The addition of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson has given Jürgen Klopp’s side a more solid look than in previous seasons
On a testing night for Liverpool at a raucous Selhurst Park, fans of dramatic title races were pleased to witness further confirmation that Jürgen Klopp’s speedsters remain the best bet to keep pace with Manchester City. Even at this early stage none of the other pretenders look as ready as Liverpool to sprint alongside Pep Guardiola’s champions now that steel accompanies their raw ability.
In its own defiant way, this slender, bitty, draining victory over Crystal Palace was even more impressive than last week’s humiliation of West Ham. Liverpool, who already know they cannot let City out of their sights for a single second, were rarely at their dizzying best and they had to be tough to withstand Palace’s physical onslaught after James Milner’s penalty. There is a different feel to this team, a more robust vibe after years of flakiness, a sense that they are learning how to win ugly.Continue reading...
A James Milner penalty and a Sadio Mané strike earned Liverpool a 2-0 victory over 10-man Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park
Thanks for your company. Klopp adds Naby Keïta is a very shy character, who “doesn’t speak a lot”. It sounds like he is joint at the hip to Sadio Mané. “We love him but I’m not sure if he loves us,” the Liverpool manager jokes. Asked about their position in the table, he replies: “I couldn’t care less, it’s still very early.” Anyway, here’s Dominic Fifield’s match report from Selhurst Park:
Jürgen Klopp talks. “When your opponent plays that many long balls, I don’t know many centre-halves that can deal with that and Christian Benteke like Virgil did,” he says. “He is quite a nice footballer as well. Palace play constantly with high-quality players, with a clear plan. It is difficult for us to be completely safe in these situations but we were there. Both full-backs can probably 70% or 80% better but I’m very happy with the result.”
Virgil van Dijk speaks.“I’m happy to keep the clean sheet,” he says. “I think the last goal was a good counter goal and it was a well-deserved three points. We knew how direct Crystal Palace would be, looking for Benteke and the second striker. But, we were ready for the fight.” Asked what success would be this season, he replies: “To win a trophy. We are going to try and win everything. That’s the only mindset we need as Liverpool. It’s going to be a long road, a tough year but I’m looking forward to every bit.”
Not that it matters at this stage, but Liverpool are second, behind only Manchester City after two wins from two. We all know how devastating Liverpool’s front three can be but one of the things that will have pleased Jürgen Klopp most will have been keeping consecutive clean sheets. Virgil van Dijk was brilliant when called upon, while Naby Keïta had another very good game in midfield. Sadio Mané deputised on a bit of an off night for Mo Salah, bypassing Wayne Hennessey to seal victory.
Six points from six for Liverpool. A lightning breakaway allows Sadio Mané to seal victory, putting the finishing touches on an instinctive counter from a Palace corner. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the 20-year-old defender, was sent off for tripping Mo Salah but was one of Palace’s standout performers. Wilfried Zaha, too, was lively. For Liverpool, it will be a happy flight home to Merseyside.
90+4 min:Look who it is, Daniel Sturridge is on for Firmino. For Liverpool, it’s job done.
Sadio Mané shows brilliant poise and balance to nip around Wayne Hennessey and remove any lasting doubt. That was an electrifying counter attack by Liverpool.
90+1 min:Lallana upends Ward, and Palace win a free-kick in a dangerous area. Milivojevic delivers a decent ball in from the right and Liverpool concede a corner. But Liverpool break on the counter ..
90 min: There will be four added minutes.
88 min: Alexander-Arnold swings in an inviting ball for Firmino, but Tomkins intervenes brilliantly as Palace snuff the ball out. Firmino’s receiving some treatment off the field; he looks knackered but fine to continue.
87 min:Zaha kicks the ball away in frustration after failing to buy a foul out of Alexander-Arnold. The Liverpool defender has been given the runaround tonight at times but has remained very composed; a classy operator.
86 min: It’s high, wide and handsome from Roberto Firmino. And now Lallana’s on for Naby Keita.
84 min: Meyer has his first touches in a Palace shirt. Sorloth holds the ball up, with Zaha tricking his way past Alexander-Arnold. What happens next leaves Selhurst Park gasping for breath, as Zaha’s sliderule ball evades everybody in the box. Liverpool survive.
