On paper, Liverpool were very much expected to beat Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace side at Anfield. But football is not played on paper, as Southampton proved by holding Manchester City at the Etihad.
Palace started the better team, in fact, and caused early problems from set-pieces.
But after about half an hour, Jürgen Klopp’s side began to impose themselves on the game, pinning the visitors in their own half.
Just before half-time, Mohamed Salah won a header from a corner and Sadio Mané followed up to open the scoring.
Palace again started the second half well, and were generally very impressive.
But as time ticked away, Salah found space at the back post following another James Milner corner, and doubled the hosts’ lead.
The third goal was a thing of beauty – this time Salah swung the corner in, and the ball flew out to Naby Keïta, who hammered a left-footed volley into the far corner.
A big win for the Reds, especially considering Manchester City dropped points.
Your ratings, from Anfield:
Ali 8.5 – The Brazilian sometimes has games where he is absolutely faultless. From the first minute, when he turned a looping ball onto his post, today was one. Man of the Match.
Milly 6.5 – Did struggle with Zaha in moments, but that is understandable. Set-piece delivery was very good, as well.
Ibou 7.5 – Started nervously, but gained confidence after winning a duel when Jordan Ayew had burst in behind. Showcased impressive recovery pace.
Big Virg 7.5 – Pretty Virgil-ish throughout. Barely troubled in his defensive work, and worked well with Konaté.
Shimmy cash 6 – Played himself into trouble once or twice early on, but improved after the interval.
Hendo 7 – Plenty of attacking runs in behind, which could be a new tactic to keep an eye on.
Fabs 6.5 – As good as ever defensively, but didn’t quite have his passing range today.
ThiaGOAT 7.5 – Oozed class at times. Won back plenty of possession, too. Limped off with an injury, which Klopp said after the game doesn’t seem too serious, thankfully.
Mo 8 – Admirable duel with the impressive Tyrick Mitchell, who was able to minimise the Egyptian’s impact from open play… But Salah then had a hand in each of the three goals, all stemming from set-pieces.
Di-no-goal 5 – Lost possession too easily and missed an absolute sitter.
Sadio 7.5 – Alive to eat up the loose ball in the box for the Reds’ opener. Quietly impressive in his defensive work, as well.
Nabs 8 – How about that strike?
CJ 7 – Very promising cameo.
Divvy N/A – One very good back-post clearance, which was unexpected.
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