Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool: Harvey Elliott sends Reds top of the Premier League after Mo Salah’s 200th goal for the club… as the Eagles rue Jordan Ayew’s red card
- Elliott struck in stoppage time for the visitors after Mohamed Salah’s milestone strike drew the Reds level
- Salah’s equaliser came a minute after Jordan Ayew was shown a second yellow card for Crystal Palace
- IAN LADYMAN reveals the GREATEST weapon a manager has against a journalist – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off
For so long, Roy Hodgson was spoiling those Crystal Palace fans. Spoiling them rotten. And then their day was simply spoilt by a side that has developed an excellent knack for saving lost causes.
That’s what this Liverpool side can do. They can dance with the best of them, but they fight and they scrap and they keep on finding success in the most unlikely of performances.
For make no mistake, this was a poor one. Or rather it was in the first half. They were slow, disjointed, lethargic and after 57 minutes they were behind, dropped on their backsides by Jean-Philippe Mateta’s penalty.
Having started the day with a chance to go top, Liverpool were blowing it against a team with one win in eight and a manager who this week had criticised his own ‘spoilt’ supporters before then issuing an apology. Strange times and a strange game.
But how it turned. First, Jordan Ayew was sent off and it had the whiff of a harsh call, not to mention a momentum-changer, because almost immediately Mo Salah levelled with the 200th goal of his Liverpool career. A remarkable tally for a remarkable player and what seemed, at best, to be the highlight of an unremarkable display for man and collective.
Harvey Elliott sent Liverpool to the top of the Premier League after firing in a stoppage time winner against Crystal Palace
The second half substitute smashed a shot from the edge of the box beyond the dive of Palace goalkeeper Remi Matthews
Elliott’s strike prompted wild celebrations from the Liverpool team after staging a late turnaround at Selhurst Park
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-3-3): Johnstone 6 (Matthews 87); Ward 6.5, Andersen 7, Guehi 7, Clyne 6.5; Richards 7, Hughes 7 *(Ozoh 90), Lerma 6.5 (Olise 68, 5.5); Ayew 7, Edouard 6 (Mateta 46, 7), Schlupp 5.5 (Ahamada 84)
Subs not used: Tomkins, De Oliviera, Ebiowei, Riedewald.
Scorers: Mateta 57′ pen
Booked: Lerma, Richards, Ward, Ahamada, Andersen
Red cards: Ayew
Manager: Roy Hodgson 6.5
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 7.5; Alexander-Arnold 7, Quansah 5.5 (Konate 57, 6), Van Dijk 6.5, Tsimikas 6; Szoboszlai (Jones 74, 7), Endo 4.5 (Gomez 46, 6.5), Gravenberch (Gakpo 57, 6); Nunez 6 (Elliott 74, 7), Salah 7, Diaz 6.5.
Subs not used: Kelleher, Doak, McConnell, Bradley.
Scorer: Salah 76′, Elliott 90+1
Booked: Gomez, Diaz
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 7
Referee: Andy Madley 5
And yet there was more, because with the game one minute into the 10 of stoppage time, Harvey Elliott scored a beauty. Jurgen Klopp erupted but perhaps there should have been little surprise – Liverpool have won 18 points from losing positions this season. Premier League titles are won by quality but also with backbone and Liverpool are loaded with both.
But a little sympathy is due to Palace and Hodgson. They have had a rough run and he has shown the stress of that situation, but they were strong here. Until the red card, they were more than a match for Liverpool and thereafter wilted. The question is how much more time will be given to the 76-year-old – his position is understood to be in danger and the results show a worrying trend, even if this was generally a good performance.
In the initial stages of this one, they showed the value of patience, because for an awfully long time nothing happened. Nothing of consequence, anyway. Liverpool dominated the possession, but didn’t create a single chance of note in the entirety of the first half. A lack of inspiration or good defending? It was a strong dose of each.
Palace were stationed deep by design and their screen of Will Hughes and Chris Richards swallowed anything within 30 yards of goal. They were effective; Liverpool were looking a little leggy. A bit jaded. A touch too slow in pulling triggers and spreading play.
They kept to a number of Klopp’s principles, but without his key ingredient – intensity and accuracy. That was best shown in the diagonal arrows to Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz, which on a good day can pull a defence apart. Here, they were held up on the breeze or just not very good. In that regard, Trent Alexander-Arnold, so resurgent of late, was conspicuously off colour, slinging two balls out of play in the first half alone.
For Liverpool, there was seemingly little to worry about at the other end. In the absence of Eberechi Eze, and with Michael Olize rested on the bench, Palace were inhibited and reserved, until the moment when they suddenly tapped into their spirit for adventure.
The attack came on 27 minutes and was the first from either side that warranted the description. It was led up the right by Jordan Ayew, who then arced a low ball in front of Alisson and behind the back line for Jefferson Lerma. He managed a clean strike, albeit too close to Alisson – the save was excellent and also slightly fortuitous as the loose ball spun back against the post.
Jean-Philippe Mateta had put Crystal Palace ahead from the spot after the forward was fouled by defender Jarrell Quansah
Mateta’s effort gave the hosts a deserved lead as Crystal Palace responded to being booed off by their supporters in midweek
The match swung in Liverpool’s favour after the hosts were reduced to 10-men with Jordan Ayew sent off for two yellow cards
Ayew received his first booking for blocking a quick free kick and was shown his second after halting a Liverpool counter
That chance was a bolt from the grey and it was followed immediately by the first award of a penalty for Palace after Virgil van Dijk clipped Odsonne Edouard’s heels. The call was correctly overturned by the VAR when it became clear Will Hughes had fouled Wataru Endo in the build up.
That was a let off of sorts for Liverpool and Endo – he had already been caught in possession twice by then. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was hooked by Klopp at half-time.
If the hope was for more urgency in the second half, it was not realised. Same goes for the wider match, as illustrated by the nature of the penalty awarded after 57 minutes when Andy Madley was belatedly alerted by the VAR to a foul by Jarell Quansah on Mateta. That a minute and 45 seconds of play had elapsed before the foul was given is not a great look for the system.
When that situation was finally straightened out, Alisson dived right, Mateta blasted up the middle, and Palace led. Klopp looked utterly baffled, but the upturn was coming.
First, that meant a red card for Ayew, the game’s most incisive player until that point – he had clumsily ended a Harvey Elliott counter and was shown a second yellow. A moment later, Liverpool scored with their first shot on goal, brought on when Olise failed to clear a cross from Gravenberch and Curtis Jones teed up Salah to thread a finish through traffic for his milestone number.
If that was galling for Palace, the real kicker came in the first minute of stoppage time, when Elliott gathered possession on the right, cut inside and uncorked a lovely strike from the edge of the area. Klopp erupted and did so again when Luis Diaz scored, only for the goal to be disallowed.
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