81 min: Big penalty shout for Palace! McArthur ousted off one challenge before going down under the challenge of another. Upon seeing the replay, Wijnaldum seems to fairly wipe the ball away as McArthur falls. Wijnaldum has a quick word with Michael Oliver after, presumably thanking the referee. Meanwhile, Max Meyer replaces Schlupp. He’ll have to defend a corner, after Hennessey saves from Salah’s header.
79 min: Sakho has the coolest head – and maybe hairdo – in Selhurst Park as he chests a fizzed ball to Hennessey. Liverpool just keep coming back at 10-man Palace, who cannot seem to shirk them. Stifling Salah and co is proving a pretty thankless task out there at the moment.
77 min: Lots of you emailing in to say it, but Wan-Bissaka really didn’t deserve a red card, in a way. He had an otherwise brilliant night, but had to stop Salah and was –rightly – sent packing for doing so. Shame, but it’s Joel Ward on for Andros Townsend, as Palace reshuffle.
76 min: Salah takes it, but it clips Tomkins’s head and goes over. Liverpool have a corner, and Palace, down to 10 men, have a job on their hands now. They hack clear the ball in before Hennessey stops Keita’s effort.
Wan Bissaka is sent off. Salah is away on the counter and Wan-Bissaka’s right knee eventually trips the Liverpool forward, just as he bears down one-on-one with Wayne Hennessey. Free-kick, just outside of the 18-yard box.
74 min: Milivojevic’s flighted ball in is comfortably cleared and Liverpool break....
73 min: James Milner is the first player to score eight consecutive Premier League goals from penalties (via Opta). Meanwhile, Palace earn a corner...
71 min: Gomez reads another cute Palace ball – he’s been very alert tonight. Van Aanholt throws in from the left flank, with Zaha coming infield but they are crowded out. Townsend picks it back up, Wan-Bissaka takes over and his deep cross finds Zaha. The Palace forward jinks inside, but drives low, straight at Alisson.
70 min: Alexander Sorloth replaces Christian Benteke, who looks pretty miffed at being withdrawn.
69 min:Salah just looks to spin inside the box after a neat flick by Wijnaldum but Patrick van Aanholt does superbly to steal the ball away. But, as has happened so often, they can’t make the ball stick and it comes right back at them.
68 min: Alexander-Arnold wins a corner, and Liverpool just seem to have taken back control. Salah whips it in, but Palace stand firm. It’s in those situations that Palace come alive on the counter, with Zaha ready to put on the afterburners. Still, Liverpool are knocking it around.
66 min:Jordan Henderson is summoned in place of Milner, who has worked his socks off, and scored the only goal of the game so far. Roy Hodgson seemed to be mulling over a change, with Max Meyer an option.
64 min:A mix-up between van Aanholt and Zaha see Palace run the ball out. Liverpool throw it straight back to Schlupp, though he nervously wallops it straight to Alisson. There’s a goal in this for someone.
62 min: For Liverpool, Robertson has been outstanding again. He’s had plenty of joy down the left, but not necessarily at the expense of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. He’s just burst through with another deflected effort on goal.
61 min: Milner fouls Milivojevic on halfway. The Palace captain has been very effective, eating up play.
60 min: Salah angles a volley wide from distance, which is almost diverted on target by Jeffrey Schlupp. Liverpool win another corner, with van Dijk lurking but Palace clear their lines. “Ole, ole, ole,” ramp up the away fans.
59 min: Second-half possession stats? Palace 65%. Right on cue, Liverpool knock the ball around, but they’ve struggled to get their front men involved. Salah has been lively in parts, but Firmino very quiet.
57 min: Palace just lose a little momentum as Hennessey thumps a goal-kick straight out of play. But Liverpool fail to build from halfway and, instead, Palace surge back on the front foot through Andros Townsend.
55 min: Benteke meets it but Liverpool trap Zaha offside. Benteke’s leap was super, but Alisson had it covered, and the flag was up. Palace will take heart from all of these half-chances and efforts, though.
