Soccer-Liverpool still out of title race says Klopp, as Palace left fuming

Soccer Football - Premier League - Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Selhurst Park, London, Britain - January 23, 2022 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp before the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

LONDON (Reuters) - Juergen Klopp dismissed suggestions that Liverpool are back in contention for the Premier League title after they escaped with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday following a chaotic second half and a penalty decision that left Palace fuming.

With Manchester City held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Saturday, Klopp's side closed the gap at the top of the table to nine points, but the German coach saw little reason to celebrate.

"No," he told the BBC when asked if his side were back in the title race. "The distance is too far to talk about it but we don't have to. We just need to win football matches. Each Premier League game is difficult like we saw today."

After dominating the opening 35 minutes and opening up a 2-0 lead, his side had to hang on grimly until a late Fabinho penalty secured the 3-1 win.

The decision to award a late penalty for a foul on Diogo Jota after a long VAR review left Palace boss Patrick Vieira fuming.

"The wrong decision by the referee had a massive impact on the game. You should ask the referee to talk to you and explain the decision himself," Vieira told the BBC.

"I think Jota was really smart. Football is all about contact. We have meetings with the referees and they tell us football is about contact, and that contact is part of the game," Vieira added.

"And now they've got it wrong. I'm really frustrated by the decision. I have seen it many times, it is never a penalty."

Klopp was relieved to be headed back to Merseyside with the three points.

"It was a bit Jekyll and Hyde football today. You could see how good we can be. We were incredible in the first 35 minutes," Klopp told Sky Sports.

"We did it the hard way, but we did it," he added.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)

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