From Selhurst Park – Liverpool closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to nine points with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Reds raced into a two-goal lead in the first half but Palace responded well and had some wasteful finishing to blame for getting nothing from the game.
It took just seven minutes for Liverpool to take the lead with Andy Robertson whipping in a wicked corner which was gleefully met by Virgil van Dijk for his second goal of the season.
The rampant Reds turned the screw in the first half and eventually doubled their advantage just after the half-hour mark. Again, Robertson was the provider, finding an unmarked Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the back post who fired the ball under Vicente Guaita.
Palace did not seem likely to muster a response for most of the opening period, but they burst into life just before the break. First. Michael Olise was slipped in following a poor back-pass from Joel Matip and should have scored.
Jean-Philippe Mateta then missed an even better opportunity, rounding Alisson but failing to find the finish.
Palace’s resurgence continued after the break with Conor Gallagher and Odsonne Edouard both somehow failing to find the net after being presented with gilt-edged chances.
Eventually the Eagles did convert with Mateta – who at last beat the Reds’ high line – squaring to Edouard, who tapped into the empty net.
Palace continued to push for an equaliser with Olise getting in behind Robertson and attempting a lob, which Alisson just managed to scramble away.
Against the run of play Liverpool were then awarded a controversial penalty two minutes from time. Diogo Jota collided with Guaita in the box and despite a spot kick not be given initially, this decision was overturned following a VAR review.
Fabinho made no mistake from the spot, rolling into the bottom-right corner to put the match beyond all doubt.
Here are your player ratings from SE25…
Vicente Guaita (GK) – 6/10 – Might have done better for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s goal but it was well-hit. Made a few good stops.
Joel Ward (RB) – 5/10 – Robertson gave him a torrid time, particularly in the first half. Not a huge amount to report going forward, with his one burst through seeing him flagged for offside.
Marc Guehi (CB) – 6/10 – A good foil for Andersen. Cannot really be faulted.
Joachim Andersen (CB) – 6/10 – An imperious figure in the air. Got a handle of Liverpool’s clever movement after early struggles.
Tyrick Mitchell (LB) – 6/10 – Had his hands full dealing with doubled-barrelled partners in crime Alexander-Arnold and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Grew in confidence after a shaky start.
Conor Gallagher (CM) – 4/10 – Missed two great opportunities for his side. Liverpool played around him a tad too easily sometimes.
Will Hughes (CM) – 6/10 – Kept plugging away but Liverpool’s movement in the first half had him bamboozled. Helped settle Palace down by filling the gaps.
Jeffrey Schlupp (CM) – 4/10 – Seemed to struggled with deciding when to press his opposition. Poor for the opener too, though it was likely a failure of Palace’s set-piece marking system.
Michael Olise (RW) – 7/10 – Gave away a few sloppy fouls early on but soon exploded into life. Such a confident ball carrier and sat Van Dijk down just before the break. His side’s best performer by a margin but should have scored before the break.
Jean-Philippe Mateta (ST) – 6/10 – Mistimed a couple of runs in the first half, where he could have been clean through. Finishing was poor but he did finally create a goal in the second half, dashing in behind Liverpool’s high line.
Odsonne Edouard (LW) – 5/10 – Gave the ball away with concerning regularity early on. Got a goal but would have been a scandal if he missed.
Eberechi Eze (LW) – 5/10 – Such an exciting player but did not provide much.
Christian Benteke (ST) – N/A
Jordan Ayew (LM) – N/A
Alisson (GK) – 6/10 – Made a couple of important stops when Palace were threatening to force their way back into the game.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 6/10 – Caused a few issues by Olise but did catch the eye going forward, even if he did not impress as much as his full-back colleague.
Virgil van Dijk (CB) – 7/10 – Solid display. His distribution was typically eye-catching and he got his goal too.
Joel Matip (CB) – 5/10 – Should have been punished for a loose back-pass before the break. Generally a bit unconvincing.
Andrew Robertson (LB) – 7/10 – Two assists. Both of them were perfect deliveries. Defending was fine, aside from one losing battle with Olise in the second half.
Fabinho (CM) – 6/10 – Can tell he is not quite at full fitness. Did not provide Liverpool with their usually calm platform. Showed composure to convert the penalty.
Jordan Henderson (CM) – 6/10 – Started very strongly, knitting things together for his side with neat passes and flicks. Struggled to impose himself as much afterwards.
Curtis Jones (CM) – 6/10 – Picked up some great areas in the left half-space, combining with Robertson on more than one occasion.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (RW) – 7/10 – Finished impressively for his goal. Led the press at times and forced a few errors out of the Palace back line.
Roberto Firmino (ST) – 6/10 – Excellent hold-up play. Faded in the second half dramatically.
Diogo Jota (LW) – 6/10 – Battled hard with the Palace centre-backs despite his height disadvantage. Some neat touches and link-up play. Won the ‘penalty’.
Takumi Minamino (RW) – 5/10 – Scarcely involved.
James Milner (CM) – N/A
Joe Gomez (RB) – N/A
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