Getty Images

A look at the statistics from Liverpool's match against Crystal Palace will show that the Reds played as they usually do -- they out-possessed, outshot and outpassed the opposition by wide margins. For all their tactical successes on Sunday, Liverpool somehow could not manage to do the one thing they needed to do -- score -- and as a result, lost 1-0 at home to Palace in a match that may just pull them out of the Premier League title race they had long been in front of.

Liverpool got off to a slow start and paid the price in the 14th minute as Palace's smooth buildup play allowed Tyrick Mitchell to play a pass to the center of the penalty area, where Eberechi Eze made a run and finished with ease from close range.

The goal was a wake-up call for a Liverpool team who seemed eager to rebound from a tough week in which they drew 2-2 with Manchester United and lost 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League quarterfinals. With Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez in the lineup, the Reds eventually mustered up 21 shots and 2.87 expected goals, much better than the eight and 1.87 Palace managed in the respective categories.

Those two figures alone, though, are emblematic of the problem that several other statistics can help spell out. Palace were demonstrably more efficient with their attacking opportunities, and Liverpool were remarkably wasteful with theirs. Jurgen Klopp's team only put six of their 21 shots on frame, generating the most expected goals of a Premier League team without scoring a goal since Brighton and Hove Albion in a 0-0 draw with Norwich in April 2022, per Opta. In the end, that inefficiency delivered Liverpool's first Premier League defeat at Anfield since Jesse Marsch's Leeds United team in October 2022.

It's not exactly uncommon for Liverpool to play like this -- they rank within the league's top three for goals and shots on goal, and they lead the Premier League for shots and expected goals. They rank 15th for shots on goal percentage, though, putting just 34% of their 650 chances on target. Liverpool have mostly gotten away with it this season, entirely because even if their shot quality is inconsistent, the fact that they will generate enough good chances will see them over the line. That was the case, for example, in their 3-1 win over Sheffield United earlier this month when they spent almost 20 minutes level with the last-place team.

Liverpool have teetered on the edge of this strategy at times this season, almost forcing the question if they can actually get away with it. They definitely did not against Palace, thanks in part to another one of their relative weaknesses. They have conceded the second-fewest goals in the Premier League but have kept just one clean sheet in their last 10 games, a worse record than their fellow competitors for the title -- Manchester City have three in that stretch, and Arsenal had six in their last 10 coming into this weekend as they begin to build their case as a defensively resilient side.

It now keeps Liverpool in second but the weekend could end with them in third place, two short weeks after they were in first. With six games to go, they are certainly not out of the running to win the Premier League but the loss to Palace demonstrates that the margins are not just tight atop the table. The competitiveness of the race also resembles the fragility of Liverpool's tactical strategy this season -- it's an approach that can keep you in the conversation through mid-April but can fall off the rails somewhat quickly if the perfect balance is not struck.

Don't miss CBS Sports Golazo Network's Morning Footy, now in podcast form! Our crew brings you all the news, views, highlights and laughs you need to follow the Beautiful Game in every corner of the globe, every Monday-Friday all year long.