Match: Liverpool v Crystal Palace
Date: August 19th, 2017
Competition: Premier League
Liverpool lineup –
Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Mané, Firmino, Sturridge
Subs: Karius, Flanagan, Can, Origi, Lovren, Salah, Solanke
Crystal Palace lineup –
Hennessey, Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Tomkins, Ward, Milivojevic, Puncheon, van Aanholt, Loftus-Cheek, Townsend, Benteke
Subs: Speroni, Kelly, Schlupp, Kaikai, McArthur, Cabaye, Lokilo
So, here they come. Liverpool’s bogey team of recent years. Our first home game of the season and it’s against the Eagles who have flown to victory here in their last three league visits.
Frank de Boer’s men suffered a very disappointing 0-3 defeat at home to Premier League new boys Huddersfield Town, last weekend. As a result, I was not quite sure what to expect today at Anfield. Would this Palace team be set on righting the wrongs of last weekend, or will they still be licking those fresh wounds?
The first-half was a drab affair. James Tomkins had a header go just over from a set-piece in the fifth minute. Four minutes later and James Milner cut into the box from the left and had a low shot saved easily by Hennessey in the Palace goal. This was after some lovely link-up play with Andy Robertson.
In the 15th minute, Robertson swung in a great cross which Matip got on the end of. Hennessy missed the cross and Matip didn’t seem to be sure of how he connected with it and his header went well wide of the open goal.
Robertson was the only real positive from the first-half. His delivery into the box was of a very good quality on several occasions.
Firmino cut in from the right and tried a shot from 25 yards, in the 41st minute. It was well saved by Hennessey and the Palace defence got the ball clear before Milner could get to the rebound.
Palace then broke from that clearance and Loftus-Cheek played Puncheon into space on the left. Puncheon got his shot away but it was stopped by Mignolet.
Half-time: Liverpool 0 – 0 Crystal Palace
As expected, the Reds came out with far more intensity from the start of the second half. The pressing and high line were more evident than they had been at any stage of the poor opening period.
In the 51st minute, Matip surged forward, linked with Henderson and won a free-kick just outside the Crystal Palace box. Milner took the resulting free and his shot sailed narrowly over the bar.
Three minutes later and Wijnaldum twisted his body to somehow get a daisy-cutter of an effort on target after a half-cleared corner. Hennessey again was equal to it, getting down low to his right for the save.
Palace nearly opened the scoring shortly afterwards. Loftus-Cheek, impressive throughout this game, skint Klavan on the right and made it to the byline. He laid it back to Benteke who was on the six-yard line but the big striker skied his shot up and over Mignolet’s net.
In the 56th minute, Firmino made inroads from the left this time. From just inside the box he took a smashing shot but it rose just over the bar with Hennessey well beaten.
Salah joined the action just after the hour mark, replacing Sturridge. Liverpool, expectedly, looked far more threatening with Salah on the pitch.
Mane had two shots blocked in quick succession after some great work from Salah wide on the right.
In the 71st minute, Solanke replaced Wijnaldum as Klopp threw everything at this resolute Palace defence.
It paid off. One minute later and Solanke caused a mixup in the Palace area. The ball broke kindly for Mane and from about eight yards out he finished low in the corner to give the Reds the lead. 1-0!
Ten minutes later and Salah almost made it two. Gomez swung in a good cross from deep on the right. Salah got his head to it but Hennessey saved well.
Hennessey was very busy for the final phase of the game. He had to advance to deny Mane in the 85th minute after Solanke’s great pass put the Senegal flyer through the middle. Firmino picked up the rebound and had a go which Hennessey gathered safely.
Solanke was put clean through in the 89th minute after excellent work between Mane and Firmino. Solanke had a left-footed shot saved low by Hennessey.
Lovren replaced Firmino in the 90th minute as Liverpool went with three centre-backs to close the match out.
There was still time for one more Hennessey save from a good left-footed Salah effort from the right.
That was how it finished with Liverpool gathering a well-deserved three points and seemingly putting the recent Palace ‘curse’ to bed.
It’s Anfield again on Wednesday night for Klopp and his men as they look to complete the job of Champions League qualification against Hoffenheim.
Final Score: Liverpool 1 – 0 Crystal Palace