Liverpool capitalized on Manchester City’s draw at Southampton in the Premier League title race by beating Crystal Palace 3-1 at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men got off to a perfect start in the eighth minute when Andy Robertson’s corner was finished off with a header from Virgil van Dijk’s bullet that left goalkeeper Vicente Guaita stranded. The visitors doubled the lead when Robertson found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the far post.
A sloppy pass from Joel Matip gave the home side their best chance of the game to draw a hard save from Alisson, and that seemed to swing the pendulum of momentum in Palace’s favour, with the goalkeeper called again moments later to earn a vital. touch after Jean Philippe-Mateta circled him.
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The Eagles started the second half like they finished the first, and immediately created three promising chances. Fast feet and a Michael Olise cross was headed wide by Conor Gallagher, Edouard was parried from close range, but Alisson was eventually beaten when Mateta created the opportunity for Edouard to seize an empty net and amend his effort moments before.
Olise stood out on the day and came close to equalizing with a shot from distance, but it was again the Liverpool goalkeeper who gave him a hand, confirming a man-of-the-match performance between the sticks.
And when a VAR decision ruled that Guaita had fouled Diogo Jota inside the box, Fabinho’s penalty closed out the game to calm Jurgen Klopp’s nerves for the final six minutes.
Liverpool made the most of their winning streaks and benefited from goals when they were up. The visitors pressed well at times, particularly in the opening 30 minutes, often winning the ball back in dangerous areas. That was vital to endure and take the three points.
They simply gave too many chances on their trip to Selhurst Park. If Klopp’s team is going to stay in the title race, they cannot afford to present so many high-value opportunities for opponents.
Manager ratings out of 10
7 — Klopp selected the best team he could with three players (Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita) in the Africa Cup of Nations, and they appeared to be in complete control as they finished 2-0. The Liverpool manager reacted well to Palace’s goal, introduced Takumi Minamino and changed the system to prevent opponents from getting too far behind.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players submitted after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson 10 — The scoreline at half-time might have been very different had it not been for Alisson, who thwarted Olise from close range before getting a vital touch as Mateta tried to get the ball around him.
DF Andy Robertson 9 — The left-back has found a new level with his delivery in recent weeks, and two delicately delivered crosses gave him another two assists at Selhurst Park.
DF Virgilio van Dijk 7 — An imposing header ensured that only the Dutch international could win the ball from a corner, driving the ball powerfully into the back of the net. The center-back will feel disappointed with the goal conceded, yes, losing sight of his man who got behind him and punished the rojillos.
DF Joel Matip 6 — A sloppy draw of the ball gave Crystal Palace a great opportunity before the break, but it was a case of Alisson to the rescue. The pairing between Liverpool’s central defenders seemed indecisive too often that day, and that was capitalized on by Patrick Vieira’s side.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold 7 — Alexander-Arnold worked hard to get up and down the line but struggled to make an impact on Crystal Palace’s performance that forced Liverpool back into their half.
MF Fabinho 7 — He scored the all-important late penalty that put his team up 3-1 and eased the nerves of the Liverpool fans.
FM Curtis Jones 6 — Good preparation helped move the ball forward and defenders off the wrong foot, though their influence on the game faltered as Palace began to play faster.
MF Jordan Henderson 7 — The captain ran tirelessly throughout the game and helped regain some control in midfield that they had lost at points in the game.
FW Diogo Jota 7 — Jota was skillful on the ball and often found a way to get inside the box to cause trouble, and that was no different when he won a penalty that was eventually awarded by VAR.
FW Roberto Firmino 7 – Firmino annoyed defenders throughout the match and enjoyed plenty of intricate link-up play at the top of the pitch, though he will have his goalkeeper and defense to thank after a cheap turnover almost led to a first-half goal. .
FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 7 — The 28-year-old made no mistake with the finisher when he connected Robertson’s cross from the left flank. Oxlade-Chamberlain looked good today, and he appears to be benefiting from a streak of increased playing time on the team.
Takumi Minamino (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 60′) 6 – He arrived with vital instructions that stopped Palace as they flew through the canals. He worked hard on his defensive duties, but the Reds couldn’t really do anything on the right flank.
James Milner (Firmino, 90′) N/A — An injection of experience from Klopp helped see the six minutes added time.
Joe Gomez (Alexander-Arnold 90′) N/R — Liverpool’s latest substitution helped them weather Crystal Palace’s final response.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism