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Crystal Palace 1, Liverpool 2: First Thoughts

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Liverpool barely squeak through with a victory thanks to Mohamed Salah.

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Crystal Palace 1 Milivojevic 13’ Liverpool 2 Mané 48’, Salah 84’

  • PRE-MATCH: The exciting news for today is that Nathaniel Clyne is on the teamsheet for the first time this season. He starts on the bench, and maybe we’ll see some him get a run out if things are going well by the end of the game.
  • It’s a scrappy first five minutes, and I fear a warning of things to come as Liverpool try in vain to find a way to penetrate the 18-yard box through Palace’s bullish defense.
  • In maybe not Liverpool’s brightest moment, Sadio Mané gets a touch on Virgil van Dijk’s header and sends it careening just past the goal posts.
  • goal - 13’ Milivojevic (pen) - And because the universe is funny that way, the goal kick from that last place leads to a long ball, which Zaha gets on the end of. He beats Alexander-Arnold and forces Karius into a rash challenge. Penalty to Palace, yellow for Karius, Milivojevic converts.
  • Palace have so far very effectively kept Salah out of this game. Liverpool need to find some way through the defense and also provide some help for Alexander-Arnold out on that wing, because he’s getting creamed. Come back to us, Joe Gomez.
  • And now Mané has been given a yellow card for diving, so it’s been that sort of a game.
  • God, I hate the early matches.
  • And now Mané’s headed goal is deemed offside. He is not having his best game, but at least he’s playing, unlike half the other Liverpool players on the pitch.
  • Not gonna lie about it: I walked away and made breakfast for the last five minutes of that half. Don’t feel bad about it.
  • HALFTIME: Alexander-Arnold has been poor, the midfield has been invisible, Salah has been largely neutralized. BUT. This team has two goals in them in the second half. Do a little jiggery-pokery to spruce them up, get some meaningful possession in the box, and let’s make this happen.
  • GOAL!!!! Mané 48’ - Liverpool have started out much brighter, and are immediately rewarded for it. Mané gets his goal after a first half full of frustration after a nicely worked goal. James Milner is doing plenty of important work on the wing, including getting the assist for Mané there in a nicely worked goal. More of that, please.
  • Benteke does Liverpool a favor twice in a row, missing two great chances within a minute. The second one was a bit tougher, but the first was a one-on-one that he probably should have scored. Either way, Palace are regaining a foothold on this game after Liverpool started so well.
  • Mané stops play by just grabbing the ball. Palace get a free kick, but somehow Mané doesn’t receive his second yellow.
  • Klopp very smartly takes off Mané, who has had a truly bonkers game. Lallana comes on in his place, while Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Wijnaldum.
  • Lallana goes off after only playing a few minutes. He’s clutching his hamstring, and I have a strong hunch that we won’t be seeing any more of him this season. That’s a shame. Lovren replaces him, and now Liverpool are out of substitutions with twenty minutes to play.
  • Milner again with some really good work, gets the ball right to Salah in front of the goal, but Salah couldn’t quite get the right contact on it, and Palace just barely survive.
  • One of those games you just want to end, no matter what happens.
  • GOAL!!! 84’ Salah - And just as I say that, Salah scores his 29th Premier League goal of the season. It started with a long, high cross from Alexander-Arnold right to Robertson. Instead of trying to shoot on the volley, Robertson controls the ball and gets it on the ground in front of the goal for Salah, who slots it home.
  • FINAL: Liverpool win. I hated that game, but I love Mohamed Salah.

We’ll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today’s game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven’t already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we’ll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.