A newly-looked Anfield was all set to host its first game of the campaign when Crystal Palace traveled to the Merseyside in order to encounter Liverpool, the Premier League heavyweights, whom they defeated thrice in past three seasons at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool gaffer, rested a few of his stars for their midweek Champions League playoff return leg outing against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim whereas, a number of first-team regulars missed out with ever-growing injury woes. Palace, despite being a bogey team, looked way too much defensive and the Reds finally break the curse by clinching a narrow 1-0 victory banking on Sadio Mane’s late strike.
First half was quite eventless as Palace sat back, defended deep and tried to expose the Reds on counter attacks. Liverpool, on the other hand, lacked creativity up front as both Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino looked fatigued and clueless. The only spark was new boy Andrew Robertson who kept on delivering wonderful crosses into the box from the left-hand flank. Matip had a golden opportunity from a free header but it went wide off the target. Firmino tested Hennessy from distance but his effort was stopped by the Palace custodian. Puncheon, seconds later, pulled off a strike on the other end, but his shot was denied by Simon Mignolet. The first half ended scorelessly.
The Reds started the second half brightly and looked more determined and purposeful. The goal came in finally minutes after Klopp brought in Dominic Solanke and Mohamed Salah upfront. Sadio Mane though looked off-colored most of the time, netted the only goal of the game at around 73rd-minute mark to earn the Reds three crucial points. Liverpool had their chances to score more but was denied repeatedly by Palace custodian Hennessey. Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan, on the other end, did well to contain dangerous Christian Benteke on most occasions and clinched a deserved clean-sheet.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Lineups:
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum (Dominic Solanke 71′), Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino ( Dejan Lovren 90’+), Daniel Sturridge ( Mohamed Salah 61′)
Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Timothy Fosu-Mensah Scott Dann, James Tomkins, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon (James McArthur 73′), Luka Milivojević (Sullay Kaikai 77′), Patrick Van Aanholt (Jeffrey Schlupp 84′), Andros Townsend, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Benteke.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Highlights:
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Match Stats
|Shots (on Target)||22(12)||4 (1)|
|Fouls conceded (Bookings)||12(1)||13(3)|
Photo by RuaraidhG