55 min:End-to-end stuff, with Gomez conceding a corner. Palace will swing it in...
53 min: Milivojevic powers at goal, with a bending right-footed effort. Alisson gets there to palm it away – it was creeping in. The resulting corner comes in, but Benteke cannot steer his header goalwards. Palace are piling on the pressure, and now van Aanholt’s venomous effort from distance goes arcing over. They’re well in this.
52 min:... Palace, this time, break. It’s Zaha v five Liverpool defenders and just as he wriggles beyond Alexander-Arnold, he’s fouled. Palace win a free-kick, 20 yards from goal, just off centre. Milivojevic is stood over it.
51 min:Liverpool pour forward once more, and Wan-Bissaka does superbly to nick the ball away from Mane. Liverpool win the corner but it’s a routine clearance...
50 min:Mane chops down Wan-Bissaka, and Palace win a free-kick deep inside their own half. They have made a good start but that incisive counter by Liverpool showed just how dangerous their opponents can be. They transited from defence to attack in seconds.
48 min: The ball whizzes in from the left, but Benteke cannot get there. From that moment, Liverpool break brilliantly through Robertson and Salah is free in the middle, but he just overruns the pass. He then tries to keep it alive, stabbing the ball to the back post, but Keita drags his low effort wide. That was a real chance.
47 min: Salah is being heavily jeered by Palace supporters. They’re still livid about that first-half penalty. That fuels Palace to get forward, with Milivojevic feeding Wan-Bissaka, who crosses. But Townsend cannot latch on to it and the move breaks down. They recycle the ball and attempt to fly down the left through van Aanholt...
46 min: Palace come straight out of the blocks, with Schlupp and Townsend linking down the left. They press Liverpool nice and high, starting as they mean to go on, you’d imagine. But Zaha’s ball is cut out, just Palace look to be getting up to speed.
That Milner goal is a good omen for Liverpool. Prior to this evening he had scored in 47 Premier League games (48 goals in total) and not once finished on the losing side winning 37 and drawing 10...
Get yet half-time penalty reviews! “I’d say 70% of the time a pen like that is given. So Hodgson is entitled to be 30% furious,” says Niall Mullen. As for Ricky Gill, he adds: “It doesn’t always have to be a leg-breaking tackle for it to be a clear penalty. Sakho had about three or four nibbles at Salah’s ankle before he went down under the trip. Not sure what’s soft about it.” Meanwhile, “it was a dive” insists GL.
That James Milner penalty, right on the brink of the interval, is the difference. Salah made the most of it, but it was a little silly from Sakho, who was struggling to contain the Liverpool forward wriggling away from him. Hodgson, clearly, is not a happy bunny about it, gesticulating with the fourth official. In truth, Liverpool probably deserved a goal for their efforts, though Andros Townsend hit the bar.
45 min: Roy Hodgson stands hands on hips in his technical area. It was fairly soft but Sakho is clumsy, he gets his hands tangled, claws at Salah and the Liverpool forward falls under the challenge.
Milner slams home, sending Hennessey the wrong way.
43 min:Penalty for Liverpool! Salah fouled, tugged down by Sakho.
41 min: A couple of pesky fouls. Patrick van Aanholt with a bit of a lunge on James Milner, and he earns a booking. Ronald Koeman, sat alongside his wife, Bartina, is up in the stands at Selhurst Park watching on.
40 min:Milivojevic swings in a deep free-kick but Benteke is penalised for clattering Alisson.
39 min: Sadio Mané is slipped in, just inside the 18-yard box but ambitiously shoots. Moments before, Zaha appeared to wrap his arms around James Milner. They both have a little go at each other but Roy Hodgson would not have been best pleased if anything came of that.
37 min:Wan-Bissaka gets to the byline and plays a devious low ball across goal .. but no one’s there to meet it. Without overdoing it, the Palace defender has been utterly superb, in both boxes. And now Palace look to build, with Townsend making life difficult for Gomez.
36 min: Sadio Mané and Naby Keïta combine on the edge of the box, the latter drifts inside nicely but his overhits his ball in. Liverpool have seen plenty of the ball, 70% of it in fact.
