Premier League Match Report: Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League to thirteen games in a row as Jurgen Klopp’s side stormed 2-1 past Crystal Palace in what proved to an evenly contested encounter between two sides at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Roberto Firmino grabbed the winner five minutes from the final whistle to seal all three points for the Reds after Sadio Mane’s opener early in the second half was cancelled out by Wilfried Zaha’s goal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side made the trip to South London as the outright favourites on the back of an unbeaten run of 29 games in the Premier League stretching back from January, however, Palace more than held their own to deny the Reds any clear-cut opportunities early in the clash.
Surprisingly, it was Palace who came the closest to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half. Virgil van Dijk was penalised for a foul on Cheikhou Kouyate and the resultant free-kick from Luka Milivojevic nearly resulted in the Eagles taking the lead, with Gary Cahill’s deflected header looping over Alisson but hitting the top of the crossbar.
Liverpool had a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring when Firmino almost poked the ball into the back of the net after van Dijk had powered it into the ground off a corner, only for Vicente Guaita to deny the Brazilian with a sharp save.
There hasn’t been any shortage of VAR controversies in the Premier League this season and Palace found themselves at the receiving end when James Tomkins had a goal ruled out just at the stroke of the interval, with Jordan Ayew perceived to have fouled Dejan Lovren in the build-up to the goal from the free-kick.
With the scores tied at 0-0, Liverpool were under pressure to pull their socks up following a below-par first-half display and Sadio Mane, who has so often emerged as the saviour for the Reds this season, bagged his 8th goal of the campaign to break the deadlock just four minutes after the interval.
Having missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring after being played in by Jordan Henderson just a minute earlier, the Senegalese international tapped it in off Andrew Robertson’s cross from the left to make it 1-0 in favour of the visitors.
Palace, though, weren’t willing to throw in the towel and they probably should have scored at the hour mark had Ayew not failed to get a touch on Zaha’s whipped effort across the face of the goal. Andros Townsend also called Alisson into action with a powerful effort from the edge of the box but the Brazilian was equal to the task.
Firmino had a chance to seal the game in the 66th minute when he tried to find the bottom right corner of the goal after being played in by Robertson, but Guaita once again came to Palace’s rescue and kept the scoreline 1-0.
Liverpool’s failure to put the game to bed kept Palace hopeful of a comeback and Zaha finally made them pay for their missed chances eight minutes from time.
Jeffrey Schlup found Townsend at the edge of the area and the England international laid it on for Zaha, who slid the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal to bag his first goal of the season and brought the hosts back into the contest.
With time running out for Liverpool and the prospect of dropping points in the title race looming large, Firmino came to the rescue and was at the right place and at the right time to take advantage of a goalmouth scramble.
Liverpool managed to turn a draw into a win, albeit with a bit of help from Zaha, who missed a golden chance from a one-on-one position to equalise for the hosts in the second minute of injury-time.
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The Liverpool fans took to Twitter to express their feelings after the Reds managed to have the final say in yet another nail-biting contest.