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Report: Liverpool strike three despite strong Palace display

3
Mané 43'
Mohamed Salah 78'
Keïta 89'
0

A spirited and at times promising performance from Crystal Palace wasn't enough to hold Liverpool off on Saturday afternoon, with Partrick Vieira's men falling to three goals despite a strong display.

Summary

  • Patrick Vieira names the same starting XI which beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-0

  • Palace start brightly, forcing Alisson Becker into an unorthodox save through Wilfried Zaha

  • The game becomes more even after five minutes, with Vicente Guaita blocking a Jordan Henderson shot well

  • Diogo Jota blazes over the bar from six yards out after a fine Guaita save

  • Sadio Mané strikes into an empty net shortly before half-time to earn Liverpool the lead

  • Half-time: Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace

  • Vieira brings Jairo Riedewald and Odsonne Edouard into play after an hour

  • Edouard is fed the ball seven yards from goal, but Alisson collects it after the striker takes a touch

  • Liverpool add a second through Mo Salah

  • Michael Olise is brought on to the pitch for the final 10 minutes

  • Naby Keïta adds a third

  • Full-time: Liverpool 3-0 Crystal Palace

Riding high on the momentum of their 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, perhaps a fast start for Crystal Palace was to be expected.

But few could predict the speed of Palace’s opening exchanges, with the visitors striking the post even as the final lines of You’ll Never Walk Alone drew to a close. Within two minutes, Conor Gallagher lofted a ball deep into the penalty box which Wilfried Zaha touched behind Alisson Becker, however the goalkeeper managed to recover swiftly and push the effort onto the woodwork.

Almost immediately after Christian Benteke headed onto the other post only to be inaccurately ruled offside.

The hosts took a while to adjust to their guests’ purposeful approach but, after 10 minutes, found their own rhythm, testing the Palace backline through Diogo Jota along the left flank. With the game settling down, Jordan Henderson forced Vicente Guaita into a smart stop when the ‘keeper ran across the face of goal to block a volley at the near post.

But Palace maintained their confident approach and Guaita had little to trouble him for a while afterwards. In fact, the south Londoners kept their hosts at bay almost entirely through this period, handling the occasional counter-attack adeptly through the solid core of Cheikhou Kouyaté, Marc Guéhi and Joachim Andersen. They were put under most pressure in the 30th-minute when Guéhi blocked a shot at close range and the ball pinged threateningly around the box. Eventually, Tyrick Mitchell thumped it clear.

This opening sparked a dominant period for the Reds that saw Jota and Sadio Mané try their luck. They were then handed the game’s clearest chance when Guaita palmed a point-blank Thiago header back into the penalty area, but Jota, with space and just yards from goal, blasted his effort high into the home crowd.

There was less fortune in a similar situation moments before the break, however, with Guaita saving well to his left and the ball running loose in the box. This time, Mané made up for Jota’s earlier opportunity and planted into the empty net to secure his 100th Liverpool goal.

The half-time whistle came soon after, leaving Palace behind in the scoreline but very much involved in the action.

Liverpool began the second-half on the front foot, no doubt buoyed by taking the lead so close to the break. They pressed high and attacked with intent but met a Palace side willing to regain possession and pass their way back up the pitch, the triangles between the centre-backs and Kouyaté proving particularly effective.

All in all, the game became a fairly steady affair whereby Palace defended adeptly, Liverpool showed signs of attacking promise and neither ‘keeper was seriously called into action.

After Gallagher won a free-kick just outside the box which Ayew struck the wall with, Patrick Vieira made an attacking double substitution: bringing on Odsonne Edouard and Jairo Riedewald in place of Benteke and James McArthur respectively.

Twenty-eight seconds came and went without an Edouard goal, but the switch made a swift impact nonetheless – Riedewald playing the French striker into a challenge with Alisson; the ‘keeper coming out with the ball in his gloves.

At the other end of the pitch, Guaita blocked a Mané shot from distance and got up well to deny Mo Salah on the rebound.

But it was Palace in the ascendancy after 70 minutes, with Joel Ward playing a smart cross into Edouard’s feet just six yards from goal. The forward’s decision to bring the ball down allowed Alisson time to smother it, but it was quite the warning call from the visitors.

Palace’s intent was undone, however, by a Liverpool second. Just before the 80-minute mark, Salah was in the right place at the right time to volley home a cross which sailed across the box.

This wasn’t enough to crush Palace’s efforts entirely though and Edouard again made Alisson prove his worth with a toe-poke under pressure; the Brazilian got down low to cover his near post.

Liverpool were to then add a cruel third to their tally when Naby Keïta struck home in the 89th-minute, bagging a goal that toppled the scoreline into a harsh account of an at times encouraging afternoon.

Liverpool: Alisson, Tsimikas, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Konaté, Thiago (Keïta 62), Henderson (Origi 88), Milner, Mané, Salah, Jota (Jones 76).

Subs not used: Kelleher, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Robertson, Phillips.

Palace: Guaita, Ward, Guéhi, Andersen, Mitchell, Kouyaté (Olise 82), McArthur (Riedewald 65), Gallagher, Ayew, Zaha, Benteke (Edouard 65).

Subs not used: Butland, Tomkins, Clyne, Kelly, Milivojevic, Hughes.