34 min: Robertson has a brilliant chance, but fluffs his lines. From the right, Milner plays a lovely dinked ball into Salah, who lofts it across goal. Firmino cannot get any contact on it but there’s Robertson behind him, who revs himself up for a piledriver. But his volley is wayward.
32 min: Firmino turns on the style a little, with a cute flick inside the box but Palace clear their lines. It keeps coming back at them, though, with Schlupp cutting out Wijnaldum’s cross. Hennessey then claims Milner’s cross. It’s right down his throat. Palace could do with some respite.
31 min:A long ball is played downfield and Zaha looks to be in, but Gomez showed a turn of pace to nick the ball back. Selhurst Park collectively gasps.
30 min:Schlupp has a go from distance, driving wide. Benteke does well to hold the ball up, dragging Joe Gomez out with him. Palace pass the parcel on the edge of the box before Schlupp elects to fire at goal. It was always going wide but they’ll take encouragement from that.
29 min:No goals, but a very lively start. And now Wan-Bissaka holds off Sadio Mané. The young full-back has been absolutely brilliant so far.
27 min: Hennessey saves from Naby Keïta! Salah dances his way past Tomkins on the edge of the box, before the ball falls wide to an unmarked Keïta. He shoots from an acute angle but Hennessey’s legs keep it out. The resulting corner comes in but it’s cleared. Then Salah goes head-to-head with Zaha, but the Palace winger comes out on top.
26 min: Liverpool attempt to go straight up the other end through Salah but it’s not quite coming off for him – yet.
24 min: Townsend rattles the bar! A sensational effort. Keïta gifts the ball to the Palace winger, who cuts inside and Liverpool afford him time and space on the edge of the box to wrap his left foot around the ball. He sends a curling effort at goal, and it smashes the bar. The rebound falls to Wilfried Zaha but it’s deflected away.
22 min: Salah is in, after a wonderful swivel and then pass by Naby Keïta over the top. Salah’s through, all he has to do is dink it over Hennessey but he gets too much on it and it sails over. It feels a matter of time. Palace need to weather the storm, as they say.
20 min: Liverpool have the ball in the net... but it’s disallowed by Michael Oliver. Alexander-Arnold swings in a cross towards the back stick, where Mané is lurking. He goes up for it, with Wan-Bissaka for company and between them, they clatter Wayne Hennessey, as the ball rolls in. It was never going to count, but Liverpool are upping the stakes. Palace, meanwhile, are camped inside their own half. Christian Benteke has been totally anonymous.
19 min: Sakho plays a poor ball out from defence, and straight to Naby Keïta. The Liverpool midfielder sprays a pass into Salah, and suddenly he’s virtually one-on-one with Wayne Hennessey. But when it boils down to it, his effort is unusually tame. And the Palace keeper collects.
18 min:From a standing start, Sadio Mané bursts beyond Andros Townsend and then Wan-Bissaka. The Palace full-back looks in trouble, to have been beaten but does absolutely brilliantly to claw back at his man, win the ball, and in the process a goal-kick.
16 min: It’s more of the same from Liverpool, who are stroking the ball about lovely, left-to-right and back-and-forth. They’re dictating the tempo, as are Liverpool’s supporters on the terraces, making a wonderful racket.
14 min: McArthur snaps into a challenge on Wijnaldum to snuff out a lazy Robertson pass. Back come Liverpool...
13 min:Liverpool are probing, Palace are pressing. Alexander-Arnold’s deep cross falls to Milner at the back post, who swings a ball back in but Hennessey punches clear. Palace look to break on the counter, with Gomez forced to pull back Zaha. It was probably a wise move.
12 min: Townsend comes to the edge of the centre circle to grab the ball, fending off van Dijk before Liverpool nab it back. Liverpool go straight up the other end with an incisive move culminating in Robertson sliding a ball across goal after collecting a tidy cut-back by Keita. But Hennessey gets there to claim it and avert the danger.
10 min:The atmosphere cranks up as van Aanholt skips around one challenge before Keita dives in to seize back possession. Milner attempts to free Salah but he’s flagged offside. Liverpool just need to think a little bit smarter.
