Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool: Ruthless Reds run riot to punish pitiful Palace 
(Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

It was a devastating and clinical performance from Jurgen Klopp’s men, who put in a deadly display in south London to condemn the Eagles to their heaviest home league defeat in history.

The match

The Reds wasted no time in setting the tone for the match, taking the early lead at Selhurst Park through Takumi Minamino.

The 25-year-old scored his first goal in the Premier League just two minutes after kick-off, when Sadio Mane was allowed time and space in the penalty area to pick out a pass to Minamino. His touch deceived Gary Cahill, which allowed The Japanese international to arrow a shot past the helpless Vicente Guaita; giving The Reds the perfect start.  

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Roy Hodgson’s side nearly found their way back into the game instantly, when Wilfried Zaha drilled a wicked cross along the face of Liverpool’s penalty area, but Fabinho - who has showed his astute quality at centre-half following the injury to Virgil Van Dijk – calmly touched the ball away from the oncoming Jordan Ayew, who would have had the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net. 

Ayew had another glorious opportunity moments later. The forward broke in behind the resolute Liverpool defence, as he outmuscled Fabinho and was left one-on-one with Alisson.

However, Ayew, chose to attempt and find the unmarked Zaha, instead of taking the shot on himself, resulting in his wayward pass agonisingly missing the Ivorian forward. Another Palace chance went begging.   

Palace piled continues, relentless pressure on Alisson’s goal, with Jeffrey Schlupp and Zaha going close. But the Eagles efforts would be in vain, as Sadio Mane doubled Liverpool’s tally on the 35th minute.  

Some more haphazard Palace defending was punished by Mane, as the Senegalese winger latched onto a clever pass from Roberto Firmino, spinning Nathaniel Clyne and fired a shot into the top left-hand corner.  

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Firmino, who in midweek scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over title rivals Tottenham Hotspur, continued his fruitful spell on the stroke of half time. Andy Robertson set off on a driving run from his own half and whipped a delicate ball into the feet of Firmino. The Brazilian took one touch before poking the ball past Guaita, adding more misery to Hodgson’s side.  

The Reds continued their rampant performance in the second half, when on the 50th minute, Jordan Henderson finished off a well worked Liverpool move to curl a right footed shot into the top left-hand corner from 20 yards out.  

Jurgen Klopp’s side smelt blood, they knew Palace were vulnerable and looked timid every time they attacked. Trent Alexander-Arnold intercepted a Patrick van Aanholt pass and instantly looked to set free Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian winger drove at goal, before cutting open the heart of Palace’s back four with a defence splitting pass. The ball fell to Firmino, who took a sublime first touch to round Guaita and clip the ball into the empty net.   

Liverpool's sixth of the afternoon epitomised Palace's defensive frailties. Alexander-Arnold sent a corner into the area and Joel Matip rose highest to nod the ball down to Salah. The 5ft 9inch winger was left completely unmarked inside the penalty area to head home. 

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Salah rounded off the afternoon with the pick of the bunch. He collected a cross field pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, dropped his shoulder to ease past James McArthur and curled a stunning shot into the top left-hand corner from outside the penalty area.  

Takeaways

Where has the defensive solidity gone? 

The bedrock of any Roy Hodgson side is to defend, however this season, with Palace's main cause for concern last season their inability to score goals, this year, is appeares that Palace struggle to defend. 

Palace have only kept one clean sheet all season, and perhaps, it's down to the fluid 4-4-2 formation that Hodgson has his heart set on playing week in, week out. 

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The midfield pivot and the guardians of Palace's defence, James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic, looked dilapidated throughout the entirety of this afternoon's fixture, as they struggled to keep up with the pace of the game and were overrun by the intimidating force of Liverpool's midfield trio of Henderson, Naby Keïta and Georginio Wijnaldum

A real statement of intent from Liverpool 

Many questioned whether Liverpool would be able to continue their fine form from last season and assemble another title charge for this season.

But with this emphatic victory, Klopp's men go six points clear of second place Spurs - who drew 1-1 with Palace last Sunday - as Liverpool once again show that they are a force to be reckoned with this season. 

Klopp, who on Wednesday picked up the award for Fifa's Men's Coach of the Year, flexed his squad depth by handing a rare start to Minamino and dropping talisman Salah to the bench.

In a season where their title charge has been hampered by injuries, Liverpool still find themselves as the benchmark for the chasing pack. 

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