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Liverpool beat Palace in six-goal thriller

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‘Outstanding’ Liverpool delight Klopp

Liverpool moved level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City courtesy of a thrilling victory at Crystal Palace.

Goals from Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino secured the Reds’ fifth win in six league games and only goal difference now separates City, second-placed Arsenal and Liverpool in third.

Despite their brilliance in attack, Liverpool’s defence remains a weakness, with Lovren twice allowing James McArthur to level before the break.

It was a wonderfully entertaining match, with the opening 45 minutes particularly pleasing on the eye as defensive mishaps and attacking verve resulted in five goals – the most in a first half in the Premier League this season.

Indeed, the first three goals in a breathless encounter came within a hectic spell of five minutes and 45 seconds.

  • Reaction – Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool

Coutinho steals the show

Liverpool were mesmerising going forward with Philippe Coutinho pulling the strings once again with his wonderful passing.

The Brazilian, 24, could have scored with a header, when Steve Mandanda brilliantly dived low to save an effort deflected off Joel Ward’s hand.

Had an official seen Ward’s transgression, the visitors would likely have been awarded a penalty.

Coutinho contributed two assists – his corners were headed home by Lovren and Matip – and played a part in Liverpool’s opener, finding Alberto Moreno, whose cut-back gave Can the task of sweeping home from close range.

Arguably Coutinho’s finest pass was the one which did not result in a goal, a perfectly weighted ball which cut through Palace’s defence and set Sadio Mane free, with the summer signing drawing a fine save from Mandanda.

For all Coutinho’s and Liverpool’s attacking prowess, however, their defensive frailties meant victory was not certain until Firmino, put into space by captain Jordan Henderson, chipped over Mandanda.

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Jordan Henderson was another key performer for Liverpool. The captain made a match-high 65 passes, with 84.6% accuracy, and this graphic illustrates the touches the midfielder made during the match.

Palace form a worry for Pardew

Palace have conceded seven goals in their past two league games, lost three matches in a row and not kept a clean sheet in their past 15.

In a poor first half for the hosts, they gave Liverpool the freedom to attack at will and, were it not for Lovren’s errors – the first an ill-judged backpass which allowed McArthur to head into an open goal – Palace may not have troubled the visitors at all.

They improved after the break, pressing Jurgen Klopp’s side with more urgency, but what will worry Palace boss Alan Pardew is that Liverpool could have scored more than the four they managed.

Moreno hit the woodwork in the first half, while Mane shot high from six yards when free to pick his spot.

Palace will argue that they could have been awarded a penalty for either of two challenges on Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke in quick succession, but replays showed referee Andre Marriner was correct to ignore their pleas.

Later in the second half, there was contact between Can and Zaha in the box, with Marriner again right to allow play to continue with the Palace winger falling too easily.

Man of the match – Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

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Phillipe Coutinho has assisted twice or more in a league game on six occasions since making his debut, which is the joint-most of any player in the competition in that time, along with Mesut Ozil and David Silva.

What the managers said

Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: “The first half was difficult on the sideline. We talked about putting them under pressure but in the first period we did not start well.

“We worked hard and defended well but we should have put more pressure on Liverpool. But they are a good team. Two set plays though, that is not us.

“We have to tighten up on that area. Our centre-backs are good but they got done. It is something we have to work on.

“In the second half, the game hinged on key moments. There were some penalty decisions which I thought were tight. We had a tight one last season with the same referee.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “In the first 15 minutes we were not really at 100% then in half an hour we created chance after chance. It was a close game and a deserved win at the end. I’m a very happy man.

“The defensive error we made for the first goal is because we are not at the limit of our concentration. The aggressiveness was not there at the start of the game. But I saw a lot of wonderful things offensively.”

The stats you need to know

  • Liverpool scored four or more goals in a Premier League game for the eighth time in 2016
  • The Reds have now netted 79 league goals since Jurgen Klopp took charge – at least three more than any other team in the competition
  • Palace are one of only two teams to have conceded in every Premier League match this season, along with bottom club Sunderland
  • James McArthur is the second Palace player to score two headers in the same Premier League game, after Glenn Murray against West Ham in 2015
  • Jordan Henderson made eight tackles against Crystal Palace, the most by a Liverpool player in a league game this season

What next

Liverpool will aim to make it three league victories on the trot when they host Watford on 6 November, while Crystal Palace travel to Burnley, a team equal with them on 11 points in the table, on 5 November.

Live Text

Match ends, Crystal Palace 2, Liverpool 4.

Second Half ends, Crystal Palace 2, Liverpool 4.

Divock Origi (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

Substitution, Liverpool. Ragnar Klavan replaces Sadio Mané.

Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Philippe Coutinho.

Offside, Crystal Palace. Fraizer Campbell tries a through ball, but Andros Townsend is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

Fraizer Campbell (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Wilfried Zaha.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Fraizer Campbell replaces James McArthur.

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Joel Matip (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner.

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace).

Joel Matip (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

Substitution, Liverpool. Georginio Wijnaldum replaces Adam Lallana.

Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace).

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jason Puncheon replaces Joe Ledley.

Attempt saved. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Joe Ledley.

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal! Crystal Palace 2, Liverpool 4. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jordan Henderson with a through ball.

Offside, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend tries a through ball, but James McArthur is caught offside.

Substitution, Crystal Palace. Andros Townsend replaces Lee Chung-yong.

Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace).

Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card.

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Joel Ward (Crystal Palace).

Attempt missed. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sadio Mané with a cross.

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Nathaniel Clyne.

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37737704