Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace: Reds answer questions in chaotic and calamitous encounter to move seven clear in Anfield thriller
(Getty Images - David Blunsden)

Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace: Reds answer questions in chaotic and calamitous encounter to move seven clear in Anfield thriller

Liverpool twice fought back from behind against Crystal Palace to secure their 19th league win of the season in an epic Premier League encounter.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr
liverpool-fcAlisson; Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho (Lallana 87), Henderson; Keita (Shaqiri 71), Firmino, Mane; Salah (Camacho 90+4)
crystal-palaceSperoni, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Kouyate (Schlupp 75), Milivojevic, McArthur (Meyer 81), Townsend, Ayew (Wickham 81), Zaha.
SCORE0-1, Min.34, Townsend, 1-1, Min.46, Salah, 2-1, Min.53, Firmino, 2-2, Min.65, Tomkins, 3-2, Min.75, 4-2, Min.90+3, Mane, 4-3, Min.90+5, Meyer
INCIDENTSPREMIER LEAGUE MATCHWEEK 23 CLASH AT ANFIELD

At a time where title aspirations are determined by a team who can respond in the face of adversity Liverpool passed this test with flying colours.

Twice Liverpool were called into action to respond from unfamiliar setbacks against Crystal Palace in a match that will certainly personify this Reds squad's resilience should they lift the title come May.

A performance and result that was never convincing saw Jürgen Klopp and his players hobble over the line to extend their lead at the summit of the Premier League to seven points with Manchester City still to play on Sunday.

For the first time this season, Liverpool leaked three goals as they were made to work to secure their 19th league win of the season to take their points tally to 60 - already levelling their total for the 2015/16 season.

It's astonishing to believe that twice within minutes a hostile Anfield was transformed into a ground bouncing with sheer ecstasy.

When Andros Townsend struck a rare hammer blow in front of the Kop suddenly a test of nerve and steel awaited Klopp and his players who were unbeaten at their fortress home ground since April 2017.

Early second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino ignited the comeback before James Tomkins ripped up the Liverpool script to level the scoring.

Salah once again was the man the Reds turned to sprinkle some fairy dust on a limp performance to regain Liverpool their lead after firing his 50th Premier League before Sadio Mane all-but wrapped up the points to send the Merseysiders four-to-the-good.

Eagles substitute Max Meyer gave the hosts a late scare to score on the stroke of 95 minutes to set up some nervy final moments but it was Liverpool who prevailed to inspire yet another famous Anfield victory. 

Story of the game

In a first-half that saw the visitors lying so deep, they were almost mistaken of venturing in the Anfield Road section of the ground. Yet their disciplined approach saw them emerge into an half-time lead. 

Roy Hodgson - who is unbeaten in his last three Anfield visits - clearly came to upset the party and disrupt the title-chanting bandwagon. The Englishman's latest vendetta against his former team - whom he endured a miserable six-month period with - was to frustrate Klopp's ball-retention dominating side.

Palace's unlikely opener was the first goal conceded at Anfield in 2019 and only the second time the Reds have gone behind in the league at their fortress home ground since 29 December 2017. 

Townsend, who struck a devastating hammer blow to champions City's title-aspirations last month cooked up another remedy in the form of a famous upset as the 27-year-old comfortably tucked home Zaha's pullback on the right flank to give the Eagles an unlikely lead.

Zaha was guilty of roaming on both flanks in the opening period with his efforts consistently thwarted by Andy Robertson in the early exchanges. The former United starlet then fancied his chances on the opposite wing and his burst of pace left makeshift full-back James Milner for dead before Townsend calmly stoked home.

However, unsurprisingly it was Liverpool who dominated early possession but failed to penetrate the deep-lying Palace back-line.  The Eagles early confidence was ensonified by former Red Mamadou Sakho who audaciously orchestrated a clever backheel on the edge of his own box.

Liverpool's early chance came when Matip was luring in unfamiliar attacking territory before forcing 39-year-old goalkeeper Julian Speroni into his first (of many) save of the afternoon.

Firmino attempted to get the ball rolling when his dazzling trickery was followed by a curled shot just over the bar. Minutes later Matip looked to feed through Robertson, but again, the chance was squandered.

