The Warmdown: Liverpool
go top of the Premier League with a hard-earned win against Crystal Palace
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: A general view as Mohamed Salah of Liverpool (L) celebrates with his teammates after scoring their 2nd goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on September 18, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

In recent times Liverpool vs Crystal Palace has been filled with goals and this weekend’s matchup was no different.

Liverpool lined up with a heavily rotated side. James Milner started at right back for an absent Trent Alexander-Arnold. Kostas Tsimikas also started alongside debutant Ibrahima Konate.

The Reds got off to a nervy start when a hopeful, lofted ball from a cleared freekick found the feet of Wilfred Zaha inside the penalty area. The Ivory Coast international took the ball down calmly and lifted over an oncoming Alisson. To the fortunes of the home supporters the ‘keeper back peddled and clawed the ball away keeping the scores level.

Jurgen Klopp’s men begun to dominate possession and created a golden chance of their own which should have seen them go ahead. Jordan Henderson whipped a cross towards Thiago who flung himself at the ball heading the ball towards goal. Vincente Guaita pulled off a brilliant reaction save but palmed to the left of the goal into the feet of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese, only a few yards from goal, slices the volley high, wide and handsome flying straight into row Z, possibly miss of the season.

Sadio Mane would be the player to spare Jota’s blushes. The Senegalese opened the scoring in what was his ninth successive goal against Crystal Palace. Mohamed Salah’s header from the corner was palmed away to Guiata’s left however Mane was quickest to react and followed up the save with an off angled shot firing over the ‘keeper and giving Liverpool the lead going into the break, his 100th goal in a Liverpool shirt.

The second half begun and with another corner came another goal, this time Mane’s counterpart Salah got himself on the scoresheet. A scramble of player all went to head Tsimikas’ corner leaving the Egyptian unmarked at the far post. The ball got cushioned down towards Salah who, without hesitation, struck the ball sweetly flying in past the near post giving Guiata no hope of saving and double the lead.

Liverpool ended the afternoon with yet another goal from a cleared set-piece. The goalkeeper punched the corner out to the edge of the box straight onto the left foot of Naby Keita. Liverpool’s number eight beautifully struck a volley which arrowed through the crowd of players and into the right side of the net securing all three points for Liverpool and sending them to the top of the Premier League table.

The Guinea international was substituted on early in the second half after Thiago was forced off the pitch with an injury. Another to add to the list of injured midfielders following Harvey Elliot's injury last week.

New season, same Salah

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Proving doubters wrong has become a regular occurrence for Mohamed Salah each season. With two golden boots to his name since joining the Reds in 2017 he's looking to add to his collection as he sits top of goal scorers list this season alongside Bruno Fernandes and Michail Antonio with four goals in five games. 

Liverpool will sorely miss the Egyptian when he leaves the team in the new year to play in the Africa Cup of Nations for a month along with teammates Naby Keita and Sadio Mane. 

His contract is also up in 2023 and is still in discussion to sign a new deal but no agreement has come forward yet. 

Thiago injury

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In the 65th minute Thiago hobbled off the pitch with a calf injury adding to Liverpool's list of injured midfielders. With no replacement brought in to fill in for the boots left by Georginio Wijnaldum, Klopp relied on youngster Harvey Elliott who is now out for the majority of the season after dislocating his ankle last week. 

With no timescale yet given to the severity of his injury, Liverpool fans will be hoping he is fit before the new year as they will also lose another midfielder in the shape of Naby Keita due to AFCON commitments.

However, a positive sign for the Reds was the fitness of James Milner who played at right back. The 35-year-old recorded the most tackles, passes, sprints and kilometres covered in the game showing that age is just a number and he can still do a job for Klopp's side.

Konate impressed with a clean sheet

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After making a £36million transfer from RB Leipzig, Ibrahima Konate finally made his professional debut in front of a packed Anfield. He marked his first start with clean sheet to add to Liverpool's growing tally taking them up to four this season. His performance saw a few 

To see a completely rotated back four and still come away with a clean sheet is a positive sign from Klopp's men. The coach will not want to see a repeat of last season's disastrous defensive calamities and with a centre back choosing of Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips, he will be ready if any of them pick up an injury.