Minamino, Mane, Henderson, Salah and Firmino scored in a 7-0 victory.
Crystal Palace have surpassed expectations by some margin so far this season. This afternoon, though, they faced their biggest challenge yet as they took on in-form Liverpool.
Liverpool looked to stretch their lead at the top of table after their impressive victory against fellow title chasers Tottenham Hotspur last weekend. They did just that as they ran out 7-0 winners. They’re now 6 points ahead at their nearest competitors – albeit Spurs have a game in hand.
Takumi Minamino was given an unfamiliar role as a starter, taking the place of Mohamed Salah. His place on the bench likely comes as a decision to rest the Egyptian, however reports have also emerged that Salah may be unsettled at the club. He revealed in an interview to AS that his future may not lie at Liverpool. He also expressed he was disappointed not to be made captain against Midtjylland, leading to questions about his happiness at the club.
Mohamed Salah is flexing for Real Madrid and Barcelona 👀
Is his time at Liverpool coming to an end? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/5nUqIi5BBQ
— Goal (@goal) DECEMBER 19, 2020
Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for his replacement to open the scoring. Takumi Minamino hit the net in just the 2nd minute to score his first Premier League goal for the club. The Japanese international set himself up with a good touch before smashing the ball into the bottom corner, leaving no chance for Vicente Guaita.
After that, Crystal Palace had a number of decent opportunities to draw level but they failed to take their chances. Their wastefulness would eventually cost them as Liverpool extended their lead in the 35th minute through Sadio Mane. He made it 2-0 as he produced an excellent touch at the edge of the area before rifling the ball into the back of the net.
They scored their 3rd goal just before the break, this time Roberto Firmino was the scorer. Andy Robertson whipped an accurate early cross into the feet of the Brazilian before he calmly slotted past the Palace keeper.
The first half ended 3-0 to the frustration of Crystal Palace who may have felt the scoreline – at that stage – flattered Liverpool.
After a fairly even first half – despite the scoreline – Liverpool began to dominate in the second. They controlled much of the possession and shut out Palace as they had failed to do on occasion earlier in the match.
Captain Jordan Henderson made it 4-0 with a lovely goal from the edge of the area. He accurately placed the ball into the left-hand corner to effectively end Crystal Palace’s hope of a comeback.
Roberto Firmino got his 2nd in the 68th minute after a lovely Liverpool counter attack. Firmino was played in before he took the ball past James McArthur and lobbed over Guaita into the net. Another brilliant goal by Liverpool.
Firmino didn’t get the chance to complete his hat trick as he was subbed off in the 75th minute for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He should, however, be very pleased with his performance on the day.
The Brazilian has been criticized by some in recent months for his performances. Today, though, he proved he’s just as valuable to this Liverpool team as he’s ever been.
Mohamed Salah was brought on for Sadio Mane around the 60-minute mark and he added to the scoreline in the 80th minute. The goal came from a set piece this time. Trent Alexander-Arnold swung in a deep corner which was met by the head of Joel Matip before Mohamed Salah reacted quickest to guide the ball into the net.
Mohammed Salah got his brace just minutes after. This time it was an unbelievable strike from just outside the area. He hammered the ball into the top corner from 20 yards to complete the rout.
Thankfully for Palace, the scoring stopped after that. The final score was 7-0 to Liverpool in a disappointing afternoon for Crystal Palace. Jurgen Klopp can have no complaints after today’s performance.
WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE. 👏
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) DECEMBER 19, 2020