This early kickoff at Anfield was a crucial one for the Reds as they looked to bounce back from a disappointing 3-3 draw against Watford on the opening weekend of the Premier League. All eyes were on Daniel Sturridge as he made his first start of the campaign.
Mignolet, Matip, Klavan, Gomez, Robertson, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner, Mane, Firmino, Sturridge
Hennesey, Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Tomkins, Milivojevic, Puncheon, Ward, van Aanholt, Townsend, Loftus-Cheek, Benteke
The match started off at a decent pace with Liverpool looking very direct in play. James Milner was played into the Palace box following an excellent combination in the 11th minute but fired low into Hennesey’s hands at the near post. Palace were playing off the back foot right from the start with a really compact three man backline supported by wingbacks allowing the Reds very little space to penetrate. Still Liverpool managed to create a surplus amount of chances with Matip’s header coming in close early in the first half and Mane unable to finish a couple in the opposition area. It was frustrating for Liverpool as they had dominated possession yet still couldn’t breakdown Crystal Palace. The first half was dull on the whole and the crowd was anxious for the first goal of the game.
The second half started in the same way with Liverpool dominating the use of the ball and Palace defending in great numbers until the 56th minute when the Red’s were caught on the break and Loftus-Cheek made a great run down the right flank and cut a clever back pass to Benteke who fired his first time shot over the bar. It was a disappointing effort from Palace’s best player who should have scored against his former club. Soon, signs of Liverpool scoring increased exponentially as Hennessey was forced into acrobatic saves from Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson. It took another a couple of chances before Jurgen Klopp’s men finally scored the opener, albeit in a fortunate manner as Milivojevic lost the ball on the edge of his own box and new signing Dominic Solanke was quick to react in poking the ball into Mane’s path who latched onto it well and fired past Hennessey.
The host looks much more relaxed after the first goal and threatened to add to their tally but were unable to do so following some desperate defending from Crystal Palace. Solanke almost opened his Liverpool account in the 89th minute when he fired a low shot that caused Hennessey to make a decent diving save.
The final whistle brought joy to the stands as Liverpool recorded their first win of the season but they need to look more convincing if they are to launch a challenge for the title. The Philippe Coutinho saga seems to have reached a roadblock as a third Barcelona bid in the vicinity of $120m has been rejected as the Klopp remains keen to hold on to his star man. Hopefully for the Reds, he will choose to stay in England.