Liverpool huffed and they puffed but in the end, Sadio Mane’s first Anfield goal of the season ensured that the Reds took their first Premier League win of the season. It wasn’t pretty for large parts of the game, as a sluggish Liverpool threatened to be stifled out of the game by a disciplined Palace, but a stroke of good fortune meant that the ball fell in Mane’s path for him to calmly slot past Wayne Hennessey.
Here are the player ratings:
Simon Mignolet – 6/10
In truth, he had only one save to make – off a stinging Puncheon shot late in the first half. His handling of crosses in the second half ensured there was no late nervy moment, a la Vicarage Road.
Joe Gomez – 7/10
A very assured performance from the youngster in his first Premier League start for nearly two years. He is quick, and he made good use of that pace. He is a natural centre-back, so his decision-making in the final third can be excused.
Joel Matip – 8/10
Matip had a very good game. He was strong aerially against Benteke, and that was what was needed on the day. When you have a striker like Benteke to deal with, it is important to always defend on the front foot and Matip did that.
Ragnar Klavan – 7/10
Like Matip, Klavan had a very assured game. He was skinned by Loftus-Cheek early in the second half, but luckily for the Estonian, Benteke did what he doesn’t do very often at Anfield in opposition colours – miss the target.
Andrew Robertson – 9/10
Sensational competitive debut for the Scot. He was buzzing up and down that flank and was a constant menace to Joel Ward. For large parts of the game, he was our most dangerous attacking outlet. And oh, the boy can cross!
Jordan Henderson – 5/10
Uninspiring again from the skipper. He was full of running, as always, but his usage of the ball was shocking. There were so many occasions when he could easily have played the ball to the forwards instead of rolling it 5 metres either side of himself.
Gini Wijnaldum – 5/10
To continue with the theme from Watford and Hoffenheim, did Wijnaldum play that game? He was so ineffective and his coming off the pitch to be replaced by Solanke actually did wonders for Liverpool.
James Milner – 6/10
There was effort, desire and graft, but there wasn’t too much quality. It isn’t saying much but Milner was the best of the starting three midfielders today.
Sadio Mane – 8/10
Forget Phil Coutinho for now, how lucky are we to have Sadio Mane? The first half was sluggish though, from Mane, as his touch deserted him more than once, but what a big goal that is!
Roberto Firmino – 5/10
Firmino had an off day. His touch was not up to scratch and all through the first half, his passing was abysmal. But as always with Firmino, there was a lot of running and desire, even though he looked visibly tired.
Daniel Sturridge – 4/10
A couple of cute touches in the Palace half were the only things of note he did in his 60 minutes on the pitch.
Mo Salah – 7/10
Salah made a difference after he came on. His pace ensured that Palace fell even deeper than they were. He also had a sensational curling effort well stopped by Hennessey in stoppage time.
Dom Solanke – 7/10
Not a bad introduction to life in the Premier League for the best player at this year’s U-20 World Cup. He was lively and didn’t look one bit out of place. Could have had his first goal for Liverpool if not for a smart stop from Hennessey. If I were Divock Origi, I’d be really worried at the moment.
Dejan Lovren – N/A
A nice 5-minute run out on the new Anfield pitch for the Croatian. Took a bang to the face from Benteke right at the end, for his troubles.