Liverpool collected an important victory over Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace on Monday evening with James Milner and Sadio Mane on the scoresheet. The Reds needed to keep their momentum going after a solid win from Manchester City at the weekend and Jurgen Klopp’s side did just that.
|Image via The Mirror|
In seasons gone by, this is exactly the sort of game that Liverpool would have failed to see out. Palace away from home was always going to be a tricky fixture but the Reds did very well to maintain their composure and continue a consistent run of attacks.
Palace’s main threat Zaha got a few chances to try and punish the Liverpool defence but on the whole, Liverpool’s back four dealt with any danger. A shot from Townsend also had Kopites panicking when his long-range shot thankfully smashed off the bar.
A particular highlight should be placed on the young Joe Gomez playing alongside the superb Virgil van Dijk, I don’t need to sing the latter's praises, we all know how lucky we are to have signed that man but Gomez I thought deserved a mention.
A defender who has reentered the first team thanks to a Dejan Lovren injury could have struggled to impress due to the obvious pressure but he looked as calm as ever and put in some beautifully timed tackles.
Liverpool failed to open up the scoring despite sustained attack until right at the end of the first half. Mamadou Sakho who overall had a good game for Palace made a bad call when taking the decision to snap at Mo Salah in the box.
Some online were claiming Mo dived, he did not dive. Salah doesn’t dive, I still think people should consider themselves lucky to be watching a world-beating forward who is actually very honest and doesn’t spend his whole game rolling around on the floor. He was clipped twice and had his shirt pulled, Sakho was playing a dangerous game and for me, it was 100% a peno.
James Milner is the designated taker for the Reds and the stalwart did not fail to deliver with a confident spot-kick that put Liverpool ahead.
In the second half, at stages Palace began to find a bit of a foothold but Liverpool remained in control, Alisson made some important saves and it’s clear that the clean sheet is becoming as important as scoring goals.
One of Liverpool’s strengths is certainly the speed at which they can counter-attack and that is eventually what caught Palace off guard for our second of the night. A quick-thinking Mo Salah put Sadio Mane through on goal but the Senegal man still had a lot to do.
Sadio remained upright and continued his run to the right of goal, ending his move with a lovely finish to secure Liverpool’s three points. I bloody love Mane, he was on my shirt last year and after the start he’s made this season, I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.
Another shoutout must go to new signing Naby Keita who to me looks very lively. That sublime skill which left Townsend for dead in the first half and that almost perfect long range pass to Mo Salah? Phenomenal. This boy has some serious potential.
Importantly for me, as I said at the start of the post, this is a game that in previous seasons Liverpool would fail to win. The fact that we rode out the dangerous periods, kept a clean sheet and still scored twice? To me, that’s just as good as winning 6-1. Yes, it’s exciting to just win by means of scoring bags more goals than your opposition and conceding two or three on the way but it feels a lot better when you know you can rely on your defence and goalkeeper.
Roll on Brighton!