old midfielder, who is unlikely to be offered a new deal by Everton when his contract expires, writes Football Insider.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will evoke the spirit of their Barcelona comeback when he sends his team out to keep their Europa League hopes alive against Atalanta in Bergamo.

The Reds have a 3-0 deficit to overturn from the first leg if they are to make the semi-finals, a scenario which has echoes of their famous comeback to beat the Catalan side in a Champions League semi-final in May 2019 on their way to winning a sixth European Cup.

After that victory his players remarked about the stirring speech he gave in the dressing room before kick-off and Klopp said, although he does not yet have anything planned, he can use that brilliant night at Anfield as a reference point even though they will not have the backing of a home crowd.

“I usually don’t prepare these things like that, especially not the day before or four years before whatever,” he said.

“I remember I said, ‘If we fail, then let’s fail in the most beautiful way’. And that’s exactly how I see it again.

“After the game (last week) everyone in the stadium thought ‘that’s it’. Now it’s a week later I don’t think everyone thinks it is already decided

“We want to win the game. If we want to win, we better play good. If we play good, we have a chance to win it. Then we will see.”

That Barcelona victory is the only time in Liverpool’s long European history they have overturned a three-goal first leg deficit.

However, they have never made such a comeback playing the second leg away from home and in the four first leg European ties they have lost at Anfield they have never progressed to the next round.

Liverpool hammered Atalanta 5-0 at home in a behind-closed-doors Champions League group game during lockdown in November 2020 – having lost the home leg 2-0 – and Klopp hopes they can capitalise on any indecision the hosts may have about how to approach their seemingly comfortable lead.

“Tomorrow is more difficult because they don’t have to score at all,” he added.

“We will see who deals better with the situation. If Atalanta go through then they will deserve it. If not, then something special will have happened.

“We have to do better. It’s really not simple because usually you fight for everything but when you are 3-0 up it is not easy for them.”

Despite their significant advantage, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini is not underestimating the occasion as they seek to book only the second European semi-final spot in the club’s history.

“We know that it will be one of the most important games in our history, if not the most important,” he told a press conference.

“Even though we won the first leg, tomorrow we start again at 0-0. Our focus will have to be not to think about the result of the first leg.”

Captain Marten De Roon added: “I don’t think only in Bergamo but I believe that all of Italy will be behind us tomorrow.”

Portsmouth sealed a Sky Bet Championship return on Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Barnsley and several other teams still have plenty to play for as another enthralling domestic season draws to a close.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the promotion and relegation issues up and down the country.

Premier League

Neutrals are gripped by the first three-way title race in the top flight for a long time. Another twist occurred last weekend as champions Manchester City returned to the summit on Saturday, before Arsenal and Liverpool suffered shock home defeats on Sunday. With six games left, Pep Guardiola’s side hold a two-point lead over the Gunners and Reds.

At the other end, an intriguing relegation battle continues – on and off the pitch. Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton occupy the bottom three spots and, while the race appears almost run for the Blades and the Clarets have an uphill task to stay up, the Hatters’ survival hopes remain alive. Nottingham Forest and Everton – in 17th and 16th, respectively – are within touching distance, as both clubs wait to learn their fates after appealing against points deductions over breaches of financial rules.

Championship

It has been a rollercoaster ride for supporters’ of Ipswich, Leicester, Leeds and Southampton this season, especially in recent weeks. With only a handful of matches left, Kieran McKenna’s Tractor Boys are top on 89 points, with the second-placed Foxes a point behind with a game in hand. However, that fixture is against fourth-placed Saints, who are not out of the top-two race themselves with a four-point deficit to previously runaway leaders Leicester. Leeds sit third, with all four still in with a shot of automatic promotion spot.

Rotherham’s relegation to League One has already been confirmed, but two more spaces need to be finalised. Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield are in the bottom three on 44 points each. Birmingham sit one point above the two Yorkshire clubs, while Stoke, QPR, Plymouth and Blackburn would not consider themselves safe as they remain below the 50-point mark.

