Liverpool haven’t really played well across any of the three Premier League fixtures they have contested over the past week – Fulham, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace – but have come away with all of the goods.
In many ways, the Reds have been painted in praise for their snappy attacking, blistering breaks and devastating finishing under Jurgen Klopp’s illustrious reign, but the never-say-die mindset has been equally, if not more, important to the gleaning of silverware over recent years.
Against Palace at Selhurst Park, this was on full display, with yet another stodgy first half not improved upon after the break, with Jean-Philippe Mateta’s penalty before the hour mark sending the home crowd into roaring rapture.
Jordan Ayew’s contentious dismissal for two bookable offences resulted in a late onslaught, with Mohamed Salah and Harvey Elliott coming up clutch to send the Reds into first place in the Premier League.
Mohamed Salah’s performance vs Crystal Palace
It wasn’t his finest, but Salah took advantage moments after Ayew’s dismissal to restore parity with a deflected strike, bypassing the hapless Sam Johnstone.
He also provided the assist for Elliott’s emphatic late winner, with the young Englishman slicing into the net from distance one minute into added time.
As per Sofascore, the influential Egyptian complemented his goal and assist with 52 touches, completing 82% of his passes and making one key pass, though he didn’t control proceedings as he could, when at his phenomenal best.
The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle handed the 31-year-old a 7/10 match rating, writing: ‘Barely involved first half with service to his flank extremely intermittent, but still scored his 200th Liverpool goal after break with a big help from former team-mate Clyne and then assisted winner.’
It’s a testament to Salah’s world-class ability that he can emerge in such pivotal moments despite failing to impress for large sections of the match, and while he will have better performances to come, he came up clutch once again.
Imperious Alisson saves Liverpool again
Not the most convincing of Liverpool performances, Klopp’s side won again, further demonstrating their credentials as challengers for the Premier League trophy.
But were it not for Alisson Becker’s heroics between the sticks, the ten-man Eagles would likely have prevented the Reds from leaving London with all three points.
Making two exceptional saves from Jefferson Lerma – in the first half – and Joachim Andersen – right at the death – the 31-year-old is an indomitable force.
Having missed the past two league matches due to injury, Alisson’s return underscored his value as the fulcrum of Liverpool’s defensive efforts, having made three excellent saves in total and completed 86% of his 29 attempted passes.
With no disrespect to Caoimhin Kelleher, who is a talented and rising young goalkeeper, it’s probably fair to say that he may not have produced the same shot-stopping brilliance against the spirited Palace attack. Simply, Alisson is the “best in the business” – as was said by reporter Paul Gorst.
Doyle was effusive in his praise for the returning Brazilian, handing him a 9/10 post-match rating: ‘Superb save to deny Lerma first half and did well to get out of the way of the rebound off the post. Magnificent save to deny Andersen at death.’
With two Anfield fixtures against Manchester United and Arsenal now forthcoming in the Premier League, success across such clashes would be momentous as Klopp chases down his second Premier League title, but prevailing in instances such as this one is just as important.