Hyypia tries to rally Liverpool's erratic spirit

Crystal Palace 1 - Liverpool 0
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The table does not lie. Only Fulham, Crystal Palace and Southampton have lost more Premiership games on their travels than Liverpool, whose 10th away defeat does not bode well for their visit to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions' League semi-final.

The table does not lie. Only Fulham, Crystal Palace and Southampton have lost more Premiership games on their travels than Liverpool, whose 10th away defeat does not bode well for their visit to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions' League semi-final.

Palace dominated at Selhurst Park on Saturday with a passion and a work-rate which their opponents never matched. Rafael Benitez was upset by what he believed was Palace's over-physical approach, particularly the robust challenges that saw Milan Baros limp off before half-time.

"We wanted to win the game but sometimes it is not possible to play football," Liverpool's manager said. "Watch the match on television and analyse the game. Look at the three challenges on Milan Baros and judge for yourselves."

He added: "Football is football and is similar everywhere but I have not seen many games like this in other countries." Would it be a different type of match against Chelsea? "I hope so." Would he be preparing in a European or Premiership frame of mind? "Always in a European way. It will be different. Everything changes in the Champions' League."

Liverpool may well have to win the Champions' League to qualify for next season's competition, but while their European performances have belied their Premiership form it is hard to believe they can overcome a Chelsea side which has so quickly mastered the two styles.

"Not everybody was up for it today," Sami Hyypia admitted. "Sometimes it is

like that and we need to get rid of that. We've dropped points in many games this season and the same thing's happened."

Hyypia felt that Dermot Gallagher, the referee, had done Liverpool no favours. "If he had booked players for the first tackles I think it would have stopped, but he didn't do anything so it just carried on," he said.

"Every team have their own way of playing. If Palace had only tried to play football against us they would have lost."

Liverpool, however, had five players booked to Palace's two and for the most part the home team's approach was wholly legitimate. Kit Symons, Palace's assistant manager, took Liverpool's comments as a compliment.

"If you work very hard and close teams down you can stop even the best teams from playing," he said.

After Palace took only two points from six matches, this win restored belief that they can escape relegation. Their spirit was epitomised by the veterans Michael Hughes, who helped to push Liverpool's midfield deep into their own half, and Tony Popovic, who marshalled a defence barely troubled until Gabor Kiraly's magnificent diving save kept out Steven Gerrard's late drive.

Gerrard, Hyypia and Jamie Carragher worked manfully to stir their colleagues into life, though the latter two were regularly exposed by the searing pace of Andrew Johnson, who secured the winner with a moment of instinctive brilliance, cleverly diverting Wayne Routledge's wayward shot past Jerzy Dudek with a controlled header.

Goal: Johnson (34) 1-0.

Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Kiraly; Sorondo, Hall, Popovic, Granville; Routledge, Leigertwood, Riihilahti, Hughes, Soares (Watson, 90); Johnson. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Torghelle, Ventola, Lakis.

Liverpool (5-3-2): Dudek; Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Pellegrino (Riise, 54), Traoré (Cissé, 69); Gerrard, Welsh, Le Tallec; Morientes, Baros (Potter 37). Substitutes not used: Carson (gk), Biscan.

Booked: Crystal Palace Routledge, Granville; Liverpool Carragher, Morientes, Gerrard, Finnan, Riise.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).

Man of the match: Hughes.

Attendance: 26,043

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