Crystal Palace 0-2 Liverpool: 5 Talking Points
Monday night's fixture saw goals from James Milner and Sadio Mane secure a professional win against a gritty Crystal Palace side. The win takes Liverpool to the second spot and they now trail Manchester City on goal difference.
Liverpool enjoyed most possession as Palace looked to hit the visitors on the counter with Palace defending in numbers, blocking all passing lanes which resulted in Liverpool unable to play their swashbuckling brand of football.
The game came into life in the 22nd minute after Keita's delightful lob found Salah one on one against Hennessey, only to see his attempt sail over the post. Palace got their first real chance after Townsend's wonderfully directed curler hit the crossbar with the rebound being blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Liverpool were awarded a penalty which was calmly dispatched by Milner on the cusp of half-time after Salah was brought down by Sakho.
Palace looked to restore parity but suffered a serious blow after Aaron Wan-Bissaka received his marching orders after denying Mo Salah a clear goal scoring opportunity. The Merseysiders sealed the win in the dying embers of the game after Mane rounded Hennessey for his side's second.
Here are the five talking points from the game at Selhurst Park.
#1 Liverpool's solid defensive display helps them secure three points
Liverpool have always been criticized for their sloppy defending which was mainly due to the absence of defensive organization and a recognised leader. Since the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton and Alisson from Roma, the defence have put in assured performances.
Jurgen Klopp went in with an unchanged back four as Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk and Robertson retained their places. In Palace, they came up against a tricky, physical attack which consisted of Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha. Yet, they stuck to their tasks and got their second clean sheet of the season.
Zaha and Townsend troubled the full backs on certain occasions, with Gomez and Van Dijk tidying up with great poise. Virgil Van Dijk put in yet another top-notch performance as he marshalled Benteke so well, forcing Palace boss Roy Hodgson to haul him off in the 70th minute. The Dutchman finished the game with a pass accuracy rate of 92%, winning 8/11 duels and also making a key interception during the build-up to Liverpool's second goal.
Joe Gomez, Van Dijk's partner on the night, continued his fine form with yet another assured performance. The youngster was unperturbed by the presence of Zaha, Townsend and made some key interceptions, tackles in vital areas of the pitch. Gomez ended the game with a pass accuracy rate of 90% and his partnership with Van Dijk seems to get better with every passing game.
Meanwhile, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold initially had trouble dealing with the Palace wingers but held their ground as the game progressed. Alisson made some fine saves and commanded the box really well.