As always, match data from Stats Zone, except shot location from Squawka and average player position from ESPN FC.
We've seen this movie before.
We've seen Liverpool miss multiple chances before, we've seen Liverpool's shooting cost the side points before. More times than I'd like to list or remember. And it's been especially bad against Crystal Palace. The two matches against Crystal Palace last season saw Liverpool's second- and sixth-worst shooting accuracy in the league: 8.33% away (one on-target from 12) and 16.67% at home (three on-target from 18).
Yesterday's was 18.18%: four shots on-target, nine off, nine blocked. Which is bad, of course, but still just the fourth-worst through 12 league games, behind West Ham (7.69%), Bournemouth (11.11%), and Southampton (13.33%), the last of which, you'll remember, happened under Liverpool's current manager and at Anfield.
What makes yesterday worse is that Liverpool took 22 shots – the most under Klopp, and the second-most in a league match this season behind the 23 against Norwich – and that 16 of Liverpool's 22 shots came from inside the box, with 12 from in the Danger Zone. Just 25% of the Danger Zone shots (three of 12) were on-target – Liverpool, even with last season's abhorrent shooting, averaged 41.8% accuracy in the Danger Zone in 2014-15 – with the other four inside-the-box shots either off-target (1) or blocked (3). Both of last season's losses to Crystal Palace saw fewer shots in total, fewer shots in the Danger Zone, and more shots from outside the box.
This makes for depressing viewing:
Defensive errors were awful but our inability to convert our chances was also a big reason why we lost yesterday... pic.twitter.com/q8egrtDXOQ— LFCMostar (@LFCMostar) November 9, 2015
You'll notice that five of the eight shots here are from Benteke – all five of his shots in the match. Sigh.
We've also seen those Crystal Palace goals before. Can's clearance across his box to the opposition scorer? Everton's equalizer a month ago. Mignolet punching the ball to the scorer from a corner? Norwich's equalizer at Anfield six weeks ago.
Both of those went down as Opta-defined defensive errors, that sometimes-useful, often-vague stat. Liverpool committed four yesterday: those two leading to goals and two other Can giveaways. Liverpool committed a single defensive error in each of Klopp's three league matches, but none led to a goal; that hadn't happened since Can at Everton. Liverpool last committed four defensive errors in back-to-back losses against Newcastle and Chelsea a year ago.
Liverpool allowed Palace just nine shots in total, fewer than the 15 and 16 they took in last season's losses. Only three of those shots came in the Danger Zone. But they were Bolasie's goal, Dann's goal, and Dann's first shot before his rebound goal. Otherwise? Five speculative efforts from outside the box and Bakary Sako's box-left big chance into the side netting.
Liverpool under Klopp are still doing a better job creating better chances, getting reasonably good shots, and preventing opposition shots. But Liverpool weren't good enough to convert their chances or to prevent errors and/or stop the opposition's, and the blame seems to be on factors we've decried over and over and over and etc etc.
It is probably not coincidence that Liverpool's two main scapegoats – Can for the first goal conceded and other errors, Benteke for his missed opportunities – played 90 minutes in Kazan on Thursday. Liverpool looked a side that played in Russia a few days ago; Palace looked a side that had a week between matches. This was the worry after Thursday's win.
A loss was always going to come, and sooner rather than later. That Klopp managed to go six games unbeaten to start his tenure remains impressive and reassuring. It's infuriating that this loss happened with Liverpool missing multiple chances, it's infuriating that both conceded goals were preventable, it's infuriating that it was against Liverpool's all-too-frequent bête noire. But Liverpool's problems still seem remediable, and this "bad loss" is still a dramatic improvement on last season's bad losses.
But just when we thought we were out of the woods, we're dragged back in again.