9 min:Every Palace player is inside their own half, men behind the ball and all that. They’re pretty nifty on the counter, in fairness. Liverpool, without pulling up any trees, will be more than happy with this start though.
8 min: Salah drops into a hole on the edge of the box, but Palace are quick to suck the ball up, with Sakho and Milivojevic sniffing around him. Palace clear, but back it comes, with Liverpool again opting to go down the left. They obviously fancy testing Wan-Bissaka.
6 min: Schlupp’s challenge on Milner is a little late, but things are bogged down on halfway, so there’s no real danger. Liverpool take a patient approach to rebuild things, with Robertson scooping a pass infield from van Dijk.
5 min:Liverpool switch the ball to the right flank, where Alexander-Arnold is in bags of space, but he wallops it straight out play. It’s a chance for Palace to settle.
4 min:Busy start by Liverpool, but the final pass has been lacking so far. Now Firmino overhits a ball into Mane.
3 min: Sakho wins the ball on halfway but the ball doesn’t stick up front. Liverpool pour forward through Keita and then Salah, who faces up Sakho inside the box. It looks dangerous, and inevitable, for a moment but Palace clear.
2 min:Robertson probes down the left but Wan-Bissaka is there to hoover it up. Palace look to go again...
1 min: Alexander-Arnold makes an early break down the right but Palace counter through Zaha. He drives forward, pulling the crowd up off their seats with him.
Liverpool, in silver, get things started.
The teams are out of the tunnel, with Glad All Over belting out and the Palace cheerleaders doing their best to distract Liverpool’s front three. Kick-off’s imminent.
Roy Hodgson speaks. “I think the word momentum is difficult at this stage of the season, we have only played one [game],” he says. “When you play Liverpool at home, it’s always going to be a tough test.” Klopp goes on to refer to the “famous atmosphere” at Selhurst Park.
Jürgen Klopp can also call on Joël Matip if need be tonight, with the defender back on the bench. Dejan Lovren is again absent with a pelvic problem. “Palace are a good team,” Klopp said pre-match. “No spectacular transfers - unless you count Zaha as one. Roy has calmed the whole situation down there in a difficult moment, used all his experience, and now they are playing football.”
This fixture four years ago served up a real classic, with Liverpool crashing at 3-0 up to depart Selhurst Park title-less, feat. Tony Pulis, Scott Dann and Dwight Gayle:
Fancy basking in the weekend’s action before kick-off? From Burnley to Brooks, and Wagner to Wolves, feast your eyes on this lot:
It’s coming home!Remember that? Anyway, a gentle reminder that Gareth Southgate is set to be in attendance at Selhurst Park tonight, taking an interest in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the impressive young Palace full-back. He’ll have his hands full tonight, you’d imagine. It’s also a chance to take a look at Alexander-Arnold and Gomez.
Meaningless pre-match stat: this is Liverpool’s 73rd match on a Monday night, more than any other side (W33 D20 L19).
Headline team news: both Liverpool and Palace are unchanged from their respective opening-day victories, but Max Meyer is part of Roy Hodgson’s squad for the first time, while Jordan Ayew could make his debut off the bench.
Crystal Palace:Hennessey; Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt; Townsend, Milivojevic, McArthur, Schlupp; Zaha, Benteke
Subs: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Kouyate, Meyer, Sorloth, Ayew
The big news pre-match? Loris Karius is heading off to Turkey to forget all about that night in Kiev. He will join Besiktas on not a one-year loan but a two-year stint. The German goalkeeper is with the Liverpool squad in south London this evening, but the deal is expected to go through soon after. On that note, team news is imminent:
What better way to test Liverpool’s title credentials than a trip to Selhurst Park. They may have won on their past four visits, but as Crystal Palace proved against Fulham on the opening day, Roy Hodgson’s side are a difficult proposition, particularly at home.
Palace will play without the usual thumping backdrop from the Holmesdale End owing to a seating dispute with a group of fans, but they do have Wilfried Zaha, who scribbled his name all over another new contract last week.Continue reading...
