Crystal Palace – Liverpool was a strange game, as the Eagles had plenty of chances but Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were ruthless as they remain top of the Premier League table at Christmas after a resounding 7-0 win.
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Three first half goals from Takumi Minamino, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino did the damage, as Palace huffed and puffed but couldn’t covert several chances in the first 45 minutes.
Liverpool then kicked n in the second half as Jordan Henderson, Firmino and substitute Mohamed Salah all scored to secured their first away win in the Premier League since September.
Three things we learned
1. Ruthless Liverpool go off: They did not dominate large chunks of the first half but when they got chances they were ruthless and they showed their class in the final third as they scored with each of their first three shots on target and that trend continued. Minamino, Mane and Firmino all finished clinically in the first half and that clinical finishing was the main reason Liverpool remain top of the Premier League table. Liverpool showed their squad can still turn on the switch even when they’re stretched thin, tired and up against a team causing them problems. And oh yeah, they started with Mo Salah on the bench. Incredible squad depth.
2. Palace don’t make most of chances: They had lots of chances in the first half with Ayew, Zaha and Eze all making great runs, but the best chances fell to Ayew and he made the wrong decisions. This is not a new problem for Palace, who often carve teams open on the counter but their lack of a clinical edge was ruthless exposed by Liverpool’s ruthless streak.
3. Away drought over for Liverpool: This was, remarkably, Liverpool’s first away win since September as they finally stopped dropping points on the road. Although they didn’t play well and Keita, among others, kept giving the ball away in midfield, they found a way to stop drawing games away from home. After draws at Brighton, Fulham, Man City and Everton and a big defeat at Aston Villa, Klopp’s boys finally found their feet on the road again.
Man of the Match: Jordan Henderson – Dominated central midfield and set the tone for a ruthless Liverpool display.
Liverpool got off to a flying start as Minamino was found in the box by Mane after a lovely ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the Japanese international calmly slotted home to set the leaders on their way.
Palace were dangerous whenever Zaha and Eze got on the ball, while Fabinho then cleared with Jordan Ayew lurking.
Ayew then spurned two great chances as he dummied to nobody inside the box, then tried to square to Zaha when he was inside the six-yard box but got it horribly wrong on both occasions.
Before the break Liverpool doubled their lead as a ball on the edge of the box found Firmino and his clever flick set up Mane who lashed home to end his drought. And right on half time, Firmino started a counter and got on the end of a brilliant Andrew Robertson crossed as he controlled superbly and finished calmly to knock the stuffing out of Palace.
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In the second half, Palace pushed hard to try and get back in the game but Liverpool kept on scoring.
The Reds extended their lead through Henderson, Firmino and two from Salah after he jumped off the bench, as Klopp’s side scored seven goals from eight shots on target.