REPORT | Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool: Super Mané and fantastic Firmino bury resilient Eagles

The Eagles have been a difficult team to visit for the Reds in recent years, and it proved to be the same here. No matter, as Liverpool emerged victorious from a game in which they had to battle hard.

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Selhurst Park hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for Liverpool in recent years, but the Reds came away with three more Premier League points this time after a 2-1 victory over a stubborn Crystal Palace side.

A goalless first half saw a goal for the hosts chalked off by VAR in dramatic circumstances, before Sadio Mané struck just after the break to leave a sour taste in the mouths of Eagles fans.

Wilfried Zaha’s goal with less than 10 minutes to go seemed to signal a comeback for Roy Hodgson’s men, but Roberto Firmino was on hand at the other end to force the ball home after some penalty area pinball to see Jürgen Klopp’s side win another game late.

It was yet another example of a team so full of talent proving their willingness and ability to get down and dirty to win scrappy games and earn three points no matter what the cost.

The only price paid this time was a yellow card for Fabinho which means that the Brazilian will miss Liverpool’s next league game at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.


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After a lukewarm start to the game, in contrast with a fiery atmosphere in south London, the first opportunity fell the way of the hosts on 15 minutes as a poor Alexander-Arnold pass led to a nice flowing move and a golden chance for Jordan Ayew, but the Ghanaian timed his first-time effort wrong and poked the ball wide of Alisson’s post.

The Crystal Palace striker almost had the chance to redeem himself five minutes later as the ball fell to him once again in the box, but Dejan Lovren produced a brilliant block to deny him. One minute later, James Tomkins’ header grazed the crossbar as the home side pushed for an opener.

Liverpool’s first real chance came with seven minutes remaining in the first half — Virgil van Dijk rose to meet the ball from a corner and his header almost fell to Roberto Firmino at the far post, but the ball was hacked away before the Brazilian could reach it.

The Eagles’ pressure looked to have reaped reward on 42 minutes as they converted one of a series of free-kicks given away by Alexander-Arnold. Luka Milivojević’s delivery was good and Tomkins was there at the far post to nod home from point-blank range, but referee Kevin Friend disallowed the goal after a lengthy VAR review for a push on Lovren.

In any case, Liverpool had been poor in the first half and needed to improve drastically if they had any hope of escaping Selhurst Park with all three points. Sadio Mané tried his best to give his side the perfect start after the break, but he fired wide after Henderson’s excellent ball through.

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As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. The Senegalese did exactly that with a scuffed shot that beat Guaita, bounced off both posts and, crucially, crossed the line to give the Reds the lead despite the best efforts of Patrick van Aanholt.

Andros Townsend produced a blistering strike from distance soon after in an attempt to respond, but Alisson was alert to push it over the crossbar safely. In the aftermath Fabinho was cautioned for a foul on Kouyaté, meaning he will now miss the next game against Brighton.

Liverpool old boy Christian Benteke replaced Ayew with 10 minutes to go, and almost immediately produced a carbon copy of his goal for the Reds against Manchester United four years ago when he attempted an audacious overhead-kick, but it flashed narrowly wide.

The Belgian couldn’t produce the goal then, but he played a huge part when it inevitably game. His good work down the left saw him feed Wilfried Zaha who had far too much space in the area and used it to take a touch and fire beyond the despairing dive of Alisson to level the scoring with a little over five minutes to go.

But just as it looked like the lead had slipped, Firmino — making his 150th appearance in the Premier League — poked home after Palace failed to clear their lines to restore the visitors’ advantage and send the away support into dreamland.

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