Observations as Klopp Reigns Supreme Over Hodgson
Liverpool managed to overcome a first-half deficit against bogey team Crystal Palace to take the three points at Selhurst Park after goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah turned the tie on its head.
Here are the observations from the match.
Why Always Me?
If Liverpool were going to find a winner against Palace in the dying embers of the match, who else would be the man to get it other than Mohamed Salah? The Egyptian showed tremendous composure to control the ball from Andy Robertson’s cross, leaving Mamadou Sakho on the deck before prodding home.
It was reminiscent of his third goal against Watford; coolly taken, Salah managed to lose his footing before converting inside the area while here, he ran rings around another defender to take his tally to a stunning 37 goals for the season. He’s now equalled the most games scored in a Premier League campaign, joining Robin Van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo as records continue to be smashed.
Mad, Mad Mane
This was one of, if not the most entertaining, crazy individual performances I’ve seen in a long time. The first-half saw Mane booked for a theatrical dive after a challenge from James McArthur, with initial contact coming far earlier than the Senegalese internationals fall to the floor.
An offside goal usurped his celebrations having converted from Roberto Firmino’s header, before netting the crucial equaliser in a performance fuelled by resilience and determination. Some lovely build-up play between Firmino and Salah saw Milner drill the ball across the six-yard box, allowing Mane to coast in with an easy finish as Liverpool finally got themselves in gear.
Then came the madness.
Picking up the ball for what he believed was a free-kick offence from Townsend, the referee penalised him for handball. Mane was fortunate not to get another yellow before Klopp made the sensible decision of removing him from the firing line.
Warning signs over Trent
Marcus Rashford gave Trent a torrid time at Old Trafford in the 2-1 defeat and this was very much the same case. Up against the pace of Wilfried Zaha, the 19-year-old was targeted as Liverpool’s weak-link, with Palace whipping diagonal balls in behind. The penalty decision came from the right too, with Zaha getting goal-side of Alexander-Arnold before Karius brought him down.
For all his attacking ability, this was yet more evidence of the persisting frailties within the young man’s game. Wednesday’s crucial tie against Manchester City in the quarter-final of the Champions League will undoubtedly have fans worried. Maybe that’s one for the experienced head of Nathaniel Clyne.
Klopp’s side cruise clear of 5th placed Chelsea
Liverpool were far from their best at the weekend, struggling to find their usual fluency in the face of Roy Hodgson’s double-decker bus. This was a game we’ve seen The Reds lose time and time again over the years, reflecting the magnitude of the second-half turnover.
The result sees Liverpool move 10 points clear of Chelsea in fifth, with momentum restored after a drab international break. In the wake of such pivotal ties against Manchester City and Everton, ensuring confidence is kept high will be essential.