Liverpool came back from a goal down to clinch a crucial 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table on Saturday.
Liverpool stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League standings to seven points, when they defeated Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace 4-3 at Anfield this weekend.
The Eagles took the lead in the 34th minute through Andros Townsend’s strike after some spectacular work by Wilfried Zaha on the left. However, Liverpool were on level terms within a minute after the half-time break, with star man Mohamed Salah poking home from close range.
Seven minutes later, Liverpool made it 2-1 courtesy of a Roberto Firmino strike, but were pegged back by James Tomkins’ headed effort just after the hour mark. Salah restored his team’s lead in the 75th minute, however, capitalising on an error from Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
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Makeshift right-back James Milner was given his marching orders in the 89th minute for a second booking, giving Liverpool a late scare. But, Sadio Mane allayed any fears of a Palace comeback, scoring the fourth goal in added time. Max Meyer did make it 4-3 in the dying embers, but it was a little too late for the Eagles, as Jurgen Klopp’s men bagged three points.
Here’s how the Liverpool stars fared on the afternoon against Crystal Palace.
Alisson Becker: 5/10
A disappointing outing for the Brazilian as he had to pick the ball out from his net on three occasions. Not a lot he could have done about Townsend’s strike or Tomkins’ header, but could have done better for Meyer’s effort as he did get a hand to the ball.
James Milner: 4.5/10
Handed a start at right-back in place of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, the veteran Englishman struggled to cope with the pace and trickery of Wilfried Zaha. Was beaten in the lead-up to Palace’s first goal and the Ivorian got the better of him on a number of occasions, eventually leading to Milner’s sending off for a second bookable offence.
Did have a few bright moments going forward and played a crucial hand in Liverpool’s third, but a torrid outing nevertheless.
Joel Matip: 6/10
Back into the scheme of things having returned from injury, Matip had a couple of chances to score in the first period, but was denied by Speroni on one occasion and headed wide on the other. Defensively not always convincing and was guilty of playing too deep leading to Palace’s opener. Held his nerve after the break as Palace threatened.
Virgil van Dijk: 6.5/10
The Netherlands international fared better than his defensive partner, but wasn’t at his imperious best on the day as Palace caused a few problems on the break. Strong in the air, van Dijk tried to keep things organised at the back, but will be disappointed to have let in three goals. His deflected shot led to Salah’s equaliser early in the second period.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
Fresh off the back of signing a new contract, the Scotland international was kept honest by the lively Townsend, which meant he did not offer the usual attacking threat in the first period. Was much livelier after the break and ended the game with the assist for Mane’s goal, which would eventually prove to be the winning goal.
Jordan Henderson: 7.5/10
The Liverpool captain looked at home in the midfield pivot alongside Fabinho, as he kept his team ticking when under pressure from the visitors. Looked to direct play forward each time he was on the ball and he put in a shift defensively as well. One of his better displays of the ongoing season and he must look to build on it.
Back into his preferred role in the centre of the park, after playing as a centre-back in the last game, the Brazilian started solidly. Won tackles, played eye-catching passes, including the one that set Milner on his way in the lead up to the third. Was guilty of losing Tomkins for Palace’s second goal though. His injury late in the game will come as a blow for Liverpool.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
Shifted out to the right, the Senegalese speedster had a rather dull start as he struggled to get into the game. Improved after the break and was much more involved once he was moved to the left flank, but end product lacked quality. Made up for it with a well-taken goal in injury time which sealed the victory for Liverpool.
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Roberto Firmino: 7/10
Once again starting in the No. 10 role, the Brazilian forward worked very hard off the ball as usual and had to drop too deep at times to get involved. Curled an effort over the bar in the first half, but gave Liverpool the lead in the second period with a deflected effort.
Naby Keita: 5/10
Handed a rare start, the Guinean midfield dynamo failed to make the most of the opportunity, as he underwhelmed once again. There were a couple of nice touches here and there, while he also provided the assist for Liverpool’s second. But, Keita had very little impact in the overall sense. Rightly subbed off for Shaqiri for the final twenty minutes.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
Once again the saviour for Liverpool. Showed his poacher’s instincts as he pounced upon van Dijk’s speculative effort to bring the Reds back on level terms, before scoring one of the easiest goals of his career firing it in from the goal-line. In the process, he became the first ever Egyptian footballer to score 50 goals in the Premier League.
The unnecessary dive in the first period was the only blot on his copybook on a day when Salah proved his importance to this Liverpool side once more.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 5/10
Replaced Keita in the 71st minute. Didn’t offer much going forward, but did his fair share of defensive duties.
Adam Lallana: N/A
Came on for the injured Fabinho with less than five minutes left on the clock.
Rafael Camacho: N/A
Injury time substitute for Salah.