Another matchday, another dramatic Liverpool win.
The Reds left it late once again, coming from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 with an injury time winner to ascend to the top of the Premier League table.
Blustering winds combined with profligacy in attack characterized a ho hum first 75 minutes of the match at Selhurst Park Stadium, with the visiting Reds failing to put a shot on target even after Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta scored midway through the second period on a VAR-assisted penalty.
However, the winds shifted following a second yellow card for the host’s Jordan Ayew reduced the Eagles to 10 men for the final 15 minutes of the match. Liverpool, the league leaders in goals scored in that particular period of the game this season, immediately woke up from their slumber, as Jurgen Klopp used all five subs to try spark life into his side.
Mohammed Salah’s deflected equalizer not 90 seconds after Ayew’s sending awakened the muscle memory of dramatic late goals this season including Newcastle, Manchester City, Luton Town and last week’s stunning win over Fulham, showing the Reds the way forward as the clock ticked towards full-time.
Substitute, Harvey Elliot only needed the first of the 10 minutes of injury time to complete what felt like an inevitability, powering home a brilliant long range shot to seal the points and help his side sustain their title challenge.
“[For] 76 mins, it was a really bad game for us,” a relieved Klopp said after the match.
“You could see Crystal Palace had low confidence levels and we could have done so many things but we didn’t.
“I told the boys it is the worst 76 minutes I seen from a team who went on to win.”
Despite not having their shooting boots in front of goal, an inspired showing from Alisson on his return from a hamstring injury had at least kept the ball out of the net on the other end before VAR stopped play to inform referee Andy Madley that Jarrell Quansah had fouled Mateta nearly two minutes prior.
“You can give it I would say,” the boss said of the lengthy VAR review for the penalty. “Obviously we put a foot out there and hit him. For us it wasn’t the biggest issue to concede the goal. It woke us up.”
“They give the penalty and it’s 1-0. Then they give a red card, and we score almost immediately. From then we played really well.”
Lost in the furor of the victory was that Salah’s goal was his 150th in the Premier League and his 200th for the club, an astonishing feat that puts him behind only Billy Liddell, Gordon Hodgson, Roger Hunt and Ian Rush in Liverpool history and ahead of legends such as Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler and Kenny Dalglish.
“We carried the shirt with us in the dressing room with “200” on it for him for two weeks but we gave it to him today,” Klopp beamed. “A loud, loud applause from the boys.
“You cannot score 200 goals if you only score in your best football games. Being staying in the game and always a threat that makes these numbers.”