It was scintillating from Liverpool on Saturday as they thrashed Crystal Palace 7-0 to take them six points clear at the top of the Premier League. It was a statement win to put the Reds in a great position to retain the league.
Palace had their opportunities to score and had their final passes been better they could have caused the Reds problems. But Liverpool were clinical, finding themselves three up at half time.
Takumi Minamino scored his first Premier League goal in the third minute. A composed touch and classy finish gave Liverpool the lead. Sadio Mane ended his nine-game goal drought with Liverpool’s second.
Roberto Firmino continued his good run of form and bagged two goals. Scoring in either half with two fantastic goals, he showed off his close control and flair.
Jordan Henderson scored Liverpool’s fourth, with his great curling effort.
Mohamed Salah topped off Liverpool’s day. He came off the bench and scored two goals in the final 10 minutes. His second and Liverpool’s seventh was potentially the best of the lot. A beautiful curling effort from outside the box into the top left corner.
Liverpool controlled the second half and punished a Palace side that looked defeated.
Firmino the catalyst for Liverpool’s success
With two goals and an assist, Firmino had another brilliant game. Following on from his good performance against Tottenham Hotspur, in which he scored the winning goal, the Brazilian showed that he could be back to his best.
Very often when playing for Liverpool, Firmino plays with his back to goal. This is by no means a criticism because his link-up play and bullish work is pivotal to Liverpool’s success. It allows Mane and Salah to get so many goals.
In the last two games however, he has played more on the front foot, making a lot more runs into the box and getting himself into scoring positions. Against Spurs he had a number of good chances before scoring and it was a similar story today. Both his goals came from within the box.
The lack of goals is the only criticism you could have of Firmino. If he begins to add this to his game again, we could see the best of Firmino once again.
Squad depth coming back to Reds
Coming into the game, Jurgen Klopp made three changed from the side that beat Spurs. Minamino, Naby Keita and Joel Matip all came in and all performed very well. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also made his return to the team, getting his first appearance of the season following an injury in pre-season.
With Liverpool’s lenghty injury list, it is pleasing to finally see options for rotation in the side. This is one of the first times that Klopp has had options and an opportunity to give some players a rest.
With the busy festive schedule, this will give Klopp a better chance of giving key players some rest and could help avoid further injuries.
Reds sit top at Christmas
With back-to-back wins for the Reds, they sit six points clear at the top of the league and will be top at Christmas. Whilst this by no means guarantees winning the league, it is a good and important position to be in.
This will give Liverpool a good chance to build on their lead at the top. Last season it was Liverpool’s great form over the Christmas period that helped put them in the position to win their first Premier League title.