Mane later spurned a free header straight at Speroni before Zaha nearly found Jordan Ayew with a mouthwatering cross. Salah's wizardry was on show on the half-way line as he danced around a number of Palace players before sending Naby Keita goalbound.

The Guinean midfielder never looked convincing once he was unleashed at the Palace goal and Tomkins did well to recover and make a tackle.

Two free headers for the hosts went unpunished with Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk failing to capitalise before the half-hour mark.

There was a questionable penalty shout when the ball struck the hand of Townsend before minutes later the former Spurs prodigy was tucking home the opener.

The visitor's goal sparked an eruption of upset around the ground as Liverpool went into the break behind and certainly unconvincing. 

It took the Reds five minutes to recover from a peg back against Arsenal and it was again minutes before Liverpool were ahead once again at Anfield.

The Reds equalising goal certainly had a sprinkle of lady luck when Van Dijk's deflected shot fell into the path of Salah whose delicate touch beat Speroni before Firmino's deflected goal sent the home crowd into sheer delirium with the club's 1000th goal in the PL era.

Crystal Palace were not fazed by the eruption of noise and quickly became the second side this season to score twice in the league against the Reds when Tomkins scored from a free header to send the away section wild.

Again the microphone was thrown at Klopp and his players to see how his team could respond to yet another setback that this defensive steel has become unapparent to in recent months.

The footballing gods could be seen of rallying towards the Reds side of proceedings when yet again a huge slice of luck flown at Liverpool's direction.

Speroni remarkably became the oldest Premier League player to start a domestic match this season and sadly for the Argentine shot-stopper it was his mistake that gift-wrapped Liverpool their third.

Milner was left far too much space on the right-hand byline and his fizzed-in cross was spilt by the Eagles keeper before Salah was lurking to tap home his second.

It was the Egyptian's 16th league goal of the season - his 19th in all competitions - to send him comfortably at the top of the individual goalscoring accolades as Liverpool were ahead once again. 

The Liverpool talisman continued to torment the visitors and was sniffing a hat-trick when the forward dispossessed Sakho before Tomkins recovered to tackle.

Mane squandered a huge chance for the hosts before the Senegalese ace atoned for his early mishap to comfortably dispatch the fourth and all but wrap up the points in this enthralling contest.

This utterly bizarre topsy-turvy encounter was still not done and fixed up its final dose of chaos when substitute Meyer picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box before beating Alisson Becker.

It made the final few minutes utterly unbearable for the home support in a nailbiting finale that saw Klopp's team in the end prevail.

It was never convincing from Liverpool who conceded three goals at Anfield for the first time since January 2018 as the Reds extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

Over to you City!

Takeaways from the match

Salah bags a brace to surpass 50 goal margin 

Yet again it was Liverpool's Egyptian King who was at hand to bail the Reds out of a potential horror show as Salah was twice there for Klopp and his team to send Liverpool seven points clear at the top.

Salah now has 51 goals from 72 Premier League appearance to surpass yet another staggering individual landmark. The Reds talisman now has 16 league goals for the season to comfortably put him top of the goalscoring accolades with yet another stellar performance.

Unfamiliar leak of goals from Reds defence

Liverpool's recent impenatrable back-line conceded three goals for the first in all competitions this season as the Reds were made to pay for a lack of ruthlessness at the back.

The Reds had only conceded more than once in a Premier League encounter on a singular occassion - that being the enthralling 2-1 defeat at Manchester City - as Liverpool were punished for a number of defensive mishaps that have been non-existent in recent weeks.

Palace unforunate to leave empty handed

Hodgson spoke in depth of his disapointment of coming away with nothing in his post-match press-conference and there is sympathy to be felt for the former Liverpool manager who lost for the first time at Anfield since his dismassal from the club in January 2011.

Despite initially opting for a deep lying approach, Palace eventually took the game to Liverpool and exposed a number of frailties in the Reds defence that has been almost non-existent all season.

The visitors will also be hard done by considering the sheer luck that went against them for three of Liverpool's four goals as the Eagles were not able to produce yet another giant killing performance here on Merseyside. 

 

 

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