Liverpool finally ended a poor record of three successive Premier League defeats to Crystal Palace at Anfield, thanks to a composed strike from Sadio Mané.
Liverpool dominated much of the game however on reflection will be relieved to walk away with the 3 Points after Palace missed numerous chances.
Mignolet; Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner; Mané, Sturridge, Firmino.
After the 3-3 draw Jurgen Klopp made a massive five changes, whether it was due to poor performance or reflection of a sterner test against Hoffenheim on Wednesday. The biggest surprise was leaving summer signing Mohamed Salah on the bench.
Liverpool dominated the game’s early possession, knocking it around comfortably across the back four, utilising a fluid system of quick one-touch passes trying to break down a resolute defence. Liverpool’s failure to find both the first, and final touch to make their domination in possession count in the final third keep Palace in the game.
Palace tried to test Liverpool’s make-shift defence with very direct attacking, hoping to test Liverpool’s set pieces early on in the first half.
The first half was a frustrating one, as Liverpool were unable to find the back of the net despite their attacking domination. Klopp earnt his money in the half-time team talk as Liverpool came rushing out of the blocks in the second-half. Klopp declared in his interview after the game that they analysed videos allowing the attacking players to find pockets of space in-behind the Eagles back-line.
Despite all the positive efforts, Palace were closer to actually scoring. Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s run setting up Ex-Red Christian Benteke who failed to take advantage of his clear shot on goal.
This was far from vintage Liverpool who, for once, struggled in front of goal despite peppering the Palace defence with 16 shots – half of them on target.
Joel Matip headed a great chance wide, while Mane missed a glorious opportunity before he scored – both chances created by debutant Andrew Robertson.
Hennessey kept Palace in the game with some stunning saves, however a ricochet fell kindly to Mane, who calmly slotted the ball home giving Liverpool a 1-0 lead with just fifteen minutes to go!
As Crystal Palace strived to make it 1-1 they became more exposed at the back and Liverpool’s pace on the counter was threatening where they could have extended their lead had it not have been for Hennessey, who had an impressive game in goal.
Specialist at left-back
Video courtesy of This Is Anfield.
It was hardly surprising that Robertson was smiling after his Premier League debut for Liverpool. Producing two wonderful crosses which should have resulted in goals, before being denied himself late on from long range.