Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace: Sadio Mane's second-half strike hands Reds win
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 20/08/17 9:03pm
Sadio Mane's second-half goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool had to wait until the 73rd minute to get the winner, the ball fortuitously falling to Mane inside the box after Luka Milivojevic's mistake on the edge.
Christian Benteke missed a clear opening for Palace earlier in the second half from 10 yards, blazing over the bar for the visitors' best opportunity.
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Milner (6), Klavan (6), Gomez (6), Matip (7), Robertson (8), Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (6), Mane (7), Firmino (6), Sturridge (6)
Subs: Salah (6), Solanke (6), Lovren (NA)
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (8), Fosu-Mensah (6), Tomkins (6), Dann (6), Ward (6), Van Aanholt (6), Milivojevic (5), Puncheon (6), Loftus-Cheek (7), Townsend (6), Benteke (5)
Subs: McArthur (6), Kaikai (6), Schlupp (NA),
Man of the match: Andrew Robertson
Liverpool, who were without Philippe Coutinho again with his future still uncertain, held on for their first league win of the season, while Frank de Boer's new Palace side are without a point after two games.
Both sides were looking for their maiden Premier League victory of the campaign, and it was the hosts who had the best chance in a goalless first half.
The impressive Andrew Robertson, making his debut for Liverpool, sent a superb ball in from the left, but Joel Matip somehow headed wide from three yards after Wayne Hennessey had misjudged.
Liverpool made five changes as Ragnar Klavan, James Milner, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson and Daniel Sturridge came in, while Mohamed Salah dropped to the bench. For Palace, James Tomkins and Andros Townsend came in for Jairo Riedewald and Wilfried Zaha.
Roberto Firmino forced Hennessey into a fine stop from long range later in the half, before Palace went up the other end and saw Jason Puncheon's effort from an angle beaten away by Simon Mignolet.
Hennessey was at his best again in the second half, saving from Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson's long-range effort, but Palace should have been ahead on 57 minutes through former Liverpool striker Benteke, who struck over the bar after Ruben Loftus-Cheek's fine work on the right byline.
Liverpool piled on the pressure and got their reward with 17 minutes remaining as Milivojevic bolted under the pressure of sub Dominic Solanke, allowing the ball to fall luckily into the path of Mane, who made no mistake low into the net.
Solanke, Robertson and Mohamed Salah could have doubled Liverpool's lead late on, but all three were denied by Hennessey as Palace stayed in the game until the final moments.
- Frank De Boer is only the second Dutch manager to lose his first two Premier League games after Martin Jol (lost his opening three in the competition).
- Indeed, the Reds kept a clean sheet against Crystal Palace for the first time in 14 competitive matches (since January 2003).
- Sadio Mane has netted six goals in his last eight Premier League games.
- Andrew Robertson, who made his Premier League debut for the Reds today, created more chances (3) and had more touches of the ball than any other Liverpool player (134).
Jurgen Klopp: It was a hard job to do. I have no idea how much we had the ball but it was a lot. We need to be creative. We knew that we had to be a bit more patient. They were quite deep and defended with a lot of legs.
I would have liked to score more, but it wasn't a clear situation for us. We had other chances, but it was difficult, and I'm completely happy with how the boys did the job today.
Frank de Boer: I think we were very concentrated, and one unlucky touch from Luka we conceded the goal. That's a pity, but I said to my players if we show this spirit every week I am confident. I'm happy with the spirit, not happy with the result, but I think we can build from here.
Matt Le Tissier: With the chances they had it probably should have been a larger gap than one goal. There was sometimes a lack of cohesion in the Liverpool side, maybe understandable given the changes. They thoroughly deserved the three points, however.
Man of the match - Andrew Robertson
On his competitive Liverpool debut, the audition for left-back spot had even more importance given Alberto Moreno's impressive pre-season.
Robertson delivered at Anfield following his summer move from Hull, and provided Liverpool's main threat down the left flank with his early balls from deep.
He made more key passes (three), and touched the ball more (134) than any other player in an impressive first look for the Scot.
He'll now look to make that left-back spot his own, but will also receive competition from James Milner once Nathaniel Clyne returns from injury.
Liverpool host Hoffenheim on Wednesday in their Champions League play-off round second leg, holding a 2-1 lead from the first leg, before hosting Arsenal at Anfield on Super Sunday at 4pm.
Palace face Ipswich at Selhurst Park in the Carabao Cup second round on Tuesday, and are again at home on Saturday against Swansea in the Premier League.
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