Liverpool won their first league match of the season at Anfield, beating a highly defensive Crystal Palace side by a lone goal.
Liverpool came into this game, making some changes to the line-up that played against Hoffenheim in Germany last Tuesday in a UEFA Champion League play-off. Jurgen Klopp had to bring new faces to his line-up so that he would have some fresh legs to play against Hoffenheim when they come for the second leg of their match on Wednesday at Anfield.
Liverpool was the more dominant side in the first half; they had superior ball possession and their attacking line showed excellent inter-switching play. Crystal Palace’s well-drilled defensive formation was able,throughout the first half, to contain the attacking forays of the Reds in this half.
James Milner had an opportunity to set up a good goal-scoring opportunity for his on-rushing team mates when he attacked the opponent from the left hand-side of their penalty box, but he elected to shoot directly at the goalpost instead of sending a reverse pass to his team mates behind him in Palace’s eighteen yard box.
Joel Matip had an opportunity to put his side in the fourteenth minute of the match, but he headed the ball from a corner kick over the crossbar.
Liverpool continued to pour forward in search of the opening goal; and Andrew Robertson was sending dangerous crosses into the opponent’s penalty box from the left flank : forcing Crystal Palace’s defenders into aerial duels on each occasion.
Roberto Firmino’s thunderous shot from outside the eighteen yard bow was pushed out of danger by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Crystal Palace’s lone goal-scoring chance in the first half came when Ruben Loftus-Cheek fired a thunderous shot toward Liverpool’s goalpost, but Simon Mignolet parried the ball out of his goalmouth.
The second half took a similar form and shape as the first half : Liverpool did the pressing game while Palace defended deeply in the own half, troubling Liverpool at times with long ball aimed towards their striker, Christian Benteke.
Beneteke had a good chance to score in the early minutes of the second half ; Ruben Loftus Cheek got the better of klavan on the left flank and succeeded in racing with the ball into Liverpool’s penalty box, from where sent a pass to an on-rushing Benteke inside the penalty box, but the Belgian striker ballooned the ball over the crossbar.
Liverpool’s players in their desperation for a goal poured forward, pinned their opponent to their own half as the attack them from every area in the pitch. Wayne Hennessy made several saves to prevent the home team from scoring.
Jurgen Kloop introduced Mohammed Sallah and Dominic Solanke into the match as the game progressed.
Sadio Mane took up the creative role of finding a way to breach Palace’s tight defence. His combination with the other attackers turned out to be a source of constant worry to the visiting team.
Mane scored Liverpool’s goal in the seventy second minute of the game.Dominic Solanke pressured a Palace’s defender into misplacing a pass into his eighteen yard box; Mane latched onto the ball and spun it into the net.
After the goal, Liverpool continued to search for more goals, and the good goalkeeping skills of Hennessey prevented Salah and Andy Robertson from adding their names to the scorer’s sheet.
In the dying minutes of the second half and during additional time, Palace peppered Liverpool with high balls that were punted into their eighteen yard box, but the Reds were able to deal with the long balls that came into their eighteen yard box till the final whistle.
Liverpool will be delighted they got the maximum three points at stake, unlike their league opener against Watford where they surrendered their lead in the dying minutes of the game to get a draw that cost them two points.