Sadio Mane ended the season on a strong note as Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to clinch a top four finish in the Premier League.
Liverpool made a bit of a slow start to the game, with Crystal Palace forcing Alisson into action on a couple of occasions early on through Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend. Liverpool, though, were slowly improving and missed some half-chances before the deadlock was broken in the 36th minute through Sadio Mane, who tapped in a stray ball from close range to hand his side the lead heading into half-time.
Post the interval, Liverpool continued their dominance but did not really direct many shots on target. And, it was only in the 74th minute that the win was rounded off, with Mane doubling his and the Reds’ tally, with his effort deflecting past Vicente Guaita. The 2-0 win means Liverpool have clinched a top four finish, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
With Crystal Palace making a bright start to the game, Alisson was forced to make a few solid stops and he was equal to whatever the visitors threw at him. Not tested a whole lot after the early Crystal Palace onslaught, the Liverpool no. 1 earned a well-deserved clean sheet.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Alexander-Arnold has been steadily improving in recent weeks and this was another step in the right direction for the English full-back. Showed some fine link-up play with Mohamed Salah and always looked to make things happen. However, he was also fortunate to not be punished for a lapse, with Andros Townsend shooting wide. No harm done in the end, with a clean sheet earned.
Nathaniel Phillips: 7/10
A solid presence at the heart of the Liverpool defence, Phillips produced yet another performance that showed he has earned his place in Klopp’s squad. Won 6 duels while making 3 clearances, but his output on the ball was a tad bit disappointing at times, as he completed only 79 percent of his passes.
Rhys Williams: 7/10
Rhys Williams has steadily improved since the pasting against West Bromwich Albion and this was another solid showing for the youngster. Played a key role in ensuring efficient build-up plays as well, completing 86 percent of his attempted passes, while also winning 4 duels.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
A much-improved display by Robertson, who was a bundle of energy and was constantly on the move on Sunday. Fashioned a fair few fine openings and it was his delivery from a corner that eventually found its way to Sadio Mane for the opener. Hardly troubled defensively bar one moment in the first half and ended the game with the most key passes (4).
Thiago Alcantara: 8/10
After a slow start to his Liverpool stint, Thiago has been coming into his own lately. And this was another step in the right direction for the Spanish international, who pulled the strings effortlessly and even set Mohamed Salah up for a fine chance in the first half. Hardly misplaced a pass, with 72 of 79 completed, while opening up play marvelously with some beautiful long passes.
8/8 league wins now with Fabinho & Thiago together in midfield.
Next season is going to be scary. 💪 pic.twitter.com/Gr8PRCFz3b
— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) May 23, 2021
Fabinho made a bit of a slow start to the game and faced a few nervy moments early on. However, once he found his feet, the Brazilian set the base for the Reds to dominate the proceedings and on a personal level, he completed 93 percent of his attempted passes.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Possibly playing his final game for Liverpool, Wijnaldum – the Player to Watch in our preview – was in the mood to make things happen and showed some neat touches on the ball. His trademark engine was there for all to see and he went off the pitch to a raucous Anfield crowd. The end of a stupendously successful Liverpool spell for the Dutchman.
Mohamed Salah: 7/10
As is always the case with Salah, he saw quite a few chances falling his way, but his output in front of goal was rather poor. Nevertheless, he linked up superbly with Mane and Alexander-Arnold, while also grabbing the assist for the former’s second of the day. Will be disappointed with his own efforts in front of goal, which means he narrowly misses out on winning the Golden Boot.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
A typically industrious display by Firmino, who put in the hard yards and troubled the Crystal Palace defenders to no end. Grabbed the assist for Mane’s first with a fortuitous touch and played an impressive 3 key passes. Did not muster up many efforts on goal, but still managed to make an impact.
Sadio Mane: 9/10
Sadio Mane is sending Liverpool to next season’s Champions League ⚡ pic.twitter.com/ubmHcBavyt
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 23, 2021
A livewire in the final third for Liverpool, Mane seemed to be in his elements at times and carved out a few openings. Got the goal that his hard work deserved as he was in the right place at the right time to score from close range. Continued to push for the chances and was rewarded with a second – a well deserved goal. The season ends on a strong note for the star forward.
James Milner: N/A
On for Wijnaldum, Milner kept things ticking in the middle of the park and helped Liverpool see the game out without much of a fuss.
Diogo Jota: N/A
A late introduction, Jota would have felt good to end the campaign on the pitch in the final game of the season.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
A late introduction, Oxlade-Chamberlain got another guest appearance late in the season.