Liverpool’s Gritty Performance Secures Top League Position
It may not have been the performance that Liverpool supporters had been hoping for, but the Reds moved to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side now has just one defeat in their last 27 Premier League matches, in controversial circumstances at Spurs in October.
After Arsenal dropped points and Manchester City scraping past Luton Town, the Reds sit one point above the Gunners, two above Aston Villa and four ahead of the reigning champions, Man City.
Alisson Becker’s Crucial Saves
Returning goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, came to the rescue on multiple occasions but Liverpool’s awful start to the game was eventually punished by a Jean Mateta penalty.
1-0 down with just 15 minutes to go, the Reds managed to turn the game around and leave Selhurst Park with all three points.
We’re going to take a deeper look at two game-changing substitute performances from two of Liverpool’s youngsters, who deserve huge credit from the win.
Curtis Jones’ Game-Changing Appearance
22-year-old Curtis Jones replaced Dominik Szoboszlai in the 74th minute, and within one minute was involved in Liverpool’s equaliser.
After the ball fell loose in the Crystal Palace box, Jones had the composure to poke the ball to Mohamed Salah, whose deflected shot found the back of the net.
That goal was Salah’s 200th goal for the club and his 150th goal in the Premier League.
Throughout his 25 minutes on the pitch, the youngster was not dispossessed once as he ramped up the pressure on Palace’s back line.
It was not just his offensive contribution that was so important, with his defensive work throughout the ten minutes of stoppage time after Liverpool’s eventual winner.
Jones made two ball recoveries and also won two of his three duels, as well as making a crucial clearance in the closing stages of the game.
With Ryan Gravenberch putting in a poor performance, Jones may have done enough to earn himself a spot in the side against Manchester United.
Harvey Elliott’s Brilliant Substitute Role
20-year-old Harvey Elliott joined Curtis Jones as a 74th minute substitute, replacing Darwin Nunez.
The youngster produced a moment of pure brilliance in the 90th minute to put the Reds ahead with a fantastic finish from the edge of the box.
However, it was not just that moment of magic that made Elliott’s substitute cameo so special.
Elliott boasted a 100% pass completion rate, completing 24/24 of his attempted passes with three of those being into the final third.
His direct runs forward from midfield were also hugely effective, with one of them leading to the second yellow card to Jordan Ayew.
Similar to Jones, Elliott also ran his socks off and helped the team out defensively.
Winning 100% of his ground duels and completing two successful ball recoveries, Elliott really flipped the game on its head.
Hopefully Elliott can take this performance into Thursday’s game at Union Saint-Gilloise and really take this run of form into the festive period.
Although he may not make it into the lineup against Manchester United ahead of the likes of Szoboszlai and Salah, we will definitely see him off the bench.