Liverpool entertained Crystal Palace at Anfield with both teams having a chance to pull away from their respective chasing pack. In the case of Liverpool, away from Manchester City who did not play due to their FA Cup commitments and in the case of Crystal Palace, away from the bottom three towards further safety.
Philippe Coutinho put the Reds ahead before former Reds player Christian Benteke equalised for the visitors. He scored once again in the second half to clinch the win for the Eagles and Sam Allardyce’s men saw the game out to inflict a major blow on Liverpool’s hopes of finishing in the top four.
Here are the five talking points from the match.
#1 Liverpool are dealt a familiar tactic by Palace
Liverpool started the game with the same eleven as last week against West Brom despite doubts hanging over the fitness of Joel Matip, Lucas Leiva and Roberto Firmino. The Reds started out slow unlike the blistering starts at the beginning of the season. This was partly due to how Crystal Palace were set up.
Palace made one change with James Tomkins coming on for Mamadou Sakho, who was ineligible. Although Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend started out as wingers, they spent most of the first 45 minutes in their own half tracking the runs of Liverpool full-backs Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner. This was due to Sam Allardyce setting his team deep and they were effectively playing 4-5-1 while defending and waiting to hit on the counter.
This tactic worked initially as Liverpool faced a familiar problem of not being able to break down teams who sat back. On top of all this, the Reds’ passing did not infuse confidence either while the Eagles seemed happy to let Liverpool dominate possession.