Three first-half strikes from a ruthless Liverpool front-line effectively secured the points at Selhurst Park today, with Roy Hodgson’s men left to rue a number of chances wasted in the opening 45. The visitors added four more in the second-half in a demoralising afternoon for Palace.
- Nightmare start for Palace, as Takumi Minamino smashes past Guaita after 2 minutes
- Flurry of Palace chances come to nothing
- Mane strikes on 35 mins to double visitors’ lead, and Firmino adds to Palace’s pain just before half-time
- HT: 0-3
- Jordan Henderson strikes sweetly from distance for 0-4, Firmino dinks over Guaita to make it five
- Salah nods the sixth, and curls from distance for Liverpool’s seventh.
- FT: 0-7
The visitors wasted little time in imposing themselves upon Palace, with Trent Alexander-Arnold finding Sadio Mane down the right flank, who laid off perfectly to Takumi Minamino just inside the Palace box. Minamino’s deft control afforded him space to strike sweetly past Vicente Guaita from ten yards, inside just two minutes, his first Premier League goal.
Whilst the visitors dominated the first ten minutes, the pressure was short-lived. Indeed, for the forthcoming 25 minutes, it was Palace who by far looked most dangerous.
The hosts’ front line were causing headaches right across the Liverpool back-line, with Jordan Ayew, Wilfried Zaha, Jeffrey Schlupp and Eberechi Eze all finding space and linking up promisingly, with chance after chance ensuing.
Zaha sprang to life on 12 minutes, the Ivorian’s blistering pace down the left created space for a low drilled cross destined for an Ayew tap-in, but Fabinho was alert to the danger, guiding the ball behind for a corner before it reached the striker.
Soon after, Zaha nearly reached a stray ball but Alisson was quick off his lines to clear from the edge of the box. But the ball landed at the feet of Luka Milivojevic, who attemped an audacious lob over the out of position Brazilian ‘keeper from the centre-circle. Unfortunately, the captain's effort was undercooked and straight into Alisson’s gloves.
Ayew outmuscled Fabinho and attempted a cut-back to Zaha, but it was misjudged and misdirected. Ayew then couldn’t convert a well-weighted Milivojevic free-kick, his header straight at Alisson. Schlupp got on the end of an Eze corner, but once again the header was straight down the middle.
Palace would rue these missed opportunities, because on 35 minutes, Sadio Mane intercepted a neat pass from Roberto Firmino, turned and struck past the right glove of Guaita with minimal fuss.
Firmino then sent the visitors 0-3 up at the break, after a wonderful Andrew Robertson through ball was silkily poked into the net from the Brazilian forward.
Harsh scoreline at this stage perhaps – but Liverpool were frighteningly clinical, whilst Palace were wasteful by comparison.
Liverpool picked up where they left off, with captain Jordan Henderson curling a fourth goal past Guaita from distance.
As the heavens opened in South London, the pressure from Liverpool seemed relentless, and with Klopp introducing Mohamed Salah with 33 left on the clock, it showed no sign of abating.
James Tomkins replaced Cheikhou Kouyate for his first minutes since February, and soon after Van Aanholt smacked the ball well, but wide, of Alisson’s goal. Hodgson then introduced Michy Batshuayi with 20 minutes to go, with Eze making way.
Firmino scored his second – and Liverpool’s fifth - of the match with an exquisite chip over Guaita. Salah nodded a sixth with ten to play, and a sumptuous seventh from distance.
An afternoon to forget for Roy Hodgson’s men, but Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool will be fully deserving of all the plaudits.
Palace: Guaita (GK), Clyne, Kouyate (Tomkins ’63), Cahill, Van Aanholt, Schlupp, Milivojevic ©, McArthur (Riedewald ’72), Eze (Batshuayi ’69), Ayew, Zaha.
Subs not used: Butland (GK), Ward, Mitchell, Dann, McCarthy, Townsend.
Liverpool: Alisson (GK), Robertson, Matip, Fabinho, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum (Jones ’69), Keita, Mané (Salah ’57), Henderson (c), Minamino, Firmino (Oxlade-Chamberlain ’74).
Subs not used: Adrián (GK), Kelleher (GK), Origi, Williams, Phillips, Williams.