Ahead of Liverpool’s meeting with notorious ‘bogey team’ Crystal Palace on Monday night, we look back on the teams who have made life most difficult for the Reds in recent years.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking to come through the difficult test unscathed and keep pace with early leaders Manchester City, but historically three points in this fixture have proven hard to come by.
Palace are not alone in consistently defying the gulf in class. Below is a lowdown of the current Premier League outfits, outside the so-called ‘big six’ who have posed the biggest challenge across their last 10 games against the Reds.
Last 10 games: Liverpool 6, Palace 4
On their first visit to Selhurst Park since one of the most numbing nights in the club’s history, Liverpool once again surrendered their advantage. Rickie Lambert popped up with an early goal for Brendan Rodgers’ men, but Dwight Gayle soon equalised before late strikes from Joe Ledley and Mile Jedinak clinched a victory which edged Palace away from the relegation zone.
It was a similar story when Palace came to Anfield at the tail-end of that season. Adam Lallana opened the scoring to set his side on course for three points in Steven Gerrard’s final home game, but Jason Puncheon equalised before the break. Wilfried Zaha, still a key figure for the Eagles, completed the turnaround on the hour before Glenn Murray wrapped up the three points to well and truly spoil the party.
Later that year, Palace sprung a surprise on the Reds’ turf yet again as Yannick Bolasie and Scott Dann scored either side of Philippe Coutinho’s strike. It was Jurgen Klopp’s first defeat since taking over the previous month.
Liverpool were determined to avoid a repeat as they looked to seal their top-four spot in April 2017 and grabbed the lead courtesy of Coutinho’s excellent free-kick. However, Christian Benteke came back to haunt his former club with a double for Sam Allardyce’s relegation-threatened side.
The Reds went on to do the double over Palace in 2017/18, but only scraped past them at Anfield and were forced to come from behind to take the three points on the road.
Last 10 games: Liverpool 5, West Ham 3, 2 Draws
It’s almost difficult to remember a spell in which West Ham tormented Liverpool given the emphatic nature of the Reds’ recent triumphs against the Irons. However, they proved a menace under Slaven Bilic.
A 3-0 home defeat in August 2015, a match which saw Coutinho sent off, was a jarring blow after a positive start to the season. To their credit, the Hammers were excellent that year and completed their first league double against Liverpool for more than a half-century when they eased to a 2-0 victory on home soil in January.
The two sides met again in the FA Cup the following month and, after the Reds wasted a host of chances in a goalless draw at Anfield, Angelo Ogbonna’s extra-time header in the replay knocked them out of the competition.
The Londoners’ form took a dive in 2016/17 but that didn’t stop them frustrating Klopp’s high-flyers on their trip to Anfield midway through December. Lallana put Liverpool ahead, but in the end they were forced to settle for a point after Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio scored preventable goals. Divock Origi levelled things up shortly after the interval, but the breakthrough eluded the Reds thereafter.
Last 10 games: Liverpool 5, Leicester 3, 2 draws
Liverpool did the double over the Foxes last term but, typically, both victories – a 3-2 away win followed by a 2-1 comeback victory at home – were hard-fought.
That triumph at the King Power came just a matter of days after a lacklustre display in a 2-0 League Cup defeat at the same venue. In fact, that was Liverpool’s third consecutive loss on the Foxes’ territory, following a 3-1 reverse in February 2017, which came right in the midst of a plunge in form which shattered any title hopes, and a 2-0 beating 12 months earlier, capped by a Jamie Vardy screamer.
Leicester, of course, won the title that year, but they looked doomed the season before. The point they salvaged from two goals down at Anfield thanks to quick-fire strikes from David Nugent and Jeffrey Schlupp, cancelling out Steven Gerrard’s double, was crucial.
Last 10 games: Liverpool 4, Southampton 3, 3 draws
Southampton seem to have a point to prove when they face Liverpool, who have nabbed a number of their best players since their promotion. Those efforts have often prove successful.
In October 2015, they denied Jurgen Klopp a first victory at the helm as Sadio Mane caught the German’s eye by equalising on 86 minutes before picking up a red card at the death.
Five months on, the Saints dealt Klopp’s hopes of taking his team back into the top four a huge blow as they came from two goals down to snatch victory. Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool a good margin, but Mane proved too hot to handle once again as he brought his side back into the game before scoring the winner five minutes from time. No wonder Klopp was so keen to bring him on board.
Liverpool had four chances to beat Southampton in 16/17 but failed with each attempt. A fine Virgil van Dijk performance was crucial in securing a goalless draw in November, and the Reds drew two further blanks just after the turn of the year when a pair of 1-0 defeats saw their hopes of League Cup success extinguished at the penultimate hurdle.
The focus then switched to clinching a place in the Champions League but once again the Saints proved an insurmountable obstacle in a May stalemate. James Milner had the chance to snatch three sweet points, but he saw his penalty saved by Fraser Forster.
Last 10 games: Liverpool 4, Newcastle 4, 2 draws
Newcastle may not be a factor at the sharp end of the Premier League table as they were in the past, but that has not stopped them frustrating Liverpool on multiple occassions.
The Magpies narrowly avoided the drop in 2012/13 but they were able to hold the Reds at Anfield, and just over a year later Liverpool, though they held a man advantage, were forced to come from behind twice to limit the damage to their title bid with a draw.
At the end of 2015, Steve McLaren’s Toon brought Liverpool’s impressive run of form to a shuddering halt with a 2-0 home victory, with future Red Georginio Wijnaldum on the scoresheet.
Rafael Benitez had taken over before the reverse fixture and a presumably rousing half-time team talk saw them rally from two goals down and cancel out efforts from Lallana and Sturridge to silence Anfield.
A wasteful performance last October saw the Reds, who had taken the lead against the newly-promoted outfit via some Coutinho magic, come away from St James’ Park with only a point.