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Report: Late penalty decision denies resurgent Palace comeback v Liverpool

1
Édouard 55'
3
van Dijk 8'
Oxlade-Chamberlain 32'
Fabinho 89'

Crystal Palace produced a resurgent second-half performance which came close to earning them a point against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, however a late penalty decision prevented the south Londoners from capitalising on a gripping display.

Summary

  • Patrick Vieira makes two changes to the starting XI which drew with Brighton, naming Vicente Guaita and Jean-Philippe Mateta from kick-off

  • Liverpool take the lead when Virgil van Dijk powerfully heads in on the end of an Andrew Robertson corner

  • Palace respond well and enjoy a period in the ascendancy, pressing their hosts and forcing Liverpool’s backline into action from the wings

  • The game swings back in Liverpool’s favour and they add a second through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

  • The south Londoners enjoy the better of the final 10 minutes, with Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise and Jean-Philippe Mateta creating clear chances

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool

  • Palace launch forwards from the restart, creating a string of close chances within minutes

  • The hosts pull one back impressively, with Jeffrey Schlupp triggering a smart link-up between Odsonne Edouard and Mateta which the former scores from

  • Liverpool attempt to slow the game down as Palace push for an equaliser

  • The game pauses for a lengthy VAR review at the monitor and Liverpool are awarded a penalty; Fabinho converts it

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool

The opening exchanges of this game clustered around the wings of both boxes, with Palace initially pressing from kick-off before their guests settled in and began the first rounds of a stop-start offensive.

Liverpool held the ball close to goal and produced several threatening but ultimately ineffective crosses after five minutes, before Jordan Henderson landed the first shot on target which Vicente Guaita did well to deny.

The Spaniard had less joy shortly after, when the Reds took the lead in a far simpler fashion than their attacking build-up often creates. Instead, Virgil van Dijk came through the centre of the box to powerfully head home on the end of Andrew Robertson’s corner.

Danger continued to flow from Robertson’s side of the pitch and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would have been frustrated to hit the side netting as he met one of the Scotsman’s far-post balls.

Palace were unmoved by conceding and, a 10-minute spell aside, resumed their earlier approach: probing their hosts out wide and leaving Alisson little time to think when building from the back.

This style brought some promise but little in the way of clear-cut chances, partly due to Liverpool’s calmness in possession, partly their three rigid lines in defence and partly the offside flag when Jean-Philippe Mateta struck at Alisson close to goal.

Palace’s high-intensity spell seemingly paused, the game did as it had before, swinging back in Liverpool’s favour and flipping the onus from attack to defence. The respite didn’t last when a Liverpool chance ended, with Palace looking to counter only to be closed down within seconds.

This made the game’s tempo fast and relentless, with the harrying visitors intent on disrupting any steady, passing sequences for Palace. Their approach bore further fruit when another deep and flat Robertson ball found Oxlade-Chamberlain at the back post – this time the wideman made no mistake and fired past an onrushing Guaita.

And so for the shift in play, and the beginning of Palace’s dominance as the pendulum again swung their way. Conor Gallagher was a second from scoring when a fast cross struck him close to goal before Olise forced a smart Alisson save from the right of the box.

The young winger then attempted to find Edouard free in space, however his swift pass was intercepted by a lunging visiting leg.

Perhaps the most tantalising chance of all, however, came through Mateta. The French striker strode forward to meet a defence-splitting pass from Olise, rounded Alisson and let loose a shot which flew under the ‘keeper’s arms, between Fabinho and Joel Matip, and just past the post after a nick steered it wide.

The break came to split this half into four, with two spells on top for each team. The difference in the scoreline, however, came through one side making the most of the wind in their sails and the other awaiting their ship to come in.

Palace burst into life following the restart, determined to grasp the game and assert themselves with more impact than before.

Olise encapsulated this urgent, rapid approach when he chopped and twisted in the Liverpool box before launching a pinball-like cross towards Gallagher, who flashed his header wide.

Moments later Jeffrey Schlupp rose highest to guide the ball down to Odsonne Edouard five yards from goal; the forward turned to control the chance before back-heeling it into the arms of a fast-moving Alisson.

This moment reflected Vieira’s era, with Palace resolved to battle with their guests and to do so in eye-catching fashion. When Schlupp collected the ball in his own half, then, his only intention was to move it forward – with speed.

He threaded a pass through the visiting backline where Edouard and Mateta both surged goal-bound. The ball found the latter, who carried it towards Alisson, drew the ‘keeper out and eventually squared for Edouard. The Frenchman had only the goal-line to beat, and duly turned home with ease.

As Selhurst still hummed with celebration Palace’s next chance came through a less likely source; Joachim Andersen launching a shot narrowly wide from 20 yards.

This time play did not swing from one side to the other, although Liverpool enjoyed a return to possession. Rather than shifting it wide and whipping in crosses for a hungry frontline, however, they sat back, slowing the game down and adjusting to their energised host.

Their caution allowed Palace to continue their pursuit of an equaliser. Schlupp hit the side netting, Olise hunted a stray back pass and Alisson acrobatically prevented a lob creeping in – and still they could not score. Liverpool’s individual talent and collective work over years together meant they guided the game with fortune behind them. Palace could not capitalise on their tantalising efforts.

With minutes left on the clock and just one goal in it, the home side had everything to play for as they sought to secure a historic comeback.

But they would ultimately be denied by the hand of fate. Diogo Jota ran towards goal and, watching the ball run out of play having been dispossessed, stepped into Guaita to his right.

After a length VAR review with referee Kevin Friend stood at the monitor, Liverpool were awarded a penalty they soon converted, and Palace’s chance of a deserved comeback was taken from under them.

Palace: Guaita, Mitchell, Guéhi, Andersen, Ward, Hughes (Ayew 77), Gallagher, Schlupp, Olise, Edouard (Eze 68), Mateta (Benteke 77).

Subs not used: Butland, Kelly, Ferguson, Clyne, Riedewald, Milivojevic.

Liverpool: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Jones, Fabinho, Henderson, Jota, Firmino (Milner 89), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Minamino 60)

Subs not used: Kelleher, Konaté, Gomez, Tsimikas, Gordon, Williams, Morton.