Crystal Palace failed to secure a point against Liverpool in their second match of the 2017/18 Premier League season. Despite some good defensive work, the Eagles were defeated by a Liverpool side determined to find the back of the net. The visitors found chances hard to come by, but should have scored after Christian Benteke skied a wonderful chance over the bar.
Palace Fall To Liverpool At Anfield
Looking To Improve
After their humiliating 3-0 loss to Huddersfield last weekend, Frank de Boer and his men were intent on redeeming themselves at Anfield. Coming off a 2-1 victory in the Champions League qualifiers on Tuesday, Jurgen Klopp made a number of changes to his side. De Boer made two changes because of injuries to both Wilfried Zaha and Jairo Riedewald. James Tomkins and Andros Townsend replaced the pair.
The first half was quite a dull affair with little chances for both sides. Palace looked much more comfortable in defence than they did in their defeat last weekend. They were lucky to not concede in the 35th minute when the defence switched off and allowed Sadio Mane to float around freely in the six-yard-box. The ball just squeezed past Mane and Palace’s defence was surely relieved. Both sides exchanged great efforts on goal about a minute apart from each other. Roberto Firmino’s strike was parried away by Wayne Hennessey, and Palace began on the counter. Ruben Loftus-Cheek played the ball to Puncheon just inside the 18-yard-box. However, the captain saw his powerful strike saved by Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool opened the second half looking the more likely side to score. Yet, it was Benteke who should have really given his side a surprising lead. Loftus-Cheek did brilliantly to beat Ragnar Klavan and pick out the big Belgian just in front of the six-yard-box. Choosing to go for power instead of placement, Benteke launched the ball over Mignolet’s goal wasting Palace’s best chance of the match.
It was Mane who would eventually get the winner for his side in the 73rd minute. The Senegalese international easily slotted the ball past Hennessey after it kindly fell to him in the box. Luka Milivojevic was unlucky to have the ball bounce off him and fall into the path of Mane.
Defence Standing Strong
Although Scott Dann pushed up to join Benteke in attack, Palace never really had a chance to level the match. After their goal, Liverpool hardly allowed Palace to get on the ball. In fact, the Reds looked destined to notch another one. They should have, too, had it not been for Hennessey’s spectacular goalkeeping. The Welshman did brilliantly to keep his side in the match. He made numerous saves throughout with a couple big ones towards the end.
Loftus-Cheek looked the brightest spark in attack providing Palace with the few chances they had. Defensively, things looked much better than last weekend’s horror show. The back three were able to stay compact for the most part. Additionally, the wing backs did well to come back and defend. Although Liverpool’s passing and quick movement did open them up at times, they were able to get the ball clear in the end. It’s safe to say that the defence is improving, but certainly needs more work. Again, if it weren’t for Hennessey, Palace may have lost by two or three goals.
The Search For The First Win
Before hosting Swansea City next weekend, the Eagles welcome an impressive Ipswich Town to Selhurst Park on Tuesday for the second round of the Carabao Cup. Ipswich have won all four of their matches in the Championship this season. In this instance, Palace will be warned not to take this one lightly. Without a single goal so far this season, de Boer’s men desperately need to get their attack going. Finding the back of the net on Tuesday will give them the attacking confidence they need to pick up their first three points of the new Premier League campaign next Saturday.
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