A James McArthur first-half brace was not enough for the Eagles as poor defending left them 3-2 down at the break. Emre Can, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip all capitalised on defensive errors to each give their side the lead.
With Palace pushing forward in the second half, the Reds countered and Roberto Firmino lofted an effort over the onrushing Steve Mandanda to secure the three points.
Palace were often the architects of their own downfall, Liverpool twice scored with unmarked headers from corners – something Alan Pardew described as “unusual” from his side, but will need to be addressed.
Player ratings Players must play at least 15 minutes to earn a score)
Steve Mandanda – 6 out of 10: Made two superb saves to deny Philippe Coutinho and then Sadio Mane but could have done better to prevent Lovren’s goal, failing to prevent the ball from going between his legs. Could arguably have stood up longer for the fourth goal, allowing Firmino to dink the ball over him.
Joel Ward – 5: Coutinho often rang rings around the full-back and he didn’t know whether to stay with him or allow someone else to pick him when the midfielder drifted inside. Wilfried Zaha was left frustrated on many occasions when Ward was too slow to release the ball, however, he did deliver a couple of excellent crosses which almost led to goals.
Scott Dann – 5: The captained returned to action following four games out injured and looked rusty throughout. Gave Lovren far too much room at a corner and the Croatian obliged, heading home the Reds’ second goal.
James Tomkins – 5: Just like Dann, Tomkins Allowed Matip to run free and the Cameroon international headed home to give the visitors the lead just before half-time. The defensive partnership between the pair has plenty of potential but is certainly yet to flourish.
Martin Kelly – 5: Had a much better game than in recent weeks but still failed to properly contain the pacey Mane. Former Eagle Nathaniel Clyne also advanced forward, giving ex-Liverpool man Kelly a tough evening.
Liverpool get the better of slow Palace midfield
James McArthur – 7: The furthest forward of the three-man midfield was the Eagles’ best player. Constantly breaking up play and creating attacks with his quick and accurate passes, McArthur also impacted the scoreline with two well-taken goals. The Scot capitalised on a Lovren mistake to bravely beat Loris Karius to the ball and head over the German, before earning a yard on Lovren to head in a Zaha cross.
Joe Ledley – 4: The Wales international was once again left wanting in the Palace midfield. The Reds’ passing was too quick for Ledley, who was often played out of the game by simple one-twos by Liverpool players.
Yohan Cabaye – 6: The midfielder went through the game without having an immediate impact, however, numerous excellent passes almost create scoring opportunities for his team. His combative nature was needed against Liverpool’s quick movement and he performed well for the majority.
Zaha unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty
Wilfried Zaha – 7: Zaha was Palace’s best player along with McArthur. Although frustrating at times, such as his unwillingness to take on Alberto Moreno one-on-one, the winger’s flair gave the Eagles the pace that they lacked on the night. Andre Marriner was correct to not award a penalty for the first foul by Can, but the second, a trip and a push, was blatant. Perhaps a reputation for diving earlier in his career prevents him from earning more spot-kicks.
Christian Benteke – 6: The former Red enjoyed differentiating success against his brief employers but ultimately failed to have the impact he would have liked. Competed well against two very imposing centre-backs and could have scored twice but fired straight at Karius on both occasions.
Chung-yong Lee – 3: His shock replacement of Andros Townsend failed to work and his impact on the game was limited to a couple of passes. His inability to beat a man is frustrating and his lack of composure left Palace fans begging for Townsend to replace the South Korean, which he did but far too late in the game.
Andros Townsend – 5: Replaced Lee on 66 minutes and had a much bigger effect than the former Bolton Wanderers man, but that was hardly difficult.
Jason Puncheon – 5: Replaced Ledley on 74 minutes but needs to start to have any influence. Game slowed down following his introduction, just minutes after Firmino had sealed the Reds’ victory.
Fraizer Campbell – NA: Strangely replaced McArthur, who had a much higher chance of scoring, with five minutes to go.