Hughes urges Eagles fans to keep the faith after Liverpool loss

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WILL Hughes is calling for Crystal Palace fans to stick with the team after today’s heartbreaking 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool.

The Eagles certainly didn’t look like a team short of confidence following a recent dip in form, with Jefferson Lerma seeing a first-half header pushed on to the post by Alisson.

Odsonne Edouard thought he had won a 29th minute penalty after being tripped by Virgil van Dijk, only for VAR to recommend referee Andy Madley look again at how Hughes had won the ball from Wataru Endo just beforehand.

The decision to award the spot-kick was overturned on review, but this wasn’t to be the case second time around after the interval when Madley was once again sent to the screen to see a clear foul in the box by Jarell Quansah on Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Mateta made no mistake from 12 yards to give Palace a deserved 57th minute advantage, although the turning point came on 75 minutes when Jordan Ayew picked up his second yellow card.

Liverpool drew level moments later via a deflected Mo Salah strike.

And there was to be a sickening sucker punch in the first minute of stoppage time as Harvey Elliott grabbed the Reds’ winner with a shot from just outside the box.

It remains just one home league win in SE25 this season for the Eagles, but this at least was a much better display than the tame midweek reverse at the hands of Bournemouth.

And Hughes wants the supporters to keep the faith as the Eagles bid to turn things around.

He said: “Of course it’s disappointing to lose in the manner in which we did, having played a large part of the game in control and had plenty of chances up until the sending off.

“I’ve not seen it back so I can’t really comment, but playing against 11 men, when you’ve got 10 men against Liverpool, is always going to be a challenge. It’s disappointing.

“I don’t think the (fans’) frustration was aimed at us today because we grafted out there, we put in a shift and I thought we played well for large parts.

“We need their support to turn this around at home.”

Next up are Manchester City, although Palace can at least take heart from having a better record than most against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Hughes said: “We’ve proven we can compete with that kind of team over the last few years, looking at results against the big teams.

“There are no easy games in this league.

“You’d think on paper we might have a better chance against certain teams.

“But when you play against bigger teams the pressure is on them, so we can cause them problems.”

Palace’s campaign has been blighted by a string of injuries to key players and there was more bad news today as Sam Johnstone (calf), Edouard (knee) and Lerma (hamstring) joined the casualty list.

But manager Roy Hodgson remains convinced his side will overcome their difficulties eventually.

He said: “I’ve never had any doubt about the players.

“We’re going through a bad spell and it looks like the bad spell will continue – and we weren’t helped today with the continuation of that bad spell – but I’ve never had any worries about the team with regards to the rest of the season.”

Hodgson added: “We’re going to have to survive this bad spell and get players fit again.

“I can praise them for their performance today and say they were so unlucky. I can blame lots of things, but the bottom line is a game where I thought after 75 minutes we were looking likely to win 1-0, we lose 2-1.”


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