Just when you think Liverpool is about to be matched, the Reds find a way to persevere. A late Firmino winner, his first goal since September, sealed all 3 points for Liverpool and kept their lead a-top the Premier League at 8 points.
Liverpool went with a largely unchanged side, with Andy Robertson passing fit and in the starting XI; and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in for Mo Salah who is recovering from a lingering ankle issue.
Palace started brightly, instilling a spell of pressure on the Liverpool back line from the start. Ayew had a glorious chance to give Palace the lead after Townsend cut out Trent’s diagonal ball, but failed to do so.
Palace were throwing numbers forward, leaving themselves exposed on the break. Fabinho found Sadio Mane with a beautiful ball over the top, but the Senegalese man couldn’t sort himself out and gather the ball cleanly.
The Reds were rather lethargic in their overall approach/play in the first 20’, giving Palace some belief in their creativity. Lovren made a crucial tackle on Ayew to deny him at chance at goal. This seemed to be a bit of a turning point though. The Reds began clicking after this instance.
Just as Liverpool began growing on the break, Palace scored the opener off a Tomkins header. But, there was a VAR check. VAR disallowed the goal for a foul on Lovren in the box during the set piece that gave Palace the lead. The score line remained 0-0, with chants of “F*** VAR” ringing out around Selhurst Park. One for the “the league is fixed for Liverpool” brigade to get themselves worked up about.
Halftime came in what was a forgettable, boring first half of football. 0-0.
Both sides emerged from the tunnel unchanged, ready for the second half the get underway. Palace immediately found some space and won a corner, and as Van Dijk cut out the Milivojevic corner and it fell right to Van Aanholt, who sent his volley wide.
Palace came out with some genuine belief they could catch Liverpool napping today. But, with that belief, comes risk. Jordan Henderson turned into acres of space and released Mane down the middle, in on goal, but he slid his effort just wide of the near post. Better from the Reds.
Not even two minutes later, Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the lead in the 49’ after connecting with an Andy Robertson cross and converting his chance off of both posts. 1-0 Liverpool.
Palace weren’t going down easily though, as Andros Townsend found some space at the top right corner of the Liverpool box and fired a screamer on goal, but it was pushed wide by Alisson. Palace seemed to believe that shots from distance were the way to defeat the Reds, as they kept trying their luck from range. Unsuccessfully.
Fabinho picked up a yellow card, meaning he will be suspended for the next league math at home against Brighton.
Liverpool missed a gift of a chance to double their lead when Trent fired a cross in from a corner straight across the front of goal, and it made it through completely untouched. Lovren was the closest to tapping home the sitter.
Liverpool than made their first sub, bring in on Divock Origi for Ox.
In the blink of an eye Roberto Firmino was played into space and had a 1v1 with the Palace keeper, but saw his effort saved. Firmino has to score there. Big chance wasted.
Palace then made two subs, bringing on Kelly for Ward, and Schlupp for Kouyate. Schlupp almost made an immediate impact as he had a decent chance to equalize, but skimmed his effort over.
Palace began gaining some confidence, as the most blatant sign of that was Benteke tying an overhead kick. Shades of his stunner at Old Tradford, just not even remotely close to the same outcome.
Klopp then brought on Milner for Henderson with the Reds looking to sure up the game, and just as that happened Palace starlet Wilfred Zaha equalized in the 82’. Townsend played a beautiful reverse ball of a counter attack to Zaha, who beat Alisson. 1-1.
Klopp was seen readying Mo Salah for his third and final substitution, but first the Reds won a corner. Trent played the ball in with Palace failing to clear it, and following a scuffle n front of the box, Roberto Firmino swung at the ball and finished his chance. 2-1 Liverpool in the 85’. Away end went absolutely nuts. Firmino capped off his 150thappearance for Liverpool with a late winner.
Salah was then directed back to the bench with the scoreline back in Liverpool’s favor. Klopp than turned to Joe Gomez, bringing him on or Firmino for Liverpool’s third and final sub of the match.
As Liverpool were riding out the final 5 minutes of this match, Zaha was on the receiving end of a chipped diagonal ball, completely unmarked. He luckily skied his volley over the goal and Liverpool’s lead was unharmed. The full time whistle blew. 2-1 Liverpool, another 3 points at the death.
The League leaders march on after another gritty win at Selhurst Park. Klopp’s Reds cannot be kept down, they will always find a way. Another mental blow for their title challengers, who probably thought the Reds were dropping points today.
Next up: Brighton at Anfield.