Liverpool saved by Salah's 9/10 as Premier League leaders beat Palace
LIVERPOOL, England -- Liverpool re-established a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a breathtaking 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday. But the Reds had to come from a goal down and were hanging on in the final seconds with 10-men after Max Meyer's injury-time goal.
This was another example of Liverpool coming through moments of adversity with three points. This win will have Liverpool and their supporters continuing to believe that it really could be their year to win the title. Meanwhile, Mo Salah became the first Egyptian player to score 50 Premier League goals. His double were not the prettiest of his career, although his predatory instinct is proving vital to Liverpool's title challenge.
Liverpool never appeared to have any sense of control on this game; Palace always felt they had a chance of snatching something, which left manager Jurgen Klopp furious on the sideline. The maturity that Klopp's side have displayed in abundance this season was painfully absent here and now they are running out of right-backs. James Milner filled in, but will now be suspended for one match after being sent off.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Whatever Klopp said to his players at the break worked a treat, and it's not the first time this season. Liverpool had plenty of possession in the first half but did very little with it. They raced out of the blocks as the second half started, taking more risks and becoming more of a threat. But their overeagerness was probably why this game turned incredibly frantic.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- The Brazilian must have been freezing on a cold day on Merseyside. Palace's goals were the only time he was called upon and he could not really do much with any of them.
DF James Milner, 4 -- Required to play at right-back again due to injuries, Wilfried Zaha toyed with him for 89 minutes. He picked up two yellows for definite fouls on Zaha and was sent off. DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 -- Not called upon much defensively but saw lots of the ball with Palace firmly camped in their own half. It was his speculative long-range shot that led to Liverpool's first goal.
DF Joel Matip, 6 -- Back for the first time after breaking his collarbone. Defended relatively well and could have scored on two occasions in the first half.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- Celebrated his new contract by bringing up a century of Premier League appearances. A typically dependable performance; he just never stops running.
MF Fabinho, 7 -- Returned to the midfield and looked bright, displaying some good vision at times. Liverpool will hope the injury he suffered late on is not serious.
MF Jordan Henderson, 6 -- Had a thankless task when Palace looked to break as he was left too isolated.
FW Naby Keita, 5 -- Needed a big performance to justify a starting spot ahead of Xherdan Shaqiri, but still blows too hot and cold in matches. He can technically claim an assist for Roberto Firmino's goal, which should give him some much-needed confidence.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 -- Very quiet out of the right flank, having been moved out there to accommodate Keita, in the opening 45 minutes. Drifted in centrally following half-time and had lots more joy. Scored from an incredibly tight angle.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Displayed some brilliant footwork in the penalty area to score and send Anfield wild, but overshone by Salah.
FW Mohamed Salah, 9 -- Palace's defenders were terrified whenever Salah had the ball. The problem was that those moments were few are far between in the first half. The reigning Golden Boot holder was in the right place at the right time on two occasions to net vital goals.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri (71), N/R -- He looked more comfortable than Keita in the team.
MF Adam Lallana (87), N/R -- A few nice touches on the ball.
DF Rafael Camacho (90), N/R -- The 18-year-old could be playing at right-back against Leicester City in 11 days' time.