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Opinion: Victory at Crystal Palace exemplifies Liverpool as genuine title contenders

Suman Dey
ANALYST
Feature
856   //    22 Aug 2018, 11:24 IST

Crystal Palace v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 0-2 at Selhurst Park

Liverpool's summer spending gave us a clear indication of their intentions for this season's Premier League. They have bought reinforcements in areas where they lacked last season. Analysts have picked Liverpool as the only challengers to Manchester City for the title.

The brand of football Liverpool plays is fast and eye catching, something even Pep Guardiola fears. Over the years they have gradually progressed and made the transition from a mid-table club to real title challengers this season.

The criticism Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have often faced was their inability to win games the hard way. They more often than not failed to win against small teams, this eventually saw them slipping out of the title race.

Last season they were Manchester City's bogey team, knocking them out comprehensively from the Champions league, and beating them in the reverse fixture of the Premier League. But they squandered points against Burnley, Everton, Newcastle, Swansea, Watford and West Brom, denting their hopes of winning the league.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Alisson Becker - Solid!

On a testing night at a raucous Selhurst Park, Liverpool fans witnessed something they have not seen for a long time from a Liverpool side. A hard fought win where they had to dig really deep and fight till the final whistle.

Although it's still quite early in the season to predict the league, two clean sheets in as many matches with 6 goals scored, and the manner in which they won against Palace more or less confirms them as the only true challenger to Manchester City this season.

They sent a clear warning to the rest of the Premier league that it will be very hard to get points against them this season. The acquisition of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton last season, and now Alisson from Roma, has strengthened their key areas. This will be vital going into the latter half of the season.

J
A jubilant Jurgen Klopp after the game against Palace

Selhurst Park is always a difficult place to visit, and with a resurgent Wilfried Zaha running rampant up front, it's always a nightmare for any defense. The home side tends to make life awkward for the visiting team, and they worked tirelessly to stop Liverpool for much of the first half.

There were some sloppy passes from Keita which went unpunished. But his willingness to close down any sort of Palace attack and always look for the ball was the main feature of his game. Despite making a few mistakes, he didn't shrink and kept on making forward runs. This made Liverpool's attack even more dangerous.

Liverpool drew first blood at the stroke of half-time with a controversial penalty when Salah fell down inside the Palace penalty box after a slight touch from former Liverpool player Mamadou Sakho.

Liverpool's defense and goalkeeper were commendable throughout the match, and Jurgen Klopp after the game singled out Allison and Van Virgil van Dijk with praise. With the defense and goalkeeper looking sorted for them, this could really be the season they have waited for so many years.

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Suman Dey
ANALYST
A sports enthusiast and an avid follower of football. Since childhood I was encouraged to play cricket and in no time it became a hobby. Gradually I found interest in other sports also. Football is in my blood and I love the electrifying ambiance that surrounds it. I often watch the pre and post match analysis of a match and try to learn how to analyze a football game. The thing that intrigues me the most is that there are so many things happening behind the scenes that are oblivious to our naked eyes. The technological advancements that has been made are phenomenal. I like analyzing a game from a statistical point of view. Being a data guy myself , I am firm believer of providing insights through facts and data. Though a game is always unpredictable , analyzing it from different dimensions can provide some very interesting conclusions.
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