Crystal Palace 0 - 7 Liverpool
Liverpool: Minamino 2’, Mané 35’, Firmino 44’, 68’, Henderson 52’, Salah 81’, 83’
Mohamed Salah starts the game on the bench. In his place comes Takumi Minamino. Joel Matip and Naby Keita are both healthy enough to start as well.
GOALLLL! 2’ Minamino - Minamino takes no time at all to make an impact on this game. He deftly controls Sadio Mané’s pass in the box and slides the ball well past the keeper. Liverpool are off to a perfect start in this match.
Despite their quick luck, Liverpool let Palace work their way back into the game. They earned two early corners, both of which were stopped dead by fouls in the box from the birthday boy Gary Cahill.
Palace haven’t gotten many shots off, but they’ve been managing to worm their way through Liverpool’s defense on more than one occasion. It’s taken late action by Fabinho to snuff out any breaks. Ayew in particular has done well, but he breaks down Palace’s best chance of the game so far when he tries to send a pass into the box instead of taking the shot on himself. The pass is too wide and Liverpool clear it.
GOALLLLL! 35’ Mané - Who doesn’t love a Sadio Mané goal? This one was a beauty to double the Reds’ lead before halftime. Roberto Firmino shimmies around the Palace players trying to thwart him and gets the pass off to Mané. Mané sets it up and coolly nestles it home.
This doesn’t feel like a game where Liverpool should be up by two, but Palace haven’t been able to finish any of the chances they’ve created, while Liverpool have been right on the money.
GOALLL!! Firmino 44’ - Speaking of sharpshooters, Firmino sets up his own goal, starting the move all the way in front of their own goal. He passes it off to Andy Robertson and then sprints down the pitch. Robertson passes it back to him in the center of the box. Firmino takes one perfect touch to control it and then scores goal number three.
One of those times when you wish the halftime whistle would never blow. Liverpool enter the tunnel up by three over Roy Hodgson’s men.
Liverpool take no time to continue right where they left off. This time it’s the skipper himself who takes control for the fourth goal.
GOALLLL! Henderson 52’ - Alexander-Arnold plays it into Henderson, who arrives late to run onto the pass and smash it into the top corner.
This game has been a pick your favorite combination of assists to scorers: Mané to Minamino, Firmino to Mané, Roberton to Firmino and now Alexander-Arnold to Henderson.
Mané misses a chance that gets pushed out for a corner. It ends up being his last chance of the game as he’s subbed off for Salah. Mané looks extremely disgruntled about being taken off, much the same way Salah looked when their situations were reversed against Brighton.
GOALLLL! 68’ Firmino - Liverpool have effectively sapped the Eagles’ will to live. They have rolled over for a walloping now. Firmino gets his second of the game, guiding the ball into the far corner from a narrow angle.
Gini Wijnaldum comes off right after the fifth goal, replaced by Curtis Jones.
The rain is falling and the sun is reflecting off the water on the camera lenses, giving the game a strange, otherworldly feeling.
GOALLL! GOALLL! Salah 81, 83 - Geez, I can barely keep track of this. Mané maybe had the right to be put out about getting the hook so early. Salah comes on for him and scores a quick brace, stealing goals numbers six and seven for Liverpool.
That was worth getting up early for. This game went a long way to erasing the memory of that abomination against Aston Villa in our minds and in our goal difference. See you all after Christmas!