Liverpool won 2-1 against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, to progress into the quarter finals of the elite domestic competition. This win was even more important considering the Reds’ have hideous memories of three-goal capitulations in this stadiums, and of matches where they looked like a second tier team against the hosts.
Here are three things we learnt from Liverpool’s win.
Not panicking whilst trailing pays
It looked like yet another story of Liverpool traveling to Crystal Palace and going with the unfavorable result with them. In just the opening twenty minutes, a mistake from Martin Skrtel meant that Fraizer Campbell struck for the hosts. It would have been tradition for Liverpool to lose control that early, panic and get on the backfoot. However, this is a competition that the team really wants to win. It could be Brendan Rodgers’ first trophy with the Reds and it is evident that the team wants to give Steven Gerrard the perfect send off as the Liverpool legend’s birthday falls on the final’s day – 30th May. And hence, the team understood that panicking won’t ensure that they reach a step closer to the dream. They kept their cool, controlled the game, dominated possession and the result eventually came.
Mario Balotelli could have a Liverpool future
Rodgers’ substituted Lazar Markovic for Mario Balotelli in the second half. With the Italian on, there was suddenly a very evident edge Liverpool seemed to have. The Italian has been hugely criticised since his A?16m summer move from AC Milan. It was unfortunate for him because the entire Liverpool team was struggling and he couldn’t play his natural game because of that. After that, when Rodgers’ sorted that out and the team started performing, the Liverpool boss understandably went with Raheem Sterling in the false nine role as he needed a striker with pace and Balotelli is pretty immobile. A big moment player, Balotelli broke his Premier League duck in Tuesday night’s 3-2 win over Tottenham, where he got the winner for the team. Against Palace, Balotelli played slightly deeper than his strike partner Sturridge. He worked hard and pressed well – something Rodgers – has spoken a lot about. He also won and took the free kick for Adam Lallanaa s goal.
The Italian has spoken about the desire to play with the strike partner and Daniel Sturridge also looked very good with Balotelli on. A goal and an assist in two successive games. Could Balotelli have a future at Merseyside?
Joe Allen stepped up to the task and many might have not even noticed
When Lucas was ruled out of the side with a thigh injury, it looked like Liverpool’s exciting recent form could be cut short as the Brazilian did so well since coming back to the side. He became the “proper defensive midfielder” Reds fans had been crying for so long about. Injury to Lucas and Steven Gerrard meant that Joe Allen would be started in most matches and this thought didn’t meet well with the Liverpool supporters who have not taken a liking towards Brendan Rodgers’ early A?15m signing.
Against Crystal Palace, the Welshman did a solid job and it might have even gone unnoticed by the viewers. In the first half, he made himself busy and was instrumental in the visitors bossing possession and winning the midfield battle. He also had a shot at goal and created a chance for Adam Lallana. In the second half, he played his role with demeanour and eventually, it was his pass to Jordan Henderson that set up Daniel Sturridge’s equaliser. But his main contribution in the game was controlling the midfield with mostly accurate passing. Winning the battle in the heart of the pitch was an important reason as to how Liverpool broke their hoodoo at Selhust Park.