Wow. Half an hour into today’s contest away to Crystal Palace, most spectators would have agreed that Liverpool had been poor.
An early Takumi Minamino goal – his first in the Premier League – had allowed the visitors to sit deep and take their foot off the metaphorical pedal.
But, Roy Hodgson’s hosts failed to convert pressure into goals, and Sadio Mané doubled Liverpool’s lead after a neat pivot.
And suddenly the game changed.
Selhurst Park is known as a tricky away trip, where you have to fight for every chance you will make against a notoriously well-organised unit. Yet, Jürgen Klopp’s travellers started to look like they would score every time they ventured forward.
And then, Roberto Firmino finished a delightful counter-attack to kill the game before the break.
Minutes after the interval Jordan Henderson made it four.
And then it was five. Firmino again.
And then it was six. Mo Salah.
And then it was seven. Salah’s second.
As clinical a performance as you will ever see. Liverpool created some very good chances, but converting seven of eight shots on target is almost unheard of. The Reds are once again going to be top of the tree come Christmas Day.
Your ratings, as the champions made away-day history.
Ali 7.5 – Not tested *that* much, but the couple of saves he was forced to make were very comfortably caught, when many goalkeepers may have chosen to flap or parry.
Trent 8 – A couple of lapses early on, but passing was a joy to behold second half. Felt like the Reds’ number 66 was involved in most of the goals.
Joel 8 – Dominant aerially, composed on the ball, great performance.
Fab 6 – Struggled in the first half, perhaps as this was his first experience against a front two as a centre-back, and Palace should have equalised after Ayew had bullied the Brazilian. Great on-ball, however.Embed from Getty Images
Robbo 7 – Gave away possession a little too easily at times, but combination with Firmino for the third goal was exquisite.
Gini 7 – More low-key than Wednesday, but some solid break-ups nonetheless.
Hendo 8 – One of the Reds’ better performers in the fairly uninspiring first half an hour of play, and the skipper drilled home his side’s fourth with precision. Just a fantastic football player, isn’t he?
Naby 8 – I could copy and paste the Trent summary here. Naby was caught dallying on the ball once or twice in the first half, but as the game progressed he started to dominate proceedings. Delightful work in the build-up to Henderson’s strike.
Sadio 8 – The Senegalese felt frustrated all afternoon, culminating with his evident disappointment at being substituted, but came up with a first half assist and then goal out of nothing. World class turn and strike to make it two.
Bobby 9 – I mean, no words needed. Thought his first goal was my favourite Liverpool goal this season but ultimately it might not even have been the Brazilian’s best goal of the game. Bobby’s back, baby!
Taki 7.5 – Very composed to open the scoring and did not look out of place coming into this Liverpool side. One complaint is the Japanese international was once again a little too lightweight in the 50-50s.
Mo 8.5 – Two goals and one assist in half an hour says it all…Embed from Getty Images
CJ 7 – Buzzed around with the swagger that he has in abundance.
Ox 7.5 – Very pleasingly, it looked as though the Ox had never been out on his return to action. In times gone by he has been slow to return to top form after injuries, but the No.15 was very involved here and switched ball out to Salah for the seventh.
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