League One

 

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After Pompey claimed the title on Tuesday, all eyes are on which club will be runners-up. Derby are second on 86 points with a three-point gap to Bolton, but Peterborough, with a game in hand, cannot be ruled out despite a six-point deficit to the second-placed Rams. Everything could be settled this weekend.

Carlisle are already consigned to the fourth tier and Fleetwood’s defeat at Peterborough left them six points from safety with only two games to go. Port Vale are 22nd on 40 points, while Cheltenham are 21st on 41 points, but crucially have a match in hand. It means Burton, especially, and Cambridge are still looking over their shoulders, with the former only two points above the bottom four and the latter holding a five-point advantage along with a game in hand.

League Two

Mansfield joined Stockport and Wrexham in clinching promotion to League One on Tuesday, but there is still one relegation spot to be determined. Colchester’s win over Grimsby ended the survival hopes of Forest Green and gave the victors a four-point advantage over 23rd-placed Sutton along with a game in hand. Sutton need to win their last two matches and hope both Grimsby and Colchester fail to win again this season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says he owes everything to Jurgen Klopp and believes the Liverpool manager’s impending departure could feed into the title-race drama.

Reigning champions Manchester City sit top of the Premier League pile with six matches remaining after second-placed Arsenal and the third-spotted Reds suffered shock defeats on Sunday.

Liverpool’s 1-0 home loss to Crystal Palace compounded Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Atalanta in what could prove Klopp’s final European night at Anfield.

Alexander-Arnold made his return from two months out with a knee injury in the Eagles encounter and expects more “twists and turns” as the popular German’s final season in charge comes to an end.

“I think experience is a massive part of it,” the Liverpool academy product told The Overlap podcast.

“Obviously the other two teams will have experience from last season. They had their own title race within themselves.”

Asked if Klopp leaving and the emotion around gives Liverpool an edge in the run-in, Alexander-Arnold said: “I think he will feed into that, the further it goes.

“Let’s say we get into May, the start of May, and it’s still that tight, then he’ll start to feed into how it’s going to look, how it could feel. Up until then, we just need to try and stay (composed).

“He never says, ‘We’re trying to win the league, we’re going to win the league’.

“He doesn’t really speak about it. It’s more, ‘We’re going to get the most out of ourselves, we’re going to squeeze every drop of potential’.

“There will be twists and turns, no matter what.”

Liverpool are hoping for an almighty change in fortunes at Atalanta on Thursday, when the second leg could see Alexander-Arnold make his first start since February 10.

Every one of his appearances for his boyhood club have come under Klopp, to whom the homegrown star is eternally grateful.

“Incredible, really,” Alexander-Arnold said. “I owe everything to him, really, as a player.

“I was thinking about this recently. The only thing you can ever ask for as a young player is opportunity.

“All you can do is hope that when you get to 18, 19, you’ve got a manager that’s willing to give you a chance and I was fortunate enough to have that.

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“Not only that, he put his arm round me and guided me through it, through the ups and downs, the winning of stuff, losing things.

“Good games, bad games, because your first bad game you think you’re never going to kick a ball again. You think, ‘I’m done’.”

Alexander-Arnold is expecting it to feel “weird” returning to pre-season without Klopp, although he likes the idea of a “new challenge” under an as yet undetermined new boss.

The 25-year-old will likely return late to Liverpool given England are among the favourites for Euro 2024, at which Gareth Southgate has a midfield role in mind for him.

Asked whether he sees himself as a midfielder or a right-back, Alexander-Arnold said: “I’d probably say I still see myself as a right-back.

“I see myself as someone who can probably play in both positions if needed.

“But I think my focus, until I’m told otherwise by the gaffer, is that I’m still a right-back.

“I come inside and I play inside when we have the got ball, but essentially, when you write the team-sheet, I am a right-back.”

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.”

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