Liverpool oscillated between brilliance and haphazard defending as they came away with the spoils in a high scoring game at Crystal Palace. Four goals yet again from this free scoring attack as well as defensive naivety from a clueless defence.
This is how the Reds fared.
Loris Karius (6) – Karius must be wondering how unjust this game is as he had nothing to do in the first-half, yet conceded two goals to soft headers from a midfielder. He could have made himself bigger though for the second goal once he sensed McArthur was one-on-one. His presence was required a lot more in the second half as he made a couple of decent saves. His kicking brought back memories of Mignolet though we had a sneak-peek of his distribution very late in the second-half.
Nathaniel Clyne (7.5) – Outstanding game from Clyne as he put the hard yards in to overlap on the right-hand side . His passing was crisp and he presented a chance on a platter to Mane which he incredibly missed. He handled the threats of Lee and Townsend later on admirably. Solid performance from the ever reliable right-back.
Joel Matip (6.5) – Matip’s birthday gift arrived around 3 months late as he got off the mark in Liverpool colours when he headed in the third goal completely unmarked. In the second-half it looked like Matip took up the marking duties of Benteke and the tussle carried right through the second-half. He was lucky not to concede a penalty with his challenge on Benteke. Though he was not to blame for the goals conceded, the whole defensive line needs to tighten up their defending.
Dejan Lovren (4) – 3 mistakes, 2 goals conceded; one chance, converts it. Tough to have a more oscillating half of performance than that from Lovren in the first-half. He made a total hash of a routine clearance for their first goal and was caught on his heels as McArthur ‘ghosted’ in to score their second goal. Headed in a well-taken set-piece in the first half to compensate for his error. His second-half performance was marginally better, but an overall poor game from the Croatian.
Alberto Moreno (7) – Moreno only made his second league start of the season as Milner was ill. The worry before the game was about how Zaha would isolate Moreno, but Moreno handled the threat in his own manner by pinning Zaha with his attacking forays. He was ever-present on the left-hand side and put a great ball in-field for Liverpool’s first goal. He also rattled the post from a narrow angle. When Moreno looks back at this game, he will realize that he could have closed down Zaha far better to prevent the cross for their second goal. Overall a decent performance on his comeback into the team in the Premier League.
Jordan Henderson (7.5) – The captain was back in the team after the enforced mid-week break and was at his pressing, harrying best as he looked to pin down the Palace midfield. As Liverpool dominated possession through the first half he was content in staying deep to offer a passing option for the centre-backs. Liverpool were harried a lot more in the second-half which required a far more gritty shift from the captain who capped off his performance with a gorgeous assist for Liverpool’s final goal.
Emre Can (7) – Emre Can got the nod over the fit-again Wijnaldum and he justified his inclusion with the opening goal for Liverpool. With Henderson being the defensive midfielder, it provided Can with the license to join in the attack and he was involved in a few well orchestrated moves. He was at his physical, aggressive best to win back the ball at the earliest opportunity, though he was yellow carded for persistent fouling. His performance levels dropped off a tad in the second-half as he turned the ball over a couple of times.
Adam Lallana (7.5) – A subdued performance from Lallana in terms of his final pass but his contribution off the ball was very much noticeable. He dropped deep often to retrieve the ball and initiate attacks. When Liverpool attacked, his off-the-ball interplay with Mane was very interesting to watch and his run opened up space for Firmino to score the fourth goal.
Sadio Mane (7) – An interesting tactical performance from Mane as he often stayed narrow and made diagonal runs to occupy the space left by Coutinho and Firmino. His movement deep into midfield also allowed Lallana and Clyne to make overlapping moves to offer different attacking threats. He fluffed the easiest of chances in the first-half which was a huge shame. He created a great chance in the second-half for Coutinho before being taken off.
Roberto Firmino (8) – A hardworking performance from the Brazilian as he contested for every aerial duel against tall opposing centre-halves. His attacking movement and interplay with his fellow attackers was a delight to watch and his perseverance was rewarded with a finely taken goal when he cleverly lobbed the keeper. Even in the 93rd minute one could see Firmino contesting a duel in the Liverpool half.
Phil Coutinho (9) – Man of the Match. Outstanding performance from the magician. A day where thought and execution were in perfect sync. His passing pace and vision of space set up 2 great opportunities for Mane in the first-half. Every attacking move of Liverpool came via Coutinho. He even delivered great set-piece deliveries for Lovren and Matip’s goals. On another day he could have scored a couple of goals though denied by a combination of great keeping and tiredness. I would pay the season ticket fee to watch such a performance.
Wijnaldum/Origi/Klavan – N/A