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Report: Liverpool 3-1 Palace

PUBLISHED

16:51 5th October 2013


Three first-half goals from star men Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool an impressive 3-1 victory against Palace as they returned to the top of the Barclays Premier League.

The Reds gave the Eagles a Premier League masterclass during the first-half at Anfield and looked unplayable at times, but a bright second 45 from Ian Holloway's men will give them plenty of encouragement, with Dwight Gayle's header the brightest point of the day for the travelling contingent from south London.

Palace began brightly and could have scored early on when Jimmy Kebe, Marouane Chamakh and Jason Puncheon linked up in the final third, but the wide man's cross was slightly too high for Cameron Jerome who couldn't quite divert his header goalwards.

Playing against the side where he made his name, Victor Moses nearly converted a Jose Enrique cross which just eluded the Palace academy graduate, but three minutes later he played a big role in the opening goal of the game on 13 minutes.

After picking the ball up from Raheem Sterling, Moses cut inside and dribbled across the box before finding Suarez, who played in the overlapping Enrique. The Spaniard returned the ball to the striker who slipped over but still managed to prod the ball into the bottom corner to mark his Anfield return with a goal.

The sharpness of the Reds' passing moves was causing the Eagles plenty of problems and Sturridge forced Julian Speroni into a diving save after cutting inside from the right, but the red-hot striker added his side's second four minutes after their first. Sprinting down the left, he turned Damien Delaney inside out before rifling the ball into the bottom corner from a tight angle.

Holloway's side nearly pulled one back when Kebe raced into the area and stroked the ball past Simon Mignolet but Kolo Toure cleared the ball away from danger, and seconds later the winger came closer when he deflected a wayward Jerome strike back towards goal, only to be thwarted by a splendid save by the Liverpool keeper with Puncheon blazing over the rebound.

But nine minutes before half-time the Eagles were the victims of another harsh penalty award. Sterling played a one-two with Suarez who lofted the ball back into his path, and whilst trying to latch onto the return the England man was tripped by Dean Moxey outside the area. However the linesman flagged for a penalty, and Gerrard sent Speroni the wrong way.

It was nearly 4-0 at the break when Suarez again attacked down the left flank and centred for an unmarked Moses, but despite being just a couple of yards out he let it hit his body and it flicked off the bar and away from danger, and Speroni pushed away another attempt from the Uruguayan striker in injury time as a miserable 45 minutes for the visitors came to a close.

A combination of substitutions, a change of shape and the Reds taking their foot off the gas after the restart meant that Speroni was rarely troubled during the second half, and substitute Gayle saw a shot fizz over the bar when he latched onto a erroneous pass by Enrique.

But the striker netted his second goal of the season on 76 minutes when Jose Campana clipped a free-kick into the area and Gayle made a nice run away from the defence before flicking the ball past Mignolet.

Sturridge came close to adding his second of the game when he was picked out by Suarez in the area but saw his first-time effort hit the post and ricochet back across the goalmouth which Palace scrambled away, but ultimately it was just to be the three for the home side as their impressive start to the season continues.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho (Agger 67), Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Moses (Alberto 67), Stirling, Sturridge (Aspas 88), Suarez. 
Unused subs: Jones, Ilori, Wisdom, Ibe.

Palace: Speroni, Ward, Mariappa, Delaney, Moxey, Jedinak, O'Keefe, Puncheon, Kebe (Campana 46), Jerome (Gayle 46), Chamakh (Bolasie 68). 
Unused subs: Price, Inniss, Guedioura, Phillips