What a game! On an always exciting trip to South London, Liverpool and Crystal Palace battled it out in a high-octane, free-scoring thriller, with the Reds ultimately coming away winners in an up-and-down affair.
Defensive errors and slack marking from each of Dejan Lovren, an otherwise excellent, Alberto Moreno and one-time wunderkind Wilfried Zaha knotted the game at 2-2 inside the first 35 minutes, before the colossal Joël Matip opened his Liverpool account on a free header from a corner a minute from half-time to give his side a deserved lead going into the break.
“It was an easy game, eh?” Jürgen Klopp joked in the post-match interview, “The first 15 minutes I was not too happy. I told the boys that it looked a little bit like childish football. Very good but no direction. We were good but that [style of play] should not work.”
“It did not work actually, but then we scored and started playing football. I’m not sure if we have played much better [than that] offensive-wise; in a half an hour we created chance after chance after chance. We scored—not often enough—but we scored. And then we opened the game back up by ourselves,” he laughed in reference to the mistake from the Croatian defender.
“But that was just the first 15 minutes really. We were not at 100%, we did not have the aggressiveness that you need in a game like this when you opponent is only waiting [for the press]. They expected it [and] they had a little bit of pressure [in response] so that it’s not a problem for them.”
Things calmed down slightly in the second half, at least compared to the first, as Klopp’s men quelled an initial push by the home side, with former Red Christian Benteke beginning to assert himself. The visitors battled through however, as Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino linked up to kill the game on 71 minutes, the former finding the latter with a sublime defense-splitting pass for cheeky dink over an onrushing Steve Mandanda.
“In the second half, Christian was finally warm and he jumped in the sky and made it really difficult for us. We didn’t play football in the beginning as good as we could. So, close game, deserved win at the end.
I’m very happy at the moment.”