Jürgen Klopp will have taken far more satisfaction from this narrow victory than the emphatic dismissal of West Ham on the opening weekend. Crystal Palace, always awkward opponents, were eventually seen off in south London to maintain the Merseysiders’ pristine start to the campaign and leave their manager chest-bumping his coaching staff as he celebrated on the sidelines. They have plenty of cause for optimism.
This was never comfortable, even after the home side had been reduced in number after the otherwise excellent Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s right knee illegally thwarted Mohamed Salah’s counterattack on the edge of the Palace penalty area with a quarter of an hour still to play. It was also controversial inasmuch as the home side were incensed at Michael Oliver’s award of a penalty as half-time approached, even if Mamadou Sakho’s stuttered and desperate lunges at the loose ball might have done enough to send Salah to the turf. Roy Hodgson, usually loath to criticise officials, was still seething at that award long after the final whistle.Continue reading...
Max and co on Manchester United’s lacklustre defeat, Manchester City’s rout of Huddersfield and entertainment at the BridgeContinue reading...
José Mourinho's woes continued after his side suffered a 3-2 defeat to Brighton at the Amex Stadium. Speaking after the game Mourinho stated: 'I will be very happy to analyse my players’ performances when they were very good. When I cannot do that, don’t push me to the other side because I will not go to the other side'Continue reading...
Burnley already suffering effects of Europe, the flipside to N’Golo Kanté’s new role and Wolves’s strikers struggling to match team’s midfield talent
Brighton upstaged Manchester United, but that they did so without the help of any of their headline summer signings (Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Yves Bissouma and Bernardo, who cost a combined £41m) is proof they are only just getting started. An opening-day defeat by Watford was desperately disappointing but, as poor as United were, Brighton bossed this match from start to finish. Martín Montoya, a deadline-day arrival from Valencia, impressed on his debut but it was the presence of the wily Glenn Murray and the purring Pascal Gross, a £3m buy from Ingolstadt, that again proved pivotal. Better still, Chris Hughton still has a wealth of attacking talent, including the striker Florin Andone, to infuse his team with. This kind of match will not necessarily define Brighton’s season but they naturally foster optimism. Ben FisherContinue reading...
The striker Antonio Conte once called the kind of man you’d like to ‘marry your daughter’ is determined to add a reputation for ruthlessness in front of goal to his nice-guy image
Last September Chelsea’s then manager, Antonio Conte, used a pre-match press conference to lavish praise on Álvaro Morata. The Italian described the Spaniard as a “complete player” after a run of four goals in six appearances for the club, before going on to say something that was meant warmly but that in its own curious way damned the forward. “You’d be open to have this type of person marry your daughter. A good guy, a polite person.”
Few men want to be described as polite daughter-marrying material and certainly not someone trying to establish themselves in the cut-throat environment of the Premier League. The compliment was particularly unwelcome for Morata given that he had been tasked with replacing Diego Costa, that most alpha-male of centre-forwards: ruthless, rugged and absolutely not the type of man a father would want to see with his little girl.Continue reading...
Manchester United’s manager once held sway over all he surveyed but he has lost the control he craves
José Mourinho’s irritation with the “movie” that Manchester City released last week was mild compared with his anger at the horror show that Manchester United made him sit through when losing at Brighton in May. He did not want to see a repeat of that performance on his latest visit. But the sequel was worse.
In May there was an excuse. Mourinho had not picked a full-strength team, instead giving a clutch of fringe players a chance to impress before the FA Cup final. They blew it. “Some of them are not as good as they think they are,” Mourinho said after that match before confessing to a failure of his own: “I did not succeed in persuading them the points were important.” Maybe he felt like bawling something similar after this reverse but he said he could not reveal his true thoughts.Continue reading...
• Manager says he has been criticised in past for views on players
• Chris Hughton ‘very proud’ of Brighton’s performance
José Mourinho said he could not give an honest assessment of his team’s performance after Manchester United slumped to a shambolic 3-2 defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium. United’s manager refused to share any thoughts about his players, claiming he has been criticised by the media for speaking too openly in the past about individuals who have displeased him.
“When I am critical with my players you just don’t accept it, so please do not ask me to go in this direction because it is not good for me,” Mourinho said.Continue reading...