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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:48 29th October 2016


In another high-scoring affair between Palace and Liverpool, the Reds managed to come out on top of a six-goal thriller despite a dogged display that saw the hosts level twice.

In a manic opening period, Emre Can opened the scoring before James McArthur restored parity two minutes later, however Dejan Lovren would head home to restore the advantage.

McArthur would then continue his goalscoring spree this season by adding a second, but Joel Matip punished some poor marking to score in a similar fashion to his central defensive partner before a second half strike by Roberto Firmino sealed the win for the Merseysiders.

As the scoreline suggested, the match was played a frantic pace throughout and the visitors enjoyed plenty of pressure in the Palace third who were feeding off scraps to launch counter-attacks. It would take 17 minutes for the game’s first real chance, but it was seized to leave Jurgen Klopp celebrating.

A slick one-touch move began when Philippe Coutinho clipped the ball towards Alberto Moreno on the left who managed to just stay onside by fractions to first-time pick out the run of Can, who advanced into the box to tuck the ball into the bottom corner via a slight deflection off Scott Dann.

That would be the first of three goals in just five minutes affairs as Palace found an immediate way to draw level. A clearance by Steve Mandanda was flicked on by Christian Benteke but Matip managed to mop up and find his centre-back partner Lovren, but his languid backpass to Loris Karius was easy for McArthur to nod over a Reds keeper stranded in no-man’s land and find the empty net.

That saw Selhurst Park erupt with noise, however it was dampened just a couple of minutes later when Lovren atoned for his mistake by scoring his team’s second. Once again Coutinho was involved as he sent a corner into the area, and the Croatian managed to get around Dann to head the ball downwards between Mandanda’s legs to restore their lead.

For a while it looks as though Liverpool were going to run rampant with their constant pressing causing the hosts difficulties and Moreno cracked a shot from a tight angle against the post, but whilst creaking Palace were surviving and suddenly on 33 minutes they had drawn level once again.

A long ball by James Tomkins was won by the dominant Benteke, and the striker’s header found Wilfried Zaha on the right. He composed himself and sent a cross towards the near post where a superb run and leap by McArthur saw him beat Lovren to the ball and power the cross past Karius to become Palace’s top scorer this season with four.

The first half was a thrilling affair and Liverpool came back at the Eagles, with Mandanda pulling off a world-class save to push a Coutinho header onto the post, and then Sadio Mane should have fired his team back in front when Nathaniel Clyne ghosted in from the left and teed up the Senegalese attacker right in front of the posts, but he sent it over the crossbar from 10 yards out.

But they did take the lead into the half-time break two minutes before the interval when Liverpool took the lead for the third time in the half. Once again it was a set-piece that was Alan Pardew’s men’s undoing as Coutinho’s delivery was dispatched by the head of the unmarked Matip to make it 3-2 to the visitors as a pulsating 45 came to a close.

The action didn’t stop after the restart and with their tails up attacking the Holmesdale, Palace were lively in the opening stages and Benteke smacked a shot on the turn towards goal that Karius did well to block, and after Mandanda’s outstretched foot denied Mane at the other end when he burst through, the Belgian once again forced the German goalkeeper into another save as he attempted to bend the ball into the far corner.

It was all the home side during the first 20 minutes of the second half who also had three penalty appeals turned down, but a minute after the strongest one when Zaha was felled in the box, Jordan Henderson played an inch-perfect pass into the path of Firmino who dinked the ball over Mandanda to finally put clear daylight between the teams for the first time all evening.

After Zaha fired straight at Karius and Jason Puncheon fizzed one over the top, Palace seemed to run out of steam and Mandanda would save from Coutinho one final time after Mane picked out his teammate, but the goalfest would finally end at six with the Eagles on the wrong end of the result.

Palace: Mandanda, Ward, Dann, Tomkins, Kelly, Lee (Townsend 65), Cabaye, McArthur (Campbell 86), Ledley (Puncheon 74), Zaha, Benteke. Subs not used: Hennessey, Delaney, Fryers, Flamini.

Liverpool: Karius, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Lallana (Wijnaldum 76), Coutinho (Origi 89), Mane (Klavan 90), Firmino. Subs not used: Mignolet, Randall, Lucas, Sturridge.